Should engineers get PMP certified?

A PMP engineerThe other day a lady serving as a technical lead at a software company approached me to ask a few questions about PMP certification. Her company had volunteered to sponsor her to undergo the lengthy process of preparing for and taking the PMP examination on the road to getting PMP certified. However, she wasn’t sure if PMP certification was right for her. She had several doubts:

  • Technically, she was not a “project manager”; however, her job did comprise functions that project managers regularly perform: risk analysis, work scheduling, monitoring and controlling development, team management, and cost control, among others.
  • She was unaware of other engineers at her company who had previously taken and passed the PMP exam.
  • She did not want to oversell herself or misrepresent the PMP credential by becoming certified without being an actual project manager.
  • Due to the above points, she was worried that her PMP application would ultimately be rejected by PMI.

I should point out that this lady had already taken a few PMP practice exams and had scored within a passing range on these exams. So it was not the knowledge she was concerned about; rather, that she was concerned that she was technically serving as an engineer and not as a salaried project manager.

This lady engineer also mentioned something alarming. She told me that she had spoken to one PMP certified project manager about her desire to become certified herself. This PMP was offended that someone who was not a “real PM” would attempt to become a PMP. This of course concerned her greatly that she was in effect “posing” as a project manager in her desire to become PMP certified.

Can an engineer rightfully become PMP certified?

One of the biggest questions around this lady’s desire to become PMP certified was, “is it ethical?” Can she (or any other technical workers not officially labeled as project managers) rightfully become a Project Management Professional?

Some may disagree with me, but I do believe that it is ethically correct for this lady to become PMP certified as long as she can rightfully claim in her PMP application that she has amassed the required hours of project management experience and education. Although this lady does not have the title of project manager, when looking over her work experience it is apparent that she does have the proper project management experience to get PMP certified. She has also studied project management extensively and has the knowledge and experience required to pass the PMP examination (by looking at her practice test scores).

I mentioned to this engineer (as I mention to everyone who asks me advice about preparing for a potential PMI audit) that, when filling out the PMP exam application, she should carefully document her project management work experience and education as accurately and truthfully as possible. Next, she should show her managers the experience that she has documented and explain to them that there is a chance that PMI will audit her work experience, and if they were to do that, would her managers verify that the information that she has provided on the application is correct? If they will do that, then she has ethically provided proof that she has the project management experience required to sit the PMP examination.

Remember that while you will need experience from all of the different PMI process groups in order to qualify to sit the PMP exam, you do not have to have spent your time equally distributed between those PMI process groups. You may have spent quite a few of your project hours in the project execution phase of a project. On some projects you may only have been involved in the initiating and planning phases of a project; for other projects you may have appeared on the project in the monitoring and controlling phase of the project, near project closing. It doesn’t matter – you can rightfully count the work spent on these projects in your PMP application as long as during your career you have amassed experience in all of the PMI process groups.

PMP certification for engineers and software developers

In my opinion it’s a good thing for engineers, software developers, business analysts, quality assurance engineers and other technical workers to become PMP certified. Having a strong technical background is very helpful when managing projects. I myself spent several years designing and developing software on multiple platforms and find that having this background is very beneficial. Not only do I find I have a greater understanding of the technical work being performed on a project, but the technical background also gives me some “street cred” when working with software developers, network administrators and other highly technical people. Being a PMP certified engineer can also help you to get jobs in the future. Being both technically adept and an expert in project management makes for a highly desirable employee.

As for the fellow who was offended that an engineer would want to become a PMP, I feel that he was way off base. As a PMP myself I was impressed and encouraged by someone showing such interest in the field of project management – so much so that she would like to dedicate a considerable amount of time and effort to becoming a PMP certified project manager. As a PMP I feel that it is my duty to encourage others to understand the importance of project management and to help others learn more about how to properly manage projects. Many projects fail spectacularly – it can only be a good thing to have more people out there who understand why projects fail and how to properly guide projects to success. Project management best practices are not practices that we should hide from others and guard close to our chests… they are practices that we should want to share, to debate, to discuss, to improve, and to implement wherever they can be of benefit.

And that being said, I’m always up for a good discussion about project management – please feel free to comment!

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119 Responses to “Should engineers get PMP certified?”

  1. Totally agree with your article. It’s always funny how people tend to think only the position give you the right to be or to do something. I tought its mainly a problem in Switzerland, but it seems thats not the only place…..

    As a project manager myself, beeing a formerly application engineer i had to fight the same problems long ago as well.

    My experience with people making that kind of comments is, they are feared. Probably they think they won’t be needed anymore if somebody else got the same certification. Instead encouraging people and profit within the projects and the whole company from people interessted in getting more skills.

    • This is absolute rubbish. PMI is a waste of time. I have lead over 40 Projects in SAP Globally and implemented PS in SAP at large facilities. I have writen and published project methodology. What this institute is FOR THE PROMOTION OF GREED AND MONEY TO KEEP Paying for exams that lack comprehension and trying to test on rubbish. These theoreticians enlarge subject matters and keep publishing nonsen se and have folks buy books that are totally stupid eg. “stakeholders”. They always existed and only to sell books and exam questions like you are buying gold by the gram. These erudites are over their heads and their sole goal is not educate folks but to make them feel USELESS. The books they sell i have seen folks score 90% and on tests fail the exams because they have no correlation at all. So folks can keep paying these a**holes sitting in an IVORY TOWER.

      • Hello mebs,

        Thanks very much for your feedback! I always appreciate people sharing their thoughts and experiences, even if they’re different from my own. It is true that the PMI credentials are quite expensive, and cover only a single project management framework (PMI’s own framework).

        I wrote an article about some of the pros and cons of PMP certification (including some of the ones you have mentioned) here; feel free to check it out and comment as you would like, I do appreciate any and all feedback!

  2. Thanks for your comments Patrick. I’m glad that you found success in project management coming from the field of application engineering.

    I agree that some people do seem to feel threatened by successful technical workers joining the ranks of management, and it may be because those people do have great potential to be very successful – perhaps more successful than those who do not have a technical background. In my opinion, getting different people with different backgrounds together to discuss and debate different ways of approaching a problem makes for a wide variety of potential solutions to choose from. If everyone was cut from the same mold they would all approach problems in the same way, which may not be the best way.

    Thanks for your comment and greetings to you and yours in Switzerland! You live in a beautiful country.

    • Hi, I would like to discuss with you regarding some PMP related issues privately,thanks.

      • Hi Lu,

        Please feel free to ask any questions you might have anonymously on this forum… perhaps some other project managers or project management hopefuls will get something from the discussion, or can contribute information where I might not be able to.

        Thanks – I appreciate it!


    First off I agree with the author that a PMP is really a waste of time and money…. Lets say you have 20 years PM experience and a degree in management…. What can they teach you that you don’t already know.

    I have been a manager of a PMO for 10 years and a PM with over 20 years experience, I have hired PMP people and non PMP people with experience. Let me tell you that a piece of paper you pick up on a weekend cram class isn’t worth it and neither are the people who hand them out… Of the 300 people I have hired those with the PMP designation were the most incompetent and difficult to work with. First they think they are entitled and second they have no real world experience…. HR people WAKE up your throwing away a lot of good talent for a piece of worthless paper…..

    Second people with PMP designations do not make more money….. Thats misleading in fact if you had one I would pay you less because you were not qualified in most cases to manage sanitation workers…

    I would gladly put 5 of my best experienced Project Manager against any PMP and I will guarantee they will get any project done faster, safer and for less money than someone with a PMP… So a gain human resources managers wake up and realize that your getting ripped off and short changed by those who have PMP’s. Management is an art and a science as much as it is a people skilled profession…… They teach you those things on the job and not in a three day classroom or from some PMBOK…. I read that book twice and its pretty weird if you ask me…. as is the PMP dont waste your time get experience and work with companies who’s HR people know real talent!!!!

