Certification or Degree? Why are either even needed?

Some may ask; why anyone should try to achieve project management certification(s) especially when they may have a degree from an accredited college or university. What difference could it make either way? Well, first of all a certification is different than a degree; one is earned by attending classes of some sort the other is earned by taking a test to see how much of a certain subject or activity etc, that one may have knowledge on and upon passing the test with a satisfactory score the certification is awarded. Now there are some certifications and degrees that are conjoined or can be used in conjunction with one another, but to have one does not necessarily mean that it will be dependent on the other, in other words, someone can go and take the certification exams pass them all and have the certificates to show that they have the knowledge to perform the work involved the company needs done yet never have stepped inside the hallway of a college or technical school before and the other way around. But sometimes one complements the other of course let’s not forget that in IT companies may have a standard for one department while another will be totally different with a whole different set of requirements.

Many certification exams can usually be taken any time and all of them cost each time given and vary in cost, for example; one may cost $250 to be taken while another one may cost $700, it is always best to research the certification specs on the certification desired and get all the details of what is required to ensure success of any that is desired. Also there are some companies out there that will sponsor the applicant for an exam as part of the hiring process of their company such as the prince2, which is a very strict type of discipline used for project management, and is used in the UK and is why a company that already has it implemented may sponsor the prospective employment candidate to take the exam and pay the fees associated with it. Most companies in need of project management usually will have some other framework instead of the Prince2 mainly because of the restrictiveness of it which makes it less popular and more specialized.

Other frameworks that companies may be wanting the applicant to have a certification for, are IT in general, Scrum which in itself has different levels of knowledge and mostly by different certification standard companies, much like some software vendors, one software program that does basically the same thing, made by two different companies just one may put a little extra functionality to theirs that the other doesn’t etc. While it’s the same type of framework, the company that has created that version of it is not connected to others therefore the exams will be different as well.

SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) takes the use of Scrum and applies it to an enterprise environment which for teams does not do well with this type of setting so this certification should be researched well before using time and energy along with finances in efforts of getting it. Usually Agile is used with very large corporations with very heavy and intensive software use, teams wouldn’t be productive in this setting.

There are many reasons on both sides of the isle concerning certifications and whether or not one should have them, but having a degree in the same things would take years to get while just testing for the certification usually doesn’t take nearly as long but can be just as costly.