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How I Became a Certified Associate in Project Management

As a Certified Associate in Project Management having worked in a PMO environment, I know the importance of planning and executing projects.

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Project Management

"A project by definition is a temporary undertaking to create a unique product, service, or result. Projects help the organization achieve its goals. Projects organize activities that are not addressed through usual day-to-day operations". (Copyright PM Educate / Virtual Course Providers LLC.)

If you want to create a new product or service, construct a building, deploy a new business process, improve a business process, or implement a new information system, then you have a project.

For me, studying teaches a way of thinking. The value of studying is in forming minds more than being a memory and recall exercise.

My Training

In 2015, I joined a global management consultant company in an administrative position. This company was the Canadian subsidiary of the second largest engineering company in the world. It was based in the USA and had a global workforce of 26,000 employees. I had been on the job for a year when I realized that I wanted to know more about the nature of the work my colleagues and directors did. I heard them talk a lot about projects and project management.

The requirements to train for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) were a secondary degree and 23 hours of project management education or experience. These requirements must be met before taking the final exam. I enrolled in an online course to get the required 23 hours of education. My involvement and long working hours with that company had enabled me to apply to this training with the Project Management Institute (PMI).

The Project Management certification was a higher level. I could not train for it as it required many more hours of experience and education than I had or was capable of having for this training.

I purchased a copy of A Guide to the Project Management Body Of Knowledge known as the PMBOK® Guide. This bulky guide is considered a fundamental resource for effective project management in any industry. It is a 592-page book that required a lot of studying on my part.

PMBOK® Guide

The PMBOK® Guide explores ten project management knowledge areas:

  1. Project Integration Management.
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Schedule Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Resource Management
  7. Project Communications Management
  8. Project Risk Management
  9. Project Procurement Management
  10. Project Stakeholder Management

I studied every single word of this bulky guide to prepare for an exam that, as I heard, few people can pass from the first attempt. I was strong in the three areas of project quality management, project resource management, and project risk management.

I also purchased the Project Management Review Guide 5th edition from the Virtual Course Providers LLC. This added to the total expenses that I incurred for this training.

To become certified, I had to pay an exam fee of US$300 (US$250 for members) and pass the final exam. It took me time to put aside the required amount. This is a strict exam with 150 multiple choice questions. If one fails, another fee of US$300 must be paid to take the final exam. It is known that few people can pass this final exam from the first sitting. I passed it on my first attempt. You should have seen me dancing in the parking lot after I got my results right after I finished the exam.

I was so proud of this accomplishment of mine that I framed my Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certificate and displayed it in my office (that's of course before the Working From Home era due to COVID-19). People who knew me then never imagined I could be studying, let alone passing, this subject.

The Project Management Institute is the certified body. Its certification is designed to reflect an individual’s knowledge of project management processes and terminology.

Once the final exam is passed and you get a certificate, you are given the choice of becoming a member of the PMI. This means you must sit for the final exam every five years.

Impact on My Life

I did not need to have a CAPM certificate to be in the job that I hold now. However, I do not regret the hours and effort spent in becoming a CAPM. This training taught me a way of thinking that I find helpful in daily life. My anxiety level is reduced when I start a new project whatever it is. I know that I can achieve what I want when I put my mind to it. I also know how to divide projects, and even challenges in my personal life, into smaller parts and tackle each part separately with the means and resources at my disposal.

Lifelong learning as the ongoing and voluntary pursuit of knowledge for personal or professional reasons is important to me.