    • Hi Paul,

      While I’m not sure whether or not I agree with what you’ve said, I appreciate your feedback!

      What is interesting about your comment is that I’m coming at PMP certification as a project manager; for me, PMP certification has been worthwhile and has opened the door to various job opportunities in the field of project management. But what you’re describing is the viewpoint of someone examining PMP certification as an employer, and gauging whether or not it is worth it to hire PMPs, which is a completely different thing. While I would argue that attaining PMP certification is worthwhile, I don’t have any personal experience or know of any facts to argue for or against what you’re saying, which is that PMPs are not worth hiring in the marketplace.

      Perhaps for a future post I’ll do some research into consulting firms and other companies that hire PMPs and find out what they have to say about the skills, experience and professionalism of the project managers that they’ve hired who hold PMP certifications compared to those professionals that don’t. It would be interesting to dig deeper into the claims you’ve made and to find out more about the phenomenon you speak of.

      Thanks again for commenting – I do appreciate it!

      • Paul,

        Your comment about PMP’s vs non-PMP’s is completely baseless. I would compare it to a PM with a College Diploma vs a PM without. having one or the others does not make you smarter or better able to handle projects, however it does indicate that the candidate has applied time and effort into furthering his/her education. Thats not to say that PMP’s or college grads will always be better qualified… Its just saying they took the time and effort.

        You are also forgetting a number of other factors that come into play. You dont hire a PM just because he/she is a PMP, but you may end up hiring someone as a PMP if two candidates have the same qualifications, but one has an extra certification showing that they are interested in the principles and science of project management.

        • Hi Sam – thanks for sharing your opinions – I appreciate it!

          I’ve spoken to a lot of people about PMP certification (many on this blog) and I find it very interesting to hear all of the different viewpoints on PMP certification. Many people feel that it is worthwhile, but there are also a significant number of people who feel that PMP certification is worthless.

          It does seem to me that, if you’re hiring someone as a project manager, the worth of PMP certification is only as good as the opinions of the person doing the hiring. So if the person doing the hiring has had good experience with PMP certified project managers, or puts weight into the credential, then it is a worthwhile certification. However, your resume could also sit in front of a person who feels that PMP certification is not worth the paper it’s printed on… in that case, it doesn’t matter what the statistics say about PMP certification and its value – in that situation it would be worthless.

          I personally believe, and have seen through my experience, that PMP certification is worthwhile and can make the difference between getting hired to manage projects or not getting hired. I also believe that you are correct when you say that PMP certification can also be the deciding factor between two candidates with near-identical experience. Not to mention that there are many jobs out there that require PMP certification of the people who apply for them. So I can at least point out some cases where PMP certification is 100% helpful!

          Thanks again for your thoughts, and all the best to you in your project management!

          • Hi Brian
            I am an SAP functional consultant who is responsible for designing/re-engineering the business process. I have around 8+ yrs experience. I have never had a direct job as a PM although as functional consultant you do do things that cut across the 5 domains of PMP.
            Is it worth doing PMP for me?

            My confusion arises when I see people without PMP climbing the corporate ladder? Will the time and effort that I hope to invest pay-off in the long run or should I pursue this? As per the article you wrote, yes its expensive. So thats my question – whats the return on my investment in this certification?

            I am confused .. I dont wish to waste time and money…. Request your advice.

            Let me also tell you that I have a Masters degree in Supply Chain Management.


    • @Paul
      I take issue with you making factual misstatements about the author’s opinion. Further, People will not value your opinion if you do not take the time to use correct: words, punctuation, and sentence structure(I stopped counting at 15 errors). One, with your experience, should have an editor look over their work before submitting it publically.

      • Hi Mike,

        Thanks for jumping to my defense. I definitely don’t want to be misstated – though I do always appreciate people offering differing opinions from my own! There certainly seem to be both strong proponents and strong opponents to both PMP certification and PMI in general.

        Thanks again, and all the best to you!

  4. Brian,

    Just passing through, and I wanted to say thank you for another interesting article and discussion.

    Also to put in my two cents, a post about companies that hire PMPs and their perspective would be terrific.

    Hope you are having a good spring!



    • Hi Alex, good to hear from you. Thanks for your kind words! I’ll start researching the viewpoints of corporations that have hired PMP graduates, and whether or not they have noticed a difference in performance between their PMP and non-PMP certified project managers… that would indeed be an interesting thing to find out.

      I hope that all is going well with you.

  5. Hi Brian,

    i am sr Business analyst working for one of the investment banks, just wanted to check with you if PMP certification helps me ot not.



    • Hello Prasad,

      If you’re looking to get into the field of project management, I do think that getting PMP certified can help you. Do you happen to work in the field of Information Technology at the bank, or is the analysis you are doing more financial in nature? It seems that getting PMP certified is most useful for people who are working in the domain of IT, though PMI would like that to change, and for people in many different fields to see the value of PMP certification.

      Best of luck to you in your project management endeavors – please let me know what you decide!

  6. Hi Brian,

    That was the kind of discussion/article I was precisely looking for to clear my doubts regarding PMP (though some are still to be resolved and my research is on).

    I belong to the Oil and Gas Industry and I have an experience of 3 years and I am a PMP aspirant.Out of 3, 1.5 years is in Project Coordination & Management and rest 1.5 in Engineering Design (which I am currently involved in).

    I wanted to know if I am eligible for PMP and will it be beneficial for me, being in this industry, acquiring the PMP credential.

    A sincere thanks in advance and would be looking forward to more such articles and discussions on the topic from you.

    • Good morning Vaibhav,

      I’m glad that the discussion was helpful! I am also glad that you have been researching PMP certification to find out whether or not it is right for you.

      It sounds like you have the proper length of time of work experience, if you have a bachelors degree to go along with that work experience. However, the question for you will be whether or not you have enough work experience in project management – that is, managing and directing project tasks.

      I have created this Excel spreadsheet that you can use to figure out if you have enough project management hours to apply to take the PMP examination. Take a look at the application form on PMI’s website, which shares information about what sort of work experience you can use to apply for the certification. Then, fill out all of the project management work experience that you yourself have attained on the various projects that you have worked on, and see if you have sufficient hours to take the exam.

      All the best to you! I hope it goes well.

  7. Hi Brian,

    I was just going through your site and found very interesting information about PM . . I am a software engineer and have spent around 8-9 years working in IT companies on different areas like ERP – 4 years, application development nd support-more than 3 years , application testing – 1 year. Now I am very keen to enter project management field officially like gaining PMP certification . Am I eligible for it ? Can you please guide me on it. Thanks in advance . Bye

    • Hello Hemali,

      It sounds like you have a lot of great experience working in the IT industry… glad to hear that it has been going well for you and that you have been involved with some very interesting work.

      Regarding PMP certification, if you’re interested in applying to take the PMP examination, you are going to need project management work experience; not just any work experience will cut it. So the work experience that you have earned coding software, for example, will not cut it… you need work experience leading and directing projects. That said, at least last time I checked, some of that work could include work completed in the Project Execution phase completing project tasks, but you also have to have completed tasks in all of the other PMI Process Groups.

      If you’re interested in finding out whether or not you have the right amount of project management work experience to get PMP certified, you can use this (free) Excel spreadsheet template that I have created and shared to tally up your project management work experience and find out whether or not you have already earned enough hours to apply for the exam. I hope that you find it helpful!

      Best of luck to you – please let me know how it goes.

      • Hi, Brian,

        Thanks for your all very useful comments. I am an engineer and is looking for join the PMP exam. Could you please send me the Excel spreadsheet template for me to evaluate the hours of my PM experience?

