What is PMP® certification?
Many organizations worldwide require professionals who aren’t just talented, hard-working, and experienced, but also possess certifications for project management. PMI’s Project Management Professional qualification is one of the most highly regarded and widely recognized project management certifications available today.
Employers recognize PMP® certification holders as experienced project managers who are trained to direct teams toward project goals and can consistently deliver successful projects. PMP® is based on PMI’s own PMBOK® Guide which is a comprehensive guide on global ‘best practices’ used to deliver projects successfully. According to the PMBOK® Guide, successful project management is comprised of 10 aspects:
- Project integration management
- Project scope management
- Time management
- Project cost management
- Quality management
- Human resource management
- Communication management
- Project risk management
- Project procurement management
- Stakeholder management
These 10 aspects all fall under the 5 phases of project management:
PMP® courses are comprehensive and address every facet of managing successful projects, ensuring that PMP® certification holders are confident in their ability to oversee the smooth development of projects.
6 Benefits of earning a PMP® certification
A project management professional is a project manager who attains the widely recognized and respected project management certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. There are many benefits to taking the PMP® accreditation examination, here we’ll list just a few of them:
Improve your career opportunities
The demand for certified project managers is growing. A recent PMI-commissioned study shows an estimated growth of 33% (an additional 22 million jobs) in the project management industry through 2027.
This rapidly increasing demand will lead to more opportunities to advance your career and earn more. Those who hold PMP® certifications will have a distinct advantage over their competition, as the PMP® exam is known to be one of the most difficult and demanding certifications on the market.
PMP® certification is a widely acknowledged as a symbol of skill and competence in project management. A PMP® qualification can be recognized worldwide meaning the skills you acquire can be easily translated to other jobs and industries.
Learn to communicate effectively
Communication is essential to effective project management. A PMP® certification shows employers that you understand project management terminology and can effectively manage human resources. PMP® project management training can also make it easier to interface with third parties like suppliers and consultants. Good communication skills will guarantee that everybody remains on the very same page and make you more attractive to employers.
Learn new skills
PMP® accreditation gives opportunities to learn new abilities that will enhance your understanding of project management and help you develop your professional career.
Passing the PMP® exam isn’t easy. It takes weeks of study and preparation. It requires a comprehensive understanding of project management. In preparing for the exam, you will learn essential hard and soft skills such as communication, organization, group management, resource management, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and time management.
Earn a higher salary
According to the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, those project managers with a PMP® certification earn nearly 18% more than those without.
Prove your work-ethic
The time and effort you need to invest to successfully pass the PMP® exam are worth noting. You need to meet certain standards and training in order to qualify for the examination. In addition, earning your certification shows employers you are devoted to enhancing your knowledge and abilities. This is sure to earn you a modicum of respect from employers and peers.
Top 5 reasons employers look for PMP® certifications
After knowing the benefits of PMP® certification for a professional, what are its benefits for the employers?
The demand for skilled and certified project managers is growing day by day. Of the many project management qualifications available today, the PMI-PMP® qualification stands out from competitors and is highly regarded by project managers and recruiters alike. Here are just a few reasons why business owners want their project managers to be PMP® certified:
Standardization of process in an organization
More project management professionals mean having standard processes for managing projects in the company. Because PMP® processes and frameworks are followed by most PMPs worldwide, they result in greater harmony and collaboration among projects, programs, and portfolios.
A good PMP will ensure that communication between team members is thorough and effective. They will help the team develop a clear understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities, which will result in better collaboration and improved productivity.
PMPs mitigate risk
Most businesses begin new ventures that eventually fail. About 75 percent of business and IT leaders expect their next venture to fail. That means roughly half of all start-ups fail before reaching profitability. And even though the odds may be against them, entrepreneurs can learn a lot from those failures.
Those who earn the PMP® certification know how to manage projects, so they can be trusted to complete them on time and within budget.
PMP® is built on global values and practices. The certification program is driven by the collaborative efforts of volunteers representing a diverse market. Almost every country, industry, and job level are represented by PMI®. That means PMP® is developed to meet and exceed global standards.
For some projects, the PMP® certification might not be just a nice thing to have; it could actually be a requirement. You might come across situations where you need to have the PMP® certificate to complete a particular job, particularly in the public sector. Certifications are becoming increasingly important at the federal, state, or local level.
