Choosing Your Next Challenge After PMP Certification
Congratulations! You've successfully completed your PMP Certification. That is quite a feat. All your hard work and determination have paid off. After a bit of time to catch your breath, you may feel the need to continue your studies and yearn for continuous learning. Many do. Some high achievers will still crave the intense focus and miss the purpose and direction the Certification process provided. You may also feel the complete opposite, in that you are burnt out of studying and looking forward to taking a break and getting back to just focusing on your job and personal life. That is okay too.
For those of you looking for the next challenge, below are 3 possible options for you to consider as your next steps. The beauty of these optional areas of focus is that they not only provide you with additional credentials on top the PMP certification, but you also Earn PDU (Professional Development Unit) for your PMP renewal. A definite win-win situation! So, when you are ready to get back on the educational track, carefully consider the options discussed below and find what really interests you, and from there determine the direction you want to head in your career:
Option #1 - More Project Management Training
If you enjoyed the PMP certification and want to continue to focus solely on project management, the Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification or an "Advanced Project Management" course might be a good fit for you. These programs build on the PMP certification program and follow a similar approach to the PMBOK Guide framework and format. A number of these courses focus on developing stakeholder relationships, lifecycle and project estimating techniques, managing accelerated projects and portfolio management. Effective project managers must be mindful of how different industries can impact program life cycles and the benefits they can bring to the organization.
Another interesting option in project management would be a course that would give you both PDUs and a new Certification. For instance a Microsoft Project 2010 course that is qualified both as a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) training for Exam 70-187 Microsoft Project 2010 Managing Projects but also offers PDUs for your PMP renewal would be a win-win situation.
Option #2 - Side Skills Training
There are a wide variety of programs that specialize in overall organizational efficiency, as well as management best practices. Obtaining additional business knowledge and expertise in this area can be a real asset in today's economy. These courses would include Process Improvement and Six Sigma. Indeed, today a lot of emphasis is on service. Insurance agencies, consultants, investment brokers, and accountants sell services rather than products. All companies are forced to focus on how customer-driven process improvement will improve the bottom line.
If you enjoy the finance and accounting aspects of your projects, additional courses such as Managerial Accounting, Corporate Finance, and International Finance would be excellent areas to focus your attention. There are many programs available to choose from.
Option #3 - IT Training
The field of IT (Information Technology) involves a lot of project management. Many PMPs have an IT background and hold IT positions. If you do, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certification may be of interest. This program offers an exceptional level of expertise, specifically designed for IT, and focuses heavily on strategies and techniques for dealing with the fast pace of the evolution of technology and managing for the future.
If find yourself spending a lot of time fine tuning the design of your IT project to accommodate changing requirements, you may want to consider a PMI-ACP Agile certification, including the core values and principles outlined by the Agile manifesto. Again, an online course on PMI-ACP Agile certification which also offers PDUs for your PMP renewal would be like killing two birds with one stone. Agile projects are characterized by the use of short work iterations and incremental development of products, made possible by focusing on business priorities and customer value.
Another option would be a "Project Management for IT Professionals" course, where you will gain valuable insight into project management with a special focus on managing IT projects. You will also acquire an understanding of how creating strategies and designing plans to deliver IT projects can provide consistent value and increased profits for the organization.
Whatever your taste or preference, checkout the online courses offered on the internet and start planning for your next challenge.