        Thanks again,


        • Hello Steven,

          Glad to hear that you are interested in taking the PMP exam. You can find the Excel spreadsheet template where you can start to fill out your work experience hours on this post… just click on the image of the spreadsheet and you’ll find the Excel file.

          All the best with evaluating your hours. It’s a tedious process, I know.

  8. Hi Brian,

    With my primary research on PMP i just passed through with your site, and wanted to drop a note of thanks for such a enthusiastic article.

    Well i am a software student, expecting my graduation date by NOV-2012, Interested in the filed of project management and had worked as a freelance for software assignments during my academic tenure, with no corporate experience, I was very much keen about the project management certification and came across with PMI – CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) as an entry level in the field of project management.

    I wanted to know am i eligible for CAPM certification? How i can Opt for it, and will it be beneficial for me in the industry. if not then which certification i can go for to get into project management field.

    In the expectation that you will be kind enough to guide me, I thank you in advance.

    • Hello Ameen,

      Best of luck with your graduation! I’m glad you’re interested in the field of project management.

      Almost anyone is eligible for the CAPM; in order to take the exam you need to have had some work experience (not necessarily in project management) or a college degree, so it sounds like you’ll have the college degree at the least. The CAPM is designed to be an entry-level certification for people who are interested in becoming project managers, but who do not have the work experience or other requirements that are needed in order to apply to take the PMP examination.

      As for whether or not getting CAPM certified will help you with your career, that is another story. As the CAPM does not require stringent qualifications for people who are interested in becoming certified, it does not hold as much weight in the industry as does the PMP credential. I’m not sure that having the CAPM can help you get project management jobs, though it might help you get assigned some project management tasks in your job as having CAPM certification does show employers that you are interested in project management and have learned some of the basics of the doctrine. I always recommend PMP certification over the CAPM; in my opinion, a good goal is to do what you can to get the necessary requirements for PMP certification, and then take the PMP exam. It has been shown that being PMP certified can lead to job offers, and in many cases is a requirement for landing certain project management positions.

      Best of luck to you!

  9. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts on PMP.

    Not sure if I’m missed a post/response but would like to ask a question that’s been asked in your post on whether PMP is worth it.

    My background is in market research. While I’m hoping to get into PM on a bigger scale I’m not sure if the market/economy would allow for such a move to a different role, and potentially a new industry.

    Therefore I’m not 100% sure if it’d be worthwhile for me to get PMP certification. Especially when I’m not so sure exactly what I’d wanna do in the next 3-5 years. All I know is that I enjoy the PM aspect in my precious roles. With majority of the PMP holders work in the IT industry, I’m concerned that I might be investing my time and money in getting a certificate that would add very little value to my career. Am I wrong in thinking this way?

    Your advice would be greatly appreciated.


    • Hi Julie,

      In my opinion, if you can get PMP certified (re: if you have the work experience and education requirements covered), then you should go ahead and get certified. It is a difficult process to be sure, but I do not think that having PMP certification under your belt will ever hurt you in your career! Not only that, but it may grant you some opportunities you might otherwise not have had. A job opportunity might come up that you are not even aware of today where having PMP certification could mean the difference between getting and not getting the job! Especially considering people are starting to realize the importance of proper project management in a variety of different workplaces, and the value of a good project manager.

      You are correct, however, that most PMP credential holders seem to be in the IT industry. I do notice that a lot of different fields are converging, and technology and project management are becoming more a part of traditionally non-technical fields. Being an expert in project management could give you an edge in your future career.

      Those are just my opinions of course. Good luck!

      • Thanks Brian for the response. I’ve just started doing my PMP course and hope to pass the exam early next year!

        Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on my comment/query. Much appreciated!

  10. Hi Brian,

    This seems off the topic but I have a some concerns ( I searched google but could not find the proper results):

    1. Is PMP eligible for Test Leader. I had experience in managing and leading testing testing projects. I have never worked in software development (e.g coding, business anylyzing, etc)? My objective is to become QC/QC manager in future…Will you still recommend?

    P/s: Some senior managers (not sure with PMP or not) laughed at me when I said I planned for PMP certification in a interview for a QC Manager position.

    • Hello Rocky,

      I believe that if you’re managing projects in your position, or would be interested in managing projects in the future, you should consider getting PMP certified. I have some friends who work in Quality Assurance who are PMP certified, and understanding and appreciating the principles of project management has helped them to manage their teams and the projects of their teams more effectively.

      While some of the senior managers in your organization may not appreciate the value of PMP certification, don’t forget that this is a certification that is valued in many different places – different companies and different managers will have different views of how important the certification is. I myself have talked to a lot of people who see its value, and a lot of people who don’t! That being said, I definitely think that if you’re applying for a job or a new position in your company that involves managing projects, PMP certification certainly can’t hurt, and it will most likely help!

  11. Brian,

    If I can second something which you have said, in response to Sam … I think for the getting-the-job question, it definitely depends on the individual hiring person, and their experience with PMPs in the past. That makes sense. Overall, I would much rather have the PMP than not, unless I had very reliable and specific information about where I was going (and I knew for sure where I wanted to be for the next 10-20 years).

    More broadly, it’s worth pointing out the nature of those quantitative things which we know. So for example, if having PMP gives an applicant a 40% improved chance of getting a job, … realistically it may be that with a few situations, it gives 0% improved chance; with some, it gives a small improvement like 10-20%, and then with some it gives dramatic improvement like 50-100%.

    Similarly, if we are seeing that the average salary for PMPs versus non-PMPs there is a gap, then, we need to remember it is an average. It does not mean that 100% of PMPs are seeing (only) a $15,000 improvement, or whatnot. Realistically, it can be that some are seeing a big jump, some are seeing a small jump, and a few are getting no increase at all.

    Would be helpful to have access to the raw data, for some of these things.

    Finally, to put in a positive word on the educational side — the practical value of PMP to somebody in doing their work better? — this is probably also a little “statistical,” but I would say that for many/most PMPs, that process of taking time to review their project management experiences, to learn the official PMI language and methodology, and even second-guessing it, to stop and reflect on their *own* values and methodology, and become more aware of it … I think for a lot of PMPs, that experience of preparation makes them a (little bit) better project manager.

    Also, thanks again for all your excellent and generous advice and discussions, Brian.



    • Thanks Alex – I appreciate the comment.

      You said something that I find very interesting – that it’s worth learning PMI’s framework, even if you’re going to second guess it. I think that a lot of people disagree with PMP certification because they don’t believe that PMI’s framework and proposed methodology is the best one for project management in today’s workplace… a lot of people believe that iterative methodologies, such as Agile Development using Scrum, are more effective when managing projects in today’s companies. The thing is… that is a completely legitimate belief… learning PMI’s methodologies is not going to turn you into a “PMI clone”, and you don’t even have to agree with them to get PMP certified… you just have to know and understand them. There’s value in seeing numerous methodologies – waterfall, iterative and otherwise – and then figuring out what processes and best practices work best for you and the projects that you’re managing.

      Thanks again for your thoughts, and I hope that all has been going well with you!

  12. Hi Brian ,
    I was just curious if a PMP certification would really help me to jump to a higher professional level.
    I am into Telecommunication engineering and have been into Operations team for several Mobile Operators since about 6+ years.I am doing well in my technical profession but since quite sometime I have been thinking how to jump to next level. (management of key projects) .Is PMP going to help me .

    • Hello saurabh,

      Thanks for asking. I am not too familiar with the Telecom industry, but it does seem to me that it is a technical domain where plenty of complex projects take place. As such, I would think that PMP certification would help you with your career… the understanding of what the PMP stands for and the project managers who hold it may be there, and learning more about how to manage projects according to PMI’s framework (and according to other frameworks, if you can get into some more studying) would likely be helpful for you.

