Eye on Certification: Project Management

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How would you like to offshore-proof your job? There are probably a few information technology professionals out there who would gladly pay top dollar for such information, but Certification Magazine is going to provide one particularly useful tip free of charge.




The IT industry is entering into a “dynamic” new era, characterized in large part by integration of data, technologies and corporate structures, according to Frank Gens, IDC’s vice president of research. As a result, more and more companies are moving toward outsourcing or automating the tasks associated with entry-level IT positions, but they also are retaining (and promoting, and giving raises and bonuses to) highly skilled personnel. Accordingly, IT professionals should seek to expand their comprehension of not only a range of technical knowledge, but also interpersonal skills and business acumen. There are no guarantees in life, of course, but the best path to preserving your job in this unpredictable period of adjustment is to diversify your talents, much as shrewd investors hedge their bets by holding various kinds of stock in their portfolio.




One of the most effective ways to demonstrate that you’re an IT Renaissance man (or woman) is through the project management track. Simply put, project management is a systematic method of executing a complex undertaking from development to rollout and beyond. According to the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) “Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide), 2000 edition,” it involves five steps: initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing. The PMBOK Guide also list nine key knowledge areas of management expertise: project integration, project scope, project time, project cost, project quality, project human resources, project communications, project risk management and project procurement.




Because it involves soft skills, such as leadership and personal interaction, project management is still a novel—yet beneficial—area of expertise in the IT field. Here are a couple of ways you can get certified in this growing discipline:




Just like the Rose Bowl in college football, PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) is the granddaddy of them all. This certification, which has more than 75,000 holders around the world, verifies that candidates possess an understanding of the previously mentioned processes and knowledge areas. The PMP certification requires successful completion of one exam, which measures the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques involved with project management. The test has 200 four-option multiple-choice questions that are developed and validated by PMP-certified experts. Examinees must correctly answer 137 of those in order to pass the examination. Participants also must meet the experiential and educational prerequisites required by PMI. Upon receiving the credential, PMP-certified professionals must comply with the provisions of PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements program to maintain their status.




PMI also offers a stepping-stone to the PMP: the Certified Associate in Project Management  (CAPM) credential. The CAPM affirms basic project management knowledge and experience and demonstrates the ability to support projects using tools, techniques and concepts of the trade. As such, CAPM holders are considered valuable members of the project team who rely on experienced project management practitioners for guidance, direction and approval. CAPMs generally assist in assessing project control plans, suggest performance indicators and limits, support administrative and financial closure, and contribute to fine-tuning in project requirements, assumptions and constraints.




For more information, see http://www.pmi.org/prod/groups/public/documents/info/PDC_CertificationsOverview.asp.



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