As a PMP (Project Management Professional) certified project manager, I frequently get asked a question that all PMPs have asked themselves at some point during their careers… is it worth getting PMP certified? Going through the process of taking the dreaded PMP examination is costly and complicated, and requires a great deal of preparation. Is it worth jumping through these hoops to attain PMP certification?
In this post I’ll walk you through some of the pros and cons of getting PMP certified. Please note that these pros and cons are only my opinions (though most are based on facts); many other project managers have their own recommendations on whether or not PMP certification is worth attaining, and they may be different from my own. I welcome any input that other project managers reading this post might have.
PMP certification pros and cons
The pros of PMP certification
PMP certification looks great on a resume
PMP certification can beef up a resume, and can make the difference between getting a job as a project manager and being passed over in favor of someone else (likely someone who is PMP certified). What’s more, many employers require PMP certification of their project managers, and will not hire non-certified project managers. Having the credential will certainly make it easier to find a job as a project or program manager.
During the application process for one particular job I was chastised by a professional recruiter, someone who goes through hundreds of resumes each week, for not having “PMP” beside my name at the very top of my resume (I had it listed further down, under “Professional Certifications”). She felt it crucial to indicate up front that I was PMP certified. And by the way, I did end up getting the job.
PMP certification proves that you have project management experience
In order to apply to take the PMP exam you are required to have attained a certain amount of experience leading and directing projects: 60 months (7,500 hours) of experience if you have an associate’s degree, and 36 months (4,500 hours) of experience if you have a bachelor’s degree. PMI (the Project Management Institute) has an audit process to help ensure that potential PMPs are being truthful about their project history (though admittedly it is not a watertight process).
As I personally deal with clients on a daily basis, I include “PMP” after my name in my email signature. This gives me some initial credibility when meeting new contacts (though only those who already know what PMP stands for).
If you don’t yet have the project management work experience required to apply for the PMP exam, you might also consider PMI’s CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) certification. CAPM certification has its own pros and cons.
PMP project managers make more money than non-PMP project managers
Having PMP certification can score you a higher salary compared to those project managers who are not certified. What’s more, one survey indicates that the PMP is the highest paid IT certification (at least as of 2008). More good news: a second survey indicates that PMP salaries are continuing to increase.
Online you’ll find plenty of sources indicating that PMPs make $6,000 to 10,000 USD per year more than non-PMPs; others will boast that PMPs make 10-15% more money than those who are not certified. According to the 2010 PMI Salary Survey PMP-certified project managers in six major countries reported a $10,000 USD salary advantage over non-PMP-certified project managers.
Being a PMP can lead to networking opportunities and potential job opportunities
Being a PMP links you to all of the other PMPs in the world, and there are plenty of those. According to the August 2011 issue of PMI’s publication PMI Today there are 357,770 PMI members across the globe – and this number is growing. PMI stages frequent PMI meetings in most major metropolitan centers, where PMI members (many, but not all of them PMPs) get together to network and learn about project management theory. These meetings can also earn PMPs valuable Professional Development Units (PDUs) that are needed to renew their certification every three years.
During PMI meetings you can often find out about fresh career opportunities from members who appreciate the importance of PMP certification; these meetings often have time alloted for people to stand up and share any job opportunities that are available at their organizations. And there are plenty of other communities, both online and off, where PMPs can interact with other project managers, build their professional networks and investigate potential career opportunities.
PMP certification indicates that you have a commitment to the profession of project management
PMP project managers have spent time and effort leading up to and attaining PMP certification, which means that they are at least to some extent committed to project management as a profession. Even if they don’t plan to serve as project managers for their entire lives, they do understand the importance of PMP certification as a step forward in their careers, and that in itself tells an important story. As a project management professional I am a champion of project management as a profession; it is my duty to ensure that project management is recognized as a valid doctrine, and that co-workers working on the projects I manage understand and respect its importance.
The cons of PMP certification
PMP certification is expensive
In order to become PMP certified you need to throw down some cash… it costs money to take project management courses – in order to apply for the PMP exam you need to have taken 35 hours of formal project management education – and it currently costs several hundred dollars ($405 for PMI members and $555 for non-PMI members) to apply to sit the PMP exam at a formal testing center.
I should note here that most project managers join PMI before applying to take the exam, which costs $129 USD to join, and $119 USD to renew each year. PMI membership offers certain benefits, such as access to various PMI resources that can help you prepare for the exam and free copies of all of the PMI standards; in particular, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).
The good news is that if you’re already working as a project manager there’s a good chance that your company will pay for you to attend project management classes and take the PMP exam. Many organizations are starting to see the value of certifying their project managers as Project Management Professionals. It can’t hurt to ask!
Preparing for the PMP examination is time consuming
More off-putting (at least in my opinion) than the cost of getting PMP certified is the time it takes to apply and study for the PMP exam itself. PMI requires applicants to document all of the project management education and experience that they have attained; experience must be documented down to the process level – for example, on a particular project, how many hours did you spend creating a work breakdown structure? How many hours did you spend executing project tasks?
I spent several hours using an Excel spreadsheet of my own design to try to recall and then indicate what tasks I did for what project and approximately how long it took me to do them. It was tedious work. When I was done I passed the hours by my former managers and asked them, if I were to get audited by PMI, would they indicate that the hours that I had put down in my spreadsheet were approximately correct? They agreed, and so I submitted those hours with my application. This is an important step – make sure to prepare for the event that your application is audited by PMI (PMI randomly selects a percentage of PMP applications for a thorough audit). If you’re interested in learning more about how to file your work experience for your PMP exam application, here is a template that might help you.
Another important part of preparing for the PMP examination is the study time it takes to learn the PMI processes. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is the key resource of information that will be found on the PMP exam, but it is not the only resource – it is well known that there are certain topics (ethics is one) that will be featured on the PMP exam that are only glossed over in the PMBOK. There are plenty of study guides, some better than others, that you will also need in order to prepare for the PMP exam. The best known of these guides is likely PMP Exam Prep by the late Rita Mulcahy. It features detailed information about the various PMP processes and difficult questions that are representative of those found on the actual exam. There are also a variety of sample exams, flash cards, and other resources that you can find that will help you to prepare for the exam.
Some people take PMP preparation courses (that normally cost money) in order to prepare for the PMP exam. I personally did not take such a course – I found that the PMBOK and other PMP study guides were sufficient to give me the knowledge I needed to pass the exam.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to go about your own PMP exam preparation, I’ve written a separate article about how to study for the PMP exam.
PMP certification is time consuming (and potentially costly) to keep active
To keep your PMP certification active, you need to amass 60 PDUs over a period of three years. These can be earned in a variety of different categories. It can be cheap to earn these PDUs (there are also ways to earn them for free, such as volunteering, self-study, or working as a project manager) but for the most part it will take time and money to amass the necessary PDUs to maintain your credential. And in addition to the costs involved with attending classes to further your project management education and earn PDUs, it also costs $150 every three years to renew your PMP certification.
PMI’s framework is one framework among many
Passing the PMP exam doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an expert in all facets of project management – it means that you have passed a test about one single framework: PMI’s own project management framework. This framework is based on a single publication, the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge). Other popular frameworks or methodologies of today – for example, Agile, Prince2, and ITIL – are not covered by PMI’s framework.
In fact, many people are of the opinion that PMI’s framework is a bit dated. PMI’s processes seem to align best with projects using the waterfall development methodology, which is not as popular these days at it has been in the past. Iterative development is catching on quickly, and I find that Agile development using Scrum is a sound methodology that helps to keep projects on track. With some tweaking you can align PMI’s processes with Agile processes, but they haven’t really been designed with iterative development in mind.
Just because PMPs have project experience, it doesn’t mean that they are good project managers
Passing the PMP exam means that you’ve indicated that you have a certain amount of project management experience and education, and that you’ve passed a difficult test based on PMI’s project management framework – that’s all. It doesn’t mean that you’re a good project manager, or that the projects that you’ve managed have been successful. In fact, you could be the worst project manager in the country with not a single successful project to your credit, and you can still get PMP certified.
That being said, I tend to think that PMP certified project managers are better project managers than non-certified project managers on the whole due to the fact that PMP certified project managers understand the importance of the credential and have spent time and effort to attain the credential. I liken it to someone who has attained a university degree – the very fact that the person has gone through the trouble of attaining the degree says something about their character.
Is PMP certification worth getting?
So now that I’ve outlined the pros and cons of getting PMP certified, the question remains… do I personally feel that it is worth getting the credential?
I do believe it is worth it. Getting PMP certified has certainly helped me to get hired for project management jobs, and will continue to help me throughout my career, whether or not I choose to continue to work as a project manager. I’ve met many great people interested in the field of project management by involving myself with PMI activities and events, and have enjoyed learning more about the doctrine of project management. Putting PMP after my name in my email signature has given me some extra credibility when dealing with clients, and has also sparked discussions about project management with my peers. And looking back, I am proud of the time and effort that I spent preparing for and passing the PMP examination.
PMP certification may or may not be right for you personally depending on your particular field and where in the world you are located. If you’re not sure if PMP certification can help you in your career, you might want to try asking your Human Resources department, weighing the pros and cons of certification with your manager or co-workers, or consulting the project managers at your local PMI chapter. Best of luck to you in your project management career!
Although the topic of the worthiness of the PMP certification has been covered several times on PM Hut (see this article, for example), I have never seen it covered in so much depth.
I would like to republish your article on PM Hut. Please either email me or contact me through the “Contact Us” form on the PM Hut website in case you’re OK with this.
Good afternoon PM Hut,
At this point I’m not interested in re-posting my site content in other locations – I’d rather keep it here, so that I can respond to readers’ questions about the posts I write, and to continue the discussion on the topics I write about into the future.
That being said, I really appreciate your kind feedback on my post. I will definitely drop by the PM Hut web site and check it out – I’d appreciate keeping in touch and learning more about the sorts of things you’re working on.
I Sent PMP application for PMI with mistake, but i hope to do CAPM how i can change it? Due to applicatin that i sent, payment description came to my mail, its appear that
Your eligibility expires on 20 Jul 2013
Start: 20 Jul 2012
End: 20 Jul 2013
i want to change it, can u pls guide me
I think your best bet would be to contact PMI’s Customer Care center via email – their email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. I think that they would be able to sort out your problem and help you switch your PMP application to a CAPM application.
Good luck to you.
Hi , Since I would like to have your opinion about my career with respect to PMP. Please let me know your email id for the same.
If you leave your questions here, I will try to get to them eventually. I do have a big backlog of questions, but I’m working on it!
I am interested in PM certification.
Actually i am from Civil Engineering back ground having 3.5 years Experience.
the PM certification will show the growth for me.
PMP certification helps one to negotiate higher salary .I myself got around 50 percent
Hello Rama, that is great to hear! I’m pleased that PMP certification helped get you a bump in salary. Thanks for sharing that information here, and best of luck to you with your projects.
Not sure if this site is still active since the last post was in 2013. However I read your article on the pros and cons. Very good info and thank you for providing your perspective on PMP. I am an engineer managing projects and I am looking to obtain the PMP certification to enhance my career. Could I use the PMP certification towards a consulting job? If yes where should I start?Thanks
I’m a training consultant and I’ve transformed many project manager’s careers by providing them the perfect place to get certified which would add value to your career. Along with the career benefits, you should also concentrate on the contact hours and the PDUs offered. Please note that the PDUs or the contact hours will hold value only if you’re getting them from a GREP (Global Registered Education Provider). My e-mail ID is email@example.com. Mail me and I can arrange a call back from one of the GREPs for you. 🙂
Do i need any extra certification to teach PMP classes at authorized Registered Education Providers. I am a PMP certified. and will it be also counted as professional development units
Really appreciate your reply.
Thank you so much for your comment. I’m still around!
Yes, you can definitely use PMP certification toward a consulting job, especially within the field of Information Technology (IT). It is very powerful among consultants in this field.
As for starting, that depends on whether or not you have project management work experience and education. If so, and you have sufficient hours, you can apply to take the exam. If not, you could start getting that – or you could get CAPM certified. The CAPM does not require previous project management work experience from its applicants.
Let me know if you have any other specific questions?
Best of luck.
Hello Shawn, thanks very much for adding your input to this post in response to Rey’s question. I really do appreciate the thoughts and feedback from other project management professionals!
That said, I do not personally agree that only PDUs from GREPs are of value. PDUs from non-GREPs are also valid PDUs, and there are many training providers not associated with PMI that offer classes providing valuable information.
Thanks again for your thoughts!
I do not know what PMI’s requirements for PMI REPs are. I do not believe you do need any extra training; I believe you have to pass your courses by PMI, and also pay them a fee to become a PMI REP.
Thanks, and best of luck with your teaching and training!
I m sorry if i am not liable to post my comment here . If you have more than 3 years of experience on project with a bachelor degree OR 5 yr Exper. if a diploma holder.
if you have this exper. you can choose the PMP
Hello Shiva, thanks for your input – I appreciate it! That is true that the amount of work experience differs depending on whether or not you have earned a bachelor’s degree.
All the best to you!
Actually there is new research about this from the American Management Association: about 17% of people who have their PMP report getting a raise after getting certified. More people report other career benefits, like that it got them a new job (41%) or that it helped them get promoted (31%).
Hello Christina, that was very kind of you to share this information. I’m always glad to see and share the pros and cons of PMP certification. Thanks very much for providing the link!
Hi Brian, im busy persuing my Bachelors in 2016, don’t have much practical project management knowledge/experience. Will it be advisable to sit for the PMP exams.
In this case, you will not be able to sit for the PMP examination – you will need to have practical project management experience under your belt. In order to apply to take the PMP exam, you need to have 4,500 hours of professional work experience leading and directing projects if you have a Bachelor’s Degree, and 7,500 hours if you do not. I hope this helps!
Good Day to you!
Thanks alot for appreciating my revert.
I would also be pleased to serve the best to maximum of aspirants.
I can also help to provide good training provider.
Shiva Pratap Singh
Thanks very much Shiva – I appreciate it! It is always good to know of good training providers.
I hope that you have a great year of project management and whatever else you are up to in your career!
Hi Brian- I am contapleting whether to take the step toward a PMP certification. I have been in the hospitality field for the last 3 years and had managed/supervised hospitality teams on two brand new projects one being in Las Vegas the other in Los Angeles. With no construction experience or and little IT background do you still think it would be a smart move to get certified and what would your perspective be on the difficulty of landing considering my background.
It does seem to me that knowing proper project management principles is a good idea for anyone in any sort of management profession. However, whether or not getting PMP certified will help you forward your career (on your resume, or in job interviews, for example) is another story. If I were you I would talk to your Human Resources staff and see what they have to say about it. Or perhaps talk to a professional organization in your industry. Whether or not PMP certification is gaining ground in the hospitality industry I couldn’t say. Best of luck to you.
Another CON of the PMP is it is primarily angled at a plan based system. Since 2001 the shift in the software market is towards many flavors of Agile which is a VALUE based system. Many PMP hardened project managers in my time have had a hard time changing their culture to a VALUE based system in agile software fields where the fixed constraint is no longer ‘scope’.
Good point Michael. I am also a proponent of Agile and I hope that PMI chooses to incorporate iterative approaches into future rework of its methodology.
Thanks very much for your input!
I have some questions, however I don’t yet wish to share with the world. Could you email me so that I can convey them to you please?
Hello Sherri – I would be glad to do that. Thanks for taking an interest in PMP certification, and in my site.
How about progressive elaboration. Can we thing it as an agile methodology?
The concept of progressive elaboration refers specifically to a project management technique in which the plan for the particular and designated project is being continuously and constantly modified, detailed, and improved as newer and more improved (as well as more highly detailed), sets of information becomes available to the project management team and the project management team leader as the project unfolds and begins taking place. As a result f this new influx of information, the newly revised project management plan has the distinct quality of being more accurately drawn up and, in the end, more complete. These newly formed plans, which were derived ultimately from a series of successive iterations as more and better information has been made available to the project management team. Progressive elaboration is a fundamentally important step to the project management planning process as it can take a sketchy preliminary plan and refine it.
Good evening Sa,
I’m not sure if you can use progressive elaboration as an Agile methodology, per se, or if Agile methodologies are constructed with the idea of progressive elaboration inherent within them. It certainly seems to me that, in the Agile development experience that I have myself, progressive elaboration played a big part of the way we developed software.
One of my favorite things about Agile methodology is that you work your way toward the way “the software” should be as an iterative process. Anyone who has ever managed – or even worked on – a project realizes that the way the project eventually turns out is seldom exactly like it was specified in the early phases of the project. As such, using an iterative process to understand the way the project should be, at the same time as you are creating it and moving toward the project’s completion, is an extremely effective method.
Thanks for sharing your insight.
I like your article and appreciate the fact that you took time in writing on the subject. I am currently evaluating my own situation and intent on passing the PMP certification. Based on what I’ve read over the last few days and where my career stands, I believe that this is my next move.
Since I do not have a bachelor’s degree, I must list projects dated 5 years down, bringing me back to 2006. Finding my peers from the past can be quite an adventure. Have you any advice for breaking down projects by activity or grouping tasks to fill out the application?
Thank you for sharing your knowledge!
Hi Jason, thanks for your kind words regarding the PMP certification post – I always appreciate the feedback. I do believe that getting PMP certified is a good move for many different careers, even those outside of project management – being able to successfully manage projects is a skillset that can be applied to many different types of jobs.
As for breaking down projects, what I did was create an Excel spreadsheet where I listed out all of the projects that I had worked on during the past several years. I broke down those projects into the different process groups – Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling and Closing. I then estimated what percentage of time I had spent on each project in each process group – for example, in some projects I had spent much more time in the Executing group (especially performing Execute Project Tasks work – re: doing the work). In other groups I had spent a considerable amount of time in the Planning group (while working on, for example, creating project plans using Microsoft Project).
Once I had broken down my work on each project into Process Groups (and making sure that the percentage of time spent in each Process Group summed up to 100%) I then broke that work down even further into what work I did within each process group. There is a list of those tasks that is supplied by PMI when you fill out the form to apply to take the PMP Certification Examination… I used those tasks in my spreadsheet. Again, I had a tool within my spreadsheet that made sure that all of the percentages summed up to 100% within each process group identified.
It was a bit of a chore to do this work, but it doesn’t have to be exact – as long as your former employers agree that you spent approximately the time that you said you did in each task group, you should be safe if you should ever go through the dreaded PMI audit, because your employers will vouch for the time that you have claimed that you spent.
I hope that this is helpful – albeit a bit long winded! – in a future post I’ll include a spreadsheet template that you can use to fill out your hours spent working on projects for the examination application. I found it very helpful.
Thanks again, and all the best to you in your PMP application and studies.
Your post regarding PMP certification Pro & Con was really very informative and helped me in know more about PMP value.
Thanks, Keep posting.
Thank you Jagadish – I appreciate your saying that. I’m glad that you were able to find the information useful. Good luck in your own endeavors, and let me know if you do end up taking the PMP exam.
I am wondering if you can email me individually, I’d like to bounce my story off of you and see whether you think the PMP is right for me. My company is willing to sponsor me to take the exam, but am not sure I am qualified, or if I want to pursue it.
Hello Jill, I’d be glad to answer any questions you might have about PMP certification. If your company is sponsoring you to prepare for and take the examination I would highly recommend going for it! I’ve sent you an email and look forward to speaking with you about it.
Need some help. I have 10 yrs exp in IT Sales, BD but keen to do PMP to have a change in my career. Would you think it has some cons.
Please let me know.
That all depends on what you want to change your career to. If you want to become a Business Analyst in the field of IT, then PMP certification will certainly be an asset. If you want to become an offshore fisherman, maybe not so much.
I would recommend talking to your Human Resources department to see if they have any suggestions. Best of luck!
The Post Reagrding PMP was very Informative. I m Just planning to take this Certification ,but was just wondering if this certification right for me. Can u help me out and email me Regarding this.Looking Ahead
Certainly, Rupesh, I’d be glad to answer any questions you might have about getting PMP certified. I’ve sent you an email.
All the best to you.
Hi Mr Brian,
I really do appreciate your article that has really helped me to know more about the PMP.
I am graduated in Commercial sciences and I have 5 years of experience, my last job was sales manager.
This January I moved to live in USA, and I am sill looking for job, so I met some one who advised me to pass the PMP exam ( of course after having a short training in PMP that costs 900 USD) so please can you advise me if this is good for my career, especially I have no experience in Project Management.
dear Brian if you could cut from your time and answer me I’ll appreciate.
Hello Youcef, thanks for asking. I hope you are enjoying your time living in the United States.
I agree that passing the PMP exam and getting PMP certified are some very good steps toward a profitable and rewarding career. Unfortunately, they’re not the very first steps on the path to becoming a project manager… in order to qualify to take the PMP exam, you need to have amassed some project management experience and education first. So if you have no experience in project management, you’ll need to earn some of that before sitting for the PMP examination.
My recommendation is to find a job where you can gain some work experience in project management… even if you’re not technically a project manager, you can still earn some good experience in managing projects. From there you can move into a position of managing teams or projects. Once you have some project management work experience under your belt, you can become PMP certified – from that point there are some great career opportunities available to you.
I do think it’s worth getting PMP certified, and I also think it’s worth finding your way onto that path! Best of luck to you in your career and in your future endeavors.
Thanks for such a informative article,I have actually started the Preparation for PMP by going through PMBOK but seems like I am beating around bush I have seen the sample question for PMP exam and can’t figure out where to start the preparation from and what classes.If you can kindly help me and mail me in this matter.
Good afternoon Harman – sure, I’d be glad to do that. I will send you an email.
My husband is working in a HR field for 6 years.. Will PMP suits him.. he dont have any technical knowledge.. So can you pls guide me..
I myself is working as Software Enginer for 3 years.. Can i write CAPM and switch over to management side.. If i cleared CAPM what will be my designation and how shall i search my jobs in IT
That’s a very good question. Strangely enough, whenever I have questions from people asking about whether or not PMP certification might be useful for them in their field, I direct them to ask Human Resources – which your husband seems to be doing. Human Resources professionals tend to know the trends in certifications and whether or not they will be helpful or not in furthering careers.
Here are some other suggestions that might help.
As for the CAPM, the CAPM might help you get project management experience. The CAPM has its own pros and cons – here is some information about the CAPM.
Thanks for the questions, and best of luck!
Hope you are doing well..
I am a B.Tech graduate and have total experience of 7 years.2 years as a network engineer 3 years in channel sales as astt. manager- marketing and sales and 20 months in IT-sales as Project Coordinator. is it worthy to get PMP certificate?
and if possible can you please tell me few companies name in INDIA who hire PMP certified candidates. Please mail me the answers of my queries on my mail. remember that as project coordinator i have only 20 months experience.
Yes, in your case it does seem to me that PMP certification would be a good idea for you, as you are working in the field of IT. I am afraid that I do not know much about what companies in India are hiring PMPs, but I do know that the big name American companies that perform IT work and have offices in India (IBM, Accenture, etc.) do hire PMPs as consultants and project managers.
Best of luck obtaining your project management experience!
Thanks for sharing the info.
I have one question I have been in the technical field and I would like to change my career by doing management courses. I don’t have any project experience, but I am Master’s in Computer Application and I am in IT industry since 9 year. Can I take PMP exam directly or do I need to take CAPM then PMP?
Pls suggest me..
Thanks in Advance…
Hello Satyender, thanks for asking – I’m always glad to be able to help people with their PMP certification questions.
I haven’t seen a resume of your work experience, but it does seem that if you do not have any project experience, you probably would not have the proper experience needed to sit for the PMP exam. To take the PMP examination you need (from PMI.org):
“A four-year degree (bachelor’s or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.”
To take the CAPM certification examination, you need (also from PMI.org):
A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent) AND At least 1,500 hours experience OR 23 hours of project management education by the time you sit for the exam.”
As such, the CAPM is designed to help people who do not have project management or project leading experienced through the door… the idea is that the CAPM can help you start working on project management tasks at your current position and start to earn work experience in the project management field.
Since it appears you do have a great deal of technical work experience but no project experience, the CAPM would be a better fit – alternatively you could start trying to get project management experience at work without the CAPM, but it certainly couldn’t hurt to get the CAPM to show your commitment to the field of project management.
Thanks again for asking, and best of luck to you.
I would like to know more about this certification program . will it help a person from a sales background in terms of his career, if so how? kindly mail me
Hello Sunny, thanks for commenting.
I think that having a PMP certification can help anyone in any career. First of all, knowing PMI’s project management processes may be helpful if you are managing sales or marketing projects within your organization. Second, having PMP certification can help you get jobs managing projects at your company or other companies, but only if the people doing the hiring are aware of PMI and of PMP certification. Most PMPs seem to be in the technical field (information technology, software development, business consulting, and so on) so it could be the case that putting PMP certification on your resume will not help you get a job as the people doing the hiring in your field do not know about it or what it stands for.
I hope this is helpful – good luck to you!
Thanks for a good article. I am planning to build my career in Business Development and currently parrt of Process and capability management. I have gone through PMP training and also contemplating to get certified.
Before paying for the exam, I would like to check whether PMP certification help people in Sales career? Becuase I would like to go back to sales where I have begun my career.
Have you come across sales people getting benefitted becuase of certification?
Good evening Raj,
I just answered another comment about getting PMP certification if you come from a background in sales. If you’re an account executive and you’ve already gone through PMP training, then you should be able to get PMP certified if you also have the required amount of project experience under your belt. It seems that you’ve already gone through the necessary steps to get to that point, so you should be good to go.
PMP certification can help you learn how to manage projects according to the PMI processes, which may end up being helpful in your job. However, whether or not it will help you advance your career depends on whether or not the people who are doing the hiring know what the PMP certification is, and how it is an asset to project managers. If they don’t, it may simply be another set of letters on your resume – which would not be helpful.
I’m not sure if knowledge of PMP certification is growing in areas outside of Information Technology – but if so, perhaps it would be more helpful than I realize! It is probably worth doing some research and finding out from other project managers with sales backgrounds whether or not PMP certification was worth it for them.
Thanks for asking, and best of luck!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Those are really helpful in deciding whether to go for PMP or not.
My query is about the domains/industries which require PMP certified professionals. Mostly, I have seen the demand is in IT industry. Does it open the doors of other industries as well for a certified professional?
I would like to have options of various domains to select to work in. is it possible?
Thanks in advance!
Currently, it does seem that PMP certification is most worth it for IT professionals. It is certainly where I’ve seen the most PMPs in action. While studying the PMBOK or other PMI resources, they tend to mention the construction field a lot, and use construction projects as examples, but I haven’t seen a lot of real world examples of PMPs being employed in the field of construction. This does not of course necessarily mean they aren’t out there – there may be tons of them, and as I have no experience in the field of construction, I would never have met them! But when I’ve gone to PMI meetings or met other project managers working in my area, they’ve always been in the fields of commercial software development or IT.
It could be the chance that PMP certification is becoming popular in all sorts of fields and I do not know about it – I’ll do a bit of research and see what I can come up with. As far as I know it is still very largely centered in the realm of IT.
Thanks, and all the best to you.
The article you posted is really useful.Iam in a dilemma whether to take up PMP or not.I currently handling projects(technical) but since the work force in my field is minimal, the proj management is haphazard. I mean iam the only one taking requirements, making the feasibility,doing development and taking approvals from customer and then closure.There is no team for doing all this. In this case am I eligible to take up this certification?
And yes, Iam in non IT field, into consumer electronics field.
Hey there SPB,
If you have a certain number of hours of project experience, with experience in all of the different areas of project management, then you would be eligible to sit for the PMP exam even if you did not spend those project hours in the field of Information Technology. PMI’s project management practices are meant to be used in projects in any field; it just so happens that most of the time they are employed by project managers working in the field of IT.