      Generally, if you’re working in a technical field and you’re interested in getting into project management (or other management), I believe that PMP certification can help you. My advice would be to ask around to others in your field – especially people who are already managing projects – and see if they have any thoughts about how you should start working your way into the field of management.

      Best of luck!

  13. Suma Gopalakrishna Reply January 2, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I have 10.6 years of experience in Software Development And Testing having worked in all phases of the SDLC. I want to take PMP as the first step to entering into Project Management. Can I take the exam.

    • Hello Suma,

      It sounds that you have a lot of work experience under your belt… some of it will likely be project management work experience, while other experience may not be related. My advice to you would be to document your project management and project leadership work experience hours to see if you have enough hours to apply to take the PMP examination. I’ve created an Excel spreadsheet that you can find here that can help you to add up your hours and find out if you have the requirements to sit for the examination.

      Best of luck to you!

  14. Hi Brian,

    After searching for PMP certification related Post, I found this site and this is really very helpful.

    I want to ask you…

    I have 4+ years of work experience in developing software in Windows(ERP)/Web/Mobile application
    also pursuing Part time MBA in Finance from one of the good institute in INDIA(Mumbai-Sydenham) currently in final semester will get over by May-2013

    I am looking forward for the Managerial position (Entry level).

    In my current organization I am working as software engineer.
    With an added responsibility as “Internal Quality Auditor” (Quality Auditor & Process Compliance).

    I have received training in following Title:
    1. Agile Scrum Training (QAI India Ltd.)
    2. Internal Quality Auditor (QAI India Ltd.)

    Is it worth full for me to have PMP certification in future to open doors for an entry level management position(Project Management)?

    Or what kind of roles I can get?

    • Hello Paramsrikant,

      Thanks for your note. I appreciate hearing from you! It sounds like you have amassed a great deal of good work experience – and I am sure you will find the MBA helpful in your career.

      I think that, if you have the proper project management work experience and project management education, a PMP can certainly be helpful in your career. However, if you’re looking for an entry-level project management position, it could be that you do not yet have the required work experience in order to apply to take the PMP exam. Only you would be able to decide this.

      To find out, download the Excel spreadsheet found here and calculate how much project management work experience you have. If you have the proper hours, that is great! You can go ahead and apply to take the exam. If not, I recommend you start gathering those hours by taking on some project management or project leadership roles in your current job, in your current position. Otherwise, you might also be able to get an entry-level project management job without the PMP certification – the fact that you are ScrumMaster Certified means that you already have some project management training that could help you land a position. Then you can start working toward getting the required number of hours to apply for the PMP.

      Good luck to you.

  15. Hello Brian,

    Grate article where I have got good info on PMP,

    Please can you give some guidance on PM certification,

    currently I am perusing my masters in computer science and I don’t have any work experience as everyone in the above discussion(worried)

    I am very interested in software project management and came to know that their is an entry level certification with PMI(CAPM) where their is no work experience required, just with 23 contact hours eligible for that exam

    Will the CAPM exam helps me to build a good career as PM?

    or shall I wait till I get some work experience then go directly for PMP?

    Could you suggest what to do to make a good career ?

    thank you

    • Hello vamsi,

      In my experience the CAPM is not nearly as powerful as the PMP. This may have changed since I did my research… however, from what I’ve noticed, people realize that PMP certification necessarily means that a credential holder has a certain number of hours of project management experience, and that CAPM certification does not mean that someone is experienced. As such, it does not hold as much weight.

      My advice for you would be to get some project management work experience under your belt and then go for the PMP. If that’s not possible, then you might consider getting the CAPM to learn more about project management and to show potential employers that you are interested in the field of project management.

      Good luck, and all the best to you in your career.

  16. Hello Brian,

    I just want to know how i can get PMP certification. I am working as senior Software Engineer and want to do PMP certification in India.

    • Hi Roopali,

      Glad to hear you are interested in getting PMP certified. You’ve asked a very broad question – basically, in order to get PMP certification, you need to apply for the PMP exam, study for it, and then pass it. Whether or not you are eligible for the PMP exam should be your first question – if you’re a senior software engineer you may not have the proper qualifications (especially where work experience is involved) to get PMP certified.

      You can find information about the background you will need in order to get PMP certified on this post.

      Good luck!

  17. Hey Brian,

    Your website has been very helpful. Apart from being in the SCM/IT sector from the last 5 odd years, I also owned a gas station for couple of yrs in between. Can I count my gas station experience towards the PMP project hrs, or does it need to be strictly professional work?


    • Hi Sam,

      Glad that you find the website helpful – I’m always glad to assist where I can.

      It seems to me that being the owner (and presumably operator?) of a gas station might be a bit of a stretch when trying to apply the hours you worked to the PMP exam application. That said, there may be actual projects that you planned, executed, and managed for which there are hours that you worked that could apply on your application. Just performing the day-to-day operations of owning and managing a gas station probably wouldn’t apply.

      That said, I don’t necessarily think that all of the hours you worked wouldn’t apply. There might be some hours managing actual projects that would apply. Professional in this case means that it is work you were paid to perform (and not, for example, volunteer work or work done at college or university). So there might be some hours that you could use to apply for the exam.

      Sorry not to be of more help – I would say, use your best judgment, and fill out a spreadsheet (like this one, for example) that allows you to tally your hours of project management work experience, and see where it gets you. Good luck!

  18. Hi Brian,
    The website and all the discussions are helpful and interesting. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I have some concerns about my qualification and hope that you can provide some of your insights. I am planning to get PMP in 3 years since I only graduated from college not too long ago, and need to start accumulating the project managing hours and experience. I am working in a IT company that manufactures machines and provides software solutions. I don’t work as a project manager, but I take on lots software/hardware/machine conversion projects for clients in different properties. Some projects can include up to hundreds machines. Can I use these projects towards the PMP qualification? In addition, I am also thinking about getting the master of PM degree with GAC accredited schools to earn that 1500 hrs. Could you please advise if this is a right way to get the PMP in 3 years in terms of the qualifications? Thank you.

    • Hi Amber, thanks for the kind feedback – I appreciate it.

      If you’re working in an IT company, there may be several opportunities for you to get some experience leading and directing products. I recently composed this post that discusses a few examples of ways that you can get experience managing projects even though you do not hold the official title of project manager. Check it out and see what you think.

      Meanwhile, if you do work on projects completing conversion projects for clients, you can use some of that experience on your PMP application. You will need to have project experience in all five of PMI’s process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing), but certainly some of those hours can be in the executing phase of the projects you have participated on.

      As for the Masters of Project Management, the hours you spend in classes for that degree could certainly be used toward your education requirement when applying to get PMP certified. However, you don’t have to have a Masters in Project Management in order to get a job as a project manager or to get PMP certified. It will, however, help you learn about the fundamentals of project management, give you some idea of how to manage projects, and potentially help you secure a job in the field of project management once you have graduated.

      Good luck!

  19. Hi Brian,
    Your article is amazing. Well I am also thinking to get PMP certified. I have bachelor degree in Software Engineering and Master degree in MBA. I have total approx 7 years of experience in Software industry. I am practicing team lead(or sometimes project lead) since last 3 years of my career span, and I have also applied for Canadian P.R in 2010 and awaiting my selection cerificate. Can you please guide me that I shall go for either PMP or PMI Agile certification? I will appreciate your quick reply which will help me to take better decision. It will be great if you can guide me for Canadian Job market in this context.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Hello Rupal,

      I’m glad to hear that you have amassed such good work experience and education, and that you’re leading a having a successful career in Canada. You might think that this response is a bit of a cop-out, but if you’re not sure which certificate you should work toward, I recommend you go for both certificates. I am PMP certified, and while I do not have the PMI-ACP certification, I do have the ScrumMaster certification, which is a different Agile Development certification offered by the Agile Alliance. I also passed the ITIL Foundation test. I have found that understanding and being certified in several different methodologies or frameworks can help you to approach a wide variety of different problems when you encounter them in your job, and that the numerous certifications look powerful on a CV or resume and are indications of a well-rounded candidate.

