There are a million courses and certifications out there related to product management - so which ones are actually worth it? And do certifications actually help you get a job as a PM?
My thoughts on certifications:
- If you're a beginner: Complete newbie product managers can benefit from certs because they'll learn product management basics. Certification courses can help a fledgling PM learn the lingo.
- If you have a couple of years experience: A certification can help if you don't have much experience as a product manager and want to gain confidence.
- If you're mid-career: A certification can help confirm methodologies you've learned on the job.
Despite any advantages of certification, certs are not typically required or expected for product management positions, and experience trumps any certification you can get. My general rule is to consider a certification to benefit your confidence and overall knowledge, but not with the goal of getting a (better) job.
If you've decided you can benefit from a certification, which one should you choose?
Here are 4 certifications that can boost your skills and confidence as a product manager.
This is the most common, quickest product certification you can get. Over 2 days (16 hours), you'll learn the basics of what a product owner does day-to-day.
I took this course when I was a younger PM, and I did find it helpful to go through the basics of how a product team should function.
Note: There is also an Advanced CSPO course and certification.
While CSPO focuses only on Scrum, PMI-ACP looks at Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP (Extreme Programming) and TDD (Test-driven Development), so you'll come away with a more diverse range of knowledge.
This certification does come with some pre-req's, however, and assumes you've been working in an Agile environment for a while. You must have 2,000 hours of general project experience (or have your PMP) and also 1,500 hours working with agile methodologies, in addition to the 2,000 hours of general project experience.
This certification requires 21 hours of training and an exam.
This certification focuses on 'inbound PM skills' like building case studies, market planning, developing launch plans, and data modeling. It involves 3 days of on-site training and an exam.
I just learned about this certification on a product podcast. I don't actually know anyone that has this cert, but the itinerary looks very helpful for those who want a deep dive into inbound PM skills, and it piques my interest.
CIL, another certification from AIPMM, focuses on innovation. (Was that not obvious from the title?) It's particularly helpful for any product manager interested in learning about innovation best practices and gives PMs " the knowledge, skills, and tools to strategically integrate and align organizational goals with a managed and purposeful innovation culture and process."
This cert involves either a 2-day course or 9 online self-study modules, and you have to pass an exam.