Whatever the case, it certainly seems that you are doing your company a service by learning and understanding proper project management and how it will help your own team and organization get things accomplished! I’m glad to hear it.
All the best to you in your endeavors.
PMBoK is not a methodology, nor should it be used as one. It is a body of knowledge. It is a collection of processes (input-process-output sequences) divided up into knowledge areas. The processes are generally accepted practices, not best practices. To characterize it as a methodology is incorrect. At most, it is a framework or toolkit.
One is not required to have managed a single project in order to sit for the PMP examination, successfully or otherwise. The requirement is “leading and directing project tasks”, and this includes self-directed tasks. Attending meetings is a task. Requesting customer feedback is a task. Archiving project records is a task.
Despite numerous studies conducted over many years using a variety of metrics, there is no evidence of superior performance, effectiveness, or results from PMP certified project managers. Because of this, the PMP certification is a credential (status symbol) rather than a qualification.
Using data sourced from Dice, only 6.3% of IT Project Manager roles require or prefer a PMP certification.
Using data sourced from job aggregators Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com, 10.4% of employer-posted Project Manager positions require a PMP certification. The average salary for a PM position that requires the PMP is $88,276.85. The average salary for a PM position that either requires or prefers the PMP is $88,100.71. The average salary for a position that neither requires nor prefers a PMP certification is $100,394.06. This suggests positions that require the PMP pay below market rates. This data is more neutral than salary survey data which is not a random sampling and is frequently exaggerated, especially when sourced from cultures that value status. Admittedly, the aggregator data ignores jobs which are not posted on job or employer sites, but it is the most neutral data available.
The PMP is a 4-hour multiple choice examination. There is, as you have indicated, no road test. A CPA has to perform a simulated audit. Medical boards require treating simulated patients. An aircraft mechanic has to diagnose and repair a damaged aircraft. A truck, bus, limo, or taxi driver has to pass vision, written, and road tests. Not so for the PMBoK knowledge competency exam that gives the designation “Project Management Professional.”
As a PMP you are required to abide by PMI’s Code of Ethics. This is a binding agreement willfully and knowing entered into by all PMPs. This code requires honesty, forthrightness, accountability, and social responsibility. I am sure you will correct the erroneous information as you have agreed to do so already.
Because the PMP certification is a credential and not a qualification, it violates PMI’s code of ethics to use it to gain an advantage over another qualified PM. The honesty provisions also require seeking truth, and the research evidence cannot be ignored, so you cannot honestly assert superiority of PMP certified PMs with the current evidence.
Is it in the best interests of society to designate someone who has not managed a single project, successfully or not, a “Project Management Professional” or is the designation misleading and misrepresentative?
As an experienced project manager, if you were to design a certification program for project managers, would it look like PMI’s? Would it include apprenticeships or observing someone managing projects?
How would you reconcile the ethical conundrums?
Good evening Burt,
I really appreciate your comments, the thought you put into them and the time it took you to write them up – thanks very much for making the effort to do so.
I do not know if it is true that someone can be PMP certified without having managed a single project. I suppose that this may be true as long as a person has spent time managing different projects in all of PMI’s process areas… so if you’ve worked on five projects, and on these projects you have spent time managing projects in each of the process areas, you could be certified, even if you’ve never managed a single project from start to finish. It is required to indicate on the PMP examination application that you have spent time completing a variety of different project management tasks, but it does not say that all of these tasks must have been accomplished during a single project. Either way, it takes a long time to go through the PMP certification application and indicate what project experience you have attained – I would think that if someone has not attained the proper experience they would quickly realize while filling out the PMP certification application that they are not eligible to sit the exam.
I also appreciate the extra information you have discovered regarding the different salaries that PMP project managers make compared to non-PMPs. I do have several friends who, upon achieving their PMP certifications, received a sizeable salary increase. I also know of PMPs who became certified and saw no change to their salaries. So while I do not know which of the salary surveys are the most correct, I do know first-hand that at least some project managers have seen a direct salary benefit by being PMP certified. I would never say that being PMP certified equals instant success and salary benefits… I am simply pointing out that it can.
Also, I do not intend to imply that PMPs have superiority over non-PMs, and if I hope I have not come across that way. In my post I have indicated that you do not need to be a good PM in order to become PMP certified – in fact, you may be the worst PM in the country and still become PMP certified if you have the necessary qualifications and pass the PMP certification exam. The fact that the worst PM in the country could be a PMP should be evidence enough that PMPs are not necessarily better PMs than non PMP-certified PMs.
In my opinion, and as I’ve pointed out in my article, getting PMP certified is a lot like getting a college degree. Having a college degree in, say, economics doesn’t mean that you’re a better economist than someone else without a college degree in economics. However, if I were hiring someone, I would have the perception that, all other things being equal, the person with the economics degree is more practiced in economics than the person without it – this is often the case HR managers have when hiring PMP certified project managers, though this perception may, as we both have indicated, be false. I would also know that the person with the economics degree has had a least some education in economics, and that they’ve passed some difficult economics tests – this is also the case with PMP certification (albeit with the PMP there is only one test). Finally, let’s say this was a co-op economics degree – by seeing the co-op economics degree on a resume I would also know that the person with the degree has had a certain amount of experience working in the field of economics – this is also the case with PMP certification.
There are plenty of arguments that college degrees are not useful means of indicating whether or not a job-seeking candidate is more skilled or will be a better worker than someone without a college degree, and a lot of the arguments for this are the same arguments that you have presented in your comment against PMP certification. These points are often true, but the truth is, people would prefer to hire college graduates over non-college graduates due to reasons of perception, and because the graduates have spent time and money to go through a difficult process to get their degrees, showing commitment to their professions. I believe this is also the case with PMP certified project managers.
Thanks again for your comments Burt. I should mention that I am not in any way affiliated with PMI, and as such I welcome both positive and negative points about PMP certification, and am also interested in learning more about the pros and cons of other competing frameworks.
All the best to you in your own project management endeavors!
I find it hard to believe a non-PMP would make more than a PMP. Hired a lot, but never consideted passing by someone because of additional qualifications.
Obviously, there are some facts missing from these employment reports.
Hello Mike, thanks very much for your input. I agree that it wouldn’t make sense for non-PMPs to statistically make more than PMPs. The research done by PMI and other companies seems to prove otherwise.
Thanks for the answer Brian!!
You are very welcome Vivek!
My name is Odile Lora and I am currently doing the PMP course with Boston University. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing and am currently working as a manager.
I would like your feedback and how I can take advantage of this program for my future career path.
Good morning Odile,
Is the management work you’re currently doing managing projects, or project-related tasks or activities? If so, then with the PMP course completed at your university, you could use the experience you’ve gained managing projects or project tasks toward applying to get PMP certified.
Otherwise, I’m not sure what sort of advice you’d like to hear, but it seems that getting involved with business and projects is something that you could work towards, as you are earning work experience in those areas. What sorts of thing specifically interest you – software, hardware, products, information technology, human resources, marketing, sales, service, support…? The sky is the limit; if you have any specific things that interest you perhaps I can help you come up with some ideas.
Hi Brian, thanks for all your time helping people like me, giving them free advice. I have a very simple question and I was wondering in order to pass a PMP Cert or starting a new position as Jr.Project Manager. Do I have to be expert in using Microsoft office products? let say excel, powerpoint or project? Knowing specifically excel is it really essential?
Hello Alan, thanks for asking.
Knowing Microsoft Project, Excel and PowerPoint is not necessarily essential to being a project manager – and where the PMP examination is concerned, I don’t believe there are questions on the exam about using project management, relational database or spreadsheet software. That being said, if you’re going to be hunting for a job or starting a career in project management, knowing the Microsoft Office suite is very important. I don’t believe that anyone has ever asked me if I’m familiar with Project or Excel, but once you become a project manager (especially if your company uses the Waterfall method of project management) you will certainly be expected to know how to use these programs. Another common program that project managers use is Microsoft Visio, used for creating flowcharts, Venn diagrams, Ishikara diagrams and the like.
The good news is, software like Microsoft Project and Microsoft Excel is not very hard to learn. I’m sure there are some good free online tutorials (perhaps on YouTube) that you can use to learn how to use the Microsoft Office suite. Knowing how to create and level a project is pretty important, and in Excel, knowing how to create and manipulate a pivot table is something that I use quite often when tracking project budgets.
If you’re working as a Jr. Project Manager then you’re in luck – you can definitely learn these skills on the job. Best of luck to you in your endeavors and in learning the ins and outs of the software.
thanks for your efforts helping others in their PMP matters.
My manager is one of the extreme-ego persons, and look very high at his qualifications especially in management issues, but he keep saying that PMP is “rubbish” and that no one in the world recognise it except for “Arabs” because of ….whatever
Is there any independent study or surveillance or poll that shows where PMP is located among other similar certifications.
Hello Ram, thanks for asking.
I did write an article a while back that included some highlights from PMI’s salary survey – they noted that, in six major countries, PMP-certified project managers, on average, earned more money than non-PMP-certified project managers:
As you can see from some of the comments on this thread, there are many who believe that PMP certification is not worth getting. I personally believe that it has helped my career – but I also believe that my ITIL Foundation and Certified ScrumMaster certifications have helped my career. I have also personally found that employers (at least in the United States, Canada and western Europe, where I have worked for the majority of my career) are well aware of PMP certification and of PMP-certified project managers – though I should mention that in England, Prince2 certification appears to be more popular and in-demand than PMP certification.
As for recommending which certification would be best for you, a lot depends on what your job is and where you are working. If you’re working in an Agile Development shop, for example, ScrumMaster certification might be more worthwhile than PMP certification (which is largely Waterfall-based). That being said, I believe that the more you learn, the better – if you’re unsure about which certification to go for, why not go for multiple certifications over time? It might be a challenge, but I bet you’d learn a lot, and it might help you later in your career.
Good luck, and all the best to you.
I would like to know more about the certification, can you please email me.
Hi Olga, I will mail you, but you can also feel free to ask any questions you have on here – I’d be glad to answer them, and by answering here perhaps others with the same questions would have the answers. Thanks!
I have in total around 38 months of IT experience. I want to know if this is the right time to go for PMP exam?
In general what do you think would be the best time to go for PMP exam?
IT experience is good – but it is project management experience (experience with leading projects or performing various project management or project coordination tasks) that you would need in order to apply to take the PMP examination.
In general, once you have three or so years of experience leading or coordinating projects, that is when you could sit the PMP exam. Some of that time could have been spent in the project execution phase – so for example, working on development tasks that lead to the completion of the project (the “work”) – but you should also have a comfortable amount of experience working on all of the other phases involved with the project – work on the project charter, project planning, monitoring and controlling the project’s schedule, and so on.
Best of luck to you in your PM endeavors.
Thank you for your prompt response. I am a manager at a Spa that covers everything related to beauty, even surgery. I do manage different projects. My area of interest would be Marketing, Human Resources, maybe some sales. I have alot of experience in sales and management. I live in Miami, Fl. The job market here is not promising. I am thinking of moving to another state with more job related possibilities. Which would be the best states that you consider related to my new career path, that would benefit me?
I’m opened to any ideas and thank you for your input.
Good evening Odile,
I currently live in Europe so I am afraid I am no longer aware of what states have the best job markets. That being said, my advice to you would be to find a job before you move – that way, you won’t have to worry about finding a job in the area you choose to move to, and don’t have to concentrate your job search to a single area. Also, considering you are already employed in a spa, you can do your job hunting while you are continuing to earn income. As for where you might concentrate your search, I recommend making a list of those areas that you believe you’d like to live in, and then narrowing those areas down to the ones that seem to have good job opportunities. No use looking for jobs in a city that has good opportunities, but in which you’d never want to reside.
I am sorry to hear that the job market in Miami is quite dry – though I have heard that apparently the Florida market may be starting to rebound a little… so perhaps all is not lost.
Best of luck to you.
Thank you again. I will search for a job before I make any moving decisions, but Florida dosent óffer so many companies as other states and I don’t see that this career is very common either, that is why I’m looking to move.
Good luck in all you future endeavors,
Thanks Odile! Best of luck with your job search – please do let me know how it goes.
I read your post on PMP certification and it is really good. I am planning to do a PMP certification and was not sure if it would help me in my career growth. If you can pass on your mail id, I can share my resume with you so that you can have a look at it and then suggest me.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks and Regards,
Hi Vishnu, I’m glad to hear that you’re potentially interested in furthering your project management career. I’ll send you an email. Thanks!
I have an MBA and a B.Comm (background in marketing), along with many hours in project management work. I am wondering if it would make any difference for me to get certified with the PMP. Do you think PMPs are better suited for people in engineering, construction, or IT professions? Or, have you come across people in the Marketing field with post-grad education that have also found success. It is a constant struggle finding out if people in Marketing fields can infact take advantage of the PMP certification, or if their brand will become more confusing when applying for jobs. Will employers assume or categorize me under the wrong bracket if my resume has a PMP beside my name?
Thanks for all of your feedback!
Hello Anjelle, thanks for asking – that’s a very good question.
PMI likes to talk about how PMP certification is a positive career move for all project managers… in fact, in the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and other PMP project management framework learning tools, there are often examples given that feature project managers in the construction industry – engineers and the like.
That being said, the overwhelming majority of PMP activity can be found in Information Technology. IT professionals, or Human Resources professionals who work within IT, are the people who are the most likely to have heard about PMP certification. So for example, if you were a marketer and you were applying for a job performing marketing for a software company, being a certified PMP might help you in that regard.
Otherwise, to be honest, I am not sure – I’ve spent my career in the IT industry and wouldn’t know if other groups are aware of what PMP certification entails. Likewise, when I’ve attended PMI meetings, the majority of attendees have been contractors in the field of IT.
I will do some research into the subject and see what I can find out – it might make for a good post!
Thanks again, and all the best to you.
Hi Brian, read your post and I must say its really helpful. Currently completed all the requirements for the certification and simultaneously preparing for the exams. However just need you guidance on how to progress post the certification as I do have areas of interest and will PMP help me achieving those. If you can provide me ur email ID, I can send my resume and areas of interest, which you can have a look and advise.
It sounds like you have some good career options ahead of you. Congratulations for completing the requirements for your PMP certification and for preparing for the PMP exam – I know that can be quite a lot of work!
I’d be glad to send you a mail and answer any questions you may have about “life after the PMP”. Over time, It can certainly take you in several different directions.
Talk to you soon.
Thanks for sharing your experience by this post, which seems very helpful for preparing PMP test, or getting a better understanding of PMP. I am actually preparing to take PMP test; would you please provide some suggestions about the most important books or resources to read to pass the exam? Since there are so many different kinds of books in the market, it might cost too much if I just buy them randomly, and also time consuming. Welcome to send me an email about this. Thank you very much in advance.
Good afternoon Sophie,
It has been a while since I have prepared for the PMP exam. But the two books that I used to study were the late Rita Mulcahy’s book, PMP Exam Prep: Rita’s Course in a Book for passing the PMP Exam, and Andy Crowe’s The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try. And of course the PMBOK. I found that Andy’s book was very simple, and made it easy to understand the basics, but its questions did not match the difficulty level of the actual PMP examination. Rita’s book was more complicated (and at points overly verbose) but it did have some excellent challenging questions that helped me prepare for the exam. The PMBOK of course was extremely dry, but it does have some crucial information that you need to know.
I also found that charting out the inputs and outputs to all of the various processes was extremely helpful.
I hope this helps! Best of luck to you.
I look forward to hearing what else you find. Thanks again for all of your input!
You are welcome Anjelle! All the best in your project management endeavors.
Thanks for the good article. My own experience with PMP ie the process of studying and passing out on the exam is that you inculcate the habit of plan-do-check and act cycle in every aspect. Even though Agile is a iterative process you still have to go thru. the cycle of planning and checking though in smaller time frames. This has helped me manage out things well even in the non professional domain. This is the biggest take from the PMP process for me.
Good afternoon Srini,
Thanks for your feedback. I agree that the plan-do-check-act cycle is very important… it is one of those things that it is good to keep in mind in the back of your head when responding to questions, because it could possibly help respond to a number of questions on the test. I personally find that understanding both the PMI set of processes and the Agile Development or Scrum processes can be very helpful when approaching the management and control of any project.
Thanks again for your thoughts, and all the best to you.
Thanks for sharing your experience by this post, which seems very helpful for preparing PMP test.
I completed my bachelors degree 2009,having overall 3+years experience now of which 2.5years,based on project management using agile methodologies(two Main level project and one average project).I started small budget company related to development and services while studying bachelors in 2007.Plan to start and concentrate my own dream company now after getting PMP certification.So i have some doubts regarding certification.
1. Is it possible for me for getting certified?
2.What should i do for getting certification?
3.Now im working as employee in ABC company.plan to shift and concentrate fully to my own which are already started in my college. if i take own company experience ,is that valid?
3.how can i pass through PMP verification methods?
4. ABC company looking for pmp’s now,is it possible for me to take pmp.
Expected your valuable solution as earlier as possible.Thanks in advance
Hope u understand my issues
It does seem that you might have enough experience to sit the PMP examination, though you’d have to go through your experience to make sure that you have the proper amount of project management and project management task experience – the guidelines that PMI sets up for the exam application can help you to go through your projects in a methodical manner to find out for certain if you have the right education and experience. You would be able to use your own company experience when applying to take the exam, as long as the hours you count were for project management tasks.
As for what to do to get certified, PMI has a website set up that you can use to learn about the exam and to apply to take it. Here is the application form, and here is a page where you can apply for PMI credentials online.
As for PMP verification methods – the only verification methods you will have to pass it making sure that the application form is filled out correctly and is accepted by the PMI system, and potentially go through a PMI audit. A random number of applicants are subjected to the PMI audit process when applying to take the PMP exam. If you have to do this, you’ll have to verify your education and experience before being able to sit for the PMP exam. For this reason make sure that you pass by your previous employers that you are going to indicate that you have a certain number of hours of project experience in their employment before sending those hours off to PMI – that way if you get audited you can ask your previous employers to verify that you indeed have earned that many hours of project management experience, and pass the PMI audit.
Best of luck to you in your project management endeavors.
i read thru your article about pmp and it is worth reading,and really helpful .
currently i am working as Configuration mgt -Release manager managing releases.
I am thinking of taking pmp certification to enhance my career.
can u advise me on my question whether it is better career prospectus there if i do pmp certification .
Thanks for your kind words about the PMP article. I do think that if you are working in configuration management or as a release manager, having PMP certification can definitely help your career. Those are both technical fields involving a lot of project management of technical tasks. One thing to look into is whether or not the area where you live is aware of PMP certification and what it entails – in some regions PMP certification is more prevalent than others – so it may not be as helpful if you’re looking to extend your career in areas that do not have a strong base of PMI credential holders, or with companies that are not aware of the PMI credentials.
Good luck to you in your career.
I am going to be finishing my bachelors degree in December, I am so glad that I looked at this site when I did, this will help me to document the work that I will be doing once I am out of school. I look forward too taking the (PMP) exam, I would appreciate any type of insight that anyone can give me.
Thanks very much for your comment – glad to hear that you’re going to be finishing your degree and looking into taking the PMP exam. One thing to note is that if you are coming straight out of a Bachelors degree it is unlikely that you will already have the amount of experience needed to take the PMP exam. There are other options for credentials (such as the CAPM certification) but for the PMP certification you’ll need a few years of work experience in the field of project management before sitting for the exam.
My recommendation is to find ways to get project management experience in your first jobs out of college – even if you are not technically a project manager there are still plenty of ways to get project management or project coordination experience. Keep building upon your experience and after some time you will find you have the necessary work experience to apply for the exam.
Its worth seeing your post.I summon courage to ask some queries with respect to PMP;
I am glad that my company wants me to do PMP certified programme to leverage its support in managing project.
I am based in India;can you suggest some of the internationally recognised PMP certified organisations in India.
At my current roll I do project management in life sciences,does PMP course helps me to leverage my knowledge to it?
Your expert suggestions are much appreciated.
I’m afraid that I do not know very much about what organizations in India are involved with PMI or hire PMP-certified project managers. I do know that it is not the organizations themselves that are PMP certified – normally the organizations simply hire project managers that are PMP certified, though some organizations do have local PMI chapters that are supported by the organization.
Meanwhile, I am afraid I also do not know if getting PMP certified is helpful for those people who do project management in the field of life sciences. The vast majority of PMP-certified project managers work in the field of Information Technology. That is something you might want to ask of other project managers in your field. That being said I do think that learning the PMI framework is helpful, and as PMI does plan to grow the reach of their project management certifications, it may be something that could prove useful to you in your future career.
All the best to you.
Hi Brain, I did MBA and have 2 years of experience as DBA(oracle). currently i work as Admin Coordinator at one of the organization.I have passion of doing PMP. I am confused that whether the experience of my current job will be considered as experience hours to appear in PMP exam? and what are PDUs? if you drop me an email i will give the further details and am keen to learn from you. Thanks
I do think that you could make a case for some of your work experience as an Admin Coordinator to count toward applying for the PMP examination. Perhaps not all of the hours you spent in that role, but certainly some! Check out the PMP application form for the sort of tasks they’re looking for you to have completed, and figure out which parts of your job were spent completing those tasks.
Meanwhile, as for your question about what PDUs are, I’ve written an article about PDUs here:
I hope that it proves helpful!
Thanks, and all the best to you.
Examination fee for PMI members is $405 and for non PMI members is $555. Does this mean that I have to first register with PMI before actually enrolling myself into the PMP certification with the study centre (Class room training)?
Hello there Priya,
You do not need to register with PMI before enrolling yourself to study for or to take the PMP exam… however, as it currently costs $129 USD (plus a $10 application fee) to join PMI, and it costs $150 less for PMI members to take the PMP examination than it does for non-members, it makes good financial sense to become a PMI member before applying to sit for the PMP exam. If you don’t find the PMI membership useful, you can always let it lapse after you have passed the examination.
Best of luck to you!
I am a Product Manager. Naturally, in this role, I have to manage numerous projects that are part of the product life cycle but only at the macro level (the details of each project are left to those individual project managers who then give me regular updates). I have considering doing the PMP for a while but am undecided as to if its worth my time.
I currently work in Europe but would like to relocate to my home country, India, in a couple of years. So I also have to consider how the Indian job market values the PMP.
Do you have some insight into the value of PMP for product management as well as its ‘geographic’ worth (for lack of a better term) ?
I do think that PMP certification can be helpful for Product Managers. As Product Managers are heavily involved with understanding the backlog of a project, knowing how projects are managed and how work is broken down into packages (in a WBS) can be very helpful information. Understanding how the work packages that you are managing are taken care of down the line can also be very helpful – you as a Product Manager want the projects in your company to succeed, so understanding and playing a role in project management can be another way for you to add value to your company.
Regarding the geographic worth of the credential, I do know that PMP certification tends to be centered in North America, while in England they pay more attention to Prince2 certification. In India, from what I have seen, most people tend to be interested in PMP certification – I get a lot of questions from people working in India who are interested in becoming PMP certified.
Best of luck to you!
I have been a PM for over ten years (wow where has the time gone). I have to admit that I have not been certified. I just have not taken the time to study relentless. I do however follow the PMI methodology. I want to say to all of the new Project Managers and want to be PM’s, please DO NOT Think that having certification will be your meal ticket or be all to end all. It will take a lot of experience/practice applying the theories in order to master. Quite frankly it will also take a lot of mistakes and working on horrible projects. If you want to be a PM studying and learning the methodology is great but you MUST< MUST< MUST< apply the theory in real scenarios to fully master.
Also please be mindful as it has been stated recently that Agile is really up and coming and may be the next methodology of choice. Many companies with a heavy focus on development require PM's to be skilled in this area. PMI does not address this. My suggestion to all new and to be PM's is to make sure this is what you want. It will take a lot of years of applying the methodology in order to get to a Senior level to make great money. Just my two cents. Good luck to all!!!
Good afternoon Kim,
Thanks very much for your input! I agree that getting PMP certified doesn’t mean that you will automatically become “Super PM”. It takes a lot of work and experience, and even then there will be mistakes made along the way… being a project manager means constantly learning and adapting new methods in your portfolio of project management tips and tricks.
I also agree with Agile Development using Scrum – I’ve had experience as a program manager using Agile methodologies, and I found them very powerful.
Thank you for your comments about project management and constant learning and improvement – I appreciate them!
You have summed it up really well and I am sure people like me will benefit from this. Ths information really helps!
I am planning to do the certification and would like to get some more details on the actual process – where to start, what you need, etc.
Could you please email me whatever details you may have to get me started?
Thanks a lot!
Thank you Umesh – I appreciate the feedback.
As for details about starting the certification, I’ll work on creating a variety of posts that cover some of the various topics that you will need to cover. I’m working on a “what to study” post right now in fact.
All the best to you, and best of luck with your PMP studying.
Thanks for the brief on PMP. It is definitely going to benefit. I am a Civil Engineer and have served in Army for 20 Years. Now Wish to hang my boots and apply for Project Manager in corporate sector. Will PMP certification help me? I am also appearing for GMAT and intend do my Executive MBA after quitting present job. Please advise.
Good evening Aman, thanks for the question.
Sounds like you have some good technical experience under your belt – working as an engineer for the Army seems to provide for some great experience. I think that getting into project management sounds like a good idea – I lived in San Antonio for a while and knew a lot of people who were either military or former military that had become PMP certified project managers.
I do think that PMP certification can help you – in fact, I wrote a post about why engineers might consider becoming certified project managers. It is here:
I hope that it is helpful! Best of luck to you with your certification and in your Executive MBA (another thing that I believe is a great idea to complete and get on your resume).
All the best to you.
Just read all the threads about PMP certification. I am still confused for doing the PMP Certification. As on date i am working as the Assistant manager in Automobile industry and handling the Service procurement for the company from last 3 year, But by degree I am a computer professional having degree Master in Computer Application (MCA). Could you help in clarify the fact, that i am eligible for appearing in PMP certification?
Will PMP is worth for the growth of my Carrier?
I’m not sure if you are eligible for the PMP certification. Being eligible doesn’t have anything to do with being an IT professional or having a technical degree (such as an MCA); rather, you need to have a certain amount of college level education and, depending on how much college education you have, a certain number of hours of project management experience. You will find that information under the second “Pro” of this post.
Whether or not you are able to apply for the PMP exam depends on whether or not you were working as a project manager (managing projects) in your job as an Assistant Manager in the automotive industry. I myself am not a PMI representative and would not feel comfortable making the call as to whether or not your experience should count toward PMP examination eligibility, but offhand I do not think it does as, from what I know about procurement, it doesn’t seem like that work involves managing projects from start to finish. However, I would definitely do some research and find out, perhaps by contacting PMI. Let me know how it goes. Best of luck to you!
I just happened to visit this site. I am happy to read that you would try getting the information for Nitesh, as I too have the same confusion for a long time. I am a Procurement Professional with 6.5 years experience (Indirect procurement), out of which I had handled about 4 sourcing projects. But leading, directing were not in the scope. My scope was limited to buying, but yes, I had my own Procurement Project PLan.
Now, I have moved to a new company in which I am responsible for Procurement of materials and services for new construction projects of an IT Company. These projects have defined Start & end dates, Project Plan/Schedules and Budgets. My core responsibility is Sourcing Vendors in line with the Project Schedule. This requires skills such as Time Management (preparing Sourcing project plan), Cost Management and interlocking with Stakeholders and Project team.
Will I ever get an opportunity to be eligible for PMP examination ? Can you please find out. Thanks in advance !!
While I am not affiliated with PMI and am therefore not “the final word” in such matters, it certainly seems to me that you have been completing project management tasks!
