Are qualifications essential to ensure that as a candidate you win that ideal contract or as an employer you employ the best candidate for the role? I am not referring to the qualifications you attain within or after school but are referring to the sort of qualifications you can gain to specialise in an area such as project management or business analysis.

What counts more the experience or the letters after the name? All qualifications require you to pay a reasonable sum to attend a course or even to just sit the exam. In some instances, particularly in the management and analysis arena, all the exam is proving is that you can learn and understand some specific terminology relevant for that skill. The reality when you perform a role in that specialism is that you then need to tailor what you have learnt to best achieve the goals of the project. This may or may not draw upon the areas you learn’t for the exam. Sometimes this is dependent on how experienced the people around you are and how much they also talk the same terminology.

I realise that for employers if they can see on a CV that an individual has achieved a qualification it gives them the confidence that they will have the necessary knowledge to perform the role. However how many employers actually check the claimed credentials of an applicant as well as follow up any references? I suspect very little because the organisations who manage the attainment don’t make it very easy for employers to do this. A call to a referee is a lot simpler. Also how many times have you met someone who has claimed they have a particular qualification but you struggle to see how they could have achieved it when their capabilities or common sense seem lacking?

I agree that some form of discipline of management is necessary and a common language needs to be achieved between the various stakeholders of a project but what makes achieving a particular qualification better than any other? Isn’t it better to asses the needs of the project and the stakeholders and adjust the resulting project documentation in accordance with the findings. After all isn’t one methodology over another just a matter of trend and at some point a new trend will arise which some will consider superior and more critical for the role. What good will your exam pass be then?