duminică, 15 iunie 2014

CAPM - what, why, how ?

At the end of May 2014 I've taken and passed the PMI exam of CAPM. For this achievement I've only self studied, so if you are looking for some tips and tricks here you go!

  • CAPM - what?
There are 2 main Project Management organizations that offer PM related certifications (and probably dozen of minor ones). One of them is Project Management Institute (www.pmi.org) and the other one is Prince2 (www.prince2.com). PMI offers a framework that is industry agnostic, while Prince2 offers a methodology that is related to IT mostly. 
PMI provides two level of certifications. The first level is Certified Associate in Project Management and the final one is Project Management Professional. Both certification are based solely on Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide 5th edition).

  • CAPM - why?
Earning either of the two certificates involves a set of screening requirements and passing a high complexity exam.

  • For CAPM you need 1500 hours of project experience OR 23 hours of training. The exam consists of 150 questions in 3 hours. (15 questions are not rated, but you do not know which ones, so it does not matter anyway)
  • For PMP you need 4500 hours of project management experience AND 32 hours of training. The exam consists of 200 questions in 4 hours. (here 25 questions are not rated with the same observation as above).
The training programs are rather expensive (between 200 and 900 Euros) and I wanted to self study anyway, therefor I have decided to take the first exam first as a safe approach and I am now preparing for the PMP exam to follow.
OK but why? Well the certificate is very important for employment but most important is that you really learn how to handle a project, any project. Anything in this world that has a definitive beginning and an end with a defined set of results is a project. You will be able to handle your projects better, more efficient, less stressful and with better results. 

  • CAPM - how?
I recommend you join pmi.org for 1 year. This costs 139$ and for this money you get your own digital version of the latest PMBOK Guide and discounts for taking the exam. For CAPM the discount is from 300$ down to 225$ so if you have to take the exam twice, or intend to take both exams within these 12 months, than the deal is great and you actually end up saving some money.
With your very own PMBOK Guide now starts the hard part. If you had no training, you will find it rather difficult, boring and maybe a bit too complex. Don't give up, it will get better! Get to the end of it once, the second pass will be much easier and the 3rd one is going to be a piece of cake. 
There are scores of materials on Youtube, preparation websites and others, but about this I will tell you in a future post. 
Finally when you have finished training and you evaluate that you are prepared, you come back to the PMI website to fill your exam application, pay the fee and schedule the exam. The exam is hosted by the Prometric company (prometric.com) in exam specialized test centers across the world. In Bucharest there were 5 test centers when I have taken this exam.

More about PMI certifications over here:

If you have any comments or find any of the information not accurate please leave me a message.