I do believe that you could certainly, over time, be eligible to sit for the PMP exam. I recommend you go ahead and parse through the work experience that you have attained during your career as a procurement specialist to figure out exactly how much time you have spent managing and participating in project tasks. Create an Excel spreadsheet (or similar) to document the hours you’ve spent working on the four projects that you’ve mentioned, and see how many hours in total you come up with. You may find out that you’re closer to being able to apply to take the PMP examination than you think. It can’t hurt to check!
Good luck to you.
Thank you for your in-depth post.
In reading it and some of the comments posted I get the impression that the certification is geared solely towards IT and engineering roles.
I have a management masters degree and 5 years of experience in the field of project management of market research projects and am currently employed by one of the largest companies in the business.
I haven’t seen too many people in my field with this certification so am wondering if it would be worth the time and expense. Or would it help me make a switch into a relevant field?
Let me know what you think.
Thanks for your comments about my post! I agree that PMP certification is found most often in the fields of IT and engineering, but it is not designed to be such – PMI is very interested in having PMP certification branch out into other domains. They often refer to construction examples when talking about using the PMI processes to manage projects.
It seems to me that PMP certification is only as useful as the number of people in your industry who are aware of it – so if people don’t know what the certification is and what it says about those people who hold it, then it is not as useful. That being said, if you agree with the idea behind PMP certification and think that it is a worthwhile objective to become certified, you could start to bring that knowledge into your industry. Being PMP certified and networking with people who are also PMP certified will also help you to learn more about your profession and about different tips and tricks – even if the other project managers are primarily centered within IT, I am sure they have interesting stories to tell.
Could you please give me your email id so that i can share my profile with you and then you guide me towards pmp.
Sure, I can send it to you – though definitely feel free to ask any questions you have about PMP certification here; I’d be glad to answer them.
Thank so much for enlightening me on the PMP exam and about its value. In fact I just got my Bachelor degree and I have been working for the past ten years in a retail industry (supermarket) in the north California. My responsibilities are: making sales, creating a dynamic customer service, organizing and getting a multiple productions done. At the end of the work, I make sure that all assigned tasks have been properly executed. In addition I sometimes do fill in for the manager position … I am planning to the take the PMP courses at CSUS which will prepare me for its exam.
Brian, do you think the PMP is suited for me?
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Hello Li, thanks for asking.
It seems to me that PMP certification is commonly used by people who are in the Information Technology (IT) field. Most project managers manage the projects of software developers or business consultants who are developing IT projects to a tight timeline and budget. That being said, I do know that PMI would like their project management framework to be extended to all projects – projects involving sales, services and other areas as well.
I think that it would be great for you to take PMP preparation courses at CSUS as you have planned… I think that project management is a very interesting doctrine, and you could probably learn a lot from the PMP prep course that you take. I also think that it would look good on a resume – you might have to explain to your managers what PMP certification is all about, but perhaps once you do, you’ll be able to manage different projects or sales promotions within your organization.
Do note that you have to have a certain number of project management experience hours (explained in this post) to qualify to take the PMP exam – make sure you have those covered before you apply.
Best of luck to you!
Hi! Brian, I would like to thank you so much for your constructive and encouraging responses.
Thank you again.
I appreciate the kind words Li – I am happy to help project managers, and those who are interested in the field of project management, however I can.
Thanks again, and Happy Canada Day!
I am an engineering technician / Senior CAD desginer. I have diversified expereienc in Civil, Electrical & Mechanical engineering doing mostly design and drafting work. I have some experience as a supervisor. Will it be worthy for me be a PMP considering my background and I want to be a PM in future?
Your comments will be highly appreciated.
It sounds like you have a technical background, and are interested in managing projects in the future. I do think that PMI certification would be useful for you… in fact, I think that being a certified project manager can “up the careers” of people who are technically minded, and I also think that people with technical experience or backgrounds make for very skilled project managers.
Here’s a post I made on the subject: http://entangled.com/should-engineers-get-pmp-certified/
Best of luck with your engineering work and possible project management future.
Thanks Brian. I live in Virginia. Would you recomend any place where I could be preped for the exam and any book that would be helpfull?
Thanks for asking. I have created a post on this site that outlines how I personally studied for – and passed – the PMP exam, including what textbooks I studied; while other project managers have used different approaches to studying, mine seemed to work well for me! If you’re interested in reading how I went about my PMP exam preparation, feel free to check it out here.
Good luck with your studying!
I think under pmi site you can find many tutors which you can go to. Also internet is a big place where you can find all the info. I have been studying for it also from some amazon ebooks, free videos and study question.
Hello Alex – thanks so much for your input!
I would definitely be interested in learning more about what online resources people find helpful when it comes to studying for the PMP credential (and other credentials). I do tend to get asked a lot about what resources are helpful.
I also found that certain message boards (some on Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on) are helpful, as there are plenty of seasoned project managers who have gone through the process and have lots of good advice to give. It’s also fun to be a part of such a board and to share your own experience!
Thanks again – I appreciate it.
Are you aware of the latest PMI certification in agile? Check it out and consider joining those of us early adopters who are helping PMI embrace the agile culture.
I have seen some references to the PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification… however, I do not know much about it. I myself was certified under the ScrumMaster Certified program, provided by the Agile Alliance.
It would be interesting to learn more about the PMI-ACP certification… it seems that the Project Management Institute is well aware that Agile methodologies and the Scrum framework are catching on, and that many development houses are switching to Agile to develop software! I hope it catches on.
I’ll do some research and find out more about it. I appreciate your comment!
Hi Brian. Thanks for the informative article. It’s also nice to see that your very active on responses. I’m going to take the PMP Prep Course but as you mentioned in your article, the application process is tedious for the PMP Certification. Do you mind sharing the excel file that you created that indicates what tasks you did for what project and how long it took to do them? I’d like to leverage that in order to list my projects/hours. Perhaps you can email it to me or post it on the site. Thanks!
I have some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is, since I applied for, and took, the PMP exam, PMI has changed their framework – they’re currently on version 4 of the PMBOK, while my test was based on version 3. Therefore, the spreadsheet tool that I used to track my project management hours throughout my career is now out of date, and would not be of much use to you or anyone else who is interested in taking the PMP exam based on version 4 of PMI’s framework.
The good news is, when I created my original spreadsheet to help track the project hours I’d spent in each of the various process areas, the PMP examination was more difficult to apply for. Back in those days, you had to specify how many hours you spent performing work on all of the various processes for each project that you’d worked on. So for example, you’d have to estimate: how much time did you spend creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)? Now, it seems that you only need to track hours to the process group level. So for example, how much time did you spend working on a project in the Monitoring & Controlling phase of the project?
As you can imagine, this is much, much easier! So it shouldn’t be too hard for you to create a tool in Excel that allows you to break down the projects you’ve worked on during your career to the process group level, and then sum what you find to make sure you have the required number of hours to apply for the PMP exam. And don’t forget to pass these hours by your former managers to make sure that they’d back you up if ever you got audited by PMI.
Best of luck to you!
I’ve looked at the PMP
Thanks for the info..its very helpful…
what could be the average preparation time required for giving the PMP exam? And also it would be helpful, if you may let us know of any one incident, which made you feel that the time and money put in for PMP cert was worth it.
Hi Brian, thanks for asking.
Regarding your first question about how long it takes to prepare for the PMP exam, in my experience it took several weeks of evenings and weekends to prepare for it. I read three different sources cover to cover; the PMBOK (of course) and two PMP study books that I’ve listed above. In fact, I read Rita’s book twice – and that’s a hefty book, so it took a while. Maybe 12 hours to read and study. I also spent several hours (maybe five?) going through some PMP exam sample questions that I found online.
In addition, I spent maybe three hours – maybe more – creating a flowchart to use that showed me how processes are inputs to some processes and outputs of others, and then I spent maybe three to five hours memorizing this to use as a brain dump during the actual test, and also memorizing the Earned Value formulas.
I should note that I tend to overstudy… when I took the exam, I passed quite handily… I think there was one area that I achieved the ‘second best’ rating, whatever that was, and all the rest were the top rating. So after my studying I was very ready to take the exam.
Regarding your second question, being PMP certified has helped me to get job offers… even in today’s lousy economy, I believe that having strong IT project management skills backed by PMP certification is a winning combination. It’s hard for me to tell if it was being PMP certified that got me jobs or if I would have been able to get them anyway – nobody hires you solely for being PMP certified, of course – but the HR specialists who interviewed me were well aware of PMP certification and what it meant, and seemed to value it.
To be honest, another perk of being PMP certified is that I get to meet and help other project managers learn more about the profession of project management, and give what assistance I can to project managers who are on their way to becoming PMP certified. Being PMP certified also earns you admittance into a community of like-minded project management professionals, each with their own valuable experience and stories to tell. It’s nice to be a part of such a community.
All the best to you, and good luck!
PMP is worth it I know some people in Switzerland earning very high 6 six figure earning. If you want you can check the list of high paying countries here.
If your in USA you can earn pretty good salary. But you have to work hard and gain lot of experience to earn high salary.
Hi Alex – thanks for the link!
I agree that PMP certification is worthwhile. There have been some surveys that have shown that PMP certification is the higest paid of all of the IT certifications. Still others show that there is a good-sized gap between the pay of project managers who are PMP certified, and project managers who are not.
I myself posted something that shows the results of PMI’s project manager salary survey – you can find it here. I should probably update it with new information, as it’s a couple of years out of date at this point.
Thanks again for your input!
Thank you for all the information. Me too am planning to take the PMP examination, however am not sure if it is the right thing for me as I have totally different background and no project managing experience :(. So request your help.
Unfortunately, if you have no project management experience, you are unable to take the PMP examination… in order to apply to take the test, you need to have amassed a certain number of hours of project management experience (4,500 hours if you have an undergraduate degree). That being said, project management is a worthy field to consider entering… if you’d like to one day become a certified Project Management Professional, you can always start getting involved with project tasks, taking on some project leadership roles, and seeing how you like the role. Best of luck to you!
Thanks for writing this post, and answering questions so many months after publishing it.
I want to add my own personal experience about getting a PMP credential. I have been a PM for about 18 years, and relocated from San Francisco to Atlanta in December 2011. Upon starting my job search, I found that many job postings required applicants to be a PMP. When I spoke with recruiters, one of the first things they would ask is if I was PMI certified.
I finally took the exam this past weekend, and past on my first attempt. Since I had so much real work experience working in PMOs based upon the PMI methodology, I didn’t have to study for months. I bought the Andy Crowe book, read it once, watched a few videos and took some practice exams on his Velociteach site over an eight day period.
I say this not to brag, but to point out that studying for the exam really didn’t change my level of knowledge as a PM. But being able to put PMP after my name on my resume immediately opened up job opportunities that I wasn’t getting before. Yesterday, I submitted my resume for a position to a company that I had sent it to before without getting any response, but this time the recruiter called me an hour later. Tomorrow I have a phone interview with company.
So, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote. Becoming a PMP will not change your abilities as a PM, but it will probably get a recruiter or hiring manager to pay attention to your resume, and possibly give you a call about the job.
Thanks very much for your comment, and for your kind words about the post… I’m glad to be able to help people learn more about the field of project management if I can!
I’m glad to hear that you have had such great success as a project manager yourself, and that PMP certification seems to have been of benefit to you in your career. I agree that recruiters are very interested in knowing if project managers are PMP certified – it seems to open the door to many jobs (or at least to the interviews for the jobs). I do think that being PMP certified says something about a candidate, and that you can learn a bit about their background and career interests just by knowing that they have taken and passed the examination. And how cool that you have some solid proof of the value of PMP certification – that you sent a resume to a recruiter with no response, and then sent nearly the same resume – plus PMP certification – back to the same plac, and have a phone interview scheduled. That does sound very promising. Best of luck with the interview!
I’m also glad to hear that you didn’t have to study too hard for the test. A lot of the answers to the test do not seem to be that difficult if you understand some of the most important concepts behind the questions – that process must always be followed, and that proper documentation, communication and planning can keep projects on track.
Thanks again for your feedback, and your advice to the others reading this post – I really appreciate it! All the best to you.
This article has been very helpful, but I have a few questions that are pretty specific regarding my current employment, so a private email would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
Sure, I’d be glad to help however I can, though you should also feel free to post any sorts of questions about your background here (unless you feel it is too personal); perhaps there are others in the same situation as yourself who are facing similar questions and would be interested in joining in the discussion.
That being said, I’ll send you an email. Thanks!
Hi Brian, I passed PMP in April 2012, Till date did not any response from any recruiter, Though I have 16+ years experience in deployment of electro-mechanical project in one of Indian PSUs. Also I am having MBA( IT), PGDOM & certified energy auditor degree certifications.
Hello Vijay, congrats on passing the PMP exam. It sounds like you have a great deal of experience to your credit… have you been applying for straight project management jobs, or for upper management or director-level positions? Either way, it seems that recruiters have a lot of great things to choose to talk to you about when looking over your resume.
I don’t personally know how powerful the PMP certification is in India; I do know that I get a lot of questions about the PMP examination process from people who are living in India and working in the Indian IT industry. I’d be interested to know if being PMP certified does give you an edge going forward in your career, or if you find it does not give much benefit. Considering your many and varied experiences, it does seem a bit like “icing on the cake” to me!
Best of luck to you.
I’m trying to figure out if I have the right kind of experience to qualify for PMP certification (after I tackle the 35 hours of PMP education). I haven’t handled very many specific discrete projects, but I was the production manager of a weekly print product for several years. In a sense, I was the manager of the same “project” every week for those years. (There were occasional other projects that I managed, but these were few are far between given the demands of my regular workflow.) Do you think PMI would consider my background applicable? I’d hate to put the time and money into applying without yet having the proper qualifications, but I am very interested in pursuing project management further.
Thanks for this great article and discussion by the way. It’s been very helpful!
From what you’ve told me, I’m not 100% sure that what you have been managing is “projects”. In the PMBOK, the Project Management Institute (PMI) indicates what they believe is a project, and what they believe is simply an operational task. I’ve written a post about this topic on this site.
My advice to you is to check out this article, and ask yourself – what project management tasks have I completed during my career as a production manager, and how many hours of experience does that add up to? Some tasks that you completed in your daily job will not amount to having completed projects… but I will bet that some will. If you can ethically find the proper hours of project management experience within your wealth of work experience, and if your former employers will vouch for the project management work that you have done for them when you document them for the PMP exam application, then I think you should go for it. That way, should an audit arise, you will have solid project management experience documented to show PMI, and your employers will back you up.
Best of luck to you!
I have some questions regarding PMP certification.. Can u plz share ur email address with me…
Why not ask your questions on this post – other project management professionals may be able to answer them in my stead, as I have many to go through. And answers to the questions can be seen by other people who may have similar questions.
Really enjoyed and appreciated your post.
I am currently working as a Financial Security Advisor with a large insurance company. I have been doing this for the past 4 years. Prior to this career, I worked 10 years as an IT manager for a law firm and 8 years before that as a tech., helpdesk then network administrator in IT as well. I have a total of 18 years experience in IT and as I mentioned, 10 of those as manager of a team of 7.
I recently started looking to make the jump back into IT only to realize that most employers seem to favor PMP certification. I’m at the point now where I am seriously considering trying out for the certification. I have managed several projects in the past 10 years as IT manager but none of those using known/conventional methods/applications such as MS Project.
I guess I would have a two part question for you:
In your opinion, will the 4 years away from the “IT world” hinder me in any way and if not, how difficult will it be for me to do a proper breakdown of my past experience in project management……will it be enough to justify the required management hours?
Any insight would be greatly appreciated and thanks again for being a great resource in this difficult decision process.
Hello Eric, I have some potentially good news for you.
On the PMI web site it states:
To apply for the PMP, you need to have either:
A four-year degree (bachelor’s or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.
A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience, with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.
Nowhere on the page do I see anywhere that indicates that you need to have completed this experience during the past X number of years. As such, I don’t think it will be a problem that you have been away from the IT world for four years… I think you can still use your previous IT experience to apply to sit the PMP exam.
Please note that you should verify this… I’m not associated with PMI, and have come to this conclusion only by reading the PMI web site, and by taking a close look at the PMP application form.
As for your second question, unfortunately I think it will be somewhat challenging for you to do a good breakdown of your past project management work experience, but the upside is that this is a difficult process for most people who apply for PMP certification. The important thing is that you do it as accurately as possible, and that you talk to your former managers and ask them if they would vouch for the hours you indicate should your application get audited by PMI. In my case, I sent my spreadsheet of hours worked to my managers and asked if they would agree that I worked those hours at those companies in case of an audit… when they agreed, I knew that even if my hours weren’t 100% accurate (which is probably impossible to achieve), I felt from an ethical standpoint that they were accurate enough, and my employers agreed that they were accurate enough, and so I submitted those hours with my application.
I hope this helps. Best of luck to you, and please let me know if you have any further questions! I’m glad to help.
Hello Brian, I’ve found your article to be honest and enlightening but unfortunately I’m still in need of a little help. I have a few questions so to better assess my eligibility for PMP certification. I would rather not post specifics for all to read at the moment and would appreciate if you can send me an email so I can forward questions directly to you.
With my thanks … Robert.
Thanks for the feedback on the article. I’d be glad to answer your questions – I’ll send you an email. That being said, if you can be unspecific about your queries, feel free to ask here – perhaps other people are in the same situation as you, and would be interested in joining in the conversation. Thanks!
How would I document my experience and mainly references.
I have 13 years experience in Startups and have been a founder entrepreneur during this time.
How would I proceed with the PMP certification.
The answer is, you would simply document all of the project management experience that you have attained, making sure that you have enough hours to satisfy PMI’s requirements for PMP certification applications (the amount you’d need is indicated in the post above). Even if you’ve worked in startups and as a founding entrepreneur, I am sure that many of the hours you have worked during your career could be considered proper project management experience.
As for references, you might have a harder time finding references for a PMI audit, considering that a lot of the work that you completed was done solo. In that case, you might want to see if you can find some collateral from the projects that you have worked on. If you have old project charters, project schedules, work breakdown structures and other documents from those projects that you have completed, those would likely appease PMI should they ever decide to audit your application.
Best of luck to you.
Thanks for the reply Brian will let you know how the application process goes.
Thank you Rajiv – please do keep me informed as to how your application process is going. Best of luck to you on the exam!
let me thank you for such a details review on PMP certification . well i come from a totally different work environment as I was working in Army. after completing my tenure in army I decided to join the corporate world and am working as Sr Manager Administration and facilities with no IT background. will PMP certification help me grow my career in ADMINISARTION & FACILITIES ???
I believe that PMP certification can help people in a variety of different fields. If you’re in Administration or any other field, you will likely be called upon to manage projects. In fact, it seems that these days, many areas of work that were once managed in an ad hoc manner are now employing project managers and other skilled professionals to manage the work as distinct projects, and to track them accordingly. As such, I do think that PMP certification might serve you well… especially if you are working in a field that employs IT (even if you do not have an IT background yourself).
Hey Brian, great site! Love the explanation of everything and it makes it easy to understand.
I have a question for you, and would appreciate it if you could email me, as it is going to be fairly long and not suited for a forum.
I appreciate it.
Hi John, sure I will send you an email… though as I’ve mentioned, I’d also be glad to answer any questions people have on this forum, so that other readers would also be able to see (and perhaps benefit from) any potential answers. Not to mention that I certainly don’t have all the answers (mostly just my opinions), and there might be others here who do!
Hi Brian, It has been a pleasure reading your answers regarding PMP Certification.
I am just working has a Specialist with 4+ years experince in a software field. I dont have any project management experience but I have done my 1 year Executive MBA and Project management courses in a private insitution. Please let me know if I can take the PMP Certication directly and apply for Project Management Jobs.
It sounds like you have made a good solid start to your project management career, with your Executive MBA and the project management courses that you have taken. Unfortunately, you will not be able to get PMP certified at this point – you will need to have a certain amount of project management work experience in addition to the education that you have completed in order to apply for the PMP examination. My recommendation is that you get a job working without PMP certification, and then work your way toward the amount of experience you will need to get certified.
You can also look into PMI’s CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) certification; this is more of an entry-level project management certification that does not have the heavier work experience requirement as does PMP certification.
Good luck to you.
Awesome post 🙂
I am a very young professional and always wanted to have some good certifications under my belt to get into good projects going around & see the world.
This sounds globally accepted and helpful 🙂
Hi Kailash – thanks for the feedback!
I agree that project management is a great career for someone who wants to see the world – I myself have traveled to some very interesting places and have met some great people by working as a project manager in the field of professional services. Good luck to you in your own career!
Thanks for the posting.
It is really helpful.
Hello Satyender – thanks for the feedback – I really appreciate it!
Brian, I am curious about your comment, “Some people take PMP preparation courses (that normally cost money) in order to prepare for the PMP exam. I personally did not take such a course – I found that the PMBOK and other PMP study guides were sufficient to give me the knowledge I needed to pass the exam.”
In fact, a prep course is one of three mandatory pre-requisites for taking the PMP exam. The others are experience and academic education. (I use the latter term loosely, a high school diploma being the minimum education requirement.) The three are subject to PMI audit. At least that has been the case since I first had to get certified to win new contracts some eleven or so years ago.
I believe the PMP eligibility requirements indicate that in order to sit for the PMP exam, you need to have completed 35 hours of project management education. I myself did not take a PMP prep course, but I did complete over 35 hours of project management education as part of a graduate degree program. In my case the education hours were spent learning about project management in general, while not necessarily learning those specific skills to help me pass the PMP exam.
Thanks for your comment – I appreciate your putting that forth to make sure.
I am planning to take PMP certification and also plan to do Masters Certificate in Project management from Schulich College.
Kindly, guide me if the Master certificate in project management is helpful in preparation for PMP certification and even in future endeavors.
That is a difficult question. I do think that a certificate in project management would be of great help when preparing for the PMP examination, and you will probably learn a lot about managing projects through taking such a course. However, if your main goal is to pass the PMP exam, taking a Masters certificate in project management might be a bit of an overkill – you probably don’t have to go to such a length in order to study for the examination!
In future endeavors, on the other hand, having a Masters certificate in project management will most likely give you an extra edge. I’m sure that having that listed in your education section on your CV can help you get noticed by recruiters.
One other thing to note – if you do do a certificate in project management, the hours you spend learning about project management while completing that certificate can count toward your required education hours when applying for the PMP exam. Which can’t hurt!
Best of luck to you in your studies.
Thanks for pointing out the PMP need.
My situation is bit different, I am a Java/Oracle Professional and have experience of programming of 7+ years. Should I do PMP now?? OR should I wait till I become a manager (could be 7 more years from now)…
Please advice and email.
My recommendation is, if you can apply to take the PMP examination (re: if you have the required hours of project management experience and education), then you should go ahead and do so – being a certified PMP will likely start helping you right away in terms of getting jobs or raising your salary.
That being said, if you’ve been working as a programmer, it may be the case that you do not yet have the required hours of project management experience that you need in order to apply for the PMP exam. If that is the case, then you should start getting experience managing projects; then, when you have enough hours to satisfy PMI’s PMP application requirements, then you should go for it.
Good luck to you.
Now I have role and responsibilities of handling the project but not completely. I got involved in only Development to Delivery phase. Anyway I did started to read PMP books. Is it advisable to do training from some PMP classes who provided me hours?
How much hours and till how much days I should read to crack this in first attempt?
Thank in advance…
In order to apply to sit for the PMP exam, you do need to have a certain number of hours of project management education under your belt. However, it does not have to be PMP exam prep project management education – it can be any project management education.
I personally did not take a PMP exam prep class; I used project management education hours that I attained during my time as a graduate student in France and used those hours to apply to take the PMP exam. To study, I relied heavily on books and on creating graphical representations of the processes in PMI’s framework (you can see what I did to study for the exam here).
As for how many hours it will take you to study for the exam, that’s a difficult question to answer… it should certainly take you a few weeks of studying an hour or so every evening, and more on the weekends if you are able. Definitely take the time to go through the processes and thoroughly understand how they work and how they interact with one another.
Good luck with your studying!
Good analysis. Like to share my view about PRINCE2/PMP doesnt guarantee / generate the expected results of any project unless the external project environment and the team members support it. Thanks.
Hello Srinivasan, I appreciate your feedback. I agree that simply having a PRINCE2, PMP, ITIL, ScrumMaster or any other sort of certification does not by any means guarantee that you will be an excellent project manager or IT service manager. Even someone with years of experience might be a terrible project manager – people are different, learn in different ways, and have different skillsets regardless of experience.
That said, I do think that having a certification in the field that you are working in certainly does help – with two equal resumes, having the certification might put you on top, even if only because it shows that you are dedicated to your profession and take it very seriously. It would be interesting to learn to what extent PMPs are or are not better project managers than non-PMPs. Someone should research this!
Thanks again, and all the best to you.
I have dual masters in Accounting and Finance, and I am currently working as a Project Manager for a Silicon Valley powerhouse. I’ve only been doing PM for 2 years, prior to that I was Financial Analyst for 5 years.
Lately I’ve been thinking of getting the PMP certification. I did major projects while in finance such as process improvements and many migration projects for companies we’ve acquired through the years.
I was wondering if these projects in Finance could count towards my hours for the PMP.
The good news is, if you were working on projects (and not simply recurring tasks) during your time spent working in the Finance industry, then you can certainly apply to become a Project Management Professional.
Check here to see if what you were working on in your previous roles was project management or simply project coordination… if you were managing actual projects, and have the proof to back it up, I say go ahead and move forward with PMP certification.
Great article and comments. I am eligible for a state grant to take a certification course. I have over 20 years of project management experience and am having trouble finding a job in this economy. I was going to take the PMP certification course to give me an edge but I also have been reading alot about the Agile and Scrum Masters Certification as up and coming. Only one course will be paid for. Which Course do you think in this economy (USA) would give me a boost in receiving some interviews. I usually land the job once I get the interview. I can’t even get the interview. I believe it is because there are so many Project Managers without work and Companies have the luxury of picking the PM’s with the certifications. Any advice on direction would be great from you and your readers. Thank you.
Hi Kim – thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it. I’m very sorry to hear that you are having trouble finding a job in today’s economy, though that is not totally a surprise – I know that a lot of people are having those same issues.
What you ask is a difficult question – I am not sure which course (ScrumMaster Certified or PMP) would be a better option for you personally, not knowing your background or interests. Offhand I would say that getting PMP certified would be more powerful than becoming a certified ScrumMaster, though you should know that the costs for preparing for and taking the PMP exam do not stop at the costs for the course – you also have to apply to take the PMP exam which costs several hundred dollars. You can save some money if you join PMI as a member, but that will also cost you money.
It does appear that your goal is to land interviews, in which case I do believe that having your PMP certification will likely help you. Being a certified PMP might be sufficient to at least get you into the interviewing process, and would certainly help your resume to stand out from the non-PMP certified project managers in the application pool.
Best of luck to you!
Read you article with interest! I was an experienced PM with 15 years in Defence and didn’t get around to gaining certification whilst in work (Didn’t have the time really or make a priority – Ooops). Just over 21/2years ago I became redundant and took a break for 18 months and starting looking for a new role last September, but now finding it very difficult to get an interview let alone a job offer! Not sure if getting PMP will solve this especially with the career break (which is now getting longer by the minute), could also be somewhat difficult to prove task timings etc to PMI should I get Audited as this sort of info is not stored centrally and majority of those I worked for were also redundant or now retired! Would appreciate your thoughts/suggestions via e-mail if you have the time. Thanks
I am sorry to hear that your job became redundant. I do think that being PMP certified will help you get some job interviews – you should go for it!
