PMP® or ITIL Expert: Which is more Useful and Valuable?

PMP or ITIL Expert: Which is more Useful and Valuable?
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In today’s competitive job market, how do you stand out from the crowd for your dream job role? According to popular job portal report, close to 52% of job postings require professional certifications such as PMP®, ITIL®, PRINCE2®, Six Sigma, and more over traditional bachelor’s degree. You may have come across various forums and discussion boards where professionals have this recurring question regarding two of the most important IT certifications in PMP / ITIL Expert, and which is more useful and valuable for their career?

Professionals have an inherent understanding that the PMP certification is useful only for project managers and ITIL is useful for only IT Service Management (ITSM) professionals. With such limited view, it does not do justice to the usefulness of both certifications.

Depending upon where you are in your career, and where you want to be, you will have a clear picture to pick one over the other. Because most of us have time constraints, going for both the certifications is not a feasible option. So which of the two certifications is useful and valuable for you? As a professional, you need to have a fair understanding of your career goals, organization strategies, their mission, and vision. This will enable you to understand which certification will help you to take your career to the next level.

Organizational Objectives: Cost Containment / Revenue Generation:

The key aspect towards choosing your certification should depend on what sort of strategy does your organization use to increase profit. Is it Cost Containment or Revenue Generation, and which of these two aspects does your business is interested in pursuing? Many industry experts believe, successful companies ensure they are better before being cheaper and look are creating new revenue than cut costs in the beginning stages.

In such a scenario, the company will roll new projects and put efforts towards generating new revenue than on projects and efforts that contain costs upfront. So, with this picture of Cost Containment and Revenue Generation, let us see how we can relate this to globally recognized certifications in ITIL and PMP.

Cost Containment with ITIL Perspective:

ITIL as a methodology covers a wide range of aspects of ITSM that primarily focuses on IT operations such as service desk processes and functions, process management, and ownership.

Even the number of job postings on popular job portals and social media discussions indicate that top searches that relate to process and operations. There are also searches for ITIL Intermediate Certifications that focuses on incident, request, problem, and change management along with Operational Support Analysis and Service Operations being the two most popular Intermediate Exams taken by professionals across the globe. There are many job openings for professionals with ITIL Expert certification with focus being more towards Service Design and Service Strategy.

When enterprises focus more towards IT operations, it clearly indicates to be more efficient that helps to reduce cost. Overall, ITIL helps the organization to be better at customer service interaction during CSI initiatives, which focuses on operations / transition but does not improve strategy or the design aspect. For instance, if you look at your CSI register, it will be either about making IT run better or making a new product/service. It is here where these programs find it difficult to quantify ‘soft costs’, which do not create revenue, and is hard to measure the cost savings. However, it becomes clear how much the program cost to the company. On many occasions, the efforts that are not funded leads to an untimely end with just a host of “lessons learned” during its execution.

Revenue Generation from Project Management Perspective:

project management’s objective is more towards IT Strategy and Design and not more towards IT operations, which is in the case of ITSM efforts. If you are part of IT Strategy and design, the effort is to generate revenue and not just to cut costs. In a project manager’s job role, your experience is with variety of IT products / services and not just back-end IT operations. This kind of experience is more useful if you are looking out for leadership opportunities in your organization.

A project manager will be more involved while rolling out new product / service. Moreover, these are critical to the overall business strategy of the organization and are “high profile” as they are directly proportional to increased revenues and improve brand awareness in the market. Nevertheless, one has to understand that any major IT operations effort such as ITIL implementation is also a major “project” for the organization and may come with project manager. Here an ITIL Expert will act as a Subject Matter Expert but business critical decisions will be left to the project manager.

Exciting Career vs. Secure Career:

Being a project manager does not exclude you from the implementation of the ITIL framework / ITSM efforts in your organization that includes revenue generation projects. Whereas by being an ITSM professional, your focus is only towards cost containment and that too within the ITSM space.

Now let us see about the job opportunities. In an organization, how many ITIL Experts do we need? On few occasions, an enterprise may need close to half a dozen, but the real number is just one or two, and at times none. However, an enterprise cannot do away with PMPs; there is a real need for project practitioners in the organization. Most of the senior management and leadership will be PMP certified, and there are few ITIL Experts as well.

Moreover, majority of ITIL Expert jobs are on short-term contract basis. With PMP, you will be able to find long-term opportunities as a project manager. With ITIL Expert, you will be on a road trip, where you will be finding your next destination when you are still working the current one. Some find this as an exciting option, while others this is a source for major concern. Both certifications are good in their own way. Both have all the necessary ingredients to give your career a boost and take it to the next level.

Break your Existing Ceiling:

As an ITIL Expert, your majority of focus will revolve around back-end processing of IT Operations and reducing the cost. The only drawback here is you may find it difficult to break into the senior management and leadership roles in your organization. In case of PMP certified professionals, they lead people with new projects, new functionalities, and new service offerings that will generate new revenue streams. This is in line with the company’s business objective and offers a great head start to reach higher echelons in your organization.

Also with ITIL Expert, that is as far as you go in that stream. Yes, there is ITIL Master Level certification, but there are hardly any job postings for that role. There are only close to 50 people in the entire world who are ITIL Master certified. With PMP, you will be able to achieve Program Management Professional (PgMP)® certification. Both ITIL Expert and PMP will break your existing ceiling barrier and improve your earning potential.

The only difference is that with PMP certification there are number of specializations that you can opt for. One such form is Agile Project Management. There are many globally recognized certifications such as Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® and ScrumMaster (CSM). With widespread acceptance of Agile and DevOps concepts across the globe, there are more job opportunities with PMP certification with a higher salary bracket.

Both PMP and ITIL Expert offer tremendous value and knowledge at the same time. Nevertheless, PMP is slightly ahead with its universal application of best practices in project management, which has a higher demand in the current context of new revenue generation by enterprises across the globe. But if you love IT Operations and process improvement then taking the ITIL Expert journey is a great way to expand the scope of your career.

Invensis Learning specializes in providing Project Management certification training courses such as PMP, CAPM, PRINCE2, and Change Management Foundation. We also offer courses related to ITSM, IT Security and Governance, Quality Management, Agile Project Management, DevOps, Cloud Courses and Digital Awareness. If you would like to know more about the benefits of Project Management certifications for your career, call our training consultant now on: USA +1-910-726-3695; UK +44 2033-223-280; Hong Kong +852-5803-9039; Switzerland +41-22-518-2042; Germany +49-2119-5987-989; Denmark +45 8988-4544; Netherlands +31 202-622-348; Australia +61 253-002-805; IND +91-96202-00784. Or email support {at} invensislearning {dot} com today.

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Arvind Rongala, an engineer by education, has deep experience of serving the IT-BPO industry for more than 8 years. With his keen interest in the learning and development sector, Arvind spearheaded the launch of Invensis Learning as the training and certification arm of Invensis Technologies. As the Director of Invensis Learning, and with offices in the US, India, and Australia, he ensured the company became a trusted training partner for many Fortune 1000 clients and gain global recognition in a short span of time. { YourStory.com has featured a story about Arvind about his achievements over the years. } With his expertise in Project Management, IT Service Management, Quality Management, and IT Security Governance, he has been a guest author for various popular digital publications such as Business Insider, Business today, Project Times, Customer Think, Tech Sling, and Businessworld.
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