Did you know there are over 500,000 certified Project Management Professionals (PMPs) worldwide? If obtaining this prestigious credential is on your professional horizon, we’re here to help.
lynda.com has several courses you can use to develop your project management skills—whether you need to learn the basics of project management, how to manage small projects, how to keep your schedules on track, or smart ways to negotiate and talk through conflict. We’ve created a new Project Management playlist that brings all these courses together for you.
Along with the great advice provided in the playlist, I’d also like to share a few helpful tips that I wish I’d known before taking my PMP exam:
1. Be clear on why you want the PMP certification. Do you want to secure a new (or better) job? Get a raise? Switch industries? For me, it was an opportunity to apply and refine my analytical project management skills in our fast-paced educational technology industry. The PMP certification is a pragmatic, high-ROI alternative to a lengthier MBA program—which I still have my eyes on—and it allowed me to put my years of project experience to good use. Since then, I’ve come to realize that it’s a credential with a very practical business reach. For you, a PMP certification might mean entry into a professional circle of peers who share your profession, your next bump in pay, or the chance to position yourself for lucrative international or high-budget projects.
2. Keep detailed records of the small and large projects that you work on, including start dates, topics, any major details or milestones, and hours you spend managing the project. If you apply to take the PMP exam, you’ll have to share these detailed notes with the organization anyway, so meticulous record-keeping makes that paperwork a breeze. A simple Excel spreadsheet with a few columns for project name, deliverables, dates, notes, supervisor, and hours should do it.
3. Set milestones related to your credential. Applying for, obtaining, and keeping current with your PMP is no small effort, so build a plan early on to stay on track. Manage this as you would any project! Start by figuring out the current certification requirements on PMI.org, then set deadlines for when you’ll have all your experience accrued, and when you’ll file your application, schedule your exam, study, and take the test. I recommend allowing yourself several months to absorb and internalize all the materials you’re studying with.
Once you have your PMP, you’ll need to keep it current with continuing education units on a three-year cycle, so make an early plan also for how you’ll keep up with your industry to meet this requirement (teaching, writing, taking courses, self-study, and the like).
4. Get to know your learning style. As with many credential examinations, part of the journey is learning how to study well, which means you need to discover whether you do best seeing, hearing, doing, or perhaps a combination of all those. Each of our courses has video, transcript, and calls to action within the movies that let you practice applying the information right away, so we’re here to serve you in whatever way you learn best.
Enjoy your early steps toward the PMP credential. I still consider it one of the best financial investments I’ve made in my professional future, and it’s introduced me to a world of wonderful, analytical, creative colleagues who share a love for creating exciting change in business by managing projects to successful completion.
Stay tuned for additional project management courses on lynda.com later this year—and if you have any related course requests for us, please let us know in the comments below.
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