Regarding the task timings, I think that what you should do is document what you believe to be true, and then pass that information by those people who you are able to get in contact with in case you should be audited by PMI. For those items that you can’t find anyone to vouch for you for, try to find any artifacts from managing those projects that you might have on hand – schedules, project charters, WBS documents, or whatever else – in case you need to show those to PMI. If you can’t find any of those documents, then you’ll have to go in without them – I am sure that PMI has a system of audit that takes into account applicants who are in your situation!
Best of luck to you.
I am an Army veteran, 6 years infantry, 2 years counterintelligence. I am trying to establish a career in the civilian world, but unfortunately I am having a hard time translating my skills(leadership, logistics, training junior soldiers, etc.) in to “civilianese”, or any manner in which civilians can understand what I can bring to the table. I have seen numerous job postings for project management, and I think the Army has given me the skills to be extremely successful in that area. I am interested in getting my certification, but once I do, what then? In your opinion, would you say that the skills that the Army has taught me would set me up in the civilian world? I desperately need a new career, as I have been working for 12 dollars an hour since I got out in Feb of 2011…I have tried everything to explain to potential employers what I can bring to the table, but time and time again I get passed over for a kid straight out of college who has absolutely no experience whatsoever. And with a pregnant fiancee and a 5 year old, and a mortgage, I am worried that my only ability to provide for my family would be if I went back in to the service as I made much more there than I can find in the civilian world. Any help would be appreciated.
One question that I am wondering after reading your comment is – where in the United States do you live?
I lived in San Antonio, Texas for a fear years, and in that city, it seemed that having an ex-military background was a very large positive thing on a resume. In fact, when I went to PMI meetings of the San Antonio PMI chapter (Alamo PMI), most of the people that I met who were involved with the chapter were military or ex-military types.
I do think that in certain circles your military background will actually help you to get jobs. In other places, perhaps people do not value the rigorous training and hard work that you go through during your military career.
If you’re open to moving to a different town, perhaps there are “military towns” that would be more open to hiring you for the background that you have attained. San Antonio definitely seemed to be one of those types of towns. Perhaps you should reach out to the Alamo PMI chapter and ask them for advice? That would be my recommendation.
Best of luck to you, Justin – please let me know how it goes.
I really appreciate your efforts and dedication for starting and most importantly maintaining such a nice thread. The first post was made in September 2011 and it is still active, amazing.
I hope that you will guide me as well. I am having total 5 years of experience in IT. I am on a designation of Senior Software Engineer, but I play the role of a Team Lead. I have been involved in the Project Management aspects like Statement of Work Preparation for new discretionary Projects, Team management and Project Delivery schedules. But since designation wise I am just a Senior Software Engineer, whether I am eligible to sit for PMP certification exam, as that is my first preference. Secondly is CAPM certification worthy enough to spend time and money? As I am looking forward to build my career in management as soon as possible, i seek your guidance in this regards.
I would really appreciate for your help and guidance.
If you’ve been involved with project management tasks, and can demonstrate that you have been completing those project management tasks, then you can still sit for the PMP examination. It doesn’t matter if your title was “project manager”, as long as you have been completing project management work.
If you can get your current employer and former employers to vouch for the work that you have done, and if you can legitimately indicate that you have done project management work (and not simply project coordination, or working on project tasks that someone else has managed), then you legitimately can apply for the PMP exam.
Finally, regarding CAPM certification… I am afraid I am not as familiar with this certification, but it seems to me that CAPM certification may not be worth doing. The reason I feel this way is that CAPM certification involves taking an examination based on PMI principles, but does not involve any documented experience as a project manager. To me, part of the appeal of PMP certification is that it means that applicants have documented a certain number of years of project management experience. Without this experience, the CAPM simply means you have studied PMI’s framework and are making a commitment to project management – which, while these are worthwhile qualities in a job candidate, wouldn’t be enough to push me into hiring someone. I’d be much more interested in someone who is a full PMP and who has the experience and education behind it.
Having said this, please find other opinions and let me know what you find out – I’m making this judgment simply based on my own experiences, and I myself might benefit from learning more about the CAPM certification and what it entails.
Best of luck to you!
i own a Engineering degree, now with BPO (E-publishing) and have a feel that i got stuck with the place. I am a manager planing out the projects and schedules, I am looking forward to build my career. I would like to know if doing PMP certification would help me. Also please explain the advantages against six sigma (Master Black belt). Is there a possibility to change field (something other than e-publishing). i seek your guidence.
Good evening Maha,
It seems to me that PMP certification may help you, if you have the skills, experience and education to sit for the exam. Having a PMP might help you stray from being pigeonholed in technical jobs and to move into more a management-oriented career.
Regarding Six Sigma (Master Black Belt), I’m afraid I do not have any experience with this certification myself – but it does seem to me that this is a very specialized certification, and I don’t believe that having a Six Sigma Black Belt necessarily means that you have “management experience”. If you’re looking into moving into a more management-level career, having a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification might be more suited to getting you there.
That said, from what I understand, Six Sigma is a very well-recognized and respected certification – if you are on the verge of getting it based on your own experience, I say go for it! I have several certifications under my belt, and I do not regret any of them.
kindly reply to my mail as well..
Thanks in advance…
I will do so – it takes a little while for me to work down my list of queries. Thanks for staying interested!
I have 7 year of experience in enterprise software development. I have been always working as a Individual contributor for my module . Therefore I have exposure to design, unit testing, coding, dealing with customer escalations. Now I am planning to move to project management jobs, What should I do first to move ahead. What certification I should pursue at the beginning?
If I were you, I’d spend some time working in the field of project management, and then go ahead and get PMP certified. You might also consider getting ScrumMaster Certified with the Agile Alliance, if you work on Agile-based projects – but I do not think this certification will help you much if you are looking for jobs outside of the realm of Agile Development.
If you have the opportunity to manage projects, or parts of projects, without getting more certification, you should go for it – continue to build your resume until you can complete the PMP certification. Not a lot of people have this opportunity – many people find that without PMP certification, it’s very hard to get the experience you need to get PMP certified. So if you have this opportunity, go for it!
Best of luck to you.
I have a PMP but have no relevant IT background. Majority of my project experience is based in construction and implementation. I was of the opinion that the PMP methodology is usable across many business applications. I have gotten a few interviews but never get to the table. I am debating on whether to renew because the PMP has not assisted me toward a career goal in any industry. Any suggestions?
The Project Management Institute likes to boast about how their project management framework is applicable across many different fields – Information Technology, Construction, Warehousing, Manufacturing, and so on. In real life I find that this is not the case – PMP certification seems to be entrenched in the realm of IT.
That said – having PMP certification tends to open more doors than it closes, and a hundred dollars and change is not that much to spend every three years to keep this certification. Not to mention – what if one day you feel like entering the field of IT, or if knowledge of IT becomes important for your industry?
You have gone through a lot of work and study to attain PMP certification – my recommendation is to go ahead and renew, even if you don’t see the value in it now. It’s worth the risk that you may see the value in it in the future – plus, knowledge of PMP certification and what it entails does seem to be growing. Perhaps it is not as helpful now for you as it will be in the future.
I have similar kind of quesry but before that i would like to brief my professional ground.I have an experience of 4 yr in telecom technical domain (Networking Data)and have handled some projects at small level. Currently m also pursuing MBA from one of the high ranked collages as part time. I am interested in management domain more than that of technical but now after 4 years its tough to switch into new domain.I am interested in PMP certifiaction and have read a lot about it, but my doubt is ,can PMP certifiaction will boost up my carrer and allow my the switch m looking for which can later provide and beneficial base for my management course i m into. Also what kind of domain i can exactly look into.I seek your guidance for this . Thanks in advance
Good afternoon Piyush,
It sounds like you may be ideally suited to going through the PMP certification process, as you are a person with a highly technical background who is moving into the management space. Getting your MBA will be a big help if you’re looking to move into management roles, and having PMP certification will also mean that you can take on the management of projects. You may also move into a Director-level position or move into managing teams or groups of developers or networking experts.
I do think that being PMP certified can boost your career – or at the least, I do not think it is a bad thing in your case to have PMP certification. Even if your work experience and MBA education are enough to get you a job, having PMP certification may be the icing on the cake – and it can also show that you have committed yourself to learning about proper project and program management, and that you are interested in the domain. Even if you are not managing projects in your future career, every manager should know how to manage projects properly, as it applies to so many different areas. As such, I recommend it.
Best of luck with your graduate degree and with your future endeavors.
Hi Brian, It has been a pleasure reading your answers regarding PMP Certification.
As I need to ask you few information, may I request you to share your email id please?
I’d be glad to send you an email, but if you have any specific questions please feel free to ask them here – that way, any other people who are interested in the ins and outs of PMP certification might benefit from the discussion. I definitely want to make sure that everyone has access to the information!
All the best to you.
Thanks Brian 🙂
You are welcome Sharath! Best of luck to you in your project management career.
I am from R&D, Embedded technolgies.
What is normally carrier experince after which people opt for this certification.
I have been managing project for past 5 years, but, most are R&D design cycles and not much into commercial/cost-run.
Am I eligible for the certifiaction.?
Even if you have not been working in the field of Information Technology, if you have been managing projects for five years, then you do likely have the work experience that is required to get PMP certified. In order to be sure you’d want to take a look at the PMP application form on PMI’s web site. Remember that you would also have to have a certain amount of formal education depending on the hours, including a certain number of hours of project management education. See Travis’s helpful comment below that outlines the amount of education and experience that are required to sit for the PMP examination.
Regarding your question about PMP certification and R&D, I do not personally know to what extent PMP certification is used by people who are working in Research & Development, but it does seem to me that it would be a useful certification to have in that environment, especially if the R&D efforts that you are undertaking are highly technical in nature, or have a lot of moving parts. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to look into it.
To apply for the PMP, you need to have either:
A four-year degree (bachelor’s or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.
A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience, with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.
Hi Travis – thank you for sharing this information – I really appreciate it!
All the best to you.
Its no problem at all. I love this website and visit here often. I believe you’re doing a great service to the project management community through this page. The number of questions you’ve answered here and the amount of time you’ve dedicated is really commendable.
All the best to you as well.
Thank you Travis – that is very kind of you! I really appreciate your stopping by and offering your own thoughts and advice about project management.
I read your post on PMP certification and it is really good. I am planning to do a PMP certification and was not sure if it would help me in my career growth. If you can pass on your mail id, I can share my resume with you so that you can have a look at it and then suggest me.
Thanks and Regards,
I can send you an email, but I would also be glad to answer any general questions about how PMP certification can help your career on this post – I do want to make sure that other people who are considering applying to become certified PMPs have access to the information they might need to make such a decision. Please let me know if you have any general questions that I or someone reading this post might help you with!
Hi Just to let all here know, I had a audit on my application last Friday , sent the documents to PMI on Monday reached Headquarters on Wednesday and got approved on this Friday.
So if audit particulars sent properly there will not be a problem.
Now to prepare for the exam.
That is great news – congratulations on passing the PMI audit! I know that the PMI audit strikes fear into a great many people – mostly fear of the unknown, I would guess.
I’d very much like to hear more about the audit process – was it difficult to amass all of the supplementary information that PMI required, and what sorts of preparations did you undertake that helped you when it came down to being audited by the company?
Best of luck to you with your studying and exam prep – I hope that it goes well.
I have about 10 years of IT experience, but never in a lead role as per designation. As a business analyst in a IT support role, I have coordinated projects in house, and have worked in different phases of project execution. But I have never got the formal designation of project manager, project coordinator or project lead. Can it affect my approval?
I would really appreciate it if you will reply by mail. I appreciate your willingness to help us with our queries.
I do not believe that it matters that you never formally worked with the title of Project Manager. To apply for the PMP examination, you need to have 3 years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours of leading and directing projects. It does not indicate that you must have had any official titles or job descriptions while managing those projects.
As long as you legitimately have three years of project management experience and 4,500 hours of leading and directing projects, as well as the other requirements listed on PMI’s web site, then I would suggest that you can in good conscience apply for the PMP examination.
Good luck to you!
Your article is very informative. I am thinking about pursuing a PMP certification, but still have a few questions. Can you email me?
I could email you, but if you have any questions, perhaps you could ask them here? It seems that a lot of people have questions about project management, and it could be that they are in the same situation as yourself, and might want to see the answers in a public place. Thanks!
I transferred to project management from a previous position being an analyst working as a liaison between the technical teams and the business clients. In the analyst role, I was interested more in the project management aspect and decided to pursue project management as a career. I am currently working as a project manager managing technical projects for a section within a government agency. I am more of a liaison between the technical team and the business section and I am not really doing project management work. Therefore, I wanted to move to the private sector to get more project management experience, but have not been able to get even an interview. I am thinking of getting a PMP to give me an edge and to hopefully be able to find more opportunities. I have an MBA, but I know that is not enough. Do you think a PMP is worth it in my situation?
Thanks in advance for your input!
I am sorry to hear about your difficulties getting an interview for private sector project management jobs – this is certainly a difficult job market. The good news is, I do believe that having an MBA degree and being a certified PMP is a powerful combination. In my experience, being a PMP-certified MBA graduate can get you past an initial candidate screening and can likely help you score a telephone interview – so my guess is that getting PMP certified can help you with your current problem of getting past that first hurdle.
That being said, I have been living abroad for the past few years, and I haven’t been job hunting, so I really can’t guarantee that getting PMP certified will help you in today’s job market. All I can tell you is that the combination of having an MBA and PMP certification has certainly helped me in the past! In general, my opinion is, if you have fulfilled the necessary work experience and education requirements to apply for PMP certification, and if you are interested in furthering your career as a project manager, then you should go ahead and get PMP certified. The test is difficult but easily passable with some work, and being PMP certified has been shown to open some, albeit not all, doors to project management positions.
Good luck to you!
It was really easier much easier than what is written about the “dreaded process”
I had kept all documents ready in case a audit happened including envelopes etc.
So when it came I printed the audit forms and sent it to the Concerned contacts with the addressed envelopes so it was very easy for the Contacts ( including printing the addresses etc in the forms).
Audit took 7 days from the say of sending the Documentations to PMP HQ.
Rajiv – that is great to hear!
I’m glad that it wasn’t such a huge deal to be audited by PMI. I do believe that proper preparation for an eventual audit before you send in your PMP application is the best method for eventually getting past it successfully. I’m glad that your contacts were willing and able to respond to PMI’s requests and to send the proper information to their headquarters. It sounds like you spent your time wisely preparing in case of an audit, and it paid off.
Best of luck with your exam preparation – let me know how it goes.
Thanks so much for your article, and for taking the time to answer all of your replies here. The information you provide is very helpful, and I’m grateful for the effort and knowledge you share with all of us.
I just started a contract role as a Jr. PM within a large IT services organization. My background is not in project management, so I have quite some time to wait before I have enough experience to sit the PMP. I am contemplating getting my CAPM in the meantime, but I was wondering if you could share your personal views on the CAPM. As I peruse various job boards and discussion forums, I haven’t come across too much acknowledgement of the CAPM. It seems that most companies either aren’t aware of it or they don’t hold it in high regard. Do you think it’s worth it for someone who has to wait another 2 or 3 years to sit the PMP to go ahead and get the CAPM?
Many thanks for your help, and I look forward to your response.
Hello Samantha, thanks for your comments regarding my blog – I really appreciate it! It is cool of you to say.
Thanks also for your question regarding the value of CAPM certification. That is quite a difficult question for me to answer personally, as I do not have a lot of experience with the CAPM, what it entails, and whether or not it is a good idea to get certified as an Associate Project Manager – I have only ever gone through the PMP application and certification process myself.
My initial thought is that the CAPM is not worth getting. It seems to me that a lot of the value of getting PMP certified is that PMP certification shows that someone has attained a certain level of education and work experience in project management, and then passed a difficult test based on the Project Management Institute’s own project management framework. The problem with the CAPM is that it doesn’t really demonstrate that the holder has experience in project management – it simply shows that someone has interest in project management, and that they have passed a difficult test on the subject.
It seems to me that holding CAPM certification will not likely help you get jobs as a project manager. However, holding CAPM certification might show the company that you work for that you are interested in project management and that you have taken the first step to managing your own projects. As you are already a junior project manager you likely don’t need to show that sort of evidence in order to earn the right to start managing projects within your organization.
As such, offhand I would not recommend getting CAPM certified… but, as I say, I am not overly familiar with the certification. I will do a bit more research on the subject.
Thanks very much, and all the best to you in your project management career.
Hi Brain .
You are really doing a great Job for PMP aspiratnts by posting your views and ideas and guiding them..
I completed B.E in Mechanical Engineering .I am having 5.5 years of WorK exp.Presently Iam working in Steel related industry as a project manager.
Main role is to execute the projects related to Steel industry.I.e Cordnation ,Executuion and commisioning of Steel plants -Iam very much intrested in PMP courses ,but not that much confident how my carrer will move after this couse and Job Oppurtunities .As basically iam a project manager related to Steel industry .
Are there any chances for me to Shift to IT.?
Iam very much confused .If you guide me ..
Also pleaseshare your mail id .I want to discuss some more points .
A line of confiramtion to the above will be highly appreciated .
Advance thanks for your help, and I look forward to your response.
With your degree in Mechanical Engineering, I do believe that PMP certification can help you move into the IT industry if that is something that you are interested in doing. In fact, coming from a technical background and having PMP certification is a winning combination in my experience. I find that the best project managers are those project managers who have had a great deal of technical experience and understand some of the work behind the projects that they are managing.
As I always say – if you’re a project manager and you have the necessary requirements to get PMP certified, you may as well go ahead and do it – passing the test is not that hard, and it has been shown that being a certified PMP can help you get some jobs. In fact, some jobs require PMP certification, so being certified will definitely help you rather than hurt you.
Finally, if you’re interested in IT, I do suggest that you look into moving into the IT field – there is definitely a lot of work going on in the field of IT, and a lot of projects that are in need of good quality project managers to helm them.
The chicken or egg question: How does one take the exam without amassing some work experience in order to take the PMP exam?
The bad news is, you are unable to get PMP certified without amassing some work experience leading and managing projects. The good news is, that’s part of the reason that PMP certification holds value – if you do become PMP certified, it means that you have earned a certain amount of project management experience in the past.
If you do not have work experience in project management, your next step is to go ahead and get some. One good way to do this is to ask to take on some project management tasks in your own job. While it is probably very difficult to apply for and get a project management job without project management experience, if you have a good standing in your own company and have displayed some leadership potential, you may be able to take on some project management tasks alongside your current role in your organization.
Good luck to you!
IS PMP certification valued in India other than IT industry?
That’s a very good question – a lot of people ask me questions about PMP certification in fields other than IT. My general answer is that in while the PMP was designed to be used by all project managers, and while PMI likes to give project management examples in other domains (most notably construction), the majority of PMP activity takes place within the field of IT.
That being said, I’ve been approached several times during my career by people from India who have asked the same question as you – is PMP certification valuable in other fields? The fact that people in other fields are asking this question is demonstrating something – that knowledge of PMP certification is spreading to other fields. As knowledge of PMP certification grows into other areas, being PMP certified may be of greater benefit in those areas.
I can tell you one thing, and that is that I generally do get a lot of questions about PMP certification from people in India. I do believe that the certification is gaining traction in your country, and that it will continue to do so.
My final comment is this – if PMP certification is going to gain traction in other fields, it will be because people in those fields see the value of PMP certification, become certified, and start to share knowledge about its value with other people in their fields. If PMP certification interests you, and if you are able to get it, I say go for it – it certainly won’t hurt your career!
All the best to you.
Hi sourabh ,
Myself askd this question in so many forums and left out with out getting any reply .. If you get any good one regarding this …keep me informed ..
Thanks in advance
I’m sorry that you’ve been having difficulty finding an answer to the question – I wish I knew more about the Indian job market to give you a definitive answer on this! That being said, please see the response I gave to Saurabh on the subject… my thought is, if interest in PMP certification is going to spread to other fields, it will be because people like yourselves will see the value in PMP certification and share it with others in your industries.
I have been a Project Manager in the home building industry for 14 years. Do you think a PMP cert. would broaden my job search in this field. Or is PMP more geared to the corporate “in the office” shirt and tie type?
It seems to me that PMP certification is most popular in the field of Information Technology. That being said, I do know that PMI is interested in spreading knowledge of their project management framework in other areas. I distinctly remember studying for the PMP exam and reading examples of projects being managed in the construction industry.
I’d be interested to learn more about this, and to discover whether or not knowledge of PMP certification and what it entails is in fact spreading to other industries. I’ll do some research on that, and perhaps write a post on it!
Thanks, and all the best to you.
I haven’t seen this question answered better anywhere else. Thanks a lot for the post.
Thank you Ravi – I really appreciate the kind feedback!
All the best to you.
Fantastic blog Brian and i think everyone appreciates the time you are taking to assist in PMP enquiries.
In the past i have spoken to PMI members to gain knowledge on the PMP exam and to get an idea on whether to put myself through the process of gaining accreditation. However after reading your blog on the application ‘hoops’, it has some what given a scare!
So lets start with my experience, i have over 10 years experience working in the civil engineering sector as an office based engineer, two degree’s amongst other higher qualifications and other project based experience but none of those have been as a formal project manager.
I also have a sound knowledge of project management through study for the PMP exam, understanding key concepts, PM tools/techniques in all knowledge areas.
When speaking to other PMI members and having issued a copy of my resume to check if i meet requirements, they have all recommended that i qualify to take the exam. The worry is that as an engineer, i was not involved in a number of the processes of project management; therefore i can not identify how my project experience fits with each process group. This would make the application process very difficult; also I have spent a four months studying for the exam already in turn causing concern after reading your blog.
Please could you advise on how you would advise on the situation and if you agree with the other PMI members?
Sorry that my blog post gave you cause for concern – that was certainly not the intent! However, I do think that it is important to prepare your PMP examination application properly, and make sure that if you do have to undergo a PMI audit, you will be well prepared to do so.
Regarding whether or not you have the required experience to take the PMP exam, only you can answer that – it certainly seems to me that you have amassed enough project management work experience during your career to take the exam, even if you did not have the official title of project manager. What I recommend you do is go through your work experience and log all of the project management experience that you have attained in the various process groups. Then compare it against PMI’s requirements to see if you have enough hours to apply to take the exam. If you do have sufficient hours, then what I recommend you do is simply pass the hours you have calculated, for each position that you have previously held, that you are going to send to PMI by your previous managers. Ask them: if by chance I were to get audited, would you verify that I have worked the hours I said I did under your employ performing project management tasks?
If your previous employers agree to vouch for you should you get audited, then you will be all set in the unlikely event that a PMI audit does occur. You can simply have your managers vouch for your hours as part of the verification process.
I hope this makes sense – like I said, please do not feel concern about the application process based on anything I’ve said here! Good luck to you.
I wanted to know if it’s possible to apply and write the PMP certification exam without having the required work experience.
In order to apply for the PMP examination you do need to have amassed a certain number of years of project management experience – see the blog post for details. The good news is, the fact that project managers must have attained a certain level of project management work experience before sitting for the PMP exam adds weight to the certification – PMP certified project managers all have a minimum number of years of work experience as a project manager, meaning that when you’re speaking with someone who is PMP certified, you know you’re speaking with an experienced project manager.
Thanks for asking, and good luck to you in your project management career!
Hi Brian ,
Thanks for the post … it is a very useful one with lots of information . I am preparing for CAPM and I an finding it a little tricky to document the Project Work Experience. Could you please help with any template that I can follow. It will be a great help , please e-mail it to me if any .
I’m afraid I do not have a template with which to document your project management hours for the CAPM or PMP application forms… when I applied to take the PMP examination, the application form was different, and required a more granular approach to documenting hours, with work experience in each of the processes within the PMI process groups documented. I accomplished this using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of my own creation. Nowadays I believe it is much easier to document your hours – you can simply document hours for each of the process groups, and you do not have to drill down into the various processes within each group.
What are you finding tricky about the documentation? I recommend using a spreadsheet approach, and then figuring out your hours in each process group per project. Then you can simply calculate the totals for each company you’ve worked for, and the total for all of your projects in the various organizations you have worked.
Thank you very much for the information. I have a few random questions. I have a BA in International Relations but am currently working as a PMA (Project Manager Assistant) for an engineering firm. This is primarily because I have not had much luck finding working in IR and I am a single mother with a 4 year old son so I had to start somewhere. I noticed that you have an “internationally focused MBA” and you mentioned your passion for language and cultural enrichment, may I ask exactly what you do? How did you find your position in France? Are there resources available through PMI for managing International Development projects? Is there an International Relations community within PMI?
Thank you in advance for your feedback.
By the way – I also enjoyed your blog.
Thank you for the kind words about the blog – I appreciate it!
I am fortunate in that, while I was born and raised in Canada, I managed to attain a British passport through my father, who grew up in the UK. Currently I’m managing projects based in France for a North American firm, though the projects have been located in both Europe and Asia.
While I don’t know of any resources available through PMI to help guide you toward international projects, I do think that by linking up with PMI members you may have some success at finding careers abroad. If you are an American citizen, I also recommend that you try to find jobs in Europe through an American company; it seems to me that it is easier to find positions in Europe with American firms, if you’re already based in America, than it is to try to apply to jobs in Europe from North America.
I do think that working abroad is a great opportunity, and it would also be a great opportunity for your son to live in another culture and to learn more about various people and the languages they speak. I highly recommend it! Best of luck to you in your search – please do let me know how it goes.
The way you analyzed about the pros and cons of the PMP certification is really excellent. I also appreciate your efforts in responding the queries.
One of my friend wants to know whether he is eligible for PMP or not. I told him you are the right person to judge. I will send his resume to you, if you can provide your E-mail id.
Thanks very much for your comments about my analysis – I appreciate it very much.
Regarding your friend who would like to know whether or not he is eligible to apply to take the PMP examination, I don’t believe I’m the right person to answer that question. I would recommend that your friend go ahead and document all of the project management work experience and education that he has earned throughout his career, and then tally up those hours to see if they meet the requirements set forth by PMI. Your friend will know the various project management tasks he has undertaken in the roles he has held throughout his career, so it won’t be too hard for him to document those hours in a spreadsheet and then do some simple math to come up with the answer. I hope that it works out for him – best of luck!
Great blog Brian. In your Pros, you mentioned that one of the prerequisites to PMP is having 3 years of project experience. As a professional having my own business for over 10 years and working on various projects for many clients, does this count? How can PMI verify this information?
I posed the same question to Brian and as suggested you have to make an application and document all your experience .
I was also in my own business for 12 years and documented all my projects and reference etc.
Normally I think entrepreneurs get audited like I did but entire process from Application to audit to approval took 10 days.
Make sure all your references are informed and kept ready to sign off audit PDF’s.
Thanks very much for your reply to John’s question – I’m very glad that the audit process was so smooth for you, and that you are sharing your experiences with other project managers facing a similar situation. I really appreciate it!
All the best to you.
While I don’t know the specifics of the work you performed as a professional and working on projects for your clients, it does seem to me that those hours would count toward applying for the PMP examination. As Rajiv has mentioned, the best way to approach the PMP examination application is to document all of the experience that you have. If you have any artifacts from your projects (project charters, work breakdown structures, project schedules, and so on), you might want to keep some of those handy to help to prove to PMI that you did work on the projects that you said you did.
I am pretty sure that PMI receives many applications from people who have worked as consultants for themselves and do not have managers to verify the hours that they have spent working on projects, or people who have worked as project managers for companies performing top secret projects (for the government or the military, for example) who are not allowed to share any information about the work that they have completed. If you do get audited, I would think that PMI would have some suggestions on how you might be able to prove your hours, such as providing artifacts or perhaps even contacting some of the clients you have worked for to vouch for the work you have performed. At any rate, I do know that Rajiv was in a similar situation as you are and had a very smooth PMI audit process, so I think you should be okay. Good luck to you!
Thank you very much for the information.
I completed bachelor in accounting Which is(12+3 years) and Diploma in software.
