I have 4 years of work experience as Network consultant. I have worked in a team and also led a team of 3. However, I have never worked as a Project Manager. Can I go for the PMP certification or not?
There are 2 requirements to appear for PMP certification -
- Project Management Experience
- 35 hours of Project Management Education
Regarding Project Management Experience
You need 4500 hrs of experience if you have done 4 years of degree (bachelors degree or equivalent). Other wise if you have a diploma of equivalent then you need 7500 hrs of experience.
The PM experience should be in a leading & directing role. So, PM role is must before doing PMP. However, PM role is not equivalent to PM designation/title. PM role means that you should have managed full or part of a project. Your role in the project could be of vendor management, team management, client management etc. The projects could be related to any industry. They could be big or small, technical or non-technical etc.
You can read more about the details of 4500 hours of experience here - (http://www.pmbypm.com/go/4500-hours-explanation-cornelius-ficthner/)
Regarding 35 contact hours
You can get them through a PMP training. A training can be done in 3 different modes:
- Self-learning online training
- Instructor-led online training
- Regular classroom training
Out of these self-learning courses are least expensive while classroom courses are most expensive. You can get an self-learning course for less than $50. The price and availability of the classroom courses varies with the region. The classroom courses are generally available only in the big cities. You can check on Internet is there is a PMP training provider in your region. More important is to check if the trainer is good or not. If the trainer’s feedback is not good, it is better to go for an instructor-led online training.
I have done a comparison of popular online training courses - both self-learning courses and instructor-led courses. Out of all the options, self-learning courses are the cheapest.
If you are looking for a self-learning option, you should read comparison of popular self-learning online PMP training courses (http://www.pmbypm.com/best-self-learning-pmp-online-training-course/).
On the other hand, if you are looking for an instructor led option, then You can read comparison of popular instructor-led online PMP training courses.
A PMP certification requires you to have at least 4500 hours (if you have a 4-year degree) to 7500 hours (if you have a secondary degree) of experience in leading a project (Source: PMI). That doesn't mean that you can't start preparing for the exam now though, because you also need 35 hours of training. My advise is to get practical experience first, but simultaneously further educate yourself on project management, so when you have collected enough hours and feel like you want to do a certificate, you can do so immediately.
I will try to not repeat too much of what has been said before. So lets skip the 35 h of formal training as they are easy to obtain one way or another. Furthermore, it has been pointed out that you require 4,500 or 7,500 hours of experience depending on the level of higher education. Be aware that the proof of experience needs to cover all of the five process groups of PMI:
- Monitoring and Controlling
I strongly advise against forging the presented experience to gain admission to the PMP certification. Not only violates it the work ethics that PMI puts much of its emphasis on but it also violates the Terms and Conditions of PMI resulting in exclusion from PMI and the revoke of any certification.
In determining the experience however I want to point out to consider what a project is:
It's a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.
Now that's quite broad. According to the instructor of the boot camp I attended this includes numerous things in and outside the work place:
- Got a bachelor and/or masters degree doing an original thesis? Working towards and writing a thesis is a project par excellence.
- Work (managerial not technical) that supports the Project Management Team, i.e. not being the project manager yourself but contributing to the management tasks. This includes contributions to definition of scope, requirements analysis, stakeholder analysis, various tasks of executing, monitoring and control as well as many more.
- Acted as workpackage leader during any stage of a project.
- Did anything related to project management outside the work place, e.g. in charity work or a nonprofit association?
Be honest and clearly explain your role in the project team, the tasks completed, and the time spent on managerial tasks when listing the items.
I have 4 years of work experience as Network consultant. ... and also led a team of 3. However, I have never worked as a Project Manager.
Investigate what part of the work was either projectized (in the sense of an PMI project) or used tools and formal methods that could be applied to Project Management too. If you have trouble identifying these there's a good chance you're not ready for certification yet.
E.g. leading a team (the processes that organize, manage, and lead the project team) is the knowledge area Human Resource Management of project management, but again be aware the experience need to cover all knowledge areas and all process groups.
While I am not aware how PMI calculates the hours of experience for eligibility it is worth to consider that a full time job amounts for approx. 1,800 hours a year. So if you're doing technical work too only a part of that time will qualify as project management experience.
As a final remark: Once again, be honest about your experience and be reminded that the test for certification itself examines for a deep understanding of the matter thus requiring real-world PM experience.
Short answer: NO. There's a minimum requirement of project management experience for someone to sit on the exam. Even though you have experience as a team leader, leading a team is not really the same as leading a project. The only way to still go for it is to fake your experience. That is definitely not something you should do.
PS: I'm not a PMP certified myself even though I've managed many projects because I never really need that certification in my CV. :)
Management is all about meeting customer expectations and run a business successfully.
Consider yourself on a junction where you see many roads that lead to your destination. As long as you know which road you have to take to reach your destination faster/safely/hassle free journey, you are on a right path.
Certifications help you to gain theoretical knowledge on management skills (like it helps you to decide which road to take) like
- What is a project
- Processes to execute a project
- handle risks/mitigation plans and many aspects of projects for the successful completion of project on-time without compromising on quality
Whereas real time experience helps you to improve your skills.
Now it is upto individual's interest to decide whether to go for certifications to gain theoretical knowledge or gain practical experience as and whenever an opportunity knocks your door.