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Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM)

The majority of my 10-year career has been spent within engineering positions. I also have my BS and MS in engineering disciplines from Penn State. The last two years I have spent working very hard to move away from technical positions and have been fairly successful to this point, moving into a program and product management roles. However I still look more like a techie manager than a business side manager on paper. To help combat this I have enrolled in an MBA program (also at Penn State). Until now I have never been a big fan of certifications on the technical side, from a hiring manager perspective. However, in an effort to help move myself away from being viewed as a techie I am now considering a couple of non-tech certifications. I would be interested in your thoughts are on the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) being worth the time? Thanks in advance!

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The PMP is a very popular credential with growing market participation and name recognition. It has strong academic leanings, roots, and delivery mechanisms, so you should feel right at home within their programs. My publisher has books underway on this topic right now, as do several others, and in a soft certification market, that's a very good indicator that savvy businesspeople have run the numbers and decided that the PMP is worth backing. FWIW, I also get lots of inquiries and reader interest in this credential, and see it as the kind of "soft skills" credential that many IT Professionals--particularly those interested in moving into management roles--will find not only useful and interesting, but beneficial for their careers.

As somebody who specializes in IT certifications, the CPM is new to me and I don't feel really comfortable giving you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on this program. That said, what I can see of the program at napm.org and the number of positive mentions I see in a quick search on the credential looks rather more promising than ominous.

HTH, and thanks for writing.
--Ed--

This was first published in April 2003

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