I don’t have any degree from US.
I have been working as QA analyst in IT industry . I have 5 + years experience.
I have a few random questions.
1. Am I eligible for CAPM?
2. How to apply for CAPM ?
Thanks in advance and I appreciate your help .
If you’re interested in completing the CAPM certification rather than the PMP certification, then it seems to me that you already have everything you need in order to apply to take the CAPM exam.
According to PMI’s web site, in order to apply for the CAPM, you need to have:
At least 1,500 hours experience
23 hours of project management education by the time you sit for the exam.
If you’re a college graduate and you’ve been working in IT, then you have many more hours of work experience than the 1,500 hours needed to sit for the CAPM – it doesn’t seem to specify that you need project management experience, so your years spent working as a QA analyst will work nicely.
As for how to apply, simply visit PMI’s CAPM page and fill out the form.
Hi, I need to ask one simple question. DO we need to attend the PM education prior to documents submission?
I believe that you do need to have completed the project management education requirement (35 hours of project management education) before you submit your documents to apply to take the PMP examination. The same goes for the work experience and college education – these are items that you will need to show that you have completed, and when you document these hours, you will be documenting hours that have been worked.
That being said, I could be wrong!
Best of luck to you in your application and project management studies.
Not prior to submission , if you mean contact hours then yes its needed
Hi Rajiv – thanks again for your insights – I highly appreciate your input! I hope that your PMP exam prep is going well.
This may sound like a vague question but I’m a little confused about completing the PMP certification from a reputed institute or recording my past project experience with PMI .
I have been approached by a PMI certified REP after I inquired about PMP certification and they are committing to reward the certificate after a 4-days workshop.
Please assist on how relevant the certificate would be in the long run.
You certainly don’t have to take a PMP training course in order to apply to take the PMP examination. PMI indicates that you need to have completed 35 hours of project management education in order to apply to take the exam. Nowhere does it say that these hours of education have to be spent studying PMI’s project management framework. In fact, I myself never took a PMP exam prep course – my project management education hours came from project management courses I took completing a graduate degree.
Also, PMI REPs can’t commit to rewarding you a certificate after a four day workshop – only you can take and pass the exam, so nothing is guaranteed.
Regarding the relevance of the certificate, that depends on your career, but if you’re working in IT and interesting in managing projects or project streams, then I do think it might be relevant for you.
the best project managers I have met never had any kind of PM qualifications – PMP does not make you a good project manager, or even a project manager.
We’ve gone (over a couple of decades) from critical path analysis is all you need, to a total focus on certification
Thanks for your insights regarding PMP certification – I highly appreciate all comments or opinions about the certification, both positive and negative.
I agree that having PMP certification does not make you a good project manager. You are correct, however, that it seems that we have moved toward a job market where certification plays a large role. Many jobs now require applicants to hold college degrees, even though those degrees may not necessarily mean that the applicant is a better candidate than would be someone without a college degree – it’s simply a requirement. In that same vein, PMP certification does not necessarily mean that a candidate is a good or bad project manager – but nonetheless, it’s a requirement for many project management jobs, so if you’re interested in a career as a project manager, it’s likely worth getting.
Those are just my thoughts of course – but it certainly does seem that having PMP certification can help get you in the door for many job applications, and is a strict requirement for others, so I do know that this much is true!
Thanks again – I appreciate your thoughts!
I’m interested in applying for the PMP course but It’s a bit daunting deciding which education provider to go with i.e. online or class room environment. I have a particular one in mind and would like your input. I’m also wanted to speak to you about the excel sheet you provided for the audit. Also how long did it take you to complete the course?
I did not take a PMP course myself (see my comment above), but I personally tend to prefer classroom environments over online courses – that is just my preference. Of course, online education does tend to be quite a bit cheaper than classroom courses.
I don’t remember exactly how long it took me to study for the PMP exam – perhaps a month or so, with hours spent studying the material each evening, and also some time spent in the local bookstore with a big coffee going through the PMBOK, Rita Mulcahy’s book, and Andy Crowe’s book. I wrote a separate article outlining my own study preparation routine here.
The Excel sheet was simply a method I used to calculate all of the project management hours I had worked in the various roles I had held over the past several years. The application process has become simpler since I took the exam, so it shouldn’t be too hard to list your previous and current jobs and then break down the hours you’ve spent working into the different PMI process groups to enter into the application form.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
Your post regarding PMP certification Pro & Con was really very informative. Thanks
Thank you Anand – I appreciate the kind feedback. All the best to you.
Having worked in the IT field for last 20 years from projects ranging from small to very large (spanning 3 years with 150+ team), I have come to the conclusion that the best project managers are the highly technical ones, those that came from programmer ranks and moved up. PMP is very theoretical and does not address the ground level realities of projects which can only be learnt if one has worked under the hood. PMP certified project managers
are typically focussed on LOEs, target dates, risk mitigation and issues tracker
kind of stuff, but guess who provides the LOEs and target dates, who provides the solutions for risk mitigation, who solves the technical issues? No prizes for guessing, it is the techies in the team that do it, PMP just fill up the spreadsheet or MS Project workbook with this information.
A project’s success or failure depends 80% on the techincal skills of the project team and only 20% on the project management.
In my opinion PMP is over exaggerated compared to the value it provides.
I would anyday have a well experienced techie with no PMP run a project than a PMP with superfical technical experience.
Good evening Ramana,
Thanks for your comment… sounds like you have had a great deal of experience in Information Technology – I’m sure you’ve seen many projects during those two decades both good and bad. I appreciate your insight!
I happen to agree that in the realm of IT, project managers who have significant technical experience (such as a background as a coder or implementation consultant) tend to very powerful project managers. I don’t want to say definitively that they are “the best” as I want to avoid generalizing, but in my experience it is the technical types who make the best project managers.
I do believe that software developers or technical types who would like to further their careers should look into project management – with the right mix of technical know-how and leadership skills, they can make very powerful project managers. I even wrote a post about it here!
Thanks again for your thoughts, and all the best to you.
I stumbled across your blog…and you have some interesting information and a lot of interesting people and comments!
To everyone, if you have the experience and are in the PM field it is worthwhile for your career to go for the PMP certification. You need to have the background experience and preparing for the test took me a couple of months. (If you are not a native English speaker I suggest you budget more time, as the questions are confusing.)
The next question, will this help you manage projects better? My answer is I hope so, but it is a methodology and a way of thinking and you have to buy into it, as well as your organization.
I work for Siemens and we have a very structured project management methodology. PMP certification is required for us to be certified as a project manager. We have three levels of project managers, PM, Senior PM, and Project Director. To be a PM you need the PMP or equivalent and 3 years P&L experience. Senior PM is 5 years as a PM – and project director is 6 years as as Senior PM. We also rank our projects on a scale -A,B,C-F. A is the most complicated. Project mangers can run C projects, Senior PM’s can do B projects, and directors run the A projects, which are normally in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Thanks very much for your comments, and for your advice to those who are wondering whether or not they should apply to take the PMP examination. Coming from someone with your background and experience, I believe that this is very valuable information.
A lot of people argue with me that PMP certification does not mean that someone is a good project manager, and are often surprised when I agree with them – having PMP certification is by no means an indication of one’s project management skills! However, there are many companies, such as yours, that require PMP certification of people who are applying to work as project managers. As such, I’ve found lots of proof to demonstrate that having PMP certification can help you in your career, and, while having PMP certification may not get you a job outright, it can certainly get you through the door.
Thanks again for your input – I really appreciate it! Best of luck to you at Siemens and in your project management career.
This is a best blog and place to be. I started my PMP application 3 days ago and is waiting for the reply from the PMI. I outbitted my fear with the exitment after reading 50% of your responses to everyone here. Keep up the good work man. You really increased my level of confidence toward the PMP Certification.
Thank you very much Nathan – it makes me very happy to hear that I’ve helped you to make your decision about PMP certification – that was certainly my goal!
Applying for, and studying for, the PMP examination certainly does take time and effort, but if you’re one of the people who believes that the pros of the certification outweigh the cons, then I truly believe that it is worth the extra hassle to go ahead and get certified.
Let me know how it goes – best of luck to you!
Good Day Brian,
Consider myself lucky to have read your post, and the answers that you have shared for the queries posted here.
To give an into about myself, am working as a Project Lead for last 5 years in a small organisation in Bangalore, India.
Since our organisation is quite small, we dont follow the normal PMI methodology of Project Management.
Because of this, i feel it really hard to prove to the world, that am a Project Manager, with 5 years of exp.
Even though i tried hard, i was unable to clear the interview barrier and get placed in a good firm.
Its then that i decided to get PMP certified, with the ultimate aim being placed in a good firm at the earliest.
The way i decided to move forward is
a) Study Rita’s 7th edition book
b) Attend the 35 hours of class in Nov first and second week
c) After 2 months of preparations
attend the exam by Dec first week.
Please suggest/guide if you have some better plans for the same.
Thanks in Advance
I do believe that getting PMP certification can help you to clear the interview barrier, as you speak, and help you progress toward finding work as a project manager in India. I’ve spoken with lots of people from Bangalore, and it does seem that PMP certification is well known and accepted in your region of India (which I hear has some of the nicest weather in the country)!
It seems to me that your first goal should be to try to figure out how to demonstrate your project management experience to potential employers. Find a way to describe the work on the projects you’ve done without mentioning that your methodologies were different from PMI’s framework. It’s not the framework that is important, it is your track record as a successful project manager. Describe the work that you did to keep projects on track and the ways that you managed your projects, and you should be in good shape. I doubt any interviewer will ever ask you “did you use PMI’s waterfall methodology on your projects?”
Meanwhile, regarding the path to get PMP certified, I did write this post on that very subject that includes some of the things that you are doing yourself! Please check it out and let me know what you think – if you have any further questions I’d be pleased to answer them.
Good luck, and happy studying!
Thank for your information it was really helpful
but i want to ask you is it really useful for Civil engineers also..
Thanks in advance
That is a difficult question to answer. There are a few key values to having PMP certification. The first is the things you learn by undergoing certification – how to manage projects according to PMI’s project management framework. This is valuable knowledge, but there is plenty of other project management knowledge that you could also learn that may be of equal or greater value that what PMI has to show you.
The second thing that PMP certification offers is the weight of the certification itself, which is only as valuable as the number of people in your industry who know what the certification means. If people who are hiring you or working with you do not know what PMP certification means and what you need to do to attain it, then it is not as useful. There are a growing number of civil engineers who are learning about PMP certification and what it stands for, but it does not have anywhere near the reputation in engineering as it currently has within IT.
The third value of certification is the fraternity – getting to meet and learn with other project managers in your region. Again, if you’re the only civil engineer who has the certification, then you may not gain much in this area either.
On the other hand… if PMP certification is going to gain popularity within a certain domain, there will have to be people within that domain that get the certification and start sharing with others in their profession what it stands for and what value it holds. You might consider being one of those people.
Good luck with your decision! All the best to you.
I love your post and I am so thankful that I have come across it. I am currently working as a Manufacturing Engineer at my company and I have just graduated with my Masters in Project Management a couple of months ago. I am thinking about taking the PMP certification but i’m kind of confused on which certification I should take that includes the CAPM or the PMP.
The PMP is for an experienced project manager who has done many projects while a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® is for a entry-level certification project manager with little or no project experience. I have the latter but I have my Masters in PM so I was just wondering which one should I choose? Should I go all in with the PMP with no project experience or start out with the CAPM? I would appreciate the feedback.
Thanks very much for the kind feedback on the article – I’m really glad that you found it helpful.
It sounds like you have a bright career ahead of you in project management. I definitely think that you should get PMP certified if you are interested in leading projects or programs in the future. Getting the certification does seem to get people interviews, and some project management jobs require PMP certification of their applicants.
CAPM certification, on the other hand, I do not think is as useful, especially in your case. CAPM certification is for people who are interested in getting jobs as project managers, but who do not have any experience leading projects yet. Getting the CAPM certification means that these people have learned PMI’s methodology and have passed a test on it, and also shows their interest in the profession – but it does not necessarily mean that they have any project management experience or background. As you already have a Masters in Project Management I think you are already ahead of the game, and that getting CAPM certified probably won’t help you get jobs any more than your degree already will.
I would say your next step is to go ahead and get the required work experience so that you can sit for the PMP exam, and get certified as a PMP. You will already likely have all of the hours you need to do so after taking your Masters in Project Management. I think that getting PMP certified instead of CAPM certified will be better worth your time and money. That is just my opinion of course.
Best of luck to you!
I have served as a SME on two projects that together ran from 2006 to 2010 in two different countries. My question is would I have enough project management experience to take the PMP certification exam or should I prepare for and take the CAPM first?My second question is if Im currently a SSGB does that help me in terms of qualifying hours?
Thanks for responding
Good evening Brookes,
It sounds to me like you likely have the required experience to apply to take the PMP examination, depending on how long the two projects you served as SME ran for. However, only you can go through your project experience to figure out whether or not you have the required experience to take the exam. I have put together an Excel template that you can use to calculate your hours to see whether or not you have the required work experience to apply to take the exam – perhaps it would be of help for you?
Regarding the CAPM certification, I think in your case it would be more worth going ahead and doing what it takes to get PMP certified. The CAPM certification does not (or at least, last I checked, did not) carry nearly the sort of weight that PMP certification carries. With your experience you should probably do what it takes to get the rest of what you need to apply to take the PMP exam.
Finally, being a Certified Six Sigma Green Belt will not help you get PMP certified – however, I am pretty sure that hours spent studying for SSGB coursework or time spent in SSGB classes can count toward Professional Development Units (PDUs). This is something that you should check into, but once you do get PMP certified, you can put time spent studying Six Sigma material toward earning PDUs. Just being a CSSGB, however, will not help you at all where PMP certification is concerned.
Thanks for your questions, and good luck!
Gone through your post, it is enlightening and at the same time the queries in the comment section confuse me whether I have the right experience to apply for PMP course.I have completed my mechanical engineering in the year 2007 and after that worked for 30 months in a infrastructure company as a maintenance engineer in Road projects and LNG Ports. Thereafter I completed my MBA in (Marketing and Operations) .At the moment from last 6 months I am working as a Sales professional, looking after new market development,market communications, dealer networks etc. To sum up all the sales role. I have the requisite 36 months experience to apply for PMP course.
What are your suggestions of me taking these exam, as over the years my experience will be in sales and marketing. Though I have managed projects in my past experience and at the moment also my work is related to managing small projects like research for potential new products, new market exploration, field sales etc.
Will I will be considered for PMP professional role once I complete this course with the kind of education and work experience I am having? Please suggest.
It sounds to me that you have a wide variety of quality work experience – however, to apply to take the PMP certification, it is the project management work experience that is most important. Make sure that you have the required hours leading and directing projects that you need in order to apply to take the exam – I created this Excel spreadsheet that might help you calculate those hours if you’d like to give it a shot (it’s free).
If you do have the requisite hours to apply to take the PMP examination, and if you study for and pass the test, then you will certainly be considered a PMP professional regardless if your work was in sales and marketing or as an engineer. This might be useful for you in case you should want to switch over to another domain – being PMP certified may help you to get jobs managing projects in other fields. Once you have a successful track record as a project manager and you have the certification and education to back it up, I’m pretty sure you won’t have too hard a time finding opportunities in various fields.
What to do if someone like me is living in country where large projects are rare and inflation and unemployment is high and professional practices are not present at work place. Currently i am pursuing Masters degree in Project Management, i have a plan to do PMP in future, but do u suggest to move to some other part of world like Gulf/UAE or US where large projects and Project Management practices exist. And would you recommend to do CAPM first and than PMP.
Unfortunately I do not know where you live, so it’s hard for me to judge… but it does seem to me that if you’re kickstarting your career as a project manager, it can’t hurt to go where the jobs are. I find that a lot of project management jobs are in places like the United States, Canada, western Europe, India, and places like Dubai in the Middle East. PMP certification seems to be most recognizable in places like the United States, Canada and India; less so in Western Europe, and in England in particular PRINCE2 certification is more popular than PMP certification.
I’m currently working abroad (I’m from Canada but am living and working in France), and I have found that leaving your comfort zone gives many benefits. I’ve learned a lot during the time I’ve spent living and working abroad. If you’re thinking of trying it, I highly recommend it.
As for the CAPM, I generally recommend doing what it takes to get PMP certified rather than CAPM certified, as PMP certification holds much more weight than CAPM certification. However, CAPM certification may help you get the work experience required in order to apply for the PMP exam… I believe that is the point of CAPM certification, but whether or not it actually works is another story; I’d have to do some research.
All the best to you.
Thanks for promoting this discussion. Just thought I would add a few remarks. I have been involved in projects and PM for over 15 years. I got my first exposure to PMI material around 1997. At that time it seemed biased to large projects. About 5 years later I took a masters class that used the PMBOK 2nd ed. as the text, again it seemed best for large projects. Over the years I have attended multiple courses on PM. These are typically focused on tools and techniques, with little attention on foundational principles that in reality can’t be ignored for consistent PM success. My company recently offered a PMP exam prep class and I decided to participate. In my opinion the material has improved significantly and has much more applicability to a wide range of projects. Even with my many years of experience (or maybe because) the course enriched my perspective in a number of ways. I took the PMP last week and passed. There many ways to waste time and money. As far as I’m concerned pursuing PMP certification is not of them.
Thanks very much for sharing your experience and your thoughts about PMI and PMP certification – I really appreciate it! I agree that the PMI framework originally appeared to work best for larger projects… there are a lot of processes that the framework indicates that you should follow quite rigidly in order to ensure that your project is properly planned and in control. I’m also glad to hear that the material has improved significantly and that it can be applied to many different types of projects – to be honest I haven’t studied PMI’s processes in detail since passing the PMP exam some years ago, so I haven’t kept up with what PMI has been up to. I do know that they’ve been dipping their toes into the Agile pond to some extent, with the PMI-ACP certification, and I’m glad to see that – Agile worked very well for me as a program manager.
Thanks again for your comments, and best of luck to you in your project management career!
Its Worth reading your Artical. I have recently cleared my PMP Certification.My total work experience is 10+ years o in Financial Service and Since last 2+ years i am working in IT Sector on Cloud Computing(Implementation of SFDC(Salesforce.com). I just need help for you on Prince2 Certification and Screm Master Certification.After PMP i am confuse between Prince 2 or Screm Master Certification. Do you think that Prince 2 or Screm master will add any value in CV and my career growth. Also if you can share your personal mail id with me.as i have many other points to share with you and looking for guidance from expert like you.
Thanks and Regards/Harshad
It sounds like you have a lot of good experience under your belt – very glad to hear it!
Regarding the difference between PRINCE2 and ScrumMaster Certified, whether or not these things will add value to your career depends on what you want to do. PRINCE2 is very United Kingdom-focused; I don’t believe being PRINCE2 certified would help you in the United States, for example. Meanwhile, ScrumMaster certification will help you manage projects that use Agile (iterative) methodologies, but might not be as useful to you if you were looking for a job where they use traditional a traditional waterfall method for managing projects.
Generally my thought is that if you’re working on managing projects or consulting in England, PRINCE2 is very important. ScrumMaster certification, on the other hand, is useful in more places, and many code shops are looking to switch to Agile processes if they haven’t already done so, so you might get more mileage out of that certification.
I simply loved your article. Almost everything worth discussing has been mentioned over here. But, I have a query regarding PMI-ACP. I am a senior software developer, having 5+ years of experience in development. For me, what will be the benefits of going for a PMI-ACP certification. I am looking to move to a project lead kind of role. Agile is the new buzz word in IT industry, that is the main reason for me to look for this certification.
I agree that Agile has become very popular in IT development recently, and I think it would be a great idea for you to learn more about it if you were interested in branching out in your career. I am afraid I don’t know much about PMI-ACP certification; I myself was certified by the Agile Alliance, who were (as far as I know) the original people to certify people in using Scrum and Agile methodologies.
I have always believed that more certification is better than less certification – if you have the requirements to sit for a certification exam, and you have the funding (or backing of your organization) to pay for it, I say go for it! I have never regretted learning new things and getting certified for those things that I found interesting.
Best of luck!
Thanks a ton for the information you have shared which is helping me and many others. Your patience and commitment to the cause for this long from your first post is mind boggling.
Had a question tooif you could help me…having been in an IT industry for 12 yrs of which the last 5 was into PM, I think I have been doing it adhoc without being methodical at all. Will taking PMP help me become better. I ask as I believe I have done reasonably well without it too all along
I definitely think that taking the PMP exam will help you become a better project manager. If you’ve been working ad hoc, you’ve probably learned a great deal of things, and have a good, diverse toolset at your disposal when managing projects. But if you haven’t been studying the methodologies of other people or groups, then most of this toolset comes from what you yourself have been able to figure out works when it comes to directing projects. By studying PMI’s methodologies you will be learning about what the project managers associated with PMI have figured out to be the best way to manage projects successfully; the frameworks put out by PMI were researched by a great many people who are successful in their field.
That being said, I wouldn’t stop at PMI’s methodologies… I recommend that you continue to learn about how other project managers have found success in their work. Even if you have been doing reasonably well without learning about these other frameworks, understanding how other people are achieving success will help you to tweak your own processes. And if you choose not to tweak your own processes according to what you learn, you will be choosing not to based on your own knowledge and experience, and can stand up for the processes that you use if you are questioned about them.
Education seldom hurts, and usually helps!
Best of luck to you.
Hello Bryan: Well like everyone else, we are wondering if PMP cert is beneficial for husband. Would like to send you his resume for suggestions. Trying to stay in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. Unsure how critical PMP is in our area. He has completed the PDU’s needs to study and do exam but we are in situation financially. Embarrassing to discuss online. Will you please email? Thanks, the wife.
Hi Catherine, thanks for your question.
Generally the PMP is a very good certification to have if you’re working in the field of IT project management. I don’t know your husband’s situation, but it does seem that having PMP certification is very important if you’re looking to get a job in project management, especially in the United States (so Salt Lake City applies). It is not required to find a job as a project manager – many companies will hire non-PMPs with good quality work experience for project management positions. But there are many companies and recruiters that only hire PMP certified project managers, so your husband’s chances of finding a job will be increased if he has the certification.
Regarding the financial situation, I’m really sorry to hear that – I do think that some things (education being one of them) are worth taking financial risk to attain. Whether or not PMP certification is one of those things depends on your husband, his goals, and what more you can learn about the job market in your area – I don’t think I’d be the right person to make that call!
Good luck to you and your husband!
Is test management experience also considered in the mandatory experience one should have to appear for PMP ?
I’m not affiliated with PMI so I can’t make the final call, but it seems to me that if the test management experience that you have attained is experience directly related to managing projects in the field of test management, then it would apply toward the required hours of work experience needed to apply to take the PMP examination. Whether or not you were managing projects during your experience as a test manager is your call – I recommend you take a look at PMI’s application form and the various tasks that they list in each of the PMI process groups, and see how many hours of work experience that you have earned completing those tasks.
I hope it works out for you – thanks for asking, and good luck!
Id like to know more about PMP and what it can offer an architect .Can you please email me? Thanks!
When you say architect, do you mean a traditional architect of buildings and structures, or a software architect? If the former (which is what I think you mean), I believe that PMP certification can help an architect, if said architect is looking to forward his or her project management career. However, it will only to a certain extent. In my experience PMP certification is most popular among project managers who work in the field of information technology. While PMI would like to extend knowledge of its certification and project management processes beyond this domain, so far it has not really taken off.
That said, if you do go through the certification process you will learn a lot about PMI’s methodology and perhaps meet some interesting people who are PMI certified project managers to share ideas with. You could also demonstrate to others in your field the value of the PMP credential, and if you are able to express its value to potential employers it might help you get a job even if they did not know about the certification in the first place. This might take some effort, but perhaps it is worth doing – you’d have to make the call on that.
Good luck to you!
I am a Management Consultant for last six year; Do I need to give project details or my employers detail for PMP certification process of 36 month experience.
I believe that the application asks for project name and employer name – there might be a description field, but I’m not sure how important it is to fill out the details of the projects you have worked on. That said, it is important to break down the projects you have worked on into the five PMI Process Groups, as that is how you are going to be filling out the application.
I’ve filled out some more detailed information about how to fill out your PMP certification application work experience in this post – check it out, it might prove helpful!
Best of luck.
You have written very nice and useful articles on PMP. Like many, I too am confused whether I’ll be eligible for PMP and if yes, then whether I should do it?
Could you please mail me your email-id so I can forward you my resume.
I’m glad to help you understand PMP certification and learn more about the process of applying to take the exam, but unfortunately I’m not qualified to make the call about whether or not you have enough work experience to apply to take it. I did, however, write this post that will show you how to document your hours in such a way as to find out on your own whether or not you have the proper amount of project management work experience in order to apply.
I hope that it is helpful!
Meanwhile, whether or not you should take the effort to get PMP certified… if you’re working as an IT project manager, or are interested in furthering your career in that direction, then I definitely recommend it! If not, it really depends – let me know and I can help further.
Thank you for a well written, cogent article and discussion forum. It helped me understand what I was getting into when I embarked on obtaining my PMP. I found the process of obtaining it was a project in itself. As a hiring manager seeing a PMP on a resume, I’d recognize a good foundation beyond book smarts.
Thanks very much for the kind words. I’m glad that this post was of value when it came to understanding PMP certification and the processes involved with applying for, taking and maintaining it. I agree that the process of getting PMP certified is a challenging endeavor – I think that figuring out all my project management work experience and documenting it properly was more difficult than studying for the actual examination!
I’m glad to also glad to hear your perspective as a hiring manager – being able to hire project managers with strong foundations and quality work experience with a track record of proven successes does seem to be key.
I found this site very informative on PMP, I had few doubts over this certification and as I was going through all the above posts few of them were clarified. The one with I am leftover is my elgibility criteria.
I have overall 5.5 years of IT experience and of which 2.5 I was leading the team and project in different phases like monitoring , executing and leading.
Am I elgible now or should I wait for some more time to PMP Certification.
I sounds like you have some good work experience, though whether or not you are already eligible to apply to take the PMP examination is a different story. The way that you would find out whether or not you are eligible is to go ahead and document all of the work experience you have leading and directing projects up to this point. Then you will know how many hours you have left to earn before you can apply to take the exam. The good news is, if you do this exercise now and discover that you don’t yet have sufficient hours to apply for the exam, it won’t take much time in the future to update your hours for entry into the PMP application form when you do have the hours that you need.
I’ve created an Excel spreadsheet template to help you document your hours – you will find it online here. I hope it may be helpful. Best of luck to you.
Thanks for the suggestion Brain, will certainly use the template to evaluate my elgibility.
Looking forward for your master tips…
Hi Mohammed, you are very welcome! Good luck using the work experience template, and please let me know if you have any further questions.
It was worth to see your replies & feed backs regarding PMP. I am project manager for last 4 years with total 7 years of experience in projects. I am not in IT but in Telecom projects dealing more with coordination of teams & project roll out for hardware installation.
Is PMP suitable or designed for field(telecom) other than IT?
Thanks for your comments regarding my PMP feedback – my goal is to help out where I can!
I think that the telecommunications industry is at least somewhat linked to the field of IT – even in hardware installation will you find PMP project managers. On the other hand, I am not personally well acquainted with the telecommunications industry, so I wouldn’t be able to give you the final word on whether or not PMP certification would be helpful for you in that industry. Perhaps you should ask other project managers in that field what they think of the certification, and see if any of them have already attained it? You could also search job offers in your field – not to try to get a job, but simply to research what sorts of qualifications recruiters are looking for when they hire for project management positions in your industry.
Something about me, I have been working with IT industry for last 7+ years, started off as a developer, and then as a team lead (with management involvement to some extent), and recently started working as Scrum Master.
