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I am a software engineer working in a CMMI level 5 company with around 2 years and 5 months of experience. I am fascinated towards project management and analysis, for this I want to get some certification which will enhance my knowledge but I am not sure which certification should I do at this stage and what should I do first. Here is the list I found related to management.

  1. PMP
  2. ITIL
  3. Prince2
  4. MSP
  5. M O R
  6. P3O
  7. MoV
  8. CAPM

Could you please help me knowing which certification should I go first suitable to my experience?

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From your list, the CAPM is the most appropriate at this point if you're looking for something 'now'. This is assuming the firm you're with does not use the PRINCE2 methodology.

From your list:

PMP - requires 3 years experience prior to submitting the application

ITIL - not really pm focused, more 'service' as I understand it

PRINCE2 - specific methodology, although you can self-study for the Foundation test

MSP - Managing Successful Programmes - program management, which is different than project management

MoR - Management of Risk - Focused on Risk Management specifically

P3O - again, program or portfolio management focused, not projects.

MoV - never heard of it [Edit] - just ran across this - Management of Value - focused on realization/capture of value on an organization-wide basis as opposed to project management specific.

CAPM - entry-level prior to the PMP, doesn't require as much experience

I'll add one more option - look at the IPMA Level D exam. Similar to the CAPM, but in my opinion a more difficult exam.

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    +1 for perfect one line description for each certification. I would have waste an entire day to check each and every website to get the exact understanding for these certification. – Chris May 11 '11 at 6:50
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    Also, I just wanted to add that the 3 years of experience can come from a professional as well as from a volunteer/ not-for-profit project background. – Farooq May 11 '11 at 14:12
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[Assuming that you can meet the experience requirements] you should work toward the certification that represents the body of knowledge that you find most immediately rewarding and beneficial for your anticipated assignments ... what kinds of things have you done well at, what do you really want to work on most? A certification will help define what sort of things people will hire you to do -- the best job involves work that you excel at and find most satisfying.

If all of these are pretty much equal to you ... what is probably best is to look to your current and immediate future customer, i.e. your employer(s) ... you need to ask the question in terms of how much they are willing to increase your salary if you earn one of these certifications ... all other things being equal, your employer would probably want you to get all of these certifications, but having your employer put a dollar-figure [or some form of tangible recognition] on that certification will tell you how much that certification is worth to you.

If your employer doesn't want to compensate you, it might be time for you to have a conversation with a [knowledgeable] recruiter and ask that person to put market values on each of the certifications.

Certifications for certifications sake are kind of silly ... over the course of a decade or so, it's easy to rack up far too many letters behind your name ... make sure you're working on what is really important to you and your customers [or employers].

  • +1 for "make sure you're working on what is really important to you and your customers". After reading it I asked why I want to go for project management certificate and I got the answer that I am not inclined much for towards salary increment [but of course they are important] but I am concerned about the knowledge and strong resume to pick up the task above my strength. I feel like being a "Hulk" in project management. May be I am too wierd with my aim but I am honest enough to tel you the truth. :-) – Chris May 11 '11 at 6:48
  • Thanks for your helpful comment! I don't consider wanting to be a master of your craft is weird at all ... my first paragraph was attempt to say that job satisfaction is bigger than salary, but if you don't have a strong opinion ask someone and get a dollar-denominated answer so that they actually think about it ... wanting to have lots of certifications [to prove to others that you are the Hulk] might be slightly weird, but it is not weird to want to know your profession backward, forward, upsidedown, inside and out. – markbruns May 11 '11 at 17:39
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With your experience in software development at a process-mature organization, and desire to be a deep expert, I'd recommend the PMP. (Wait until you have the required experience and read up, in the meantime.) It will give you a thorough introduction to project management as a body of knowledge, as well as expose you to

a) theories which have created whole new methodologies (e.g. Theory of Constraints and Agile) and b) further fields of study (like Quality or Communication).

As an added bonus, the Project Management Journal put out by the PMI and Wiley is a fascinating professional research journal about project management.

(You don't have to be a PMP to get it -but the fact that they put out such a great publication speaks to the quality of the organization and the goals behind the certification.)

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CAPM first. This is basically the same exam as the PMP, but without the experience requirements that the PMP requires.

Secondly ITIL and Prince2.

Since your certification list appears to me to be UK specific, the following recommendations are more US specific for folks who might search for this topic in the future.

If you have any desire to work for defence contractors, you'll need to meet DOD 8570 requirements for "information assurance managers" (IAM in the specs), which is page 92 on this PDF (level 1 is 0-5 years experience, level 2 is 3-5+ years, and level 3 is 10+ years experience). I know that some large defense companies, such as General Dynamics, require all IT workers to meet these specs, even if not required (such as programmers being required to hold a Security+ cert; and GD also requires holding an ITIL foundation cert or getting them within 3 months of hire). This could be met by Security+ and later a CISSP. When DOD makes a standard, it tends to trickle down through the industries that standard touches.

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Think about some "project management in software development"-related certification, like RUP, MSF, ScrumMaster. They are more valuable for a starter than heavy-weight all-in-one certifications like PMP and PRINCE2.

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I would recommend you to go for PRINCE2 foundation certification first as: -

PRINCE2 – describes What to Do in project management PMP – describes How to do in project management

PRINCE2 is UK based certification whereas PMP is US based certification.

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