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Posts Tagged ‘IT Project Management

Tech Professional Certification: ICCP’s CCP vs. PMI’s PMP Debate.

with 3 comments

For starters let me state that I do value my Certified Computing Professional (CCP) certification and display it proudly (along with the certificate number) on my resume and LinkedIn profile.  Originally my certification was the Certified Data Processor (CDP) designation, which I obtained in 1990, with specializations in Core IT Skills, Systems Development, and Management.  These specialties complement my MBA degree, which I obtained in 1989 from the University of Houston with concentrations in Management Information Systems and Management (and now Finance as well).  In addition, it was an MIS professor at UH who recommended that we obtain the CDP certification to complement our MBA (in MIS) degrees with.  Then the CDP certificate became the CCP at some point during the 1990s due to the restructuring/reorganization move that occurred within the Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals (ICCP) at the time.  Anyway, I believe that the name recognition and status that was then associated with the CDP designation went out the door somewhat with the ICCP mandated name change.

As far as the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is concerned, it seems as if many of the IT team lead and/or project management job requirements being published these days either require the PMP or state that it is a desired credential.  This is why I have stated in previous discussions that the PMP appears to be the credential in vogue these days.  Again, this is primarily due to its claimed recognition of demonstrated knowledge and skills in leading/directing project teams and delivering project results within the defined constraints of schedules, budgets and/or resources.  These skills are what technical project management types are distinctly looking for these days, so perhaps the ICCP should tailor the CCP exams to become more like the PMP, but with a strict adherence to IT applications (i.e., not the generic things that could apply to any technical/scientific project like engineering, etc).

In addition, I firmly believe that the Project Management Institute (PMI) does a real good job of promoting and/or marketing the value-added properties of the PMP certificate to companies and consulting firms (e.g., Accenture, IBM, et al).  And a big part of the issue here has to do with the perceptions (i.e., image) that are out there.  As a result, maybe the ICCP needs to gear up and study the techniques being used by the PMI in order to see what could be implemented to promote the same value added properties of the CCP certificate to IT organizations.  Perhaps the CCP should be marketed as being a certificate that proves to IT (and user) organizations that the holder has obtained the requisite proficiencies in both the basic IT technologies and project management areas.

In terms of comparisons, the highly regarded Certified Public Account (CPA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designations both command a lot of respect within professional circles due to their being required certifications in order to practice and advance within the applicable professions.  In addition, they are both difficult to obtain and take countless hours (and dollars) of dedication and hard work just to get prepared to take each level of the multi-level exams.  There are always a large number of candidates willing to go through all of the “hoops” to obtain these certifications due to the high level of professional status that they both afford and because the top-tier (i.e., high paying) firms require them as basic credentials in order to become employed and move up the ladder to more lucrative positions.  If these requirements were not in place, then no one would be willing to go through the time and expense involved to obtain these two certifications.  Therein lies the problem for the ICCP -> because the CCP is currently not a required credential within the IT project management world, it can never become the demanding, highly statured designation that the CPA and CFA have become. The PMI folks seems to recognize this issue and are doing a good job of promoting (or marketing) the PMP certificate as being a required credential for IT and other types of technical project management openings.  In addition, one other factor that lends credibility to the PMP certificate is that the PMI requires a minimum number of years in a leadership position (e.g., 4 years of project management work) on top of passing the difficult exams in order to get chartered as a PMP.  

One caveat to the importance of certifications is that alot of them seem to come and go based on changes in technology and business models.  I remember when the Microsoft certifications were hot items for a few years (in the 1990s), to the point where MS had convinced IT professionals and companies that it was a necessary credential in order to work on MS products.  But this is no longer the case as the existing products have evolved and other companies’ products have eclipsed some of MicroSoft’s products in the industry, thus rendering the old MS certifications pretty much useless.  The CCP and PMP should not have this particular problem, but it just seems as if PMI is doing an excellent job of promoting the PMP as the certification of choice in the IT world and is convincing alot of companies that it needs to be a required certification (i.e., much like the CPA and CFA). 

In conclusion, the ICCP has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to keep the CCP designation from being entirely eclipsed by the PMP designation over the next few years as a lot of companies seem to be getting on board with the PMI’s mantra.  As a result, I firmly believe that the ICCP needs to study the successful marketing techniques being employed by the PMI in order to emulate them for use in promoting the CCP certificate and bringing it up to par with the PMP in terms of name (or brand) recognition within the IT project management world.  One advantage that should be publicized by the ICCP is that one must pass all ICCP exams with a score of 70% or higher in order to get certified as a CCP; whereas one only needs to pass the PMI exams with a score of 60% or higher in order to get certified as a PMP.  In addition, the ICCP exams are applicable strictly to the IT sector of technology, whereas the PMI exams are not really IT specific in scope as they seem to try to encompass all types of project management sectors (e.g., engineering, etc).  So there are several areas of advantage that the ICCP has over the PMI in the IT certification sector that need to be exploited and publicized by the ICCP in order for it to become a more recognized player in the industry.

NOTE:  Interested LinkedIn members having IT/Technological interests are invited to join LinkedIn Group ”Disruptive Technologies” at .