Now here my query? If I have moved from waterfall to Agile methodology is it still worth doing PMP? I know it won’t hurt doing one but I am trying to see what’s the value add it might push my way…
In my experience, it is worth getting PMP certified even if you are working as a ScrumMaster and using Agile frameworks to manage software projects. PMP certification is well recognized in the industry, even by Agile shops, and if you have PMP certification as well as solid work experience managing iterative projects, my belief is that it can give you some added credibility. It will also help to insulate you somewhat from job market risk – should you ever lose your job or need to switch jobs for whatever reason, having a solid foundation in Agile development as well as holding PMP certification can make it easier to find another job.
Another thing you might consider is an Agile certification of some sort – I myself am ScrumMaster Certified. PMI also has an Agile Practitioner certification that they offer (PMI-ACP), though I’m not very familiar with it.
I hope this is helpful – good luck with your Agile projects – I have used and seen successes on projects using Agile methodologies, and I’m a big fan!
This is by far the most enlightening post about pmp certification. Thank you SO much for sharing your expertise Brian. I can just hug you right now.
Thank you Kegger – that is very kind of you to say! All the best to you.
I have 5 years of experience in IT industry. I am a techie and not much involved in project managament. So if i do PMP Certiication now, will that be usefull in building my carrer as a tevh lead or project manager. Kindly suggest me….
My belief is that getting PMP certified will indeed help you to build your career as a tech lead or project manager – I’ve seen lots of evidence to show that having PMP certification makes it easier to get jobs, both internally and externally, working as a project manager. One issue that you might face is that if you have not been very much involved with project management during your career to date, you might not have the required level of work experience leading and directing project tasks that you need in order to apply to take the exam.
Here is a tool that you can use to fill out your project management work experience to find out whether or not you have the necessary work experience required to take the exam – take a look and see what you think?
Thanks, and good luck!
I am going to in time, going to get the PMP behind my name. I am currently working on my MSM in project management, I belong to the Portland OR chapter of the PMI and the National.
What should I do to start preparing to get the CAPM?
Thanks for your question – that is a very good one. I myself never took the CAPM exam and so I am not intimately familiar with it. However, from what I understand, the CAPM is an exam that does not require substantial work experience in order to take. PMI indicates that you need to have:
At least 1,500 hours experience
23 hours of project management education by the time you sit for the exam.
My first step would be to figure out which requirement suits you best (the work experience or the project management education) and then use it to apply to take the examination. I notice that the work experience option doesn’t specifically mention that you need project management work experience so that one will most likely be the easiest to get!
The next step would be to study for the exam. I don’t think that this will be overly difficult as the CAPM exam only covers a portion of the material located in PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). You can download the CAPM Handbook from PMI’s website to see exactly what you need to study; I believe it includes chapters 1 through 12 of the PMBOK.
I hope that this is helpful at least to start you off on your journey toward certification. Best of luck to you!
Am an IT support Engineer for over two years but i want to take more challenging IT tasks henceforth.
I have interest more in Consumer goods companies. With my IT background, will a project management certification be a good start because i wish to deliver IT projects that impacts on the company’s competitive edge.
Also, will you advice i do Scrum Master cert first before PMP because i do not have enough PM experience to qualify for the PMP exam.
Is Scrum an alternative to PMP in a broader sense.
I think you’re making a good choice to get into project management as a career – it seems like a logical step to take after your the time you have spent working in your technical field, especially if you are interested in learning how to deliver successful IT projects.
I think that ScrumMaster and PMP certification are both great certifications to take, and I can back my beliefs up with actions because I personally took them both. One thing you probably already know is that to sit for the PMP examination you need to have a certain number or project management work experience hours under your belt. If you do not yet have this work experience (as it seems you are only just now deciding to move into the field of project management) you may have to work for a while as a project manager, project coordinator or some other position that offers project management experience before you are able to apply to take the examination.
Regarding Scrum being an alternative to PMP certification, I wouldn’t necessarily say this is the case. Scrum and PMP follow quite different frameworks; PMP is based on a waterfall framework while Scrum is based on Agile, an iterative framework. By doing both of these certifications you will learn about two different and yet viable approaches to project management. I think that it is worth taking the time and effort to learn them both, and to find out how you might apply them to different projects under different circumstances.
tips for preparing for PMP ? Any sites?
I do have some tips for you about how you might go about studying for the PMP exam. I wrote a post here that goes through the procedure that I used and the books that I studied in order to study for the test. I hope that it may be helpful to you!
All the best with your PMP studies, and best of luck on the exam.
If only I have found your write-up earlier.
I have submitted my PMP application and was selected for audit. I started collecting all the required documents after receiving the audit notification.
I have no problem with the experience verification as my ex-Boss has verified and endorsed them. No problem with the education attained as well.
The only problem is the contact hours I have submitted is different from the letter of proof from the institute although it is still much more than the 35 hours.
When I submit my contact hours, I calculated based on a timetable given to me and the total hours end up to be more than what is stated in the letter.
I have wrote to the customer care to explain my situation and hope to get a reply soon.
I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties that you have experienced facing the PMI audit! I’m glad that your experience verification was not a problem – in my experience the work experience verification is the hardest part of the PMI audit, at least where gathering the proper information is concerned. A lot of project managers have managed a great many projects for a number of different managers, organizations and clients, so it can be a daunting task to gather all of that information in one place.
Regarding the problem you are experiencing – are you saying that the hours that you have had verified by your employers via the PMI audit process are different from what you originally submitted? If so, I do not have any experience with that… it seems that as long as you do have the required amount of work experience (as well as the other requirements), you should have what it takes to sit for the PMP exam. Perhaps it is a question of ethics (they are wondering why there is a disparity between what you entered and what you had validated), though it seems to me that most project managers are going to be at least somewhat incorrect with their original work experience calculations, as it’s very hard to document to the letter exactly what yours you spent completing which project tasks in which PMI Process Groups.
I hope that this works out for you – just make sure that you are as honest as possible with your responses, and that you supply whatever verification documentation PMI needs from you to the best of your ability. I think you will make it through this! Best of luck to you, and please let me know how it goes.
I totally agree that the work experience verification is the hardest part. I have to dig out project information for the last 6 years to complete work experience portion and it took me like 2 weeks to do it. I then sent them to my ex-boss so that he is aware of it.
The contact hours that I am having problem with is the PM Education hours. I calculated based on the timetable given by the school. When I was selected for audit, I asked the school for a letter of proof. The contact hours stated on the letter is less than what I have submitted but still more than the required 35 hours.
I have just received the reply from the PMI auditor that I will not be penalized for this mistake.
I have sent out my completed audit package and hope that I will get a good news soon and go full force in preparing the exam.
Hi Alex, that makes a lot of sense. I’m sorry to hear that you had the issue with the hours from the school where you did your PM education, but glad to hear that the PMI auditor understands the confusion and will not penalize you for this discrepancy on the audit.
I’m glad to hear that you’ve sent out your audit package and that you’re on to the studying… I hope that your preparation goes well! Read lots of different sources and do lots of practice questions – it really helps. Best of luck!
Great article. Do you have any advice regarding how to break into the field? I’m wondering what a good way to get project managent experience is without having a PMP cert. I have a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering.
My advice for you would be to find ways to get some project management experience alongside the work that you’re already doing as an electrical engineer. If you have been doing a good job at your current career, perhaps you could go to your boss and ask him or her if you could have some tasks that involve managing projects. Even if you don’t have a proper project management office or project management discipline set up at your work, if you complete projects, you can work to incorporate project management methodologies into your work. You might start by creating project charters for your projects, or managing work breakdown structures (WBSs) of the work that you’re completing.
Once you’ve done that, you should be good to go – you can keep working on projects and managing project tasks according to a proper project management framework until you have enough work experience doing what you’re doing to apply to take the PMP examination. Then you’ll have some great project management experience and a credential under your belt, and can use that in many different ways.
Dear Mr Brian,
Thank you very much for the detailed post.
I have a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering and Post Graduate Programme in Project Management from India. I am presently working in a power project in India as a Senior Engineer and have a total experience of 2 years and 5 months.
I came to know about PMP from a friend and I want to work outside India in MNC in international environment.
Kindly guide me , whether should I go with PMP, how it will help me in my career and how to get a job in MNC. And also please tell me whether this is the right time to go for PMP.
Regards & Thanks
If you’re interested in project management as a career, then getting PMP certified does seem like a good choice. I have spoken with many professionals living and working in India and it seems that PMP certification is well known in that region, and that many Indian people are interested in getting certified.
On the other hand, in regards to your question as to whether or not now is the right time for you to get PMP certified, you would want to make sure that you have enough work experience in order to apply for the examination. It certainly seems like you have the proper education – you likely won’t need to take any more project management courses if you already have completed a post graduate program in project management. However, the work experience might be another story – you will want to document your project management work experience (not just any work experience) to see if you have enough to apply.
Best of luck to you – I think that having good project management experience is valuable no matter what your profession, so it seems like a good avenue for you.
I am Moses Paul. P from India I am PMP and an ITIL Expert, I have appeared for the Certified Project Director (CPD™ exam from http://www.gaqm.org GAQM (Global Association for Quality Management,this exam is one step ahead of PMP, Pixacore in INDIA has an Authorised Testing Centre for GAQM, I have failed the exam, the exam was really difficult and time consuming, it had a gradient based scoring which means an option can carry 5 points, 3 points, 2 or none, the questions where from real time experience rather than merely a multiple choice as we have in PMP, this confused me a lot, can any one help me, if you have any notes on CPD forward the same to me, actually in the organisation where I am working have recommended for this certification.
Hello Moses, thanks for commenting.
Unfortunately I am not familiar with the GAQM examination or certification. It certainly does sound like a worthwhile certification, especially if it is gaining popularity in your region. I’m very sorry to hear that you failed the examination – it does sound like it was difficult, and subjective questions graded on a scale definitely sound more difficult than do the multiple choice questions that are familiar to those who have taken the PMP exam.
As I do not have any experience with the GAQM I’m afraid I can’t offer you much help in the way of studying tips. I did compose a post about studying for the PMP exam… in general, I think that it is a good idea to map out the processes… a visual map of inputs, outputs and tools and techniques really helped me to study for and succeed on the PMP exam. Perhaps a similar approach can be taken when studying for the Global Association for Quality Management test?
Best of luck to you – I am sure that with some hard work and determination, you will pass next time!
Great post! I have been asked from my current employer to get certified and I am definitely very excited about it.
I didn’t look into the whole process just yet, but reading your article gave me a good insight.
I moved to US 2 years ago from one of the smaller european countries. I have over 6 years experience in marketing & running different marketing projects. I was very close to getting my bachelors degree (again all of the records are from europe, in process of transferring my university grades now to GPA scoring).
Knowing that policy regarding providing any info on employment from previous employers in Europe is very restricted (unlike in the US), I am wondering what method is being used while collecting the projects history data? And how will all my previous experience and school be evaluated, yet it will be hard to confirm?
Feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance
Hello Ana, these are good questions.
As the Project Management Institute is an international organization, I am quite sure that they are well used to handling the applications from people all over the world. I do not think that there will be much difficulty in having your European qualifications and education assessed by PMI… not to mention that there is a chance that you won’t get audited, and if that is the case I am not sure that PMI even looks at your application at all. I could be wrong about this.
Regarding your work experience, my best advice would be to gather all of the information that you can. If you can’t gather the information as your European companies will not supply it for you, then you won’t be able to gather that information… however, the key is to be as ethical and honest as possible during your application process. If you’re as honest as you can be about your work experience, then you will fight for the truth, and I am sure that if it comes down to it you can work with PMI to find a way to verify that your work experience qualifies you to sit for the PMP examination.
You are doing a great job!!!
I have a questions, you are suggesting to have a exp in leading the project, but I have exp in leading the process (which is on going) and it is with Payroll domain organization.
Can you help me to convert my exp into projects.
It is up to you to figure out if the processes that you have experience leading are associated with projects. I created a post a while back answering the question: what is a project? – perhaps you might take a look at that post and see if those processes that you managed were, or were associated with, actual projects. If they were, then you will easily be able to calculate whether or not you have sufficient experience to apply to get PMP certified.
Best of luck!
Thanks for tthe wonderful article on PMP.
Reading the article will help those who plan for PMP certification but the best part i have observed here is the effort you have taken to reply each & every questions. Really appreciate that and wish you all success in your future endeavour.
Thanks very much for the kind words, Ratheesh – I really appreciate it!
I do hope that I am able to help people decide whether or not PMP certification is right for them, and help people figure out what they need in order to apply for it and how to study for the exam. I certainly didn’t expect I’d get so many questions when I first put up this post, but I’m always glad to answer them!
Thanks again, and all the best to you!
Thank you for posting such a valuable article for aspiring PMPs!!
I am working as a project manager for IT Infrastructure projects field since few years now. I have completed Prince2 Practitioner & ITIL foundarion a year ago.
PMP is my next big target I am bit worried about its preparations. Can you please guide me as of:-
1)Can you please email / tips on how to plan my studies effectively for passing PMP?
2) how many days prepration is good enough for taking exam if i start the studies today?
3) Dos & Donts.
I am sorry as i am asking too many things. But I am sure any of the above answers from you definately prove to be of great help in passing PMP
Brian- Thanks in advance for your valuable support & Keep up the great work you have been doing!!
Glad to hear you’re working as an IT project manager – that is a great career choice! Congratulations on your PRINCE2 and ITIL certifications.
Those are some good questions you asked. Regarding tips on how to study for the PMP examination, I did write a post about this subject, with information about how I personally prepared for the test – you can find that post here. Note that this is how I prepared for the exam but you may have more success with another method.
Meanwhile, regarding dos and don’ts… be sure to pay attention to the ITTOs (inputs, outputs and tools and techniques) of the various processes. You don’t necessarily have to memorize them, but I think that a good idea is to memorize a visual chart that shows how outputs for some processes become inputs for others, and so on. Also make sure that you understand your Earned Value (EV) formulas. Also remember to stick to the process… if there are questions where an answer contains choices, only one of which is according to the PMI processes, the one that conforms to the processes will most likely be the correct answer.
Best of luck!
Thank you for such an informative article. and Nice to see such a long interesting conversation with all PM interested people.
I am a PMP aspirant, having total 4.5 yrs of experience working in Web development Stream. and have been Project Leadership and Project Manager profile-designation for last 3 yrs.
I am going to invest around 200 $ for 3 days at end of December to attend a workshop from one of PMI’s Global Registered Education Provider.
1) Is it worth investing 200$ for this workshop. does that mean O am goign to earn 35 hrs training and some PDUs?
2) I am yet not PMi member,I would apply and start preparing for the exam after workshop, which is definitely going to cost me good amount as we know.
3) I am ok to spend money, if it’s worth doing. FYI: I may not ask my employer to sponsor this .
I need your suggestions on this.
Hello PMP Acolyte,
Thanks for the kind words about the article and site – I appreciate it!
It sounds like you have some good experience in project leadership and project management. Regarding whether or not the workshop is worth taking, that is up to you – it would of course depend on the workshop! But I do have a couple of points to consider:
I hope this is helpful information – please let me know if you have any further questions. Good luck!
I didn’t know much about PMP earlier and it was very nice to read the contents of your blog today in which you gave crisp and straight forward answers to all queries regarding PMP. Thank you for that.
I am from the construction engineering back ground and have a different kind of job role that demands a bit of project mgmt, technical and sales expertise. I am pursuing my project mgmt course as well. I am confused if PMP would add value to my career. I want to discuss abt my present experience and thoughts, for you to guide me. May I request you to send me an email, so I can share more. Thank you in advance.
Hi there Bolla,
Thanks very much for your comments about my site! I’m glad to help people with their careers wherever I am able.
Your question is a very common question – should someone from a domain other than Information Technology get PMP certified? It is certainly the case that people in the realm of IT consulting or software development are those who are most likely to get PMP certified, and it is in those domains that PMP recognition is strongest. While many project management examples from PMI’s materials come from the realm of construction, PMP certification is not as well known in that field. However, the fact that I get so many questions about this topic (do a search on this page on “construction” and you will see how many questions I get about PMP certification in the field of construction) makes me think that knowledge of PMP certification and what it entails is growing in that domain.
My recommendation would be to go for it – I always think that more learning and professional growth is better than less, and if there’s even a small chance that being a PMP certified project manager can help you in your career, either when speaking with recruiters who know about the credential or with people that you have to explain its worth to, then it is a good idea to get it.
Best of luck!
Hi , i have gone through lots of comments on the page but m in dilemma for My case to go with PMP or scrum master for agail ??
or what else ?
I have done Master in Computer science and working with TCS , having 5+ years of exp with 2+ years of technomanagement exp . Planing to move toronto,canada in 2013 march . Looking for your guidance for PMP or any other certification , how it is going to help me if i need to go for job hunting ? how to best take it from india or from canada , how worth it is in IT market ?
i have read your reply , hope i will get correct guidance to move forward.
Congratulations on your Master in Computer Science – that is a great accomplishment! And good luck with your move to Toronto in March… I grew up in Toronto and it is a great place to live and work. I hope that you will really like it there.
You asked about whether you should go for PMP certification or ScrumMaster certification, for Agile Development. My recommendation would be to go for both! I personally have both certifications and have found that both have helped me in my career, both to get hired for jobs, and to have different perspectives when it comes to tackling different project management challenges. If you were to ask me which one you should go for first, I would have to say PMP certification – when it comes to getting hired for project management jobs, PMP certifications is very valuable.
Meanwhile, I would recommend taking it as soon as you can… why wait? So if you are able to study for and take the examination in India, then go for it… but if you have to wait until you’re in Canada to do it, that is also fine. There will be plenty of places in both India and Ontario where you will be able to sit for the examination.
All the best with your certifications and your move to Canada. Be sure to pack some warm clothes!
I came to your site while I was searching for PMP Certified and I think its actually a very nice post.
The best thing is you are replying to each and every post or every question and that shows you help people a lot and I really appreciate your effort.
I haven’t gone through all the User Queries but have read through some of them.
My Question is … I have a Masters in Computer Science and I have been working as a Software Developer from the past 4 years particularly as a SharePoint Developer.
I want to shift my career gear towards project Management and hence PMP.
So do you have any suggestions regarding this?? Will it be a good fit?? etc?? I don’t have any project Management Experience at all but I would love see myself as a PM..
Thanks very much! I appreciate your kind words about the site. Glad to hear you’re interested in PMP certification.
If you have a Masters in Computer Science and want to work toward a career in project management, I do think that this will be a very good fit. I wrote this post that discusses why I believe that having a technical background and pursuing the PMP is a very good fit.
That said, you won’t be able to apply to take the PMP exam until you get some project management experience. You can do that by starting to take on project management challenges at your current job… perhaps you can lead some software engineering projects, or at least get involved with the project management of them. After you’ve built up enough work experience to apply you can document your hours and go for it.
All the best to you – hope it works out.
I would like to offer the other side to a PMP cetificate. I am a CIO for a large pension fund and have directed many many projects over the years. So have many of my staff. However, Every external vendor that has come in with a PMP certified Project Manager, but one who did not have extensive programming/development experience to go with it, has failed on the projects (multiple ones). I have had to take over many projects and hand them to Project Managers internally to lead the projects to success. It seems to me that at least the PMP without extensive programming/analytical experience seem to follow a set pattern designed by PMI or similar Educational facilities, and a blindsided when they don’t work in the real world. The Project management techniques seem to be expecting things to flow smoothly and that just doesn’t happen often with large projects. Those with extensive programming/analyst experience do better recognizing the potential pitfalls with or without a PMP. When I see a resume with a PMP witout extensive programming experience ( especially those with almost none) the PMP becomes a negative. Of course this is only applicable for the It world, but in my opionion give me an MBA or Masters (or pHd) in a technical field with experience actually working on projects and they seem to adapt better. I don’t see the PMP as a ngative, IF the real world experience is there. Where I am , associated government entitiies have had numerous project failures direced by IBM, Oracle, Compuware, etc. all in part because they assgned PMP project managers with no real experience in developing applications. These failed projects cost tens of millions each. I would encourage folks to have that application experience as well as doing projects. At a minimum I would expect 5 years actally doing the work before someone could ever do successful PM work. Also be aware that development technologies (and project methodologies change rapidly, so even with a PMP a good manger will stay current with techologies). I certainly would never consider hiring a PMP with project management experience outside of IT and no programming experience. The Systems analysts and engineers would have zero respect for that person. Just my 2 cents
First of all, thanks so much for writing out your experience with PMPs in the workplace. I really appreciate it, especially coming from a CIO such as yourself – I am sure that you have a great view of who your power players are that are working on your team.
I agree that PMP certification certainly does not mean that someone will be successful as a project manager… in fact, it is possible to get PMP certified without ever having managed a successful project! PMP certification shows that someone has a certain amount of project management work experience and project management education and is able to pass a difficult test about a single project management framework, but it does not necessarily mean that a credential holder is a good project manager.
I also agree that, in the field of Information Technology, people who have technical backgrounds, especially those people who have worked on projects as business analysts or software coders, who then take the step to project management tend to make some of the best project managers. This is not to say that all technical types make the best project managers… I’ve also seen plenty of people move from engineering to management and not feel comfortable in the role. But generally, those project managers who are the most effective are those project managers who really understand the tech behind what they are doing, the expectations of the clients, and the ins and outs of completing successful projects from both ends of the spectrum.
Thanks again for your input – I really appreciate it! All the best to you and your company.
Hi, Brian: Thank you for sharing so much in depth information with us.
I do have a question though. I’ve been working as a IT professional in a big company in NYC for close to 10 years before I quit last year due to personal reason.
In the first 6 years with the company, I was doing pure coding. Afterwards, the company encouraged us to participate more in the PM. Thus, I had some opportunity on dealing with various party to plan the project and to evaluate the product afterwards. Now I am wondering if these can all count into the requirements and if I can skip CAPM and go directly into PMP?
Thank you very much!
Some good news – I do think that you can count the hours you spent planning the project and evaluating the project as part of your project management experience hours that you can use to apply to take the PMP examination.
I think you have already found this post, but you can use the Excel spreadsheet found here to calculate how many hours you have amassed working on various projects during your career. If you have worked the required number of hours to qualify for the PMP exam then I certainly think that you should skip the CAPM and go straight for the PMP. In my experience it is a much more valuable credential to attain.
Good luck! I hope it all works out.
I am a project manager with 16+ years of experience. I have been thinking about obtaining a PMP certification but given the time requirements I find it hard to justify (too busy leading projects :)).
The only solid justification I can see in obtaining a PMP is that more and more government contracting vehicles are requiring that resources slotted in the Project Manager position must be PMP certified.
Are there any other solid reasons and benefits to certification than I am seeing at this moment?
If you’re working in government contracting, then in my experience it would be a good idea to go ahead and get PMP certified. I have found that having a solid foundation of work experience and professional certifications is especially helpful when it comes to landing government contracts. It seems to me that sending your qualifications to land government contracts is almost like applying to mini-jobs. As such, having a strong set of credentials (including the PMP) on your resume can be especially helpful to you compared to people who are simply managing projects for a single company and don’t need a beefed-up resume while they’re working for that company. Does that make sense?
Having PMP certification on a resume gives people who have never met you some degree of insight as to what you’re all about. In your case it will show at a glance that you are an experienced project manager, and give them more reason to dip into the details (where they will see that you are a really experienced project manager). That more and more government contracting jobs are requiring that applicants be PMP certified means that getting PMP certification may eventually become of even greater importance to you in the future – so why not get certified now, before not being certified means you miss out on an opportunity?
I realize that you are extremely busy with your project management career already, and that it’s hard to find time to study… but can you spend half an hour every day studying for the exam? If so, go ahead and schedule a simple half an hour every day to study. After three months, you will have 45 hours of studying done! After six months, you will have 90 hours! In my opinion this is more than enough study time required to pass the PMP examination, especially if you are already an experienced project manager.
All the best to you!
Thank you for your feedback and sanity check. Much appreciated!
You’re welcome Dave – I’m glad to help. Best of luck with whichever plan you decide to follow!
First of all, you article is extremely informative and more than the article I am really impressed by the patience and details with which you are consistently answering viewer queries. GREAT!
I am a post graduate in engineering, with nearly 20 yrs of experience in aviation industry. My experience includes avionics & communication eqpt maintenance, also I am qualified avionics system trainer, have been leading teams of maintenance technicians and managers – size varying from 20 to 150 at various times.
I have handled in-house projects of establishing and running technical training facility on aviation systems. Also, for last 3 years on a consultative assignment for establishing a complete aviation engineering department at an Engineering College including knowledge transfer, procurement, estb. of specialist equipment, training facility etc.
I do not have Management degree / certification etc. I have university post-graduation in engineering and additional qualifications in specialised engineering systems etc.
Do you think a PMP certification can further boost my career prospects?
Thanks very much for your kind feedback about the site. I appreciate it a lot!
Sounds like you have a great deal of good experience in aviation. I do think that you might want to consider getting PMP certified. Currently, there are more PMPs in Information Technology (IT) than in any other field, including construction, manufacturing, and the like. That being said, many people (such as yourself) have been asking me about PMP certification, and whether or not it would be a good idea to get certified to manage projects in their non-IT fields. I myself am from IT, so I don’t know much about the world of aviation and its related fields, but it seems to me that if you have heard about PMP certification and are wondering if it is right for your career, then other professionals in your field have also heard about it.
It sounds like you have a lot of good project management experience, so if I were you I’d ask around about PMP certification in your field – for example, you might ask some of the recruiters in your Human Resources department whether or not they know about PMP certification and whether or not they think it is important? Then, look over the study materials for the exam and see if they resonate with you or if you’d enjoy learning more about them. If so, why not go for it!
Thanks for asking, and good luck to you.
That’s great Mr.Brian Crawford….!
Really you shared very good info, especially for a person who is preparing to face the PMP exam in the very near future…! Ys, by mid of next month (Feb. 2013).
Thank you very much.
Thank you Sony, I really appreciate it! I’m glad to hear that you’re preparing to take the PMP exam. Study hard, and don’t panic! I am sure you will do well.
Let me know how it goes!
All the best to you.
My question is regarding the CAPM certification dont know if you can address. I completed the PMI project management course in 2012 and want to do the CAPM certification as a stepping stone and then sometime in the future would do the PMP. From what I have been reading it would suggest that the CAPM does not carry much weighting as the PMP and seems like a waste of money. I have done some small projects at my current company which is a utility company and works in IT. Please advise, grateful.
In my experience you are correct, the CAPM is not as worth attaining as the PMP certification. CAPM certification does not require any project management work experience; as such, the CAPM does not show recruiters or potential employers that you are experienced in project management – just that you have passed a test on subject matter related to PMI’s project management framework. The PMP, however, shows that you have at least a certain number of hours of work experience.
That being said, the CAPM might help to show potential employers that you are interested in a career in project management, and it might be of value when it comes to asking managers in your current job if you could take on some beginning project management tasks. That said, I personally would skip the CAPM and wait until I was able to get the PMP.
Hello Mr. Brian Crawford,
This is Kinshuki Goel, i been deciding to do PMP since an year however due to one or the other confusion i am not able to execute the same. Due to some personal problems i have lost the links, confidence and the path i should walk on…… however now i want to start every thing all over again. i seriously need a guidance to move ahead. i have some questions with me which i dont wish to share with the world right now. Could u please email me so that i can convey that to you please?
Glad to hear you’ve decided to go for the PMP exam. I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve lost confidence in the path you should take to getting certified.
I wrote a post about what I personally did to pass the PMP examination here. One recommendation I have is to study a little bit every day – maybe a half an hour – in pursuit of your goal; this is better than not studying on weekdays and then cramming for several hours on Saturday or Sunday. I also recommend taking a graphical approach to studying – map out which processes’ outputs lead to other processes’ inputs, and make sure to memorize the Earned Value formulas. Overall, stay positive! I know you can do this.
