The Path to Project Management Mastery

March 21, 2014 at 10:02 am | Posted in Certification Paths, CompTIA, PMI | 2 Comments
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Project management is needed in almost all fields and includes both commercial and non-commercial projects. Many colleges and universities offer degrees in the field of project management. Search any job Web site, and you will find project management positions available with  many companies.

But what if you want to prove your proficiency in project management? There are many popular project management certifications that you can obtain. In this article, I want to discuss three of those certifications: CompTIA’s Project+, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), and PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP).

CompTIA’s Project+

Of the three certifications, CompTIA’s Project+ certification is probably the easiest to take. Like most CompTIA certifications, there are no prerequisites or qualifications to take this exam, although CompTIA does recommend one year of managing, directing, or participating in small- to medium-scale projects. The certification also does not require an application process. To take the exam, you simply register for the exam through Vue and pay the examination fee of $261 U.S.

The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. You are given 90 minutes to complete the exam and need to obtain a score of 710 (on a scale of 100-900) to pass the exam.

Currently, this certification does NOT have an expiration date, meaning you will be Project+-certified for life.

PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

To take the CAPM exam, you must first complete an online application. To qualify for the exam, you will need to have a high-school diploma (or equivalent) and 1,500 hours of professional experience on a project team OR 23 hours of formal project management education. Once the application is approved for completeness, you must then pay the exam fee of $225 (PMI members) or $300 (non-members).  (If your application is selected for audit, you have 90 days to submit the audit materials.) You have one year from the application approval date to take the exam.

The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that focus on the material covered in the PMBOK 5th Edition. You are given 180 minutes to complete the exam. PMI does not publish the minimum score that you need to receive to obtain the certification, but you will receive a report when you complete the exam that lists your score and proficiency in the topic domains.

Currently, this certification expires five years from the date you originally passed the exam. You will need to re-take the exam to re-certify.

PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)

Like the CAPM exam, the PMP exam requires the completion of an online application. To qualify for the exam, you should have either of the following:

  • High-school diploma, associate’s degree, or equivalent
  • 5 years of professional project management experience
  • 35 hours of formal project management education

OR

  • Four-year degree or equivalent
  • 3 years of professional project management experience
  • 35 hours of formal project management education

Once the application is approved for completeness, you must then pay the exam fee of $405 (PMI members) or $555 (non-members) for the computer-based exam.  (If your application is selected for audit, you have 90 days to submit the audit materials.) You have one year from the application approval date to take the exam.

The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice, scenario-based questions based on the PMBOK 5th Edition. You are given 240 minutes to complete the exam. PMI does not publish the minimum score that you need to receive to obtain the certification, but you will receive a report when you complete the exam that lists your score and proficiency in the topic domains.

To maintain the certification, you must complete 60 professional development units (PDUs) within three years to renew the certification. If you do not obtain and report the PDUs, this certification expires three years from the date you originally passed the exam.

Certification Suggestions

If you are new to the project management field and only have a one or two years of experience, I suggest that you take the Project+ exam first. This exam will be a great start in your career path and will help you to gauge your knowledge of project management.

If you have several years experience in the project management field but do not have enough formal project management education to take the PMP exam, you should take the CAPM exam, which is also the next logical step after the Project+ exam.

As far as formal project management education goes, most college courses or training courses from a reputable training provider qualify. While PMI has a list of approved training providers for CEUs (the training credits required to maintain certification), the educational requirements for taking the certification exams are usually not as strict. However, you may need to provide a transcript or proof of completion. Find out the latest on education, certification requirements, and more on the PMI web site.

Once you have enough experience and formal education, take the PMP exam. This is one of the most highly respected certifications in the industry today.

While experienced project managers might choose to jump right in and take the PMP, newbies should probably start at the Project+ level.

If you are still undecided on whether project management certifications are the right way to go, consider this fact: According to salary.com, the median expected salary for a typical project manager in the United States is $107,056.

For most of us, that salary statistic may speak volumes and help to solidify our resolve to pursue the certifications.

