Is the PMP Worth It?

The value of PMP certification is very individual. It needs to relate to your own career goals and more.

That being said, it's good to do some soul search, goal setting, and introspection. Look at yourself - and look around!

But don't subject yourself to analysis paralysis! Try to make a judgement, consider perhaps some alternative certifications, and pour your energy into what you have chosen until you have it!

Analyze Yourself and Your Prospects
One part of the self-analysis is to evaluate if you might actually qualify for the PMP certification. Look at your resume, and parse out your experience into monthly or at least quarterly chunks. Then determine whether or not you were working on projects during those periods. Operational or production work does not count. Just fill out a spreadsheet like this, and you'll have a pretty good idea of whether or not you were working on projects. then figure out how many months of your experience you were working on projects and compare to the PMP requirements, and you can at least see if you reasonably qualify.

If you do qualify and are still intrigued with the idea of possibly earning your PMP, you will need to "re-cast" your experience based upon how each experience maps to the various PM processes and Knowledge Areas depicted within the PMBOK guide. Just take that same spreadsheet that lists your project experience and add two columns - one for Knowledge Area and one for Project Management Processes. If you are not sure what they are, go to the pmi.org site and find the PMP application, or if you can, the PMBOK Guide (can be purchased, or you get a free download if you're a PMI member). Note that if you do this work, you are showing a definite interest! Take one more step and in the two columns, determine for each of your experiences which Knowledge Area and PM Process your worked. You may need to break down your experience into more detail in order to do this effectively.

If you complete the above steps, you probably have the interest and aptitude, and you'll know if you have the experience.

There are two more steps to consider for this introspection stage. I'll call them "career aspirations" and "fire in the belly".

Career Aspirations
What do you think you'd like to do? Where do you want to be over the next one, three, and five years?

Again, don't succumb to analysis paralysis, but an honest self-assessment includes a visit to these questions. Usually your first thoughts at least point you in a direction. spend a little time developing them and thinking them through, and do it on paper.

Here's the payoff. You already have some background, both from education and experience. You should have some sort of core skill that, for you, is a key differentiator in the marketplace. It somehow got you to where you are...but will it get you to where you want to go?

Adding project management formally to your skills base, and anchoring it with a strong credential, could be another strong differentiator. What this means to you is that if you are in a strong position for work as a PM if your current skills are also needed, and for perhaps more challenging work in your current area where PM skills are also needed.

Note that PM skills are needed everywhere, as the world has become "projectized"! Projects are simply everywhere, and the better you are at managing them, the better off you are!

Fire in the Belly
Notice that I have not said anything about educational qualifications. That's because if you have gotten this far and are still interested, you will satisfy the PMP educational requirements simply by preparing for the exam! You need 35 hours of PM-related education, and the reality is that you will need that and plenty more in order to prepare yourself to pass the exam - so you'll be able to fulfill the requirement, no problem.

But you need some "fire in the belly" - or a sincere desire with staying power - in order to pass the exam. We tell candidates that it typically will take 2-4 months of effort, working 2 hours per day for 5-6 days per week. That's why we say you need to have "fire in your belly"! You need to be able to sustain that effort, both professionally and personally.

If you want to earn your PMP and do it at your pace, and at low cost, and satisfy the educational requirements, see our PMP exam prep page ---> CLICK HERE.

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