Continuous professional development
A PMP® certification needs dedication to maintain. It’s not just a sign of experience in the industry, but dedication to one’s role and personal development. Maintaining a PMP® qualification requires project managers to further educate themselves in 3 key areas: business management, leadership, and technical project management. From an employers’ perspective, a PMP® certified project manager is a good investment because they seek to continuously better their skills and understanding of the profession.
While many project management ‘best-practice’ certifications indicate the holders’ talent and knowledge, PMP® certified demands a commitment to the project management profession.
This certification requires motivation and engagement with the project management industry. From PMI® chapter membership to project management training workshops, PMI-PMP® holders must show a commitment to their career. Having this, employers view you at the top of the industry because it signifies that you have the skills to manage projects and work on their account.
5 Steps to becoming a PMP® certified
Knowing the benefits ahead of you, I know you’re interested and wondering what the steps are to become a successful PMP® certified. I’ve listed it down for you.
Identify the drive: Find out why you want to become a project manager.
Getting PMP® certification can turn out to be a long journey. You might complete it on the very first attempt, but on the off chance that you don’t, finding your emotional connection may act as the boost you require.
Research: Collect the necessary data and see if you’re eligible.
You should begin your study by researching the PMI® handbook. They are readily available online and contain information regarding the requirements for becoming certified.
If you have a high-school diploma, associate degree, or equivalent, you’ll need at least 5 years of project management experience of which at least 7,500 hours must have been spent leading or otherwise directing projects.
If you have a bachelor’s degree, then you’ll need a minimum of 3 years of project management experience and 3,500 hours of experience leading or directing projects.
Regardless of education, you’ll also need 35 hours of project management training. There’s no time limit as to what counts, however, so the training you revived 10, 20, or 30 years ago still counts towards this learning goal.
Apply: Sign up for the PMP® exam.
To register for the PMP® exam, visit the official PMI website at http://www.pmi.org. After you’ve registered, you can schedule an appointment time.
You need to provide some personal details when applying for an online job. After your application has been accepted, you can then proceed with paying for the exam fees and scheduling your exam.
Start Preparing: Now begins the process of preparing for the exam.
Most trainers estimate that roughly 75% of the questions asked in the PMI® final exam are drawn from information contained in the PMBOK® Guide. You’ll want to know it intimately to stand a better chance of successfully passing your exam.
There’s also a huge array of PMP® training courses available. These courses will help you learn those bits of information not included in the PMBOK® Guide and, if you’re lucky enough to train with an enthusiastic and informative instructor, can make a very dry subject a little more palatable.
If classrooms aren’t your thing, there are always self-study courses that will let you learn at your own pace. Online courses are great if you have a busy schedule and can’t commit to a classroom course, or if you’re the type who learns best in a nice, quiet space.
Take the exam. It’s the end game!
After all that hard work, sitting for an exam almost seems like the easy part. However, there are some factors to take into consideration that will ensure that this is a positive and successful experience.
Don’t try and cram too much into one night. Getting plenty of rest is essential. Studies show that students who spend just five hours studying each night perform better on tests than those who study eight hours. So, if you’re planning to take the exam, make sure you give yourself enough time to study.
Top 5 tips to help prepare for the PMP® exam
We all know that preparing for an exam requires a lot of time and diligence. The Project Management Professional (PMP®) examination is tougher than most, calling for considerable preparation beforehand. Simply put, your PMP® exam prep is important! There is a great deal of info to absorb during a project management training course. If you have been working as a professional project manager, it may have been years since you last researched for an exam. To help, we’ve created a handy list to help you prepare for your PMP® exam.
Study the PMBoK® Guide
The PMP® exam is based primarily on the PMBOK® Guide. Use this to your advantage and turn it into a roadmap for your study. Plan to learn one area of the PMBOK® Guide weekly. Start with the overview itself and after that go on to other study material. This will improve your understanding of each topic, as various other research study guides frequently rework the guide content and provide you with additional perspectives on the same topic.
It’s not enough to simply memorize everything. Put in the time required to fully understand the ideas presented. This is essential, as the PMP® exam questions will test exactly how well you can apply these ideas, concepts, and suggestions to different scenarios and contexts. Many questions are situational summaries of a problem. They include enough information for you to deduce an appropriate response, but they also include unnecessary details to deliberately throw you off.
