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Is it possible to have TOO MANY certifications?
This might be more of a discussion topic but I put it here because it's an interesting question. With the vast number of project management / scrum certifications out there along with other certifications in related business fields, tech, etc, is it possible to have TOO MANY certifications?
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Absolutely! At some point, the number of certs possessed moves from being a valuable metric to a vanity one. No certification can prove effectiveness and competency so you have to find a way to balance formal credentials against actual ability.

Kiron
I agree with Kiron, you can attain various certifications, but the importance relies on the experience you obtain through the day to day work, the knowledge you apply, the projects you guide to success, and the products you create. Work for a better world, help others, and hope always the best.
Susan

I agree and disagree with Kiron and Veronica as this is too much generalizing. There isn't something called "Too many certifications" because the certification is as good as it's journey and it is merely an indication that someone do poccess indepth knowledge in a certain topic or field but certainly doesn't prove competency. Competency and effectivness are proven when you walk your talk on ground.

Not every certificate attained needs to be measured against ability as some people enjoy learning about new topics. For Example: I recently took the IIBA Cyber Security Analysis certification with IIBA and I can't begin to tell you how much I've learned from it while it doesn't fall within my alley of expertise, yet, it did add lots of value:

1) Will I ever consider applying for a Cyber Security Analyst post or put this as a competency in my resume ? Certainly Not.

2) Will I be able to make sense of technical terms and issues as they arise and talk common language with Cyber Security Analysts and consider Cyber Security requirements during requirements gathering and analysis ? Absolutely YES. That's the value right here.

I will give you a few scenarios to differentiate between when a certification can be a valuable metric and when not:

1) If the purpose of possessing the certifications is just being certified, collecting badges and adding letters after your name then yes, at some point, this becames a vanity metric.

2) If you are acquiring certifications that ask for experience while you don't have this experience and you think you are cheating the system then I assure you that you are cheating yourself and this also becomes a vanity metric.

3) If you are pursuing a certification because it's trending, then that's a vanity metric.

4) If your purpose is to pass the exam only without deep understanding of the material then that's a vanity metric as well.

BUT

5) If you are an experienced professional and a life long learner who attains certifications for the purpose of learning, and as part of your commitment to the profession then this is a valuable metric.

It is the journey that matters, not the certification itself and what matters most is how you put this in practice afterwards. The knowledge you gain from your experience is limited to that experience but in today's world, in order to grow, you need to go above and beyond and to a certain degree be a generalizing specialist. I have more than 40 reputable certifications from globaly recognized organizations and I can assure you that I did benefit from each and everyone I attained.

The world is evolving rapidly and we have to stay up to date to ensure we grow with the world's growth so professional development is becoming a necessity more than option and this can be done through courses, webinars, self-reading and certifications.

I recently wrote an article about the "Added Value of Professional Development" which was published in the PM World Journal (I can share it with you if you are interested) and I am also speaking about the same topic in the PMO Impact Summit 2020 this coming October.

RK
...
2 replies by Darren Paladino and Kiron Bondale
Aug 15, 2020 8:13 AM
Kiron Bondale
...
No question that a certification can broaden your knowledge, but at what cost?

I haven't found too many cases where a certification provides domain expertise at the same or cheaper price than other methods (e.g. a non-certification course, self-learning via online resources or books, a mentor).

The main reasons to get a certification are:

1) To be able to compete for a new role or promotion
2) As a condition of employment or to get a specific gig

If the certification does not directly address one of these, there may be other ways to achieve the desired objectives at a cheaper price point.

Kiron
Sep 18, 2020 12:33 PM
Darren Paladino
...
Rami, your points #2 and #5 are the value add here. Understanding the knowledge structure, processes, and tenets in my mind facilitates more productive collaboration and communication across the business and with customers.
Aug 14, 2020 7:55 PM
Replying to Rami Kaibni
...
Susan

I agree and disagree with Kiron and Veronica as this is too much generalizing. There isn't something called "Too many certifications" because the certification is as good as it's journey and it is merely an indication that someone do poccess indepth knowledge in a certain topic or field but certainly doesn't prove competency. Competency and effectivness are proven when you walk your talk on ground.

Not every certificate attained needs to be measured against ability as some people enjoy learning about new topics. For Example: I recently took the IIBA Cyber Security Analysis certification with IIBA and I can't begin to tell you how much I've learned from it while it doesn't fall within my alley of expertise, yet, it did add lots of value:

1) Will I ever consider applying for a Cyber Security Analyst post or put this as a competency in my resume ? Certainly Not.

