A project manager is ubiquitous whether you’re in the IT industry or education. But, what differentiates a good project manager from a great one? Certifications, of course. To be specific, a PMP certification at that.
So, what is a PMP certification?
A PMP or Project Management Professional certification is given out by PMI (Project Management Institute). This global certification is for project managers as a standard measure of their competency.
Do you need to get a PMP certification?
Yes. As a project manager, you must pursue this certification to add value to your job. Employers seek out PMPs because they know that their project will be undertaken by a project manager who is more than capable of completing the project on time and under budget.
Are you eligible to pursue the PMP certification?
Project managers who want to take the exam to become PMP certified must meet either of the following two criteria –
- Candidate must have a high school degree, an associate’s degree and 5 years of experience and 7500 hours as a project manager.
- Candidate must have a bachelor’s degree and no less than 3 years of experience and 4500 hours spent as a project manager.
How to study for the PMP exam?
First things first, as a project manager, you should become a member of the PMI institute. This will be highly beneficial to you as you prepare for the PMP exam. Becoming a member will require you to fill out an application form and paying the membership fees.
You will now have access to ‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge’ or PMBOK. Treat this book like the Bible. Everything you need to study for the PMP exam will be covered in the book.
The next step should be to register yourself for the exam so that you can buckle down to study.
Format of the PMP exam
There are 200 multiple choice questions that you must complete within 4 hours. No reference materials are allowed.
There are 5 Process Groups that are tested on the exam –
- Monitoring and Controlling
There are no negative points awarded for a wrong answer. So, make educated guesses when in doubt and answer all the questions.
The questions are designed to be challenging so make sure your concepts are clear. It may prove useful to take practice tests when preparing for the exam. A practice test will give you a better idea of what kind of questions to expect on the exam.
What happens if you don’t pass the exam?
You can retake the exam again if you don’t pass in the first go. However, you will have to pay a certain sum to do so.
Getting PMP certified
Once you pass your PMP exam and obtain the PMP certification, you must remember that your journey doesn’t end there. You will have to retake the exam every 3 years. To qualify for the exam, you must complete 60 PDUs or Professional Development Units.
PDUs are certain activities that assist you in becoming a better project manager. 1 PDU is one hour of an activity that qualifies as a professional development opportunity.
Select PDUs that take into account your strengths and weaknesses to continue on the path to becoming a better project manager.
Not only is becoming a PMP good for your career growth trajectory, it also helps employers understand that you are a good fit for your job. When seeking out a new job, having a PMP certification can help you stand out from candidates that don’t and make a world of difference.