Here’s hoping you achieve certification success in 2014!

-Robin

CompTIA Project+ PK0-003 Certification: What We Know Now

May 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Posted in CompTIA | Leave a comment
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The newest version of CompTIA’s Project+ certification  has been released as test number PK0-003.  The old version of Project+, PK0-002, will be retired on March 31, 2011.

As per the CompTIA Project+ Web site, CompTIA Project+ is  “an international, vendor-neutral certification that covers the entire project life cycle from initiation and planning through execution, acceptance, support and closure. CompTIA Project+ gives project managers the skills necessary to complete projects on time and within budget, and creates a common project management language among project team members. CompTIA Project+ certification of project managers and team members can help to create a project management culture in large and small organizations.”

Here is the objective breakdown and weighting for PK0-003:

Pre-Project Setup/Initiating – 12%
Project Planning – 29%
Project Execution and Delivery – 23%
Change, Control and Communication – 27%
Project Closure – 9%

To obtain the full Project+ Exam Guide from CompTIA, go to http://www.comptia.org/certifications/testprep/examobjectives.aspx. You will need to input some personal information to download the Exam Guide. Note that you can download objectives for any CompTIA exams that interest you at the same time using this form.

CompTIA candidates can take their tests at Pearson VUE and Prometric testing centers worldwide. While CompTIA has made no official announcement on this issue yet, there is a great possibility that the new exam will be released internationally in phases as the exam is translated into other languages.

While there are many books available to prepare you for PK0-002, there are currently no books released for the PK0-003 exam. This makes it a bit challenging for us overachievers to get a head start on studying the new objectives, but I expect CompTIA’s Training Materials link to be updated any day now with new references!

Although it’s not specific to this test, a great subject reference is A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) 4th Edition. I did a series of blog posts on the changes from the 3rd Edition to the 4th Edition that should help you get started (the first one starts here: https://transcender.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/obtaining-your-pmp-certification-a-pmp-4th-edition-study-plan-part-i/).

For those considering pursuing other project management certification in the future, the Project+ is a great start in your mastery! I would suggest achieving Project+ certification as a precursor to attempting the CAPM or PMP certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

– Robin

CompTIA Certifications: What’s New in 2010 for A+, Network+, Linux+, Server+, Security+, and Project+ Exam Tracks

February 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, CompTIA | 5 Comments
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CompTIA has been really busy over the last year or so updating their exams. In addition, they have published a new certification policy for the A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications (but not other CompTIA certs). (For more information on the new certification policy, see this previous blog post and http://www.comptia.org/certifications/listed/renewal.aspx.)

I wanted to take a bit of time to discuss just what CompTIA has done, and what we expect from them over the next year  with regards to their major certifications.

A+ Certification

There are currently two versions of the A+ certification: the 600 series and the 700 series.

  • To obtain the 600 series A+ certification, a candidate must take 220-601 (Essentials) and then choose from 220-602, 220-603, or 220-604 to complete the certification. Each of the application exams are based on specific skill sets (IT Technician, Remote Support Technician, Depot Technician).
  • To obtain the 700 series A+ certification, a candidate must take 220-701 (Essentials) and 220-702 (Practical Application).
  • For individuals who already have a previous A+ certification, there is an A+ Bridge exam to upgrade their certification to the 700 series. Candidates would simply take one exam (BR0-003).

Just last week, CompTIA issued an invitation to subject matter experts (SMEs) to update the A+ exams. I expect that this is a just a reseed of the 700 series content and will not result in any real changes to the exam guide. The 600 series started in 2005, and the 700 series in 2009. In my opinion, since we got an entirely new exam last year, we won’t see a complete revamp until 2012, which would tie in nicely with the new recertification policies.

