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Is CDMP Certification Worth It? An Insiders Guide to CDMP Certification Value

CDMP Certification Value


As the demand for data management expertise grows in the corporate world, we witness an undeniable surge in the pursuit of data management certification. Among these, Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) stands as a shining beacon, sought after by ambitious professionals across the globe. In light of this trend, we probe the question: Is CDMP truly worth it?

The main CDMP Candidates we see:

Based on our CDMP Academy students we have identified four main groups of students, who all have different ambitions (and therefore different outcomes) from gaining the CDMP certification:

  1. The Career Changers – just over 25% of our graduates sought CDMP certification to help them secure their next role
  2. The Consultants – similar to the Career Changers, the Consultants either run their own show or aspire to do so. 29.4% of our graduates got certified so they could win their next Consulting gig
  3. The C-Suite – this surprised us, but 18.1% of our graduates were already in a C-Suite position, and they sought certification to cement their status or grow in their role
  4. The Lifelong Learners – finally, there’s a group that are learning not for career progression or immediate financial reward, but just because they love learning and yearn to build on their practical experieces

Read on to find out more about each group, and see which group you fit into.

The Career Changers - CDMP Certification Value: Game Changer

For Career Changers we found the largest immediate benefit of becoming CDMP Certified. This group had either just missed out on a job (typically to a more qualified candidate), or they were seeing a growth in the number of Job Descriptions that required the CDMP and were trying to get ahead of the curve. 

Within this group we typically found mid-level career professionals that felt they were hitting the ceiling in their current role, and weren’t growing enough to get out of it alone.

Interestingly, 100% of this group aspire to become CDO’s eventually – but not immediately. The CDMP certification value for this group is more about getting their next job, stepping up in their career, and then using that bigger role to learn and grow into the CDO role.

Career Changer Career Progression:

Typically these students have roles such as “Data Management Expert”, “Data Quality Lead” or “Data Platform Manager”. They come from a more technical background and have a lot of experience and expertise in the technical aspects of the DMBoK. What they lack is the business-side – learning about Data Governance is crucial to their success.

As a result of getting the CDMP, 100% of the graduates we’ve worked with have changed roles in the next 3 months. Most of them move into “Head of…” roles – becoming Head of Data Governance, Head of Data Strategy or Head of Data Products, often for much larger firms than they’d worked for previously.

The value of CDMP certification varies depending on the country they’re based in, but the role change is usually from mid to senior in the organisation and a larger salary and more responsibilities and opportunities to learn are usually the major benefits of getting certified.

Career Change In Action

Manu was a Data Quality Lead based in a New York bank. He’d been working for just over 12 years and was bored and frustrated at the lack of career progression in his current role.

A Hedge fund was keen to hire a new Head of Data (they weren’t quite ready to call the role the “CDO”) but Manu missed out to one other candidate they said “was better on paper”.

He joined our CDMP Academy and quickly cleared the exam, leading to a surge in views on his LinkedIn profile. 2 months after he passed he got picked up as Head of Data Governance, and has his sights on a CDO role in the next 2-3 years.

The CDMP certification value for Manu was huge – over $40k increase in base compensation in the next year alone.

The Consultants - CDMP Certification Value: Competitive Edge

Consultants make up nearly 30% of our graduates, which shouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve ever tried to pitch a Data Project to a new firm.

Does your organisation use the DAMA Framework?” is a common question – usually asked by the IT teams in firms where no formal Data Management is in place already. 

For this group, the value of CDMP Certification is less about learning the knowledge (they often need to “unlearn” skills that work in the real-world but are not “DAMA Best Practice”), and it’s more about having the credibility and confidence to go into a new client and say “I know this, I can fix things”.

Consultant Competitive Edge

Most of the consultant students we have helped work for themselves, but some are just taking their first steps on the career ladder and the CDMP acts as a jumpstart – helping them find and fix issues in a client implementation using the skills taught in the DMBoK.

For those that work for themselves, the Competitive Edge can be the difference between winning a new client and losing them – usually to a bigger player with a bench of qualified experts.

It is harder to pin down the CDMP Certification value for this group, as we don’t know their day rates and we don’t know how much having “CDMP” on their consulting profile tipped the balance between success and failure on each bid. 

What we do know is that this group typically moves quickly to taking the CDMP Specialist Exams which indicates they are finding value from the knowledge as well as from the ability to stand up and say “I’m the expert in this room” with confidence.

Consulting Cash In

Anne had been running her own business as a Data Management Consultant for nearly 7 years when she decided CDMP Certification was the necessary next step.

The trigger in her mind was losing out on client work because the firm had elected to adopt the DMBoK framework for their Data Management needs, and procurement suddenly demanded that all consultants were CDMP certified before they could be awarded contract extensions. 

What was interesting about Anne’s story is that she was not in a hurry to get certified – which I found strange as you’d think client pressure would motivate anyone.

Instead she was keen to clear the CDMP Fundamentals AND the Specialist exams – and did so with aplomb – scoring over 86% on each exam.

The C-Suite - CDMP Certification Value: Strategic Ability

What was a huge surprise to me was that over 18% of our graduates already have the top job – they’re already in a C-Suite position (usually CDO, CIO or CTO). 

