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I'm a software developer. I'm looking to expand my skillset and pick up some management knowledge and experience; I'd like to try being a dev lead for a few projects, but I also want to have the option of moving into the project management career path if I so choose.

I'd planned on taking the CAPM, as it's a subset of the PMP test. I figured that this would further my goal. However, the market I'm in (the profession, as well as my local job market) seems to value SCRUM certification over PMI, as many software firms use agile methodologies these days.

I'm thinking about updating my plan. My question is this: does the CAPM contribute to the PMP certification in any way?

I understand that the CAPM and the PMP both pull from the PMBOK. I understand that the CAPM is a subset of the PMP. My plan was to get the CAPM and attempt to use it to break into a role where I could gain experience to get the CAPM. However, since all I need is three years of management experience....can't I just read the PMBOK, get the requisite experience with a SCRUM certification, and then take the PMP?

Are there any benefits of taking the CAPM before the PMP instead of pursuing another certification path besides knowledge found in the PMBOK?

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Generally speaking, many certificates are poor predictors of future performance. Despite that, it is heavily used in some domains. From a buyer's perspective, the certificate becomes a criterion that I have seen as "required" to "desired", in an attempt to filter out lower performing practitioners and raise the likelihood of finding a good candidate. From a seller's perspective, they want to be filtered in if the buyer is using it as a filter. So you need to scan job boards looking for either the PMP or CAPM to see whether you will benefit from obtaining it in order to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

As a hiring manager, I believe these types of certificates have near zero predictive validity. However, as a seller of services, customers seem to respond to certificates so it becomes a criterion in order for me to sell. No customer in my experience has ever asked for a CAPM.

All this said, if I had two junior candidates where all else is equal, but one had a CAPM, that may tilt my decision, not because I think having that will make that person a better candidate but because maybe that says this person is a bit more hungry. But, again, this is if all else is equal, which had never happened to me in all my years of hiring.

"Benefits" is very subjective. The answers provided here will likely be more of opinion, just like my answer above. Your final decision is really going to be based on what you are seeing in your domain in your geographical area. If you choose to get it, your cost is time to study, maybe a training class, and the cost of the test. It won't make you less valuable in the market place so I think if you can afford those costs the question becomes: why not?

  • Am I wrong or does PMP focus a bit more on real experience (by asking for PM job hours) and CAPM on education (by asking for classroom hours)? – Tob Jun 13 '15 at 12:35
  • That's what I understand, yes. The questions asked for the PMP contain some of the same CAPM questions but also are supposed to have more scenario-type questions. – David Espina Jun 14 '15 at 0:22
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I was in a similar position when I got my CAPM three years ago. In my case, which is probably not unique, the CAPM has served more as a resume filler than something that actually contributed to my performance at work. I didn't get a lead or manager role until over a year later, and even then (probably because we did more operations support than project work), it's not something that really helped me be a good lead.

I'm very happy to have recently gotten a real PM job, and the interviewer seemed somewhat impressed at the CAPM on my resume, so in that sense it did help me. But a certification, especially an entry-level one like the CAPM, is no substitute for experience.

That said, I think the more certs you have in different areas, the better. They show that you have at least a basic understanding of the concepts. The CAPM test isn't terribly difficult (I used Rita Mulcahey's book to prepare) or expensive, and there's certainly no reason not to pursue a Scrum cert at the same time or shortly thereafter. If you plan to make your career in agile, you should look at the PMI-ACP down the road.

So in short, go for it.

  • the CAPM seems very useful to those in the IT/sofware development industry where it can be difficult to be put into a management position, highly recommend it for junior devs who want a foot in the door to management – Rudolf Olah Jan 11 '18 at 16:54

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