      That said, if you’re looking to get one or the other, I’d recommend the PMP certification – the PMP seems to be the de facto project management standard for potential project managers in the industry.

      Good luck!

      • Sanjeet Mallick Reply May 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

        Hi Brian,

        I have just seen this web site while searching for articles on PMP and quite liked it.

        I am also preparing for PMP and have also got my 35 PDUs.

        I am a technical lead for a telecommunication project. We work on EPABX. We design the voice network and also support the same.

        I have total 7 years of work exp and now I would like to venture into management domain.

        Please guide me whether my decision is correct at this point of time and what would be the best way to prepare for PMP.

        I am CCNA, MCSA, ITIL V3 foundation, SOCA (siemens open communication associate) certified.

        • Hi Sanjeet,

          If you’re preparing for the PMP exam, you won’t need the PDUs… the PDUs will come into play after you’ve passed the PMP examination. Unfortunately, I do not believe you will be able to use any of the experience or course credits that you attained before you became a PMP… I believe the clock would start the day you became PMP certified.

          As for the best way to prepare, you just need to make sure that you have the proper work experience leading and directing projects in order to apply. If so, then you simply need to apply to take the exam – see here for information about how to file your work experience on the application; and then study for the exam – see here for how I personally prepared for it.

          I hope this is helpful. Best of luck!

  20. Hello Brian,
    Really well written article.
    I have total experience of 7 years and work as a Lead engineer in Automation field. I have Bachelors degree in Engineering. I am planning to get PMP certified. I wish to change the track of my career from Project Execution to Project Management. Can you advise me on whether getting PMP certified can help me find a job in PM field?

    • Hello Ankit,

      I’m glad to hear that you’re interested in getting PMP certified. If you are looking to switch your career to project management, then the PMP credential can definitely help you get jobs in the field of project management. It has certainly helped me in my own career, and many employers require PMP certification of potential project manager candidates. That being said, if you are only beginning to look into switching your career to one of project management, then you may not yet have the required amount of project leadership work experience that is required by PMI of people who are interested in getting PMP certified.

      If you do not have that experience yet, then I recommend that you start getting that work experience by leading and directing projects, or at least leading and directing certain phases or aspects of projects. That way, even if you do not have the title of “project manager”, you will over time be able to amass the work experience that you need in order to get certified.

      In any case, best of luck to you.

  21. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been researching PMP certification and I’ve found your articles very useful. I’ve wrapping up my first project as a technical lead for a big 10 month project and had a similar question as the tech lead in this story. Now that I’ve gotten my feet wet as a leader I find this work very exciting and challenging. As a software developer for over 20 years this is the first time I’ve been truly challenged. I definitely want to continue leading projects.

    I also own a small social media marketing company which has a handful of clients. After reading some if the comments on this post, I feel like I my of my experience working for myself can be counted for PMI certification. My question is how would I prove it?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Cam,

      Thanks very much for your kind comments about my site – I really do appreciate that. I’m always glad to help wherever I can.

      In order to apply to take the PMP examination, you need professional work experience “leading and directing projects”. If you spent time leading and directing projects, and can fit the work that you’ve completed into the five process groups according to PMI, then it seems to me that you can use the hours that you spent completing that work in your PMP exam application. You will not likely be able to use all of the hours that you spent while managing your social media marketing company, but those hours that you spent leading or directing projects you can use.

      Just be sure to be as ethical as you can when allocating your hours, and if possible, come up with artifacts (documentation, project plans, and the like) that you can use to prove to PMI that you did compete the required amount of project management work experience should they decide to audit your application.

      Good luck!

  22. Hi
    my self mahesh having 2.7 years experience in project management like project scheduling , project execution, site coordination, client coordination for approval of drawings , followup with vendors for material dispaches.

    kindly guide me how to get PMI certification and how much will be the fees. material required for the above certification.
    Reply will be highly appreciated.

    • Hello Mahesh,

      I’m glad to hear that you are working toward your PMP certification. You will need to make sure that you have enough professional project management work experience to take the exam… it sounds like you might be on the borderline with 2.7 years. I’m not exactly sure where the proper number of hours will fall.

      Meanwhile, your question is rather broad. If you want to get PMP certified, all you need to do is apply (on PMI’s web site). Follow the instructions on that page, and you will find out all that you need to do! It will also have a breakdown of the various fees and how much it costs to take the PMP exam. If you have any further questions about any of the specifics, please let me know, and I will help you where I can.

  23. I came across this as I was researching info regarding PMP, I am a 24 yr old undergrad student double majoring in Computer Science and Business Admin. There was a comment made about the certification being a waste of money on a ‘piece of paper’. I come across this judgment before (even though the majority rules that it’s still beneficial to go for it).

    I wanted to comment on that because while it may be to some managers, there are other things that need to be taken into consideration. In a perfect world things would be easy to get into (career-wise) if we could all be trusted by hiring managers in what we know.

    I am a veteran with IT skills, and my lack of a degree or certifications prevents me from landing any ‘decent’ employment. So while it may be a waste of money to some employers, some employers look at certifications as a verification that you do ‘actually’ know. My issue is that I would like to gain experience BEFORE I graduate, and no one really wants to give that opportunity.

    The comment was made pertaining to the PMP but generally speaking (inclusion of any cert) regardless of whether it’s a piece of paper or not, so is a college degree. The amount of courses and knowledge gained from the courses of the major equate to that ‘piece of paper’ (degree) and no matter what paper you have, if you can’t get experience once you have them then what good does it do you?

    It’s not the matter of a cert being a waste of money for employers or those developing professional skills, being given the opportunity to put it into play is important. Geographic areas, and cultures in those areas play a part as well, where I’m from (countryside, rural area, no metros), certs are telling employers ” I have the knowledge behind this, give me the opportunity to transform it into experience”. People have to start somewhere, and ‘knowing’ is a pretty good start.

    It’s nice to paint a fairy-tale image that just because people may have skills and have proven them through prior work experience that they will definitely get jobs, or not require some form a verification of skillsets. But I personally know a guy who was in management for many years. He couldn’t move to upper management because his company required upper managers to hold a degree, even though he’d been showing them he was pretty capable of the responsibilities.

    Me personally, I believe knowledge is power, and if one wants to get certs then best of luck to them. No one can knock you for what you know, and certs show that (make your knowledge official). Employers are the ones who want exp, but if so many of them are always so quick to deny people the opportunity to gain it, there will just be more and more people walking around with wasted knowledge.

    So to those who think so negatively of certs, I happily announce in the next few months I’m going for CAPM, A+, Network+, and Security+. Good luck to anyone whose going for any cert[s].

    “…The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” –Henry Ford

    • Hi Niecey,

      Thanks very much for your comment and detailed analysis. I appreciate it!

      I agree that some employers look at certifications as verifications for what people know. Other employers may find that certifications are not worthwhile, and prefer to look at peoples’ skills, experience, and performance in a job interview to hire. However, if some employers value certifications, then you will only see a net positive if you do get the certification… that is because even people who do not see value in certifications like the PMP, PgMP, etc. will not feel negatively toward people who have undergone certification, but people who do value the certification will respond positively to it. That is why it seems to me that it is always a good idea to get certifications – being certified in something is rarely a negative thing! You learn while you’re undergoing the certification, get positive vibes from the achievement, and certifications usually help on a resume while not hindering in any way. I guess the only real downside to certifications is time and cost, but I feel that the bonuses outweigh the drawbacks.

      I am also of the opinion that knowledge is power, and I wish you best of luck on your upcoming certifications! With this sort of attitude, you are sure to succeed in your future career. All the best to you.