If you have any questions about studying for the exam, why not post them here under an anonymous pseudonym? I won’t judge you, and you might be surprised how many people share your own background.
I am looking to answer PMP considering it as a career change from Build and Release, Configuration Management experience.
Please can you send me an e-mail so I can ask you a few queries.
Looking forward for your reply.
Feel free to ask me any questions you have on this post – that way, other project managers (who may be more experienced or knowledgeable than myself) can answer your questions if they have any suggestions. Also, by answering questions on this post, other people can benefit from any responses.
Either way, best of luck with your switch to project management – it is certainly a rewarding career.
I am currently taking an IT Project Management class and have been advised that I should consider applying for a student membership with PMI. After reviewing the requirements to sit for a PMP certification it seems as if it may be some time after completing the class that I have the hours of experience needed to qualify for the exam. Does it make sense to apply for membership now, or wait till I am closer to having all of the requirements necessary to test?
Hi HWilliams, my response depends on your answers to the following two questions:
Question 1: Do you plan to take the PMP exam within the next 12 months? If not, and if you’re not planning on studying PMI’s project management framework until you are eligible to take the PMP exam, then I don’t think there’s much reason to join PMI right now.
If you do plan on taking the PMP exam within the next 12 months, then…
Question 2: Do you already have access to a copy of the PMBOK? If you don’t, then you may as well join PMI right now. Doing so will give you members-only access to a PDF version of the fifth edition of the PMBOK. Once you become a member of PMI you will be able to download the PMBOK and start studying for the PMP exam right away.
If you already have a copy of the PMBOK, and you’re not keen on reading PMI’s publications (like the PM Network and PMI Today), I don’t think there is any real need to join PMI right away – especially if there is the chance that you won’t get around to getting PMP certified within the next year.
Thanks for your response. Here are my queries:
My Background and Exp: I have 7+ yrs of exp in Build and Release/Configuration Management/Release Management in IT industry. I am interested to move to Program Management and hence I am planning to ans PMP within next 6 months. I have been handling India Operations working with all Dev/QA/PM/IT teams. I have handled team of 2 in the past and currently working as an IC.
Q1: Will the move to Program Manager with PMP be easy?
Q2: Will I be eligible to ans PMP considering I haven’t managed huge teams.
Q3: Planning to ans PMP by Jun2013, please can you guide me how to go about. What steps I need to perform from the start to get a PMP done.
Q4: Can you help me have a study plan for PMP
These are current questions I have and will be glad if you can help me with them.
Thanks again for helping out and sharing your inputs and exp to guide us to ans PMP.
Sounds like you’ve built up some good work experience in IT. In response to your questions –
A1: I think that with a PMP, the move to program management should be pretty easy – though that depends on what your company’s program management consists of. I myself was a program manager at a software company, but I found that at other companies, program management was a different deal. Nevertheless, the PMP should stand you in good stead. PMI also offers a Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification for program management professionals, but if you’re just now going into program management you probably don’t have the qualifications for that yet.
A2: Whether or not you are eligible to take the PMP exam is up to you to decide. I’ve created a post (here) that includes an Excel spreadsheet that you can use to calculate your project management work experience hours to figure out if you are eligible to take the test. It doesn’t matter if you have managed teams, what really matters is whether or not you have managed projects.
A3 and A4: I wrote a post here that will show you how I personally studied for and passed the PMP examination. It includes the books that I used and steps I took to studying. My biggest tip would be to create a graphical approach of the processes – I did a brain dump of the graphical map that I had created right when I started my test, and it really helped me to answer the questions on the exam (unfortunately my map was for a previous version of PMI’s framework or I’d write a post about it – it is not useful for the current edition).
I hope these tips and posts help! Good luck with your studying and let me know how it goes.
I have a total of 9 years of exeperience in Telecom. Since last 5 years I have been into Telecom testing and now since last two years I have managing Testing projects from delivery perspective.
Can you please suggest suitable certification for me – PMP or CAPM ?
Your first question should be – do you have the proper amount of project management work experience to qualify to take the PMP examination? If so, then you should definitely get the PMP over the CAPM. You can find the amount of project management work experience needed to apply to take the PMP exam in the body of this post. If you worked on projects before you started officially managing testing projects, you might already have what you need to apply.
If you do not yet have the right amount of work experience to sit for the PMP, you might consider getting the CAPM… however, I don’t find that the CAPM holds as much weight in the industry as does the PMP. As such, it might or might not be worth your time to take it. If you are close to having the required amount of work experience to sit for the PMP exam, my advice would be to wait until you do amass those hours, and then apply to take the PMP.
Hope this helps.
Thanks Brian for your response.
Looking at the direction that many software industries are moving at present, I was also looking out for certifications in Agile. I have already managed Scrum based projects for around 2 years. So do you think the Agile certification is the best suited for me ? If yes, which one should I opt for ?
I love answering this question. My answer would be to get both! I personally am both PMP and ScrumMaster Certified, and I’ve found that the combination of the two certifications is very powerful on a resume or job application.
Completing both certifications will also allow you to spend an extended period of time studying two different project management methodologies using two popular frameworks, which I think is time well spent if you’re going to be managing projects into the future. The IT landscape is one of constant change, with frameworks being divised, modified and fit to suit the needs of individual companies, so having a broad understanding of different project management approaches will serve you very well.
If you don’t yet have the project management work experience necessary to get PMP certified, go ahead and get certified in Agile now… my advice to anyone is to always work on your forward momentum, and gain skills to make yourself a more competent person. When you get the proper experience required to get the PMP, go for that! They’re both very useful and interesting certifications. Some employers will prefer one over the other, so getting both will maximize your chances of taking advantage of good opportunities as they arise.
Hi Brian, thankyou for such a detailed info on PMP. I’ve about 7.5 yrs of exp in the IT field in QA domain. Currently had to take a break from work as I’ve just had my baby and could not get extended maternity leave. I was thinking of taking this time to prepare and take PMP, what would you suggest on this, as I mentioned I’m from the QA domain and let me also mention that I’ve worked as a test lead for about 3 yrs in my tenure and have a bachelor degree. Please suggest
Hello Arathi, I’m glad to be able to help with the PMP information.
It sounds to me that now would be a good time to prepare to take the PMP exam – while your baby is napping! – instead of while you’re working a full time job. You will be able to dedicate some time during each day – maybe an hour or so – to studying for the examination.
If you’ve worked as a test lead, you may have managed projects or project tasks in that domain that would qualify for “project management experience” on PMI’s PMP application – you would have to check to make sure. Here’s a post that might help you with that.
Meanwhile, all the best to you with your new baby – how exciting is that? – and good luck with your project management studies.
Thank u for this amazing information, I would like to ask you a few questions which will help me decide if i should go ahead with it, is it possible to send me your email.
I’m glad to hear that you are finding the information on this site useful. Can you ask your questions publicly on this post? Perhaps some other project managers would be able to answer your questions better than I might, and other people who have similar questions to your own might benefit from any responses. Thanks!
I am planning to take the PMP certification and was searching net for some informaton. I read your article and the comments on your post as well as the responses that you have given. Everyone has appreciated the article, I must say, I appreciate you as a person, helping and motivating others to fulfill their dream of career enhancement. Thanks for being there for all
Thanks very much for the kind feedback – that is very kind of you! I’m glad to be able to help other people with their career goals if I can. Thanks again, and best of luck on your PMP certification studies and examination… I hope it goes well for you!
As i am diploma in civil engineer. i have 2years of site experience, I am planning to take up the PMP certification and was searching net for some informaton. but my doubt is there any value for 3years of diploma holders by doing PMP course.i heard just for bachelors only value is given. please suggest me i will be much thankfull to you.
Thanks for asking. I find that a lot of engineers are interested in getting PMP certified – I hope that you enjoy your time learning and growing as both an engineer and a project manager.
Whether or not you have the work experience to get PMP certified is up to you. If you have a bachelors degree, you will need 4,500 hours (36 months) of project management experience, while with an associates degree you will need 6,000 hours (60 months).
Either way, if you’ve been working as a civil engineer and not as a project manager, you may not have the proper amount of project management work experience required to apply to take the PMP exam. In order to find out, you can document the hours that you’ve worked on this spreadsheet, and figure out how many hours you have and how many more hours you need in order to apply. It takes a bit of time and effort to calculate your hours, but in the end I feel it is worth doing.
Best of luck to you!
Let me congratulate you on putting up this fantastic blog full of useful information regarding PMP. I plan to do PMP this year and I have planned for a round of self-study before going for the training worth 35 PDUs. I have almost 9.5 years of overall IT experience in different process groups. I have heard that filling up the application form is a bit tedious. Could you please share your excel template which I can reuse at the time of filling up the application form? Also any additional tips about filling up the form would be really helpful.
Thanks once again for the excellent blog.
Hi Ratchakr, glad to help.
The Excel template can be found on this post; it’s quite basic, but it has what you need in order to file your work experience. Just click on the image of the spreadsheet to download the Excel file. I’ve also left instructions and some tips of my own for filing your work experience. The hard part isn’t going to be using the template – the hard part is going to be going back through time and figuring out all your hours of work!
When you mentioned going for the training worth 35 PDUs, I assume you meant the 35 hours of project management education needed to apply to take the PMP exam? You don’t need to get PDUs until after you earn your PMP. In that case, I do think that it is a good idea to do some self-study beforehand… it will put you in a good mindset to get those 35 hours worth of project management training and move forward with your studies.
Thanks very much for your kind words about this site, and I wish you all the best with your project management training and career!
iam planning to get the PMP course and certificate, iam working as a training coordinator and i hope to change my career to project management but i have no experience in it. the question is how i can start in this field without experience in project management. and what should i do to hunt a job related to project management?
This is a really good question, that deserves a detailed response… in fact, it was such a good question that I made a post to answer it!
Here is the post that I made that has a few suggestions about how you can get project management work experience without having PMP certification… I hope that it is helpful!
All the best to you.
Thanks Brian for sharing the excel template. I would definitely go through it and figure out how can I document my case. If any help is required I would seek your expertise for sure.
Yes by PDU I meant 35 hours of required project management training which is a must for taking the PMP.
Thanks again for your prompt guidance and help. It is really commendable.
You’re very welcome – I hope that the Excel spreadsheet will be helpful when it comes to documenting your project management work history! Definitely let me know if you have any further questions or concerns; I’d be glad to answer them.
Good luck, and please let me know how it goes!
I am in to insurance company working as Business Development Manager,
Here my job involves
>creation of business tie-up,
>conductiing product training
>setting up new busiess avenues
and some time post sales activities, these above jobs are time bound with definite begining and end (can say some small projects) I have work experience of 8+ years and planning to do PMP,
I would like to know how PMP would help me in getting new Job Based on My past experience? and after doing PMP which kind of job I should search?
Are PMP based Jobs are industry specific?
Hey there Hari,
Sounds like you have a pretty interesting job – I’ve always thought it would be a lot of fun to be in business development, and to work on planning new ventures and partnerships for your company. If you have been running your activities as projects, then it does seem that you would have some good experience to put toward a PMP.
Getting a PMP might help you in getting a new job depending on what kind of job you’re after. If you’re looking to get into project management, program management, project portfolio management, or something similar, then a PMP can definitely help you. If you’re running a network systems shop, or managing a team of computer programmers, the PMP might also help you there. As for corporate development, I’m not sure… if it’s being run as part of a services department, or has tie-ins with your services group (business analysts and the like), then having a PMP might give you some cred – but there is also the chance, if your corporate development office is part of your sales group (which you mentioned you do have tie-ins with), it might not be as powerful.
My initial advice would be to go to talk to your manager or your human resources department, and see if they have any advice about getting PMP certified, or if there are other certifications that are more useful in your line of work. Alternatively, if you’re interested in project management, you might just go for it! Learning about PMI’s framework (and other frameworks) might help you to manage your business development projects, or give you some good ideas for initiatives to implement in your office. I know that through studying for the PMP and other credentials I came up with some good tips that I implemented in my own career.
Best of luck to you!
Your article is valuable and will do a world of good for a lot of people.
I need your advice to sort this out. I have a master’s degree in Computer Science and a bachelor’s degree in engineering. I have been in IT field for 23 years now. I have led teams and have done software projects end to end. For the past 7 years, I run a small software company where I do small projects (such as Web portals) regularly.
I had a brief look at the PMBOK. In my projects I have followed mostly software life cycle and done project management in a rather informal way. Can I qualify to take the PMP certification?
Thanks for your help.
Thanks for the kind feedback – I appreciate it! Let me know if you can think of any suggestions for other articles that people might find useful; I’m always glad to help.
It sounds like you have a good background and work experience. 23 years working in Information Technology is fantastic!
One of the goals of the PMP is to help provide project managers with tools to do their jobs better, and to learn and appreciate a framework that can help project managers succeed. As such, if you haven’t used PMI’s framework or associated methodologies in the past, I think that is okay. As long as you have been managing actual projects and not processes (you can find the difference on this post) then your work experience should count.
I recommend that you fill out a spreadsheet that details the project management work experience that you’ve accumulated in the various PMI process groups (you can use the Excel template here to help you do that) and see how many hours you have already accumulated leading and directing projects. My guess is that you will have more than enough.
Best of luck – let me know how it goes.
Thanks for the advice. I did complete the 35 contact hour training. I was able to document my project management experience. I have scheduled a date for the exam.
Thanks again for helping people like myself and others.
Congratulations on completing your 35 hours of training and securing a date to take the PMP exam! With the effort and care you are taking to secure the credential, I am sure you will be successful.
Thanks again for your kind comment about my site – I really appreciate it.
I have just entered into the Professional World. I have an MBA and am working as a consultant in one of the IT Companies in India. As of now I don’t have any experience related to handling any projects but am interested to go for PMP Certification.
Please, let me know what should be the ideal roadmap for me to pursue.
Hi Chetan, congrats on graduating with your MBA, and best of luck in the professional world.
Your question is a very common one – so common, in fact, that I created this post to help answer it. In the post I suggest a few ways that you can go about getting some project management work experience. I hope the post is helpful! I also find that even if you get a job on a project team (perhaps as a business analyst or solutions architect) you can still earn some some good project leadership experience.
If you have any further questions, please let me know. Best of luck.
Currently i am working just as an SPI (INTOOLS) Administrator in an engineering company, and having an experience of more than 4 and a half years, is it ok for me to do PMP, or is it only for IT people.
I do not have a project management experience and i want to move in project management line for that should i do PMP?
Unfortunately, if you do not have any project management experience at all, then you won’t be able to apply to take the PMP exam… in order to apply to take the PMP exam, you already have to have several thousand hours of professional project management work experience under your belt (see above in the post body for details). If you don’t yet have that experience, then you would have to get some project management experience first.
On the other hand, the PMP is not only for IT people… any project management professionals can study for and take the PMP examination to become certified PMPs. If you’re working at an engineering company, you do have opportunities to get the project management experience required to sit for the exam – it may take a while, but with some effort, you can achieve it. You might ask your colleagues at work or your human resources department if they think that the PMP credential is valuable in your company or field. Best of luck to you!
A good and detailed articles but unfortunately it has some flaws.
1. PMP is certified project management professionals – not a certified project manager.
2. The PMP exam does not certify or prove that the person has experience as project manager – it only acknowledge the person has experience working on projects
3. PMI and PMBOK is not a methodology – this is what PMI and PMBOK specifically say.
Thanks very much for the feedback – I really appreciate it! You have made some very good points.
I’ve gone back and made changes to the original article based on your suggestions; notably, the header that read “PMP certification proves that you have experience as a project manager” now reads “PMP certification proves that you have project management experience”, and any references to “PMI’s methodology” are now references to “PMI’s framework”. Again, I appreciate the feedback.
All the best to you and your company!
Thank you for your openness and accepting the feedback. Not many will do without becoming defensive.
Appreciate your effort
Thanks again. The goal of this post was to present helpful information about project management and PMP certification; as such, I appreciate any and all feedback, criticism, or suggestions for improvement. And while I do try to help people who are interested in project management careers however I can, I’ll be the first to admit that I myself have a lot to learn.
Thanks again, and all the best to you.
I have been currently out of workforce for 7 years. Prior to that I worked for a large corporation as a Six Sigma Black Belt and Business Analyst for about 3 years running various types of projects.
I am looking to reenter the workforce and hoping a PMP certification would help.
In your opinion, do you think this experience counts as project management experience? and if so, does the fact that it was 7 years ago matter? I do have access to the former managers who can verify hours in case of an audit.
Thanks for your input.
I do think that getting PMP certified could help you re-enter the workforce… though your Six Sigma Black Belt certification should also be helpful!
I poked around to see what information I could find about work experience limits on the PMI web site. On the PMP application itself, in the Experience Verification Form section, it reads:
Nowhere on the form or on the PMI web site could I find any indication that your 7,500 or 4,500 hours worth of work experience must be within several years of your application date; from what I see, you can use any prior work experience to apply to take the examination. Note that I’m not a representative of PMI, so if you want to know for sure, perhaps you should contact PMI directly.
Meanwhile, I do think you could use your 7 years’ worth of experience to apply to take the exam. I would recommend you fill out the spreadsheet on this page to find out exactly how much experience you have earned leading and directing projects. This will tell you whether or not you have amassed enough to take the exam – but from what you have told me, I think you will be fine.
Best of luck to you!
My name is Senthil and currently working as a Senior System Engineer in a private company. I have 8 yrs of exp and planning to take PMP training and certification. I don’t have project handling exp. Am I still eligible for this certification and is it important to know ms project and primavera before appearing for the exam.
In order to apply to take the PMP exam, you do need to have experience leading and directing projects – see the post above for details. If you do not yet have any experience leading and directing projects, then your first order of business is to go ahead and get some… there are several creative ways that you can do this even if you are not yet PMP certified. I have outlined some of these ways on this post.
Meanwhile, the good news is you do not need to know Microsoft Project or Primavera in order to take the PMP exam. The PMP exam is based on PMI’s project management framework and does not contain any questions about software or specific software tools that you will use as a project manager.
Thanks, and good luck!
The info on this page regarding PMP is outlined very well, and i really appreciate your generosity. I’m sure people like me will benefit from this.
I am planning to do the certification and would like to get some more details w.r.t eligibility criteria. Could you please email me so that i’ll be comfortable to ask you my doubts.
Thanks a lot!
I’d be glad to answer your questions, but if you ask them here instead of via email, other potential PMPs who might have the same question might be able to read the response. That being said, the best person to answer questions about your eligibility would be yourself! The best way to figure out if you have the work experience required would be to tally all of your hours spent leading and directing projects according to PMI’s five process groups, and then see if you already have what you need to apply. You can find a spreadsheet that will help you with that task here.
Best of luck to you.
I really appreciate your in-depth info regarding getting the PMP certification.
Currently I’m an IT Manager with an insurance company and there are a few personal questions that I would like to discuss with you about the certification. I would appreciate it much if you could e-mail me and we take it up from there.
Please feel free to ask whatever questions you have about PMP certification in these comments – I’ve had a lot of feedback that indicates that people do appreciate going through the comments to find answers to questions asked by others that are like their own. Plus, other people who read the blog might also be able to offer their advice. Thanks!
My name is Charles and currently working as an IT Manager in an insurance company. I have several years of IT experience in the areas of networks and systems developments.
Can I list works like VPN setups at branch offices, Systems setups etc. as part of my project experience?. Better still which areas should I be looking at?
Hello again Charles,
It’s up to you to decide whether the experience that you have accumulated was experience spent leading and directing projects. Here is a post that might help you figure out if what you are managing are projects or not. It seems to me that the tasks you have mentioned were actual projects – installations of systems or applications are common projects that project managers manage – but you would know more about the circumstances of the work you have done to be able to make that call.
It sounds to me like you have some good experience working in IT, and that you should be in good shape when it comes to tallying your work experience for the PMP exam application. Best of luck to you!
Thanks for your response, I really appreciate it.
Hi Charles, you are welcome. Best of luck with filing your experience for the PMP application… I do know that it takes a lot of time and effort, but you will be happy when it is done!
i will like to know the relevance of PMP certificate to a Nation or Country. I will be grateful if i get a reply via my Email.
Please feel free to ask your questions on this post, or on another post relevant to the questions that you have to ask that you can find on this site… I’d prefer to answer questions where everyone might benefit from the answers. Thanks!
hi brian, thanks for this article, i have a bachelor degree in the field of science, with no experience yet, but would like to move into management, and was considering taking a pmp course, but from your article here, i ve seen that PMP is not ideal for someone without a project management experience, do you have any other suggestion
There are several ways that you can start to incorporate project management tasks into your everyday career, even if you end up getting a job as a business analyst, software engineer, test engineer, or similar position. I’ve created a post here that includes some ideas on ways that you might start amassing some project management experience even without PMP certification. Check it out and see what you think. Thanks, and best of luck to you in your new career!
Thanks so much for your post. I am a recent PMP and could use some advice on how to enhance my career opportunities. I live in the US. If you could, I would appreciate your email as well so I can send some background information. Thanks.
Congratlutions on your PMP certification – that is fantastic. Please feel free to ask your PMP-related questions on this blog… there may be others who might be interested in reading about your situation and who might also have some advice for you about your project management career. Thanks!
This article is very useful for PMP aspirants. I have completed my M.S and working for an IT gaint
in India since last 6.5 yrs.I am planning to take up PMP certification…Need your guidance in preparing
for the exam. Please write an email to me so that I can get in touch with you.
Please feel free to answer the questions you might have on this post – other project managers or PMPs might be able to answer them or learn from them as well!
That said, I do have an article that I have written about preparing for the exam – it can be found here. This post goes into detail about the method that I personally used to study for the PMP exam. I hope that it might be of assistance to you.
Excellent article, comprehensive and very well written.
I wonder if you could let me know if you think I can go for the PMP.
I have an MBA and have been involved with project management since 1982 within the construction industry and associated sectors. Up until 10 years or so ago I worked for a number of Companies within the architectural facade and H&V industry where I have been responsible for the design and installation of products ranging from louvres, screens and acoustic products. More recently I have set up a new production facility and then another to manufacture these products and have been involved in a major project where we took over another Company. Currently I am working on a project to rationalise and organise the Company’s project management department. I guess my question relates to what is the definition of a project……. I am very keen to go for the PMP as a way of improving myself and would very much appreciate your advice.
It certainly sounds to me like you have a tremendous amount of experience working on projects, and probably leading and directing projects as well. I have a post about the definition of a project here… this might help you to figure out which parts of your work experience applies to projects, and which parts apply to processes or tasks. That said, it seems to me that you have a great deal of project management experience to demonstrate to PMI, so you should be fine.
Sorry I forgot, but perhaps I could also add a number of product development projects to my more recent work. In brief, with these I have developed the initial scope with time, cost, quality and resouce management (considering components, materials, labour and sub contract work) and taken the project through to product manufacture. Sorry, should have mentioned this before!
Going along with what I mentioned in response to your other comment, I think you should have well above and beyond what you will need in order to apply for the PMP exam, especially considering you have been working in the industry since 1982! My recommendation is to go ahead and do it… I am of the opinion that certifications and education are useful pursuits for working professionals, and the PMP in particular can help to broaden your understanding of project management in ways that can help you in your career, regardless of whether or not you decide to continue working as a project manager. Best of luck to you.
A great many thanks for your reply Brian.
No problem at all… I’m always glad to help wherever I can! Best of luck to you in your future project management ventures.
Thank you for your detailed insight on the PMP Pros & Cons. Iam a beginner and have no clue on how to go about this cerfication. I was thinking to take up CAPM and then PMP. Please advice how do i go about it.
I have a couple of posts that might help you. The first is about CAPM certification, and whether or not it is worth getting. I’m a bit on the fence on this one, so it is up to you, but that post might help you to learn about some of the pros and cons of the credential. The second post is about how to get project management work experience for the PMP exam even if you do not have any prior project management work experience. This might help you come up with some ideas that you can use to move forward with your career with the aim of eventually becoming PMP certified.
I hope this is helpful – good luck!
Thanks for your article. My company has asked me to put some options with business cases forward for training and certification for myself in project management. I’ve already got the Prince2 Practitioner certification, and am looking at PMP or Scrum and my next step forward, do you have anything that could help me when putting my business case for PMP (and Scrum if you have it).
Thanks for your help?
Hello Brenda, I’m always glad to help!
Congratulations on your Prince2 Practitioner certification… that’s something that I have not (yet?) completed myself, but I have heard good things about it from colleagues working in England and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
Regarding a business case for PMP or ScrumMaster certification, I think the best business case for the PMP is the added clout you can get when managing projects for clients or government organizations. Many people have heard of the PMP, and so if you are looking to win a contract with a client or government organization, having a PMP-certified project manager at the helm can help you win the job. PMP certification can also help if you’re looking to manage projects internationally for global organizations – if you’re coming in from a relatively unknown company, for example, having people with the proper documentation can go a long way.
As for ScrumMaster certification, I think that this certification is important as many projects these days are being managed in an Agile Development context. Managing projects in iterations, or sprints, is a very up-to-date way to manage projects, and I personally have achieved successes using this method. If your organization is looking to get into Agile Development using Scrum on the projects that you are managing, by getting certified, you can help to “bring Agile to your organization”, perhaps setting up some training courses or distributing PowerPoint presentations about how it works. I think it could be a plus to your organization to at least understand the principles behind Scrum, and how it can help to keep projects on track.
I hope that this is helpful advice. Best of luck to you!
Hi Brian, I’m so impressed on the way you are giving the public audience, I really appreciate it. I kindly request for your advice, I really want an exciting and rewarding career, I have about 4years in office administration, maybe I should send you my CV to assess. Will it be wise if I go in for PMP exams,i love administration or is there any other Certified exam that can give my career a boost. As a matter of fact in Nigeria, PMP is selling. Kindly advice. thank you
It is great to hear from a project manager working from Nigeria! I have always wanted to visit northern Africa.
It seems to me that if you can go for your PMP certification, you should go ahead and do it. It may be that you don’t yet have the project leadership experience that you will need in order to apply with PMI, but if you have a clear path to getting that experience, you should go for it. If you’re interested in project management (and in fact, in management in general), PMP certification can help you out.
I appreciate your letting me know that PMP certification is gaining in popularity in Nigeria! I wasn’t too sure how well known PMP certification is in Africa, or in Nigeria in particular. It seems to me that in larger cities like Lagos, professionals will have heard of PMP certification, especially in the field of information technology… I’m glad to hear that it is catching on globally.
Thanks again for your comment – I really appreciate it! Best of luck on your path toward a career in project management.
Brian ,Thanks for helpful article. Your efforts ,helpful nature really appreciated!!!
I am working as QA with 6 yrs of experience now planning for management certifications.
I am more interested in Agile rather the traditional one.
Please let me know relevant certifications .I worked on Agile process for one of the project . Do I go for Scrum master certification or CAPM or PMP certification.
I am not good manager that’s why i want to make it to improve.
It sounds like you have some solid work experience under your belt – glad to hear it.
The two major Agile certifications that I know of (of course there are others) are the ScrumMaster certification through the Agile Alliance, and the PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner) certification put out by PMI, the same group that controls PMP certification.
Of these two, the ScrumMaster certification was the first – I got ScrumMaster Certified before the PMI-ACP credential was put out. I have always been of the opinion that PMP certification, based on waterfall methodologies, involved a bit of a dated framework… it seems to me that the PMI-ACP was put out for that very reason; PMI wanted to make sure that they were keeping track with modern frameworks of leading and directing projects.
