Project management is a very competitive field. Project managers are increasingly seeking PMP certification; that has caused an explosion in the growth in project management certification (see chart below). In fact, nearly as many project managers were certified in the first 9 months of 2005 as were certified in the first 10 years of the certification program (1993 to 2002).
Why are so many project managers getting certified? PMP certification does not in itself make a project manager more capable; it simply proves that you have experience and can pass the certification exam. Further, the certification process can be costly and labor intensive. The main reason that project managers seek certification is that it differentiates them from other project managers. When project managers want to stand apart, they are willing to invest time and money to do that.
PMI recently overhauled the PMP certification process to make it more difficult to get certified. This may actually dissuade project managers from pursuing certification and slow the growth in PMPs. These project managers will still be looking for ways to differentiate themselves. I believe this will lead to increased interest in avenues like applying emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence and certification are two very different things. However, the pursuit of PMP certification demonstrates that project managers are seeking every advantage they can get. Emotional Intelligence can be just one more way of setting themselves apart. I believe that this will lead to an increased interest in developing and applying emotional intelligence to project management.