  24. I didn’t realize my last post would be that long, but I do have a general question. Due to personal circumstances, I’m unable to continue formal ed at university at the moment so I’ve decided to take some professional development courses to make up for it. Since my interests lie both in business and IT, I was curious what other knowledge or other certs complement a PM cert.

    I would like to be a marketable ‘entry-level’ potential hire, and like the versatility of my chosen majors ( my business major concentration is info. systems). I am wondering if taking database development, SQL, PHP, (for instance) would help be good. I was researching other technical skills that go well with PM but didn’t have much luck with the search.

    I think having the IT skills along with PM (or business in general), is pretty good because I can work with them all together risks, management, security threats, network, ect. But in terms of PM for entry-level position, do you have any recommendations for particular skills that go well?

    • Hello again Niecey,

      No problem on the long comments – I really appreciate your taking the time to sum up your opinions like that.

      Regarding what other certifications complement a PM cert, it seems to me that it depends on what you want to do. A programming certification might help if you’re looking to go that route; however, if you’re interested in focusing on project management, you might also look into something like ScrumMaster or ITIL Foundations. The latter is especially useful in the United Kingdom, where it originated.

      I find that while certifications in programming are very helpful, they aren’t as helpful for securing jobs as is good work experience and the ability to craft quality code during a technical interview. For project management certification seems to be more important; perhaps it’s because it’s much more difficult to prove your skills as a project manager during an interview (though I may be wrong about that).

      Another thing you might consider is spending your time working on solo projects that will help you launch your career. For example, if you’re interested in getting into database development, you might create your own site where you yourself do all the back-end coding. Then, during an interview, you can show your potential employers what you’ve created, and explain how you went through the whole process from planning, to development, to testing, to release. That might impress them! And if you come up with a good idea for a site, it may take off on its own.

      I hope this is somewhat helpful. Best of luck to you!

  25. Hi Brian,

    I have passed PMP in April 2012. Unfortunately till date I could not collect any PDUs on my credit. But on the other hand I am pursuing Ph.D. My research study mostly resembles with project management processes.
    So can I add it to my PDU credentials. If yes,then how can I document it.? . My thesis is completed, now it is ready for submission to University. Please help me out for earning PDUs out this activity.

    • Hello Vijay, thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, I do not believe you an use your PhD research to gain PDUs. The work experience that you need to claim for your PDUs has to be work spent in a professional capacity managing projects, and I don’t believe your research work counts toward that. That said, you might want to double check with PMI, because they may have some sort of guideline for researchers who are managing projects in an academic setting – though then again, it would likely be geared toward people who are getting paid to do that, and not simply studying for their PhDs.

      Best of luck to you!

  26. I am into Engineering design field & working as CAD Engineer. I have 9+ years of experience. So am I able to apply for PMP certification? Do they count my experience of working on engineering projects? And ultimately will it help me to get opportunities in the field of project management?

    • Hello Vinayak,

      The good news is, you do not need to have been a “project manager” in order to apply for PMP certification… you only need to have 4,500 hours of work experience (with a Bachelor’s degree) leading and directing projects. So if you have that work experience leading and directing projects, you can apply to get PMP certified.

      As for whether or not it will help you to get opportunities in the field of project management – I certainly think that it will, especially in the field of Information Technology (IT). You might ask your HR department for advice?

      Good luck!

  27. Hi Brian,
    Your website is full of useful and relevant information. After reading the complete thread felt like I should thank you for the good work first before I post my query. I have 7+ years of industry experience and out of which 4 years is in project management field. Now I want to know if I need to show only the required project management exp (i.e. 3500hrs) in the PMP application? Can I choose not to put additional experience that I have?

    • Hello Anu,

      It sounds like you have some great experience under your belt. I’m glad to hear it!

      PMI is only interested in the experience that you have attained leading and directing projects. So even if you have experience in other areas, PMI probably doesn’t care too much about that. As long as you have the required project management experience (and can show it), they will be happy with that.

      No need to make things more complicated by filling out more information than is needed!

      Good luck to you.

  28. Thank you Brian for this excellent article! I am considering really hard to get PMP certified. And as a matter of fact, i relate very well with the lady whom you mentioned in your article, besides being an IT engineer myself, my daily work consists mostly of 2nd level support in network, server and systems. We use a remedy system to keep track of the problem tickets that come in from the end users (presumably the stakeholder). I have clocked almost 3 years of working experience in such operations as well as handled very mini projects that do not involve a whole project lifecycle. Before, I am holding a bachelor degree in Computing and I have received education in project management related modules. I could almost humbly say that i have the knowledge in project management. However the one thing that is holding me back from PMP is clocking the project hours and details.
    Would you be able to enlighten me in this area of “how would you rephrase in the project management terms for a person who is handling daily operations resolving issues per ticket?” I understand that we would need to describe in not more than 80 words for every process group in the PMP application. So I am really more concerned as to how would you as an PMP expert be able to rephrase it as a project (hopefully to avoid PMI audit or int he worse case, fail their requirements).
    Appreciate any kind words /advice.

    • Hello Jas,

      Glad to hear you’re interested in the PMP.

      In this case, you might want to make sure that what you are working on are actual projects. They might not be. PMI has a definition of “project” that they like to use that you can find here. Make sure that the work that you have attained leading and directing projects does fall into that category.

      Regarding the rephrasing, I would simply be honest about the work that you have done. I do not recall there being much “phrasing” in the PMP application… it simply asked for the hours that you’ve spent working in the five PMI process groups. So you might not have to worry about that.

      Good luck to you!

  29. Hi
    I am a Senior SW development engg but I want to become a Software Development manager in the next few years. Will PMP help me ?
    I had a brief glance at the curriculum and it looks like it will give me some training in terms of Cost, schedule etc, but will it help me as Software development manager ?
    Also how can I get the hours for PMP since I am a individual contributer.
    Please help

    • Hello Nisha,

      The PMP is mostly of help for people who want to get into project management (and not line management). However, I do think that having experience managing projects is very helpful no matter what field you are in. If you’re in IT especially, the PMP will be recognized and can perhaps serve as an extra credential to help you move up the ranks in your career.

      Regarding getting the hours, I have outlined some ways that you can attain PMP experience in this article. Maybe give some a try? Good luck to you!

  30. Dear Brain,

    Above posted article is really worth full to understand the importance of PMP and way to it completion.

    I too have willingness to compete this highly demanded certification and therefore approaching you with my queries and hoping the assistance.

    I have an overall experience of 6 years in IT domain. Of which I have worked as Desktop Engineer (Client site- Managing hardware and software peripherals) for around 4 years and then was promoted as an Operation Manager for the remaining 2 years (IT-Infrastructure). Apart from this I completed my graduation BCA (Bachelor of Computer application) in the year of 20012.
    Now my worry stands that do I meet the eligibility criteria for appearing in the upcoming PMP examination.

    Awaiting your response.

    • Hello Cyrus,

      I can see your concern. The good news is, you do not have to have worked as a project manager in order to qualify for PMP certification… you simply need to have the correct number of hours spent leading and directing projects. This could have been under any role.

      If I were you, I’d go ahead and tally up the hours that you’ve spent in this capacity and see where it lands you. You can use this Excel spreadsheet to do that. Then, at the end, you can tally up all your hours and see if you need to earn any more before applying to take the exam. Who knows – you might be there already!

      Hope this helps!

  31. I am a military member who got out and earned a B.S. in electrical engineering. I recently went back in the military full-time as I just recently received my commission. I have always strived to pursue my education and have now decided to go back to school and earn my MBA. The electives I’m leaning on are geared towards Computer Information Systems. Some of the classes say they help prepare you for your PMP certification.

