New Practitioners: Avoiding Credential Overload

PMI Southern Ontario Chapter

Bruce is the founder of, a resource for growing IT project managers.

There’s a specter haunting the careers of new practitioners in project management. It’s not their fault. They are up against tremendous pressure to pursue a certain kind of activity at great expense and effort. They’re taking one advancement strategy and overusing it at the expense of other options.

Are you making the credential mistake?
New practitioners are too concerned with project management credentials. Now, before you send me hate mail, know that I earned the PMP® certification, and I don’t regret it in the least. At the same time, I know it is only a milestone in a broader career project.

Here’s the harsh truth: When you are a new practitioner—especially if you are a new graduate—you may fall into the credential trap. It’s the belief that earning one more degree, credential or certification will skyrocket your career. In some fields (like IT), there are hundreds of certifications available, so there’s no end to what you could learn.

As Tim Ferriss wrote, “The dose makes the medicine.” Earning a PMP and one or two supporting industry certifications? That makes sense as a “dose” of credentials. Earning five certifications? Earning a new one every year? That dose is just too much.

How does this credential mistake slow career growth?
There are two ways falling into the credential…

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