2) Will I be able to make sense of technical terms and issues as they arise and talk common language with Cyber Security Analysts and consider Cyber Security requirements during requirements gathering and analysis ? Absolutely YES. That's the value right here.

I will give you a few scenarios to differentiate between when a certification can be a valuable metric and when not:

1) If the purpose of possessing the certifications is just being certified, collecting badges and adding letters after your name then yes, at some point, this becames a vanity metric.

2) If you are acquiring certifications that ask for experience while you don't have this experience and you think you are cheating the system then I assure you that you are cheating yourself and this also becomes a vanity metric.

3) If you are pursuing a certification because it's trending, then that's a vanity metric.

4) If your purpose is to pass the exam only without deep understanding of the material then that's a vanity metric as well.

BUT

5) If you are an experienced professional and a life long learner who attains certifications for the purpose of learning, and as part of your commitment to the profession then this is a valuable metric.

It is the journey that matters, not the certification itself and what matters most is how you put this in practice afterwards. The knowledge you gain from your experience is limited to that experience but in today's world, in order to grow, you need to go above and beyond and to a certain degree be a generalizing specialist. I have more than 40 reputable certifications from globaly recognized organizations and I can assure you that I did benefit from each and everyone I attained.

The world is evolving rapidly and we have to stay up to date to ensure we grow with the world's growth so professional development is becoming a necessity more than option and this can be done through courses, webinars, self-reading and certifications.

I recently wrote an article about the "Added Value of Professional Development" which was published in the PM World Journal (I can share it with you if you are interested) and I am also speaking about the same topic in the PMO Impact Summit 2020 this coming October.

RK
No question that a certification can broaden your knowledge, but at what cost?

I haven't found too many cases where a certification provides domain expertise at the same or cheaper price than other methods (e.g. a non-certification course, self-learning via online resources or books, a mentor).

The main reasons to get a certification are:

1) To be able to compete for a new role or promotion
2) As a condition of employment or to get a specific gig

If the certification does not directly address one of these, there may be other ways to achieve the desired objectives at a cheaper price point.

Kiron
...
1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Aug 15, 2020 11:45 AM
Rami Kaibni
...
Kiron

This is a totally different story and it differs from one person to another. There is one more reason to get a certification:

3) When you have a consulting company and you provide certifications guidance and training.

Regarding the cost, it's all about how you manage your budget so I can't speak to others but myself. Briefly, this is how my formula works:

1) 5 Years ago, I committed to cutting down on some expenses and putting aside as little as $200 per month for next years professional development ($200 x 12 = $2,400 CAD)

2) When I was retained by my current employer, we agreed that they will support professional development and they came through. They cover between 30% - 40% of my annual professional development.

3) I receive lots of discounts from organizations and pursue scholarships. Annually, on average, this compensates for 20% of my professional development.

4) For a few exams, I was invited to participate in the pilot stage where the certification fees were waived.

During the past 5 years, on average, I spent $4,000 CAD per year for professional development (Not all are certifications, some are conferences, courses and others).

$4,000 - (40% Employers) - (20% Discounts / Scholarships) = $1,600 which is less than the $2,400 that I put on the side so I carry $800 for next year and so on.

On another note, beside being a full time employee, I have my own coaching and training company and on average my ROI for recovering the cost of certifications through my RMK Coaching company is 2 months.

It's true that I might not be making money through my own company at this point in time but I work full time and I am at least recovering the cost of certifications through my own business.

When you work full time and have your own business, it does take lots of committment and dedication to pursue the certifications and professional development that I do besides all the volunteering activities I am part of with different organizations.

In summary, it does work for me and when there is a will, there is a trillion ways. You just need to think outside the box, be committed, pursue hard and you will find that you can achieve many things in life. I probably have an advantage (Not sure its really an advantage) that I am single so I use my free time in my own professional development as I consider this a Life Investment in myself with a great long term return just like a smart investment in the stock market but the only difference is that you can control and make the best out of the professional development while you do not have control over the stock market.

RK
Aug 15, 2020 8:13 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
No question that a certification can broaden your knowledge, but at what cost?