    My question is, after some research is that seems you need years of PM experience before you should even apply to take the PMP exam. Is that true? Can I defend my case that I have coordinated and supervised plenty of “projects” in the military? What about the two years of me being a field service engineer after I graduated before I went back in the military full time?

    Any input would be much appreciated before I decide what path I want to go down.


    • Hello Todd,

      In response to your question – yes, O do think that you can defend your case that you have coordinated and supervised plenty of projects in the military. Make sure that what you were working on were actual projects, and not simply repeated tasks. Same with the work that you completed when you were working as a service engineer.

      Generally, in order to apply to take the PMP exam, you do not need to have been a “project manager” – you simply need to have had professional (that is, paid – so not as a volunteer or during school) work experience leading and directing projects. If you have 4,500 hours of this work experience, then you can certainly go ahead and apply to take the PMP exam. Be sure to be ready in case of a potential PMI audit.

      Good luck!

  32. i am site electrical engineer workin in construction at Dubai havng 13 yrs it good to have pmp for me.pleae tell me how can it be usefull .how diffcult will be exams?

    • If you want to give money to a bunch of parasites, go ahead. If you’re a licensed engineer then this certification is just a crap. They’re trying to destroy really experienced engineers.

      • Hi John,

        Thanks for your thoughts about PMP certification – I’m not an official member of PMI, and I always like to try to explore the pros and the cons of the PMP and other certifications. As such, I always value any input others might have.

        If you have any thoughts about how the PMP is hurting experienced engineers, please let me know about them!

    • Hello Suraj,

      The exams are not too difficult if you study for them, and really know the inputs, outputs, and tools and techniques of the various PMI processes. However, make sure that you have the proper project management experience before going to apply! If you’ve been working as an electrical engineer (but not managing projects), then there is the chance that you may not have it.

      As for whether or not it is good for people in your industry, you might ask HR? Here is an article with some of my latest thoughts about that.

      Thanks very much!

  33. PMP certification is just another way to make easy money for the guys that created them. As an engineer I was trained to manage projects so I don’t need additional courses to teach me how to do it and make me repeat them every three 3 years, this only pretends to mean that experience worths nothing and that’s bullshit created by ignorant kids.

    • Hi John,

      As I mention often, I’m always glad to hear from people who appreciate the PMP certification, and for those who do not think it is worth the time and cost to attain. Thanks very much for your feedback. It is true that you don’t need the PMP to manage projects, and that there is quite a significant time, cost, and upkeep requirement to be a PMP certified project manager.

      Thanks again for your thoughts!

  34. Hi Brian,

    I am software engineer and I work for renowned IT consulting and technology outsourcing company as a cobol developer. I have around 65 months of experience during which I worked for various financial client ranging from Banks, insurance company and payment processing companies.

    My day to day activity involved analyzing requirements and develop and implement code. These requirements comes as part of project with stipulated budget hours. Along with developing the code I was also responsible to manage these project and to see through that these projects are accomplished within the budget.

    I am ardent fan of project management and I had this desire of taking PMP and switch carrier into project management capacity. I have been preparing for this test from quite a while and now I want to know if this certification would allow me a chance to get an opportunity to work full-fledged in project management.

    • Hello Vinay,

      Having the PMP credential under your belt can definitely help you to get jobs in project management, and to help your career. It has also been shown that having the PMP behind your name can help you to get a greater salary as a project manager than without.

      That said, if you’ve been working as a COBOL developer, you may not have the required project management experience to apply to take the examination. You might want to check to make sure you have 4,500 hours (with a Bachelor’s degree, that is) of leading and directing projects. Here is a spreadsheet you can use to figure out whether or not you can apply to take the exam.

      Best of luck to you.

  35. Hi Brain and all the Activists ,

    As now a days the competition is very high in each and every field and the trend is of specification and specialization , so in this type of market is it survivable with a field of project management as PMP is a generic field ,or is it a specialized one .
    Please give me a detailed explanation.

    • Hello Deepak,

      I’m a bit confused by your question, but if I’m reading it right, then it definitely does seem to me that project management is becoming a more specialized field as time goes on. It used to be that certain engineers or managers would simply “manage projects”; now there are specific project managers, some of whom were engineers at one point, but some of whom were not, who have specialized skills that they use to manage projects. People have come to realize that managing projects is a specialized, and difficult, skill.

      Due to this, there has been more of an emphasis on the proper domain of project management, with several certifications that have popped up over the years – PMP, CAPM, PgMP, Prince2, and ScrumMaster to name several. My guess is that as time goes on, project management will continue to be a specialized field, and in fact will become even more specialized in the future. We are already starting to see this, with specialized Risk Management certifications and credentials like that starting to appear.

      Hope this helps. Best of luck to you.

  36. Hi Brain and all the Activists ,

    Please throw some light on above mentioned query of mine.

  37. Hi,
    I am a civil Engineer and doing civil design for the past nine years. Though, I can say that I have worked for too many big projects, my role was limited to doing structural design. Now, I want to come out of this cocoon and get some exposure to project management by doing certification courses which in addition to my work experience will add weight to my resume. But I am not sure whether this certification is for me. Pls guide. I am ready to shift to project management side but preferably in construction industry.

    • Hello Radhika,

      Project management definitely does help to extend and enhance a career. I do hope that you can come to a satisfactory conclusion about whether or not project management and PMP certification is right for you.

      I’ve linked to some resources you might be able to check out on your similar comment on this post – I hope they are helpful.

      Best of luck to you!

  38. Deepak Kukreja Reply May 1, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Hi Brain ,

    I am fortunate enough to hear your comments regarding my query but, have you analyzed the importance of PM in the market as you have stated above in one of your comments that you are going to survey about the demand of PM as a specialized skill.Is it growing in records?

    • Hello Deepak,

      I don’t have the resources to run a full-scale survey on the subject of project management in the marketplace. But I can tell you that I personally have noticed that there is both a growing demand, and a growing interest, for highly skilled professional project managers. It is a field that, whether or not you decide to get PMP certified, I do recommend to people who are considering careers in Information Technology.

      You might want to check out some of the resources available from PMI. I do know that they have conducted research on this matter in the past. For example, here’s an analysis that I did of some previous research into project management as a profession.

      Good luck in your research! Please do let me know if you find out anything either way.

  39. Deepak Kukreja Reply May 5, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Hi Brain/ All Activists ,
    Please provide an update on the above mentioned query of mine.

    • Hello Deepak,

      I hope that the information helps. Definitely check out the link I provided – it shows an analysis of how PMI’s PMP certification has been growing in popularity in different regions. You could also check out this link that shows how PMP certification has made a difference in the salaries of project managers. And finally, here is some information showing that IT project management is one of America’s best jobs.


  40. Hi Brain ,
    Thanks for your views and links.I have a doubt that, will I be able to shift my profile to PMP field as I have a working experience of 3.5 years out of which 1.8 years is as a ERP Functional Support Analyst and the rest is as a Data Analyst in an operations field with domain as marketing . So my question here is that am I eligible to give my carrier an Opportunity to shift it to PMP in the perspective of working domain

    • Hello Deepak,

      That is great that you are interested in getting into project management! The real question would be whether or not you already have the required work experience leading and directing projects to apply to be PMP certified. I would recommend filling out a spreadsheet of your work hours (you can find an example of such a spreadsheet here) and then figuring out whether or not you have that work experience. If so, you can apply to take the exam. If not, and you have the ability to get that work experience, then I recommend continuing to earn it, and then go ahead and get PMP certified. It is definitely the certificate to attain if you’re interested in managing projects. Best of luck!

  41. Eligibility here I am referring to is the kind of profile I am into i.e. working as a data analyst in operations field in marketing domain .Will now PMP be helpful in my carrier growth and will I be able to enter into Project Management Field from operations field or will only be considered as an add-on to my resume.
    But apart from this operational field I have also implemented and provided support and training to the co-workers in both the organizations.

