I work as software engineer, with a Masters in Computer Science.

My question is about PMP certification. I heard that the prerequisites of PMP certification include 4500 hours of project experience.

If I have developed a major software project, can I specify that as "project experience?"

  • It is not exactly a prerequisites but could be a stand on which you could write PMP. Rest I can see people has provided excellent answers. You would love to see the PDU earning scheame PMI has provided.
    – Chris
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 6:33

5 Answers 5


Yes, that's the idea. You want to document and describe your project experience and indicate in which of the categories your experience falls. This is an auditable statement, so be sure there are other folks who can confirm what you're saying.


I disagree with both Thomas and Angeline. PMI has never defined what it meant by "leading and directing." PMI has accepted many applications for folks assigned on project tasks but not necessarily responsible or accountable for cost and schedule in the same way a lead or PM would be. A developer x 2 years would likely qualify.

The PMP was originally intended to be an entry-level certificate.

  • 1
    +1. This is also consistent with my understanding. The point of the experience requirement is just to ensure that you have been in the trenches and can benefit from PMI training; a new grad would have trouble relating to the material and why some of the ideas make sense and help you avoid problems. Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 11:14
  • 1
    PMI defines the "leading and directing project tasks" in its Project Management Professional Examination Specification and PMI requires experience across all five processes. However, there is indeed some room for interpretation. PMP candidates are not required not be full PMs, but need to show they have add some form of PM responsibility. A developer who spends 100% time coding will not meet pre-requisites, but one who also participates for example in the planning effort will be able to claim some hours.
    – Angeline
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 12:21
  • The PMP is, from my understanding, no longer an entry-level certificate. The CAPM fits that bill. I did look, and there are no definitions of "leading and directing" on the PMI site, but I think it's fairly clear that if you aren't providing guidance or mentoring other people, you aren't leading or directing.
    – Thomas Owens
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 16:52
  • The fact you only need 4,500 hours is de facto entry-level. That's a bit over two years of work. Also, we need to examine what PMI is doing today and I think there is plenty of, albeit anecdotal, evidence that suggests folks are being approved to sit for the PMP and not have "leadership" responsibilities. It is not clear to me and I am a PMP. Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 16:56
  • Since we have agreed that there is no definition of leading and directing by PMI, then to assess that becomes very subjective. It will come down to how well you write your story in the application. So give it a try. Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 17:01

According to this page from the PMI about the PMP Credential, it's not 4500 hours of "project experience".

A four-year degree (bachelor’s or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

In order to qualify, you should have 4500 hours in a leadership position for a project. I would have to look deeper into what this means, but I interpret this as serving in a position of responsibility. I would equate this to your organization's equivalent of what I've often seen called a software lead, a technical lead, a software manager, or a project manager.

I'm a software engineer myself. Even though I've worked closely with others, and sometimes have stepped up with additional responsibilities. However, just being part of a team doesn't mean you were a leader. Unless other people took instructions, direction, or mentoring from you, I wouldn't consider it a leadership role.


There are only 2 requirements -

  1. Project Management Experience
  2. 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). Otherwise 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/)

All the best. (http://www.pmbypm.com/)


Thomas is correct: PMI requires project management experience, not just project experience.

To clarify:

  • You need 4500 hours of leading and directing project tasks OR 7500 hours if you don't hold a Bachelor's degree or equivalent.
  • What this means: you don't need to have had sole responsibility for entire projects or have held the title of "Project Manager", however you need to demonstrate that you have been responsible for conducting one or more project management processes as defined by PMI, i.e.:Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing.


  • If you are part of a large project and are leading the development effort, you are responsible for managing resources, managing the development plan and effort, the development budget, etc. so this counts.
  • If you have managed a project but not people (you didn't have direct report), but you were responsible for planning, budget, scope, etc. this counts.
  • If you were a developer on a project without management responsibility (even if you spent 2 years on the project), this doesn't count. etc.


  • It is in your interest to comply with pre-requisites since this means you will be more likely to succeed the exam. Also there is a (small) chance you get audited so it's important you document your credentials.
  • List all projects you have worked on and ask yourself "did I have management responsibilities?". The type of project (software or other) doesn't matter.
  • If you don't meet the pre-requisites, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) may be an alternative for you.

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