Network+ Certification

The Network+ exam was rewritten in 2009. The old version of the Network+ exam has been retired. Currently, there are two options for the Network+ 2009 certification:

  • For individuals who do not hold the Network+ certification, the candidate must take the N10-004 exam.
  • For individuals who already have a previous Network+ certification, there is a Bridge exam to upgrade their certification to the 2009 version. Candidates would simply take the Network+ Bridge exam (BR0-002).
Security+ Certification

The Security+ exam was rewritten in 2009. The old version of the Security+ exam has been retired. As with Network+, there are currently two options for the Security+ 2009 certification:

  • For individuals who do not hold the Security+ certification, the candidate must take the SY0-201 exam.
  • For individuals who already have a previous Security+ certification, there is a Bridge exam to upgrade their certification to the 2009 version (BR0-001).
Linux+, Server+, and Project+ Certifications

Recently, CompTIA also released the beta exams for the new versions of three other certifications:

  • Linux+ Candidates who took the beta version have received their score reports. We expect the new version to be released sometime this quarter;  CompTIA has announced a date of January 2010. Once the new version is released, candidates will be able to certify using the old Linux+ exam (XK0-002) or the new Linux+ exam (XK0-003).
  • Server+ Candidates who took the beta version have received their score reports. We expect the new version to be released sometime this quarter, but there’s been no official announcement yet. Once the new version is released, candidates will be able to certify using the old Server+ exam (SK0-002) or the new Server+ exam (SK0-003).
  • Project+ Candidates who took the beta version have NOT received their score reports. We expect the new version to be released sometime this quarter — CompTIA says February 2010.  Once the new version is released, candidates will be able to certify using the old Project+ exam (PK0-002) or the new Project+ exam (PK0-003).

We’ve begun pre-development on these three practice tests, and the real writing will start after the betas are released.

Keep watching for updates on the new releases, and happy testing!

– Robin

What We’re Working On – The June Edition

June 5, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Posted in Transcender news | 1 Comment
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Along with the customer support emails, I read all of the product request emails. I’ve noticed that a large number of the requests are for products that we currently have in development anyway. As an easy and interactive way of keeping our customers in the development loop, I thought we would start running a monthly “What We’re Working On” blog post so you can see what’s upcoming before it’s released.

George is deep into Windows 7.  The first Windows 7 exam (70-680 TS: Windows 7, Configuring) was in beta a few weeks ago, and all our developers took the exam.  George has already begun writing those items.  I don’t have a concrete release date yet for our product, simply because we don’t know when Microsoft intends to release the live exam, and we don’t typically release our product until they do.  Hopefully, in the July Edition of WWWO, I’ll be able to give firm details for when our product will release. (In the meantime, you can review Windows 7 Feature Walkthroughs on the Microsoft Learning site.)

Josh is still working hard on the .NET 3.5 tracks.  We’ve released several .NET exams this year, but we still have a few more to go to reach our goal.  He’s currently developing our 70-563 product. Two weeks ago, we released 70-505 in both versions. We just released the 70-561 product in the C# version, and the VB version is about a week away from release.  By the end of the year, we plan to release 70-653, 70-654, 70-655, 70-656, 70-657, 70-658, and 70-659. And in case you were wondering: no, Josh doesn’t sleep.

Robin is working on the new version of the PMI exam, the PMP 4th Edition. We’ve started limited development on that one because the exam doesn’t go live until the end of June. We are firmly committed to seeing the exam before developing content.  That way we are sure you have the best exam prep experience possible. I am scheduled to take it the first week of its release.  In July, we’ll announce a release date for our PMI 4th Edition product.

In conjunction with the PMP exam, Robin is working our new Project+ practice test. We took the exam in April and May and loved what we saw. There are many new terms and new concepts, but we’re tackling them for you. If you haven’t added this crendential to your set of titles, consider it. All IT professionals need project management skills, even if you are using Agile methodologies. You still have to work with other departments that are using traditional means of project managment.  Think seriously about tackling this one for the sake of your own knowledge (and for the added boost to your resume as well).

Oracle has released a lot of new exams lately. We’re considering adding more Oracle titles to our offerings. Let us know if you have any requests for Oracle certifications you’re considering. And please, if you have any other requests, comment here or email transupport@kaplan.com. We’re here to support your IT certification efforts and if we’re missing something you need, let us know.

– Jennifer Wagner

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