Job security for qualified project management professionals has never been better.

According to a 2021 report by the Project Management Institute, there will be 25 million new project management job openings globally by 2030. To meet that demand, 2.3 million people will need to become project managers each year over the next decade. 

And job security is not the only reason to consider a career in project management. According to Eric Pool, EdD and instructor of project management at Harvard, it is a dynamic and fascinating career choice. And it’s fun too. 

“Project management is a fun career right now. We’re continuing to see major advances in how we manage projects; we’re not running the same tools and processes we did 30 years ago. There’s some really fun developments occurring right now,” Pool said.

So whether you are already working in project management or are considering a career change, now is a great time to invest in your career as a project manager. And one of the best investments you can make in that career is a professional project management certification.

Earning a project management certificate is a great way to build both general knowledge and a specific skill set. However, choosing the right certifications for your industry and role can be challenging. 

Taking the time to research and evaluate the many certifications available to you will ensure that your choice takes your career in the right direction.

What is a project management certificate?

A project management certificate demonstrates that you have completed a formal training program and gained a specific set of skills. 

Project management certifications cover a wide array of skills and technologies. 

Some certifications demonstrate knowledge of project management methodologies such as Agile, Six Sigma, waterfall, critical chain project management, and extreme programming (to name just a few examples). Other certifications show expertise in a specific technology or system used in project management, such as Asana, Jira, or Smartsheet. 

Certification usually requires that you complete a training program and potentially pass a test or exam to demonstrate that you have mastered the appropriate knowledge and skills.

In some cases, you need only complete the certification program once to remain certified for life. In other cases, you may need to retake the certification program periodically to keep your status as “certified” current. 

Are project management certificates worth it?

Project management certification may not be necessary for a successful career. Many project management skills—including technologies and methodologies—can be learned on the job. And there are skills—such as organization and team-building—that are critical to project management but can’t be taught through a certification process.

Yet even if not absolutely necessary, project management certificates are an excellent way to build and improve your skills, according to Pool.

“Education programs and certifications have a rigor behind them that you may not get on the job. Good certificate training programs give you hands-on experience walking through a project plan, for example. And a rigorous certificate program should also help you build your verbal and written communication skills as well,” Pool said.

By completing a certificate program, you:

  • Demonstrate that you have a level of expertise and skill in a standardized, industry-recognized way
  • Gain a deeper and more thorough knowledge of methodologies and technologies
  • Explore specific methodologies and systems recommended by different industries

Moreover, some positions—especially senior-level roles and independent consultants—will require one or more certifications. 

Deciding whether a certificate is worth the investment requires balancing the commitment required by a specific training program with potential career benefits. In most cases, however, having a certification on your resume can pay huge dividends in terms of keeping your career moving forward.

How to choose the right project management certificate?

There are many different types of project management certificates available today. So choosing the right one will require you to do some research.

Here are a few of the questions you should ask when evaluating different types of professional certificate:

  • Technology: What technology or program management software will the certificate cover? Is that technology relevant to your current role or to a future desired role?
  • Industry: What certifications are required or recommended for project managers in your industry or in an industry you are interested in?
  • Experience level: Do you need relevant experience or do you need to complete one or more prerequisites to qualify for or complete the certification training program?
  • Rigor/Quality: Is the certification recognized within your industry as rigorous and high quality? Will it give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs?
  • Time commitment: How much time will you need to complete the training program, and will it fit into your schedule? Can you continue to work or will you have to take time off? Is the program online or will you need to attend in person?
  • Cost: How much will the program cost? Is the certification test included in the cost, or will you have to pay for that separately? What other fees might you incur in the course of the training program? You may also want to ask your boss whether your company will pay for all or part of the certification process. 

For most individuals seeking a long-term career in project management, Pool recommends at least two specific certifications: 

  • Project Management Professional (PMP) is currently the “gold standard” in project management certifications. It is recognized by nearly all industries, and often required for senior-level positions. However, it is a time-consuming and highly rigorous training program. You must have several years of experience before you can qualify for the training.
  • Scrum Master™ or other Agile-related certification has the potential for significant career benefits across multiple industries as the Agile project management methodology grows in popularity. And because it is a relatively short program (10 hours over two days) with an open-book test, it is a comparatively easy investment to make. 

While these are two of the most popular certificates, they are not the only ones you should consider. Other certifications you choose will depend heavily on your level of experience, your industry, and your short- and long-term career goals.

Why Choose the Pathstream Asana Project Management Certificate

Asana is a web-based project management software platform. It is a powerful and popular project management tool used by large and small organizations across a variety of industries. 

Adding the Pathstream Asana Project Management Certificate to your resume demonstrates your ability to plan and complete task-based projects using this collaboration tool. The Pathstream program offers hands-on, project-based learning focused on developing project plans, budgets, and timelines in Asana.

In addition to building skills in this specific platform, the Pathstream Asana Project Management Certificate offers several additional benefits:

  • General project management skills: The Asana course provides an excellent overview of project management. For individuals interested in exploring the field of project management, it’s an ideal way to discover whether this is a field you’d like to pursue, while giving you a specific marketable skill at the same time.
  • Applicable across multiple industries: Your skills as a certified Asana project manager will translate across multiple industries. According to one assessment, more than 14,000 companies utilize Asana as part of their project management toolkit.  
  • Preview of the PMP: While it is not a PMP training program, the Pathstream Asana Certificate offers an introduction to the knowledge and skills you’ll need to eventually complete a PMP training and certification program.
  • Approved by Asana: Pathstream’s rigorous curriculum has been developed in conjunction with Asana, so you will get the deepest possible insight into how you can maximize the tool’s capabilities. 

The Pathstream Asana Project Management Certificate is a great investment either for individuals seeking to explore a career in project management or for those seeking to level up in their current role, according to Pool.

“The Pathstream program will give you an idea of whether this is a field you’re interested in without putting a lot of investment into it. The investment in time and money is relatively low compared to jumping into a career with no background. And the level of coverage is exactly right. It’s not so deep that you will get lost if you don’t have any experience in project management. You’ll find your way through the course quite easily. But it’s not so high level that it doesn’t provide any value,” said Pool.

How to Supplement Your Technical Project Management Skills

As a project manager, you need the technical skills offered through certificate programs like the Pathstream Asana Project Management Certificate.

However, successful project management requires more than the knowledge of how to build and schedule a project plan. You also need to lead, influence, and motivate your teams. 

“Nothing gets done without people,” Pool noted. “People take a project from start to finish. So project managers need soft skills like helping teams become more efficient and more effective. As technology advances to cover the administrative work of planning projects, team-building skills are going to be even more important for success.” 

As with technical skills, you may be able to develop these skills on the job.

But as with technical skills, seeking out targeted professional development opportunities to help you improve those skills can be beneficial. 

In addition to certificate programs, you may want to explore programs focused on leading teams, fostering collaboration, or adapting an Agile mindset. Programs that delve into change management can help you foster creativity and innovation. And learning to build influence and developing your powers of persuasion will help you drive projects to completion.

Project management is an exciting, dynamic career path, and one that’s worth investing in. As you look at where you’d like your project management career to take you, project management certification and ongoing professional development will help you get there.