  42. Brian,
    After mulling over a PMI and being advised by some seasoned managers about its lack of value if not accompanied by a true project management experience, I had been postponing planning for this certification.
    Today is one of those days that I was reconsidering this and came across this post from a google search. I feel very encouraged. I have a similar background as the lady engineer your post talks about and I have carried the same fears of not seeming ethical without holding a project manager title so far. It has been a chicken and egg story because I work at a great company with an extremely flat structure. So I am not sure how long it will be before I get such a title. I also do not want to switch to an engineering role in a different company because it will be hard to find something as good as what I am doing now. It does seem like the PMI will empower me to make the transition to the management role in a different company that I have been waiting to make. Thanks a ton for this post.
    Best, Aparna

  43. William kirkgaard Reply June 26, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    What about ex military, I have lead teams of sailors in flight operations maintenance and programs during wartime I’m being offered to take the pmp exam. Would this help me out in the job market because I’m struggling to even make it I’m about to be homeless. The main question is would real project managers think I’m a fraud for having this certification

  44. I am working as operational engineer in telecommunication field since last 7 year i want to enhance my skill and scope.
    Can any one who help me, for which certification is good either PMP or ITIL foundation?

  45. HI Brian,

    Thank you very much for this informative post. It really helps to get thinks straight regarding PMP certification
    I am a senior software engineer with 5 years of work experience. I have managed small projects which are usually process improvements with team and across teams . Also employee engagement projects. these projects sum upto over 3 years. will I qualify for a PMP ?

  46. HI,
    Also I wanted to know, if academic projects can be calculated as project management experience?

  47. Hi Brian,

    I read your article very carefully and I see that I am almost in the same position as that of the lady in your article.
    I have 8 years experience in software testing and aspire to become a PM. So was looking forward to start preparing for PMP. But I was stopped by my questions that if at all I satisfy the criterias for attending PMP?
    Now I think I do. As far as other commentor’s comments, may be PMP is expensive or a waste, but I think it can be a boom for me. I will surely go for it.


  48. I am a project engineer who has been involved in multiple projects wit around 8 years experience and is always keen on the topic of project management as its always my dream to be a project manager. I would list a few things :

    1. PMI/PMP certification is costly – yet its a hard work they have done by creating a unique platform and collaborating all the best practices in to a common book.And more the network grow newer ideas are created that helps everyone in career.

    2.I underwent an online PMP boot course and found the topic informative and continued not because i wanted to do the exam and add it on to my name,but because i wanted to learn and develop my potential.

    3.In a world which is competitive and smart it is definite we all need additional certifications and credentials to prove our worthiness. Remember to be HIRED our resume speaks FIRST and then our TALENT.

    If people have said We dont need schools and colleges because we had enough practical experience and knowledge, how worse the world could be?

  49. Hello brian,

    Your article was really helpful to clarify some of by doubts regarding PMP certification.

    I wanted your suggestion on where I should go for PMP and ITIL foundation certification.
    I have more than 5 years of experienc in coordination, planning and monitoring information & communication training programme and software related to e-learning’s with batchlor degree in engineering.

    Will PMP help me in seeking jobs in PMO?
    An early reply will help me in deciding a crucial career decisions.

    Thanking You

  50. hi,
    I wish to pursue the PMP certification and completed by Bachelor of Technology lately in IT domain. Now I will be certainly taking up a job as software testing engineer. I just wanted to ask that after gaining 4 years of work experience as testing engineer,will i be eligible to apply for the PMP certification?

  51. Hello Brain, I have been following your posts related PMP – its quite useful to me. I’m a commerce graduate and have been working in outsourcing industry as a operation manager/ transition manager in the finance stream. Basically setting up a new business in the off shoring environment – I’m part of the large project team where in I’m responsible for hiring, doing job competency mapping, training, building learning path for new employees to take up the work, monitoring the learning progress, preparing reports for governance body etc… I have been thinking of doing PMP for a while but little skeptical about it as to how it will help me to boost my career. As dont have an experience of managing large project my own….also not too sure whether I can switch my career from this outsourcing industry to some other industry…. please help me to understand how this certification helps me to boost my career – thanks Prabin Balan

  52. Hello Brian, Its after 20 year of process engineering (engineering consultancy) that i decided to shift to Engineering Management role. I have large years of experience managing teams (about 25 people) for big design projects.It is here that i came across this PMP requirement and your views on
    a) is it worth to go through PMP Certification
    b) does it add any value as compared to say MBA on specific industry



  53. Dear Brain,
    Your words are really inspiring to others in doing PMP certification.

    Thanks for efforts.

    I will keep in touch with you.


  54. I am now not sure where you’re getting your info, however good topic.
    I needs to spend some time finding out much more or
    figuring out more. Thanks for fantastic info I was looking for this info
    for my mission.

  55. Kishore Kumar Muduli Reply May 13, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Hi Brian,
    I have more than 5+ years experience in Software development, now I am planning to move into the Project Management.Fortunately, i came across these reviews and wanted to know whether I am eligible for PMP certification or CAMP certification and in what way will this help me in professional growth

  56. Kishore Kumar Muduli Reply May 13, 2015 at 1:39 am

    Also into what other job fields does PMP open if I pursue PMP or CAMP certification

  57. Why is it that most posts stating that PMP is not a valuable certification are filled with profanity and expletives? Also most posts stating that it is not worthwhile are from people that don’t have the certification. Most posts stating that it is valuable are from people that did get it. This is causing me to lean more towards getting it. Any comment?

  58. Hello Brian, thank you very much for your detailed analysis of PMP process, the pro’s and cons. I am looking forward to the outcome of your research. I would also like to thank everyone that added to this blog it was a nice read for me and certainly helped a lot.

    I have been involved in Project management activities for the last 12 years of my career. Although i have progressed fairly well in my career. I am now looking to take it a step further. For this reason i have enrolled in an Advance Business Project Management Diploma at a University of Cape Town. (South Africa). I am a Civil Engineer and performing the function of a programe and project manager with my work environment.

    I would just like to add that i came across your blog via the course content and it so informative, job well done. I am confident that i do meet the minimum experience and qualifications to enable me to sit for the PMP exams.

    I am currently trying to get a feel for the companies within the Civil Engineering field (Consultancy and Contracting)that do value the PMP certifications internationally and locally. I will continue to do some of my own research to understand. I am also hoping that you could point my in a direction that would lead me to understand this.

    Once again, thank you very much for your detailed analysis, much appreciated. Goodluck with your research work.


  59. Hi Brian, thank for the interesting article! I’m an HR student (Bachlor) and I have no work experience at all and graduating in three months. So would recommend taking the PMP certification? Any recommendations ?


  60. Hi,
    Iam a Mechnaical engineer and work in CAD related project . I have 13+ project experience.. My biggest doubt is Should i take PMP or AGILE PMP or Agile Scrum.. please clarify

  61. Hi,
    I am having a six year work experience as a rotating equipment engineer(mechanical) in oil and gas domain and now I want to shift toward project management job.i don’t have any work experience in project management i only worked in designing and have a sound knowledge in it.can you please guide me whether I will go for pmp certification or not.
    Thank you

  62. Hello,
    I’m currently a QA manager with 11 years of experience in QA and have been contemplating on obtaining a PMP certification. What kind of trials and tribulations would one expect on obtaining this certification as well as breaking into a Engineering Project Manager Role?

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PMP Exam Prep:  Seventh Edition

About the Author

Website: Brian Crawford
I'm a Canadian and British dual citizen with an internationally-focused American MBA and an MS in International Project Management from a French business school. I am PMP, ScrumMaster, and ITIL Foundation certified. I'm particularly into travel, writing, and learning about different languages and cultures.