Digging in to the motivations behind this group uncovered two major reasons for CDMP Certification:

  1. HR Changes – new rules coming into force that demand people in C-Suite positions demonstrate experience, skills AND Industry Leading Qualifications, and;
  2. Failed Data Analytics and BI projects – when a CIO or CTO feels they’re about to “carry the can” for an analytics project where poor data quality was the source

In both of these cases the value is KEEPING the job, rather than getting it in the first place.

  • The first group needs a credential and the weight of an Industry body to show they’re qualified for the job they already hold, and;
  • The second group needs the skills and knowledge to change things before they get blamed for poor data quality the business ought to be maintaining

C-Suite Strategic Ability

When a major investment in a Data Platform, Data Lake, or Data Warehousing and BI project goes awol, someone’s going to lose their job.

Fortunately for the C-Suite leaders we have helped, they’ve seen this coming a long time before the rest of the business, and have decided to act and do something before it’s “too late”. 

Realising that they can’t just change tack in the project – that would be tantamount to admitting the idea was poor to begin with – the CDMP Certification Value to this group is one of “Best Practice”. 

By gaining CDMP certification, these C-Suite leaders are able to position the data challenges in their BI platforms as the result of poor/no Data Governance, and the fact the organisation is not following “Industry Best Practice”.

As a result, not only are they able to embed better data behaviours into their firm, but they can also claim credit for saving a troubled project and delivering on the promise that led to data investments to begin with.

C-Suite Strategic Value

Harry was the CIO for a medium-sized e-commerce company in the Middle East. He had been leading the BI and Data Warehouse project at the firm but was beginning to have doubts the project would succeed.

As the project progressed, more and more data quality issues bubbled up to the surface. Time and effort was expended to clean the data, but without fixing things at source he knew the investment was doomed.

Harry had experience with the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) and sought out Industry Best Practice for Data – leading him to DAMA and the DMBoK. 

He realised it would not be enough to simply present the material – instead he needed to be certified to demonstrate leadership and prove that these recommendations would deliver value.

The Lifelong Learners - CDMP Certification Value: Knowledge!

The remaining students, avid learners, seek the CDMP to bolster their resume, close knowledge gaps and keep pace with industry trends. Whether they aspire to showcase their credentials on LinkedIn or comply with regulatory demands in regions like Saudi Arabia or Jordan, these lifelong learners see immense value in the CDMP certification. 

Most of this group of students were triggered into taking the CDMP by their peers:

  • When they see a less-experienced colleague post their new CDMP certificate on LinkedIn
  • When they present about data management to their company, and a colleague says “you know so much about this, why not get certified?”, or;
  • When they follow industry trends and see that their country or region is adopting the DAMA Framework (e.g. Saudi Arabia’s National Data Management Office) and realise they’ll need to polish their skills to stay relevant

Lifelong Learners like learning!

To some it may seem crazy, but the Lifelong Learner gets just as much joy from the pursuit of the CDMP Certification as they get in value from adding it to their resume.

For this group the journey is more important than the destination, although they are all aware that it is an investment in their future, and a subsequent job might appear as a result of getting certified.

Typically this group will only come to our course if they find the DMBoK boring or too challenging to tackle alone, and they often value having a coach or mentor as much as getting a certificate to hang on the wall. 

CDMP Certification value to a lifelong learner is all about showing their progress – adding new skills, building new relationships, and learning new concepts provide a deep sense of satisfaction to this group.

Lifelong Learning in action

Brittany was comfortable in her career, she’d been working in Data Management for nearly a decade and enjoyed the day-to-day work, even if it was stressful at times.

She was part of a local data meetup group in Germany and was asked to present on Data Modelling for one of their monthly gatherings. Her natural inclination is to avoid getting on stage, but this group were all friends and she felt it made sense to step out of her comfort zone in a safe environment.

The presentation was a hit, and in the drinks gathering at the end of the evening she found herself talking to two of the newer members.

“Have you got the CDMP Master certification?” asked Tomas. 

“No”, said Brittany, “why do you ask?”

“You’re just so knowledgeable on this material I assumed you were qualified already…” came the reply

Brittany’s interest was piqued, and 5 days later she joined our Academy. The value of CDMP certification to Brittany is more about building and expanding her skill set and less about getting a better job or making more money.

Conclusion - is CDMP Certification worth it?

Clearly for the students listed above, it’s a resounding “Yes”. But not all for the same reasons, and before you can answer this question you first need to ask “why do I want to be CDMP certified?”

If you’re doing it because you love learning, then make sure you want to learn these concepts and that they’re the best use of your study time.

  • You may find that the DMBoK is too dry and it lacks context (two of the most common complaints we hear) and that’s it’s too big to get through.
  • As such you need to consider if you love learning enough to make this journey worth taking the first steps.

If you know you need it to get a better job or win your next consulting gig, the investment of time and effort is easily paid by the increased earnings and job security you get once you clear the exam.

Next steps:

Have you decided the CDMP is right for you?

Are you ready to find out more?

Check out our student testimonial page, take a free CDMP prep exam, or dive right in and start our course. It’s your turn to be the next CDMP success story!

Happy learning!

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