I haven't found too many cases where a certification provides domain expertise at the same or cheaper price than other methods (e.g. a non-certification course, self-learning via online resources or books, a mentor).

The main reasons to get a certification are:

1) To be able to compete for a new role or promotion
2) As a condition of employment or to get a specific gig

If the certification does not directly address one of these, there may be other ways to achieve the desired objectives at a cheaper price point.

Kiron
Kiron

This is a totally different story and it differs from one person to another. There is one more reason to get a certification:

3) When you have a consulting company and you provide certifications guidance and training.

Regarding the cost, it's all about how you manage your budget so I can't speak to others but myself. Briefly, this is how my formula works:

1) 5 Years ago, I committed to cutting down on some expenses and putting aside as little as $200 per month for next years professional development ($200 x 12 = $2,400 CAD)

2) When I was retained by my current employer, we agreed that they will support professional development and they came through. They cover between 30% - 40% of my annual professional development.

3) I receive lots of discounts from organizations and pursue scholarships. Annually, on average, this compensates for 20% of my professional development.

4) For a few exams, I was invited to participate in the pilot stage where the certification fees were waived.

During the past 5 years, on average, I spent $4,000 CAD per year for professional development (Not all are certifications, some are conferences, courses and others).

$4,000 - (40% Employers) - (20% Discounts / Scholarships) = $1,600 which is less than the $2,400 that I put on the side so I carry $800 for next year and so on.

On another note, beside being a full time employee, I have my own coaching and training company and on average my ROI for recovering the cost of certifications through my RMK Coaching company is 2 months.

It's true that I might not be making money through my own company at this point in time but I work full time and I am at least recovering the cost of certifications through my own business.

When you work full time and have your own business, it does take lots of committment and dedication to pursue the certifications and professional development that I do besides all the volunteering activities I am part of with different organizations.

In summary, it does work for me and when there is a will, there is a trillion ways. You just need to think outside the box, be committed, pursue hard and you will find that you can achieve many things in life. I probably have an advantage (Not sure its really an advantage) that I am single so I use my free time in my own professional development as I consider this a Life Investment in myself with a great long term return just like a smart investment in the stock market but the only difference is that you can control and make the best out of the professional development while you do not have control over the stock market.

RK
Excellent thoughts here. The main reason I was curious about this question is that there's SO MANY PM related certifications along with ones specific to certain industries.
...
1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Aug 17, 2020 11:55 AM
Rami Kaibni
...
You're welcome. You have different and opposite opinions here which should tell you that it is different from one person to another and it solely depends on your goals and career path.
Aug 17, 2020 11:29 AM
Replying to Susan Marangos
...
Excellent thoughts here. The main reason I was curious about this question is that there's SO MANY PM related certifications along with ones specific to certain industries.
You're welcome. You have different and opposite opinions here which should tell you that it is different from one person to another and it solely depends on your goals and career path.
Hi all,

The PMP is so far the second certification I have taken on through my career with about a 5 year gap from my first which was a necessity for a previous role I held.

I can tell you there was something about the PMP exam that got me raring for the next. As a result, I have been analysing my career path and just forecasting which certifications would fit as I progress along the line.

For me it does feel like a mix of the challenge, strategy and need.

I don't think I'd quantify from this perspective.
Any more, it seems like you get a certificate just for taking a class, like it gives the class more value (or a higher price). I don't see the problem as being too many certificates as much as the potential for too many acronyms after your name. You risk 1) diluting your brand (you), 2) creating the impression that you are only book smart, and 3) creating the impression that you think you're smarter than everyone else. Before you even have a chance to talk to a real person. It's a risk.

I enjoy learning new things, so my advice is learn whatever you want. If you take a class or get a credential, put it on your MASTER resume - the one with EVERYTHING on it that you don't send to anybody. Then, when you apply for a job, create a custom resume, from the master, and only include the relevant information.

Would you put PMI-SP on your resume if a company is looking for a PMI-PBA? Maybe, but don't put more acronyms after your name than you need. No alphabet soup, and the acronyms should contain fewer letters than your name.

Consider the above to be "in general". I'm sure you can find someone who would be impressed by alphabet soup, but that person is probably in the minority.
Susan, it depends. If you are looking for traditional project management PMP is sufficient, in case you are opting for Agile / SCRUM better to add ACP with PMP which will give you an exposure for present conditions.

Agile certification there are lots available and any renowned / established will help you to get to the competency required.
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