With a focus on continuous upskilling Saksham got certified in CTAE and CTFL, and in order to enhance his knowledge of all-round project management, he took up PMP exam and passed it just a few weeks ago.
In this post Saksham shares the exact steps he took to his PMP goal.
Your previous two certifications are in Testing domain. Why a project management certificate now?
Yes, I got myself certified in ISTQB certified – CTFL exactly an year ago, and then ISTQB Certified Agile Tester (CATE) at the beginning of this year.
I had the momentum on my side and I was thinking of enhancing my current role of Test Lead to a complete team management role. For this I needed a solid education to understand project management nuances, and grow into a techno-managerial sort of a role.
PMP is a very well-respected and suitable certification in this regard. This is a highly reputed certification among the professionals. Hence the choice.
What was the core benefit you expected from PMP certification?
The primary benefit that I expected from PMP is yet to materialize, I’m certified just couple of weeks back. I am quite confident to have made significant progress with this certification.
I saw PMP certification as prestigious one and after studying very hard for it and attaining it I feel all the more humbled. My respect for the process and credential has grown even more.
Which study resources did you consider for the preparation?
Here are the resources I used for my prep –
- PMBOK guide – used as primary resource
- Joseph Phillips PMP training program – to go through iteration
- ‘Get PMP Now’ LinkedIn group (click to join) – for daily questions and support
My discussions with Shiv Shenoy helped me get guidance especially with respect to ITTO based questions. I would recommend you get in touch with him for any help you need on PMP preparation.
I felt that PMBOK guide being a reference guide from PMI, I need to use that as my primary study resource.
Yes, I understand that most people find this hard to read and can’t go beyond few pages at a time. But I have been academically inclined and studying books is something I enjoy.
Because of these right at the beginning I had decided on PMBOK and this clarity helped me move through the study phase without getting swayed in other directions.
Thus I suggest that do your research, identify your study resources and once you do that just focus on studying hard.
How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan?
I claimed my 35-contact hours of project management certification through classroom sessions. I took these classes in the last week of April and first week of May.
Since I am also working I could not schedule my exam in the month of June which was my earlier plan.
Then I studied from Joseph Philips program and he helped me in going through with the iteration.
In total I studied PMBOK guide 3 times before taking the exam.
Also, I made self study notes as I was going through PMBOK guide.
I highly recommend this approach of making study notes for everyone. Because when it comes to revising you will not have time to go over all the content. It feels quite overwhelming. Your study notes will be your savior!
Did you face any issues along the way?
The amount of PMP study content is a huge roadblock in completing this journey successfully.
Keeping myself awake through my study sessions was a challenge as most of us are not so deeply involved in all the knowledge areas.
As a Software Test Lead I have had exposure in some of the knowledge areas at work, but not all.
How did you prepare in the week prior to the exam?
First I skim-read the notes I had prepared through my iterations.
Then I went through all the formulae a week prior to the exam. I practiced applying these formulas to exam questions and focused on how to remember them.
A day before my exam I gave myself time to relax with not much on my plate to study or revise.
What was your actual exam experience like?
I am a morning person. Hence I had chosen 8am slot. I felt fresh and relaxed through out the security check and other formalities.
Having said that it was tough to sit through those 4 long hours of exam.
There are no scheduled breaks, so If you even have to go to a bio-break or hunger-break the clock is still counting down. I didn’t take any break and I was able to answer all the questions within the stipulated time.
It was an amazing feeling seeing the congratulatory message at the end of the exam.
What are some of the study tips you’d like to PMP aspirants?
Be patient, respect the depth of PMBOK, give it the time needed to study. There is no point in rushing.
Learn at your pace based on your schedule but study every day.
Stay committed to your goal. Because there will be time when you’ll feel like going back to your life rather than completing this herculean task. Stay committed!
Best of luck!