PMP Certification: Is It Worth Gaining?
Directly or indirectly, we all have found ourselves in project management leadership roles. Whether you lead a team tasked with executing a particular project at work or a simple project for your community, project management is a thriving part of a business and everyday life. No matter what career or field one is in, the skill of project management is a vital one.
The question arises, is it worth pursuing a formal certification in project management? Will it boost my career prospects or be yet another mundane certification flooded in the labor market? Project management pundits, especially those at the Project Management Institute (PMI) seem to think so. They have designed the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification for the same purpose too.
Project Management Professional Certification, or PMP in short, is the most industry-recognized certification by PMI. PMP has been subjected to rigorous and global management standards to ensure that it explicitly equips all project managers with the top-notch skills for the job. Not only is it in line with the best practices enforced by Standards for Educational & Psychological Testing, but it is also subjected to ISO 17024 standards. Very few professional certifications can boast of such standards.
PMP certification is worldly recognized and anyone who undertakes it, comes out with the highest and most polished skills project management could ask for. Moreover, the perks and rewards that accompany the certification are well worth the effort. Not only do you exponentially increase your career prospects and skills, but you also get the chance to experience a higher salary and benefits package, as well as experience greater flexibility in your work.
To qualify for PMP Certification, you must meet either of the following criteria: possess a secondary degree (this could be a high school diploma, an associate’s degree and/or its global equivalent), have completed at least seven thousand, five hundred hours of leading projects as well as have thirty-five hours of formal project management training under your belt. The other criterion requires a four-year degree, coupled with four thousand, five hundred hours of directing and leading projects and thirty-five hours of formal training in project management.
Because of its elite status in project management circles and the perks that come with it, the certification exam will cost you a pretty penny. For non-members of PMI, a fee of $555 is levied while members are charged $405. The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions and most will revolve around the five stages of project management: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling and Closing.
Preparing for and Acing PMP
You can already gather from the information that I have shared that PMP will not be a walkover. Once you choose to embark on this journey, your days will be marked with effort, late night studies and stressful moments. However, you don’t have to stumble through this process unaided. Here are a few tips.
PMI provides for the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide that covers the PMP certification syllabus. This is usually a good place to start. Most professionals who have gone through this certification process recommend that one set aside 6 months for studying the Guide. Six months may sound like a long time but the goal is to internalize the information and commit to long-term memory. This will help you to ace the exam as well as it will serve you while executing your work.
PMP Handbook will also prove to be invaluable for you during your study. There you’ll find that PMP syllabus is itemized and divided into thematic areas. Using PMP Handbook will ensure that you cover every aspect of the syllabus, and also help you identify areas of weaknesses and how to adequately fill them in. Practice questions is another source that will help you to prepare for the certification PMP exam. It goes without saying that practice makes perfect. Thus, practice questions are instrumental in preparing you mentally for what will asked at the main exam. You will experience how PMP questions are set and train yourself to think creatively to respond correctly to them. Plus, you will also be able to time yourself and ensure you cater to each question adequately in the time allotted during the exam.
Finally, you can opt to enroll for a formal study course in preparation for PMP certification exam. This is not a strict requirement, but it will help to be trained by tutors who are well versed in the material. They will answer all your queries and seemingly amateur questions with ease. Moreover, you will get the details that can’t be found or read anywhere else. PMI has its own courses specifically designed for PMP: PMI Chapters (which can also be offered by PMI accredited Registered Education Providers). PMI will also give you access to PMP PrepCast Simulator, which will give you a real experience of the exam, helping you adequately prepare for your exam.
Is it worth gaining? If you are keen on a prosperous career in project management, then the answer is 100% affirmative. PMP certification puts you in the league of experts and rock stars of project management across the board. Its international recognition means that you can go anywhere and still stand out from the crowd of project management professionals. Is it a hard work? Yes. Will you still need to do an additional 60 professional development units to maintain your certification? Without fail. But will you also demand your own salary and win you indisputable respect in your professional circles? Absolutely. Buckle down, put in the work, ace that exam and move your career, and indeed your entire life, to the next level.