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Professional development key to project management career

PM News
March 21, 2012

Results from the Professional Project Management survey conducted by Project Manager online show that more than 90% of project managers are members of a professional association. For those who are, more than 70% nominated ‘professional development’ as the reason they joined.

The most popular professional association was the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) with close to 57% of respondents as its members, followed by the Project Management Institute (PMI) with 45%*. Members from Engineers Australia and the Australian Institute of Management were also well represented.

“Project management professionals are also engaged in active professional development. They attend conferences and presentations, network with other project managers and read or write articles and papers related to project management,” said Adeline Teoh, editor of Project Manager online. “Most of them do this to further their knowledge of project management or for personal interest, while a significant minority do it to gain professional development points.”

Two in three project managers considered their project management accreditation ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important to their careers, and almost four in five indicated that continuing professional development was ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important for their careers.

Project management education

Ninety-four percent of respondents have undergone some kind of education or training related to project management. Of those who had, almost 38% completed accredited training and more than 60% completed tertiary education, from certificate level to postgraduate qualifications. More than two-thirds completed some kind of training via their employer.

The survey also asked if respondents had undertaken any project management education or training during their current role, with almost three in four indicating they had. Of those who had, an overwhelming 77.9% initiated this themselves as opposed to receiving the directive from management or HR.

“The results indicate that more and more project managers are taking their professional development seriously. They understand that if they have a skill or a knowledge gap, they are better off taking the initiative to fill it themselves,” said Teoh. “This demonstrates a focus on project management as a career, not just a discipline.”

Project Manager online also asked if there should be a minimum education standard to become a project manager. Just over 68% of respondents said ‘yes’, with general tertiary study (‘Certificate’ and ‘Diploma’) the most popular minimum level nominated, followed by a Bachelor degree.

Those who were members of AIPM and/or PMI were also in favour of professional accreditation via these bodies, such as AIPM’s Continuing Professional Project Manager (CPPM) certification or PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

“It is clear from this survey that project management is on its way to becoming a formal profession,” Teoh noted. “While project management will always exist as a skill set in various roles across any industry, if there are prerequisites to becoming a career project manager then this will lift the standard and bring a greater understanding and definition to the title ‘project manager’.”

* Some respondents are members of more than one professional association.

The Professional Project Management survey ran from November 2011 to February 2012 collecting data from both mailed surveys and online via SurveyMonkey. A total of 1,266 respondents completed the survey, which was aimed at Australian project managers across a range of industries.

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