That said, it seems to me that the credential with the most power is the PMP. Even if you are managing Agile projects, it can’t hurt to have PMP certification under your belt. It will help you get jobs, and give you clout within your organization and client organizations (especially in the field of IT). As such, why not go for both the PMP and ScrumMaster certifications? That way, you will understand how to manage a variety of different projects, and can apply the tools and techniques you have learned from both certifications to the projects you manage.
Good luck to you!
Thanks so much for your article. I’m a mechanical engineer who has been working in the real estate/construction management field for the past few years. I’ve done some project management, although that was not my title. You mentioned that PMI has an audit process, how is this done? Do they randomly choose people for audit?
I’m glad to hear that you’re interested in PMP certification! It seems like you’ve had a successful career managing projects in your field.
PMI has an audit process where they randomly select a certain percentage of people to double check their work experience and education to make sure that they have what it takes to sit for the PMP examination. As PMI requires that PMP applicants have a certain amount of work experience and project management education, they want to make sure that the people who are applying for the credential are being honest about the requirements that they have indicated they possess. As they can’t check out everyone’s application (that would take way too much time), they randomly select a certain percentage of people to run an audit on.
As such, you will want to make sure that you properly document all of the work experience that you have earned, and that your former managers or project leaders will vouch for the work that you have completed on their projects. If you want some more information about how to document this information, I’ve written a post about how to do so here.
First of all, I would like to thank you for your effort and dedication for replying back to all questions. I noticed earlier that you mentioned you posted some thing about how to change ones carrier to be a project manager, this was included in your reply to someone named Ahmad, on Feb.4th.2013. In fact, I couldn’t find the post. Kindly provide me if possible with your answer.
Here is the post with some advice about how to work your way into a project management career. Sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge to get project management work experience without having PMP certification; on the other hand, PMP certification requires project management work experience of its applicants. As such, it can be a bit of a conundrum trying to figure out a path to becoming PMP certified! I hope that this post can help you think through some ideas about how to get there.
Best of luck to you.
You have been offering gem of guidance,a rare quality found in today’s fast paced environment.I am about to start preparation for PMP.Can I have your mail id please.
Thank you once again for sharing your knowledg
Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it! If you have any questions about PMP certification, please feel free to share them in the comments, here – I’m much better at keeping track of questions that appear here than those that appear in my inbox. I appreciate it!
Hi Mr. Brian,
Thanks for your excellent article on PMP certification. I am preparing for the same and have the exam lined up on 29th. Sincerely hoping to pass the same.
I have certain queries which I request if you can help personally and not in a forum.
Would wait eagerly for your reply.
Please feel free to post your comment under a pseudonym… as I mentioned in the previous comments, I’m much better at answering questions on this blog than I am corresponding with people through email. Plus, if you post your question as a comment on this post, other project managers who have also gone through the experience of getting PMP certified may be able to help you. Thanks!
I am 5 year experienced professional in Human Resources.
Is PMP going to be of some help to me to excel in my career.
Also, can it help me to change my career line if I want to.
Thank you in advance.
Thanks for your question. However, it seems to me that as a Human Resources professional, you might be better able to tell me the value of the PMP certification!
In my opinion, the PMP will definitely help you in your career if you’re moving into the field of project management (though you may need to amass more project management work experience before you are able to apply to take the exam). It might also help you to get jobs where general management is important, as knowing how to manage projects is also helpful knowledge when it comes to managing in general. However, it seems to me that the PMP credential is only valuable if the person doing the hiring knows what it is. Therefore, if you are applying for a job in, say, food services management, and your potential employer has never heard of the PMP in his or her life (which is likely in that field), then having PMP beside your name may not do you much good in that case – unless you are able to adequately explain what it is, why it’s valuable, and what you had to go through in order to get it.
I hope this is helpful advice. Thanks for asking!
The cons part of the PMP certification should not be taken lightly.
To get a PMP certification, you will spend some money. But more than that, for the average person, it would take a sustained effort for a couple of months. Before you decide to get a certification, carefully weight whether you need it. Once you have made that decision to get certified, be prepared for some hard work.
Hi Raj, thanks very much for your comment – I appreciate it. It definitely takes a considerable amount of time, money, and effort in order to go through the process of getting PMP certified. I personally am glad that it is not something that is a snap to attain… there are plenty of PMP-certified project management professionals as it is, and I can only imagine that the certification would be significantly watered down should it be any easier to attain – some people argue that PMP certification is watered down as it is.
Thanks again for your feedback, and best of luck to you in your career!
Your article helped me a lot to understand the process. I am a Business Analyst and have done some informal project management.
I am willing to grow my career into Project management. I don’t have any formal project management experience.
What do i need to get started? I have so many questions in my mind that would like to get all the details from an expert like you.
If you can please email me I would be very grateful.
This is a great question, and fortunately, I have written an article that may help get you headed in the right direction. Here are some tips for how you can get project management work experience without already being a PMP certified project manager – I hope that they may prove helpful.
Thanks, and all the best to you.
You write very well and with such in depth clarity. I suppose all the likes of me who are contemplating a PMP certification would be thankful to a large extent for this.
I had been toying the topic of certification for a long time and just this morning took the first step of joining up for a preparation course of 3 days. I was quite skeptical, and believe me still am, but in the absence of a clear advice and being driven with an underlying desire to be considered as more professional, I dished out the costly $900 for the course.
Right after I paid up, I sat across to search fervently for advice and the way forward, and lo behold I stumbled across your article.
It’s an eyeopener certainly. Having now coughed out the amount, there’s only one thing I can think of and that is to seek your advice on how should I make the most of this course. Its after a month from now.
Just to add to your info, I have been working for 2 decades now, a graduate engineer, and over the past 8-9 years I have been handling and / or contributing to projects at my employers. And well, going by the thought that isn’t each task a project in itself.
May I request you to enlighten me with some of your wisdom please, vis-a-vis my status as detailed above.
Feel free to respond on email or the forum. There might be scores of others in similar state of mine so can share upfront too, no problem.
Thanks in advance and once again, you write wonderfully.
I really appreciate your kind feedback on my article! It means a lot to me. I’m glad that you found it useful.
I have been busy on a difficult international project lately so I may not be responding to your email in time! But my advice for you would be, now that you have spent the money for the PMP prep course, go ahead and make the most of it. One great way would be to speak with the other members of the class, and also to your instructors, to try to get the best possible examples of what actual PMP questions will look like when it comes to taking the exam. While I myself was studying for the examination I did not take a prep course (as I had already accumulated sufficient project management education hours to apply to take the exam), and the thing that I found hardest during my studying was that I did not know exactly what the questions on the PMP exam would look like. I had lots of examples from the various books I had studied, and from web sites and forums, but up-to-date questions were something that I felt was lacking.
If you can work with your classmates and your instructors to figure out what kinds of questions you will see, that in my mind would be a huge benefit to taking a preparation course. And definitely take the opportunity to work hard and immerse yourself in the material. If you go into it with a positive attitude and are ready to do lots of work, you will have a much better chance of succeeding when it comes time to taking the actual test.
Good luck! I hope it works out well for you.
Thank you for writing a splendid article.You wrote this article in 2011, and the amount of replies that you are still getting is amazing. It itself is testament that you have been acting as a friend, philosopher and guide to so many like us. Bravo!
I have been contemplating on getting a PMP certification for past few weeks or so. And , I have thoroughly researched the web and other sources. I am a strategy consultant by profession with a cumulative nine years of work experience into consulting, operations and business development. Pedigree wise, I hold two masters (one MBA and the Specialist Master’s from a premier business school in the world. I have handled multiple projects across various verticals and businesses with my previous employers be it into consulting or operations. Two years back, I returned to India from UK and since then have been looking for a proper role and responsibility, but to no avail. My question is ‘Will this PMP certification get me the leverage of at least getting an interview?’ There are more than 360,000 PMP certified professionals, how will this act as a differentiator? Also, I have worked in the Quality function, so a Combo of PMP + Six Sigma would be ideal? How important it is to choose the right training institute which imparts 35 PDU’s which is mandatory to the take the test? Many institutes are offering different prices to lure candidates, does it really matter to do it from any institutes as they all give 35 PDU’s? I am a bit worried because I have a tight financial condition, and I am in two minds. Also, some training institutes are offering two days boot camp, some four days and some only online training session with 15 PDU’s? Please help me to get clarity here in terms of selecting the right institute, contact hours, and the prep material. Genuinely, how many days work shop is required to understand the basics coz major portion comprises self study? Also, is it beneficial to take the PMI membership?
It would be encouraging if you could clear my doubts. Many thanks in advance, really sorry to bother you.
Looking forward to your reply
Thanks very much for the kind feedback! As always, I really appreciate your saying it. I am always glad to help prospective PMP applicants.
My answer to you is – I do think that getting PMP certified will help get you interviews. I have found that simply being PMP certified has helped open doors to interviews for me. In addition, as a member of PMI and more importantly as a PMP, you will have the opportunity to network with PMI chapters in the United Kingdom. I am sure there are huge chapters in London, Manchester, Birmingham, etc., and likely smaller chapters in some of the smaller cities in England, Scotland and Wales.
On the other hand, if you are living in the UK, you might also consider getting Prince2 certified, or ITIL certified. I do find that those certifications (especially Prince2, which I do not hold myself) are very useful when working in the British Isles.
Meanwhile, if you do have Six Sigma, I do think that this would be a good certification to combine with the PMP credential. In general, I find that having more certifications is better than having fewer! You will be able to open more doors, and more importantly, you will be able to apply to those specialized jobs where certain certifications are required, and therefore you will be among a much smaller pool of applicants for the jobs you apply for. I do know that many jobs require PMP certification of hopeful applicants.
I gone through your article and it gave me the basic idea on PMP. I am planning to learn PM courses and I don’t have any Project management exp.
Currently I am working as Financial Associate and have around 3.5 yrs exp . Could you please mail me the details of PM certifications and eligibility details?
Thanks & Regards
You can find all the information you want about PMI’s certifications on PMI’s web site. However, if you don’t have any project management experience, you will need to get some before you apply to take the PMP exam. It may take a while, but if you’re interested in a career in project management, it’s worth going ahead and getting on that track. Best of luck to you!
I have submitted my application and have approval to move forward in sitting for the PMP exam. My dilema is the July 30th deadline for the Fourth Edition. I “think” I can make it by then, but would you recommend dropping the Fourth PMBOK and just go with the Fifth PMBOK and sit for the test after July? The only problem is lack of Fifth Edition study aids as I have both Rita and Crowes books….
I would really appreciate your opinion,
Sorry for getting back to you late on this question… I think I missed my own deadline for a timely answer! That being said, my advice to you would have been to try to hit the deadline of July 30th for the previous edition of the PMBOK. It’s always easiest to study for the version of the PMBOK that has all the study guides, prep courses, and other materials already created, tried, and tested; I faced a similar situation myself when I was preparing to become PMP certified.
Whatever decision you chose, I hope that all went well for you on the exam.
I really appreciate what you have done with this forum. Your prompt replies and knowledge is a big support of us “newbies” in the world of Project Management. Could you please email me as I would like to share my background and get some advise of where I could be heading once I get my certification. I am schedule for a class next week. Thanking you in advance for your help.
Thanks very much for your feedback on the site – I really appreciate it. As for the email, perhaps you can ask your question on this site? Other people might benefit from hearing the question, or offer answers or advice of their own. Thanks!
Waw.. great blog. I was planning for PMP, but had some doubts. You blog helped me a lot… Thank you so much Brian C
Hello Suthish, you are very welcome! Thanks very much for your kind feedback, and all the best with your PMP certification endeavors.
May be PMP will not get me more income,but thin it will make me rich
I’m not sure if getting PMP certified will make you rich, but if you’re interested in earning a living as a project manager, it certainly can’t hurt!
All the best to you.
Could you please provide me with your email ID. Had couple of queries on Job opportunities. I completed my PMP certification last year in June 2012 and was looking for a career move. I am currently in London and have put up my application in Job sites and various other places but with no luck. I have good PM experiance coupled with technology in the area of Networking. Can you please guide me if i am doing anything wrong with my resume or am i lacking somewhere. I can discuss with you some of my other doubts seperately. Thanks a lot. Would be kind if you could also reply to my email ID firstname.lastname@example.org
Congrats on your PMP certification – that’s great news. I’m sorry to hear that you are not having luck with your job searching.
Regarding your resume, my advice would be to make sure that you are listing your accomplishments prominently on your resume. Make sure that you explain the various successes you have had with the projects you have managed. Are you also listing financial information on your resume? For example, if you have managed projects worth X million pounds, be sure to indicate that on your resume, if you know that information. Also be sure to indicate when you’ve managed projects on time and on schedule.
Otherwise, just be positive on your resume, and make sure that you are using an attractive template.
I’m not an HR guy but there are plenty of sites out there that give advice on resumes and the like. Best of luck to you.
What would be the best path to attain this certification i.e best institute/cost effective???
& From where did u do ur PMP???
If you’re asking about where to get your project management education hours, I’m not sure what the most cost effective choice would be. I myself did a Masters degree that included significant project management education, and I was able to use that as my project management education – PMI does not require an actual PMP prep course as the education hours; just project management education. Good luck with choosing your own path!
I did mine through PMChamp.You could google it. Mr Vinai is the tutor and is very good. You can join in online. I believe he charges around 149$ for webbased course and is very systematic. Then of course have to read through Rita at least 3 times and then cornelius question bank of 2000 questions.
Hello Subbu, thanks for sharing your experience! I appreciate it.
Certification matters and it has positive effects on success. I strongly beleive on that.
Many proefessionals say ceritication DOESN’T matter for following reasosn.
1.Many uncertified guys feel that say “yes and good” can diminish them. They try to come up with argument they know to justify reason why they don’t have. it is human nature by default.
2. Many PMs even with experience they don’t pass because the y do bad pactices. PMP proposes Idelistic version of doing things. But reality is different. agreed. Is that mean do whatever you want say that as golden standard. You “feel” your golden standard, other theirs. you are correct for yourself, so as others. that is where mostly accepted standards/procedures exist through professional bodies.
3. It is human nature that, everyone feel like Einstein, but they are not. That is the reality many need to know.
Thanks very much for your comments – I appreciate your thoughts!
All the best to you.
Thanks for sharing in depth information in PMP m very much interested in this certification i have done my MBA in management i have 7 years of experience in coporate sector and 1.5 years of experience in project worked as HR & Contract officer, i wanted to to know weather am i eligible for applying for PMP exam. Kindly guide me on it, i will be greatful for this, Thanks,
Whether or not you are eligible depends on whether or not you have 4500 hours of project management work experience under your belt. As such, it doesn’t matter if you were an actual project manager; only if you have the proper experience leading and directing projects.
Perhaps you might start filling out the form, and seeing how much project management work experience you have attained in the various PMI process groups for the projects that you have worked on? This will likely give you a good idea where you stand.
Good luck to you.
hi brian,i really appreciate your efforts in this blog and answering each query in detail. i m design architect by profession. have worked roughly for about 4 years in 2 different construction and architectural firms. then there is a gap of few years because of children and family commitments. now i am getting desperate to start some work. do you think getting PMP certification will help me in entering the job market?
Hi Ammara, thanks for the kind feedback on the site. Sorry to hear that it’s difficult to find work – but stay positive! I am sure it will happen.
I think PMP certification can definitely help you get a job as a project manager – PMPs do seem to be in demand. That said, if you have 4 years of experience in construction and architecture, it may be that you do not yet have the 4500 hours of experience leading and directing projects that you need to apply to become PMP certified. This is something that you might want to investigate. Note that you don’t have to have been a project manager to apply; you simply need to have the work experience managing projects.
Best of luck to you in your career.
I went after the PMP certification to bolster my resume and make myself more marketable. I am not a project manager by profession but find myself managing projects and products. In May 2013 I passed my exam on the first attempt. The next week after passing the exam I was laid off. In the open job market I can share that a lot of calls from recruiters is in regards to project management for IT and Healthcare. For me it was worth the time, money and effort needed to pass that four hour test.
Thanks very much for your feedback – I’m really pleased to hear that having PMP certification paid off in interest from recruiters. I’m also glad to hear that there is an interest in IT and Healthcare – it’s always great to be able to share information about what fields are hiring PMP certified professionals.
Thanks again, and best of luck to you in your career.
Thanks for sharing in depth information in PMP m very much interested in this certification i have done my MBA in management i have 7 years of experience in coporate sector and 1.5 years of experience in project worked as HR & Contract officer, i wanted to to know weather am i eligible for applying for PMP exam. Kindly guide me on it, i will be greatful for this,
To be PMP certified, you need 4500 hours of leading and directing projects… so even if you worked in the corporate sector and in Human Resources, if you have the proper experience managing projects, you can still get PMP certified. As to whether or not you have those hours, only you could answer that – you might try filling out the PMP application form, filing your work experience according to PMI’s process groups as requested, and seeing where you stand. Good luck!
Indeed you site is very usefull, 3 years back i completed the PMP Course, now i would like to prepare for PMP Exam , in order to apply for the PMP exam do i need to attend another 35 hours ?
Thanks in Advance
No, I don’t believe you do – you simply need to have 35 hours of project management education in your past. I checked out the PMP handbook on the PMI site and it didn’t mention any sort of time restriction on the project management education that you have received.
Meanwhile, project management experience needs to have been accrued within the last 8 years… but even then it doesn’t say anything about the project management education.
Hope this helps.
thanks for your useful information,they are great.
but I still have questions about my situation .I am wondering would it be possible to ask you them through email?
Thanks for asking. Please feel free to share any questions you have about PMP certification here – that way, other people might be able to answer in my stead (it seems I’m a bit behind in my answering questions).
I heard about PMP from 1 of my friends, so i want some information related to that. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Information tecchnology and i am pursuing my Master’s in Computer Science and i have an experience of 1 year in corporate world. So what i need to do as soon as i m done with masters should i go and take PMP classes or just wait for right time.
Your reply will be appreciated.
In order to get PMP certified, as you know, you will need a certain amount of work experience and a certain number of hours of project management education. You don’t have to have the education at any certain point – so you can go ahead and get your project management education before you have the required amount of project management work experience. So if you’re interested in continuing your education right after your Masters, go ahead and get it. Note that you don’t have to do PMP classes to counts your project management education – it could be any project management education. In fact, if you took project management courses in college, that would count as project management education hours as well.
Hi, I am a PMP for 5 years now. As I can still remeber the hardest part of learning for the exam was to memorize the inputs, tools & techniques and outputs (called ITTO’s) from PMBOK. From August 1st 2013 PMP examination is based on PMBOK 5th edition, which brings some more processes and ITTO’s. My trick at learning was to use this free tool: PMP Itto quiz. It is now available online and free for all. Good luck with the exam!
Great to hear you’ve been a PMP for five years! I really appreciate your feedback, and your recommendation of the PMP ITTO quiz. It’s always great to hear about effective PMP exam study resources – especially free ones! Thanks again, and all the best to you.
I was going through your blog, very informative blog and quite detailed also. I have a question with respect to my back ground and suitability of doing PMP
Reading your blogs I believe you will able to help me out and direct me in right direction.
I am a Component Engineer with 10 years of experience, I don’t have any direct repotees nor I have managed any projects.
I am working remotely roughly 7years.
Wanted to know if PMP is good for me. Since I don’t have the experiencing in managing nor owned a team.
Thanks for the support.
If you haven’t managed any projects, it may be difficult for you to get the required work experience – you will need a certain number of hours leading and directing projects in order to take the PMP exam. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t had any people directly reporting to you – that doesn’t matter – but it does matter if you don’t have experience leading and directing projects.
That said, it’s never too late to start getting that experience! I do think that even if you are working as an engineer and not as a project manager, it can’t hurt to get the experience managing projects in your current role, and getting PMP certified. It can open doors to you in your career in the future.
Hope this helps – good luck to you!
I just passed my PMP exam yesterday. I used your recommendation to prepare and found it key to passing the exam. Many thanks for what you wrote (and the comments afterwards). To share with the group, I was very tight on time due to my work schedule (and coming close to expiry of my eligibility period). I basically registered for the exam on July 6th and the exam was on July 29th. I mainly had 3 weeks to study. My strategy was as follows:
-I read first the PMP exam book by Andrew Crowe. I read all the book material, solved all the practice exams and the final exam. I studies afterwards the key answers and wrote down why I got wrong and why did I get it wrong. I believe the book is the first one that should be read as it is a good introduction. I did that reading during 7-8 days (in total spending about 40 hours on that)…
-I then read Rita’s book (PMP exam perp). I read every word, marked key areas, and took all practice exams (and also looked at all that I did wrong. I did this in about 5-6 days (about 40-50 hours). Focused also on solving the exercises on Rita’s book (not just reading the answers)
-I then spent 1-2 days reading the PMBOK guide (about 10-12 hours).
-Finally I spent 2 day writing my study notes (listing all key inputs and processes, tools and outputs, and knowing all the equations in cost management process). This took easily 14 hours to complete, but it was crucial for me to put it together.
-I spend a day skimming through all 3 books (inc. practice exams) and writing down in 2 papers what did I get wrong and why did I get it wrong in the practice exams.
-I did not have time to do further mock tests (so, just used the practice questions in Rita’s and Andrew’s book). I would not recommend that if you have time (and would recommend doing 3-4 complete practice exams. e.g. in PM study)
-I went to the exam and it took me all 4 hours to finish the test (I took 3 minutes break every hour). I finished exactly at 3:59 (with 1 min to spare). So did not have time to review the answers for the questions I marked for review. (probably because I have not practiced mock questions before)
-I passed the test and I am now a PMP:).
-Looking back at it today, I would strongly recommend to:
oRead Rita’s book (after Andrew ones) and read every word of it. It may seem quite wordy but it was instrumental
oTry to solve all the exercises in Rita’s book (and exam questions) and write down why you would get something wrong
oPut all the ITTO together in study sheets (write them to solidify the material in mind)
oIf you have time, re skim through all 3 books once more at least
oSolve 3-4 mock exams before taking the actual test.
oOnce you get to the exam, Perform a dump download (especially the equations) in a sheet of paper (after 3 hours of the exam, I was very tired that I would not have remembered the formulas, if I did not write them down in the beginning of the exam).
-I wish you all the best in passing the exam:)
Thanks so much for this long and thoughtful comment. It really made my day! It makes me so pleased to hear that my advice helped you to pass the PMP exam.
I really like the way that you set about studying for the exam, and the steps that you took in order to pass it. I agree that Andy Crowe’s book makes a great introductory book; then Rita’s book, which features much more complicated problems and a better look at what the questions on the actual PMP exam will look like.
It sounds like study notes played a key role in your preparation – that is a very good tip. Noting the more important information, like the ITTOs, the Earned Value formulas, and other key information is crucial, and going over those notes to make sure that you are up to speed on those important aspects is very important.
Thanks again for your kind feedback, and I’m really pleased to hear that the method worked out for you. I wish you all the best in your project management career!
Thanks for the informative blog. I am an SAP Technical Consultant and planning to prepare for PMP certification. Being a team player all throughout my career i.e. with zero Project Management experience, my biggest doubt now after reading your blog is that, is it necessary to have the below minimum experience to appear for the certification ?
“In order to apply to take the PMP exam you are required to have attained a certain amount of experience leading and directing projects: 60 months (7,500 hours) of experience if you have an associate’s degree, and 36 months (4,500 hours) of experience if you have a bachelor’s degree.”
Can’t non project managers aspire to be PMs by doing this certification. ?
Non-project managers cannot at this time get PMP certified. The PMP certification is not for people who are interested in becoming project managers; it is for people who have already spent considerable time working in the field leading and directing projects. The good thing about this is that when you do get that work experience and attain PMP certification, you can show people that you are PMP certified and they will know that this means that you already have that crucial work experience leading and directing projects (and are not simply good at studying for and taking tests). While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a good project manager, I do think it is valuable to have a certification that proves that you have spent some time working as a professional.
Thanks for your question, and good luck to you.
You article on PMP was very informative and am planning to take the PMP exam shortly. However as I started learning about PMP, here are some questions which I have.
1. As I was from IT Infrastructure Services, my profile demanded me to choose ITIL and am half way on it with ITIL Intermediate . Can i move towards PMP now?
2. While leading a team, I did multiple projects internally – IVR migrations for Service Desk and many Service Improvement Plans as part of CSI. Can they be considered as projects. These were done without any proper Project Management template or ideas. More of tasks assignment and completion.
3. How exactly the audit is going to be? Can I keep my Manager informed about my projects/splitup based on the templates and is that all is required.
Please clarify and appreciate your help in advance.
Thanks very much for your questions. Here are some answers:
1. Of course – in fact, I find it valuable to have both ITIL and PMP certifications (and Agile, Prince2, and whatever others you’d like to attain, as well).
2. If you’ve actually been working on projects (and not simply tasks), then you can certainly use internal projects. If you didn’t use the proper project management processes, that’s okay too – part of learning to be a better project manager is by doing the wrong thing and seeing where it makes life difficult!
3. I have never been audited. However, from what I understand, it is not too big a deal as long as you can pass the hours that you have worked by your former managers. That way, your managers can “sign off” on the hours that you’ve worked, and PMI will pass your audit.
Hope this helps. Thanks, and good luck.
Thanks a ton for the useful info. i have a total experience of 9 years in which i have served in the capacity of a Team lead and Manager for 54 months. after schooling i have done my graduation through distance learning. all my experience goes in to IT enabled serices. will i be eligible for PMP certification and will it be useful for my career.kindly throw some light on this.
If you have the required number of hours leading and directing projects (not necessarily as a project manager – as any role), and if you have the required number of hours of project management education, then you will be eligible for PMP certification. You’ll have to go through your work experience and your education hours and figure out if enough of those hours add up to the number of hours required by PMI.
As for if it is useful, if you’re working in IT, then I definitely think it is useful, even if you are not working as a project manager. It seems to me that it’s a well-known degree by professionals and by human resources departments. At any rate, it certainly can’t hurt!
I am an marketing professional don’t have much project management experience. I want to go for PMP certification but still in confusion is it worth it or not for me . If you can guide on that , really appreciated
I recommend you talk to your HR department to find out whether or not PMP certification is worth getting at your company or in your field. However, make sure that you do have the required number of hours leading and directing projects in order to apply for it!
It seems to me that PMP certification is most worthwhile in IT, but it does seem that it has been branching out into other fields. I’d be interested in finding out whether or not it is useful for people in the marketing profession.
Thank you very much for your website. I am currently working as a DBA with a Bank. Due to new products, we are constantly implementing new systems in our infrastructure and therefore working with other teams within IT and outside for implementation. Do you think PMP can be a worthy skill and certification to add to my resume? your advice will be highly appreciated.
I do think that PMP certification would be useful for you – it would be helpful to manage those changes and implementations as projects. I worked for a number of years as an implementation project manager and found that being well versed in PMI’s processes and tools was helpful to me.
If you’re working with technology (in IT), in general it seems to me that the PMP credential is valued!
Best of luck to you.
I am lucky to find this site. Thanks for your useful information,they are great.
I want briefly discuss about my situation. I am wondering would it be possible to ask you them through email?
Thanks for reaching out. Please feel free to ask any questions here on this site (perhaps anonymously); I find that a lot of questions are actually quite similar, so perhaps other people can benefit from any responses. Also, that way, if anyone else who reads the site has a response, they can perhaps comment to answer your question. Thanks very much!
I am lucky to get this site while surfing . Thanks for your valuable information and about my self iam mechanical engineer and having 4.5 years of experience in Manufacturing (production and Maintenance) and iam looking forward to enhance my skills by doing value adding part time courses.And i came to know about importance of PMP in this article.Is PMP adds marketability to my resume.And in future after PMP completion what about the openings in sectors.Help me on this and suggest some coaching class in southern part of India
Thanks very much for you