After you finish an area of the PMBOK® Guide, take a break prior to rereading it. You will understand it much better with each read. By the third time, the info will become come to be much easier to absorb.
Make sure to use the current variation of the PMBOK® Guide published by PMI® (the most current variation is 5).
Use a good PMP® prep book
A good PMP® exam prep textbook is a must. The PMP® exam is packed with tough questions and complex answers. PMP® sample questions and solutions contained in prep guides will check your expertise as well as your ability to apply your learning to difficult real-life circumstances.
As an example, one of the obstacles that you will face is handling the inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs (ITTOs) of each procedure. PMP® prep guides recommend that PMP® applicants study the basics (such as why a process is utilized, what the process is all about, and when the process is used) before diving right into the ITTOs. By working with the fundamentals initially, you will certainly be able to see the links between the processes and also understand them better.
Attend a PMP® exam prep workshop
PMP® exam prep workshops are a great alternative to self-study exam preparation if you like a classroom setup and one-on-one communication. In addition to networking via a PMI® subscription, these are fantastic methods to meet other project managers in your area. Another advantage of these workshops is that they typically meet the 35-contact-hours requirement that’s a requirement for using to take the PMP® exam.
You’ll find a lot of PMP® exam prep courses available online. These internet training programs tend to be less pricey than in-person workshops. Select the option that best suits your learning style. Make sure to read customer testimonies before you commit to one.
Use online PMP® exam simulators
PMP® simulators are practice PMP® exams hosted online. They test candidates with questions that follow the exact same layout as the real PMP® exam. They also try to duplicate the examination atmosphere so you can become familiar with the timing and pressure of the live exam environment. They are a fantastic method to determine just how prepared you are.
How to prepare for the PMP® exam from home
Gaining your Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification can drastically improve your career opportunities by giving you the ability to demonstrate your skills as a project manager and your commitment to the profession.
With so many changes being demanded of business in 2020, there’s never been a better time to upskill. Project managers are likely to be in higher demand in the coming years than ever before.
Training for your PMP® exam in 2020 has been made far more challenging by the absence of traditional classroom courses, with most training providers opting for safer online learning alternatives.
So, how do you prepare for your PMP® exam from home?
Training courses online
Although classroom training courses may not be an option, for the time being, you can still complete a formal training course in a self-study virtual environment or online self-study alternative.
Read the PMBoK® Guide
The latest edition of the PMBOK® Guide will give you access to the most up-to-date information for the exam.
The current version of the PMBOK® Guide used is the sixth edition. Included is everything you need to know to about the PMP® curriculum, exam topics, and more.
Research the exam
Learning and understanding the PMP® exam format is just as important as the course content itself.
Knowing in advance how questions are structured, and what information you will be expected to know can prevent some nasty surprises, help you structure your studies, and make the exam much, much easier.
Have a study plan
Not everyone learns the same way. Figure out what works for you. Seek a method that helps you learn and retain information. Read up on the different types of learning styles.
Set goals. Reading the PMBOK® Guide back to front in one sitting is an unrealistic task. Break your studies into bite-sized chunks to not get overwhelmed.
Set achievable deadlines, you’re more likely to remain focused and motivated when you meet your deadlines and start seeing real progress in your studies.
It’s important to allow yourself some breaks, you should work a little downtime into your routines. There’s no point trying to study when you are too overworked to remember anything. It’s more productive to take a break and come back to it with a fresh mind.
Completing practice exams is a great way to check which areas your knowledge is lacking to help you prioritise what you should spend your time studying before the exam.
Social media and online forums are great studying tools. You can connect to a whole network of people who either have passed the PMP® exam and are able to offer some helpful tips or those who like you are studying for their qualifications and can share their advice.
LinkedIn has many project management groups where you can ask questions. Just because you can’t share a classroom with fellow learners doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
The benefits of joining a PMI Chapter
Are you a member of your local PMI Chapter? If not, you should know that joining a PMI Chapter comes with a host of benefits that can help enhance your project management career and improve your skill sets. Membership isn’t cheap, but often, the benefits that the PMI Chapter offer far outweigh the cost.
Make sure to look for local PMI Chapters in your area.
