Is the PMP® Still Relevant in 2021?

project integration management technical Oct 10, 2021
Is the PMP® Still Relevant in 2021?

I recently volunteered to coach and mentor adult learners in an organization which is putting some of their staff through a project management training program.  When wrapping up a session a couple of weeks ago, I got a surprising question.  "Should I get my PMP certificate?  What about all the other certifications?  My boss is very pro Lean Six Sigma."

To start with, the PMP is still very relevant and continues to be in high demand.  The primary driver of this demand is the continued and growing need for project managers. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, there has been a nearly perpetual shortage of project managers, and it appears it will continue.  The Project Management Institute commissioned a study by the Anderson Economic Group that found there will be a demand for 22 million additional project managers by 2027. 

Salary surveys continue to show a rise in compensation for PMP-certified project managers too. According to, the average project manager salary in the US is about $75K per year, and comes with a significant cash bonus and other valuable benefits. This is somewhat higher for those with the PMP.  You can use their database to search for other countries as well. 

Finally, while there may be a variety of Agile certifications available, the PMP now encompasses Agile and includes questions based on the content of PMI's Agile Practice Guide. This diminishes, but does not remove the potential need for a separate Agile certification.

My advice has been and continues to be to get your PMP.  The CAPM may be a good step toward it, but you should get the PMP as soon as you have gained the experience and knowledge needed. It is a good demonstration of your commitment to the management of both predictive and agile projects. It will build a solid foundation, and if needed, you can add additional certifications later.

Lean Six Sigma is a combination of two methods - Lean and Six Sigma.  While Lean Six Sigma is considered by some to be a project management methodology, it has a very strong focus on quality and process improvement.  Understanding the foundations of project management can be an important first step when applying Lean Six Sigma as a project management methodology. In fact, I continue to recommend getting your PMP first, ahead of all other certifications, due to its continued importance.

In conclusion, the PMP continues to be relevant, and I do not see this ending anytime soon.  PMI just released a new PMBOK® Guide and will continue to do so every 4-5 years. Get a solid foundation, and then add additional certifications to it as circumstances of employment may demand.

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