Getting your PMP, for ordinary people

Ryan Erickson

This is the same advice I give my friends on how to get your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. This is not a sponsored post; I’m just here to help you.

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve gotten no less than six acquaintances asking me, “how do you get your PMP?” Honestly, it’s a matter of discipline, studying, memorization, and taking a test.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact, it is probably the most challenging test I have ever taken in my life. And that’s saying something; I estimate between my military civilian careers, I have taken about two dozen major exams.

That said, it’s doable. So here’s my recommendation to get getting your PMP.

Why get your PMP?

“What’s the point of getting certified to do a job I already do?” That is a question I have been asked several times, and the easy answer is, you don’t. If you were going to stay at that same job for the rest of your life, then there is no reason to get your certification in project management. 

However, what if you decide to leave? Or you end up working with an outside agency or another business across town? Will those at your next job- or those next partners you’re working with- know how you do project management? They may, but it won’t be standardized across all of your contacts. And that is where the PMP comes in.

To be competitive and in sync with the rest of the world, don’t you think it would be best if we could all speak the same business language? I do. That’s why I’m a big believer in the PMP, Europe’s PM2, Australia’s APM, and yes, even PRINCE2. If we all understand what our counterparts know, it makes life so much easier. After all, taking the courses can only help you land a [better] job or level up your management skills. 

Are you still interested? Let’s go.

Research

First things first, do you have the want AND time to get your PMP? Your first recommended stop is the PMP sub-Reddit; yes, Reddit. If you have a question concerning your aspirations to become a certified project manager, it’s been answered (99% sure), and if not, ask away. This is one of those places where the people are very professional (most of the time). 

Also, check out the official PMI site to see if your work experience will qualify you to get your PMP; if not, I’m betting you can get your Certified Associate in Project Management certification. Consider this a stepping stone if you will.

Also, Reddit's PMP sub has reviews, individual paths taken, and success stories to keep you going. 

Your time

After you’ve figured out if you’re on the right path, you have a few choices in moving forward. Are you the type who can read a book and follow along? Or do you need someone to tell you what you need to know? In short, this is self-study vs. boot camps. I daren’t make any recommendations (not a sponsored post, after-all), so I don’t come off as biased. This is where you need to DYOR (Do Your Own Research).

I’ve done both methods (in the name of research!), and there are plusses and minuses to both. It’s an individual choice.

Resources

As mentioned above, Reddit is an excellent resource. There are also a few sites with free test questions you can work through. While there are only a few questions on each, you can do a quick copy/paste and create your very own question bank (it works).

Udemy has several courses offered on preparing for your test. However, if you’re looking for “the best,” search the PMP sub-Reddit; they’ve got plenty of recommendations.

Funding will also be a challenge for some. And while not every employer can/will offer the same resources, I HIGHLY recommend you ask your management about funding your venture to become certified.; especially if you’re doing it for them. As a case in point, I asked, and sure enough, they offered to pay for both courses and annual certification fees. Apparently, I was the first person to ever ask.

Questions?

Finally, I am always available for individual recommendations. Seriously, reach out to me at ryan@erickson.pm (.pm, as in Project Manager). If you’re serious about getting your certification, I’m serious about helping you obtain your end goal. 

PMPBuisness EducationPMIBusinessProject Management

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An Agilistic Practitioner of Project & Program Management with proven military & civilian records of success; PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSM | Let's solve problems, together.

Kalaheo, HI
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