Does a technical certification make you a better project manager?

Right off the bat – I’m talking about technical certifications and accreditations. I don’t mean the technical aspects of being a project manager that are covered in PRINCE2, PMP or any of the other project management qualifications. And I’m not necessarily just talking about project managers; this also applies to sellers, account executives or anyone who interacts with customers in relation to technical work.

Do I really need to know the technical details about my project?

There are some who argue that a good project manager can manage anything and that the project management practice is independent of the product being delivered. But when you’re new to the technology that is being delivered it is easy to get lost in all of the detail when architects, technical consultants and the customer start to talk about NVAs, NSGs, RBAC, ARM templates, data warehouses, data lakes and serverless computing. If you ask in the meeting what the technology is, or even write it down incorrectly then you risk your credibility as someone who can ensure successful delivery of the thing you can’t even spell.

I work with Microsoft Azure technologies on a day to day basis but came across the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals course on the Microsoft Learn website.

This course is a fantastic introduction to Azure technologies and the team have made a great job of making it interactive and there are even coding activities to create Azure resources in a demonstration tenant. Don’t worry, the tutorials are very short and talk you through it step by step!

The whole learning path is approximately 5 hours of learning but it is modular so you can work through it in bitesize 20 minute chunks.

So I’ve completed the learning path … what next?

It could be that this is the end for you; you’ve got the knowledge and you’re ready to apply it. However, if you want to demonstrate that you have knowledge of the technology then a formal certification may be for you. There is an accompanying certification called AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals which you can take after working through this learning path. It isn’t free but it is worth taking to verify your understanding of the materials. There is even a section on the page with an email to convince your boss to fund the exam fee.

What’s covered in AZ-900?

The content is split into four main sections:

  • Understand cloud concepts
  • Understand core Azure services
  • Understand security, privacy, compliance, and trust
  • Understand Azure pricing and support

You can see the full list of what is covered on the AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals page including the detail of what is covered in each of this top level sections.

tl:dr

In my opinion it is absolutely worth getting technical training, and I’ve included some links to Microsoft Azure training (that is free), and to a certification (which is not free but worth every penny)

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