What's the point of ongoing professional development?
In "My CPD Life", a short series of blog posts to coincide with the launch of the AXELOS Professional Development Programme, experienced practitioners share their views on the value of keeping your skills and knowledge up-to-date.
The AXELOS Professional Development Programme - an online annual membership programme aligned to AXELOS’ global best practice frameworks - has been designed for individuals to ensure their skills and knowledge remain current while supporting them in their professional development.
1. How important has Continuing Professional Development (CPD) been in developing your skills and competencies?
As the project management expert centre leader at Mars I hold a number of qualifications and certifications relating to my role. But had I merely gained my qualifications and then not continued to learn and follow trends and changes in the industry, I’d risk forgetting important aspects of the training; I might use things in the wrong context or start describing things incorrectly. By keeping up with CPD throughout my career I’ve ensured that what I say, think and practice is current best practice.
2. Why is it important for practitioners to continue learning and developing beyond gaining a qualification?
It’s tremendously important to get the foundation qualifications to have a basic understanding. But as you move through your career you need more than just the basics to do your job well. Each additional qualification and bit of training will date eventually so you can’t rely on that knowledge being the basis of your practice forever. Qualifications and training change as fast and as often as the industry does.
3. Why do you think it's important for your skills and knowledge to remain current in your sector?
In my role at Mars - where I’m running an organization-wide PMO centre of excellence – it’s essential that I remain current. Having an awareness of each new technique, process or qualification as they enter the project management arena will solidify the trust people have in me to be at the very top of my profession. If I lose track of what’s happening in the industry by not doing any CPD then I can lose integrity and trust.
4. How has CPD helped to differentiate you as a professional in your field?
My CPD definitely helped me get to where I am today. When one company I worked for wanted to introduce more agile techniques I became a certified SCRUM Master able to teach the techniques to the team internally. Mars wanted to introduce more agile ways of working and in my interview I stood out because I was both a qualified SCRUM Master and was also well-versed in various agile techniques through CPD.
I watch the latest webinars, I read up about the latest products, processes and techniques and over time I’ve built up an extensive knowledge of the industry – all of which reinforce my role in the organization.
5. What advice would you give to other practitioners about the value of CPD?
CPD shows aspirations and a willingness to do more – attributes highly sought by employers. CPD can be the difference between moving up the career ladder or getting stuck on a lower rung.
Read more AXELOS Blog Posts from Dave Watson
PRINCE2® Agile - best of both worlds
6 reasons why Project Managers are still essential to the success of an agile project
More posts in AXELOS' My CPD Life series
My CPD Life - ITSM Consultant Barclay Rae
My CPD Life - independent PPM trainer, coach and consultant Steven Deneir
My CPD Life - project leadership coach and mentor Elise Stevens
My CPD Life - Interim Portfolio Director Craig Kilford
My CPD Life - Consultant Joanne Molesky
My CPD Life - director John Earwood
My CPD Life - IT service management consultant Colin Rudd