I am poor, very poor, so poor that I don't have money to take a PMP class. So I decided to teach myself about it. However, I find myself having a lot of knowledge gaps that a PM may have (i.e mindset, being energetic to kick off becoming one, being confused if I am given a project to start with as I might not know where to begin, lacking of skills in using excel templates or available software to monitor tasks e.g redmind, jira etc). Without taking a PMP class formally and getting qualified, how can I become a PM ? could you provide some steps for me to crawl up to being a manager :-D ?


4 Answers 4


You don't need a certification to be a project manager. Most certifications also actually require x years of formal PM experience before you can even take them.

The standard way into project management, is being an excellent team member first. Showing traits like dedication, drive and autonomy, as well as good skills in the specific team role.

That's the same things needed for a great PM, together with an overall understanding of all team members' roles.

If you don't have the traits or skills, then work on acquiring them. Emulate behavior for the traits, read and practice for the skills.

Good skills coupled with pro-active behavior will make you stand out and will lead to more responsibility. The progression usually goes team member -> specialist or team lead -> project manager.

Progression can come through informal increases in responsibility or formal promotion. Change of jobs might be necessary if the company is small, since there'll be less room for professional growth.

  • I totally agree :D Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 2:58

@user3462253 I think you may find that having a credential and doing a job are not the same thing. Your financial position will not get in the way of becoming an effective program manager. All those skills and temperaments you mention ("mindset, being energetic to kick off becoming one, being confused if I am given a project to start with as I might not know where to begin, lacking of skills in using excel templates or available software to monitor tasks e.g redmind, jira etc") will not be taught in a formal PMP course. You can get the mindset items by finding a way to focus your thinking when approaching a project (and almost everything in our daily lives is a project), and the specialist skills (e.g. JIRA) can come from finding opportunities to use those skills (BTW, Atlassian, the makers of JIRA provide $10 licenses, so you can teach yourself). On-the-job training for each of these areas is actually a great way to get yourself ready for when you can afford to take the PMP test both mentally and financially.

For a straight-out way to approach learning formal project management concepts and procedures, you can find many books in libraries and online. Also, pretty much any subject covered in the PMP is well written up on Wikipedia. Also, the PMI does have a Student Membership for just $32. I believe it includes online access to the PMBOK and other standards.

Good luck in your pursuit. I've found project management to be interesting and fulfilling, but it doesn't require some letters after your name to happen.


Contact your local PMI chapter. Our chapter provides scholarships for classes. And members may be willing to loan you books that they used to prepare for the exam. Your local library may have books on project management.

Technically you cannot get the PMP without spending for a class; you must take 35 contact hours of education from a registered education provider, and I'm not aware of any of those that don't charge.


Just starting in the field, you should probably look at the CAPM first. I have had several students who have taken the CAPM, and it shows that they are capable of understanding the basics of PMI's PMBOK, passing a test, and will understand some of what is going on if they are working along side a PMP. Some entry jobs expect that you will get your PMP in the next X years, so you might not have the experience, but you can show you know the material. I second the idea of contacting your local chapter, as they often have bootcamps and such at a reduced rate.

I teach project management courses (undergraduate and MBA level) for the College of Business at the University of Missouri. I have recently started to use some of my materials from my university classes--and other creative commons or public domain materials--to put together a series of online courses for people to learn more about project management. I call it Open Source Project Management Training (since people can also create their own lessons). Here is the site: http://www.projectmanagement.ninja/ .

Most of the lessons are pretty basic right now, but I intend to keep refining and expanding them. Probably the best lessons right now are on project networks and MSProject 2013 (adding more each week). Registration is free and I send out monthly updates about the content that has been added, etc. to those who sign up for the mailing list. All the original materials are available for download as well (direct from my dropbox account see the FAQ). I am using some of these lessons to "flip" my MBA project management class so that students work through the basics via this site and we have more time in class for working on exercises. Hoping that other instructors will be able to do so as well, and will contribute to the content.

Take care and Good luck!

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