PMI membership will often entitle you to sizable discounts on things like training courses, workshops, and even your PMP® final exam. Your local chapter can help negotiate discounts on your behalf.
A little-known fact is the discount membership grants on the PMP® certification exam will save you a good bit of money, far more than the cost of membership!
Many chapters offer members-only training courses. These courses may take the form of short classes or week-long workshops.
In either case, PMI Chapter members stand a far better chance of passing their final exam with the help of their local PMI Chapter. It’s also a great way to join study groups or solicit advice from veteran project managers.
More and more chapters are offering online alternatives for those who can’t attend these events in person. Membership will give you access to webinars held by very knowledge and experience veterans of the industry.
Many of the speakers invited by PMI Chapters hold their own conferences in conjunction with universities and businesses.
It’s hard to overstate the benefit of growing your personal network with like-minded, hard-working project management professionals.
PMI Chapter members can not only help you prepare for your final exams, but they can also offer career advice and aid in your job search.
Attending monthly meetings and chatting with attendees can really help you get the ‘lay of the land.’ Never be afraid to ask for advice when trying to define your career goals, or look for the next step in your career, many PMP® veterans attend these social gatherings with the express intent of helping those new to the project management industry.
If you’re looking to get attain your PMP® certification or other PMI® credential, you’ll already be familiar with the concept of professional development units (PDU’s).
PMI Chapters can help you get PDU’s through the events they hold. Almost everything you do within your PMI Chapter counts to ward your PDU goal, among it easier than ever to maintain your PMI® qualifications.
How to earn PDUs?
Together with the annual renewal fee (assuming you’re not already a PMI member), PMI® requires candidates to earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) over 3 years to renew their certifications. PDUs are acquired from further education and by using your talents to give back to the project management community.
One hour of activity earns one PDU, which means you’ll need to plan in advance if you’re to squeeze 60 hours of PDU-related activities into your busy schedule. Here are some ideas that might help you hit your target with little fuss:
You can earn PDUs by attending training courses, workshops, and PMI organization meetings. Events such as these are often provided by local PMI Chapters and registered education providers. Education PDUs can also be obtained from third parties like universities, or even your own business.
One of the easiest and most popular ways to earn PDUs however is reading. The PMBoK Guide® is also the PMP® reference book. Revising this is a great way to earn PDUs, you might even learn something new!
Other relevant publications you might read for PDUs include project management articles, research papers, blogs, and case studies. You can also attend live webinars or watch informative videos online for a free and easy way to earn PDUsPMI® has also introduced the Talent Triangle. It is comprised of three key skill areas that form a well-rounded project management practitioner. Of the mandatory 60 hours, you must earn a minimum of 8 PDUs in each of these areas:
Technical project management: Education related to specific project functions such as portfolio management, data gathering, or project governance.
Leadership: Education related to team and stakeholder management such as contract negotiation, conflict resolution, and other activities that actively help achieve business goals.
Strategic and business management: Education related to industry knowledge and skills such as market analysis or business models.
This category of PDU is about sharing one’s knowledge with the wider project management community and helping other PMI candidates acquire their PMI certifications.
There are 4 ways you can acquire PDUs in this category:
Sharing knowledge: PDUs can be acquired through teaching or mentoring. Project managers may seek out opportunities within their own businesses or volunteer their skills to local PMI Chapters.
Work: Working in your PMP-related role counts towards your PDU requirement (keep in mind that only a maximum of 25 PDUs can be acquired through this means, the remaining 35 must be in the education category).
Creating content: Creating and sharing informative content such as books, blogs, webinars, and articles counts towards your PDU requirement.
Volunteering: You can earn additional PDUs by volunteering your services to charities and unaffiliated (ie. Those not related to your current employer) organizations.
You can claim a maximum of 25 PDUs in the ‘giving back’ category. Most of your PDUs have to come from the education category. There is no such limit in education however and you can earn all 60 of your PDUs in education.
Keep in mind that 8 hours must be invested in each area of the ‘talent triangle,’ for a total of 24 hours. Make sure you get the category balance right. You can’t the majority of your PDUs simply from your daily work as a project manager. Spend an hour each week reading about project management and watch a one-hour webinar every two months. That would earn you enough PDUs over a 3-year period to qualify. Don’t make the mistake of trying to earn all 60 at the last minute.