Pity Dave Muchhala, a project manager wannabe with two strikes against him.
First, Muchhalas stint as PM at AT&T is about to end, leaving him with only one and a half years of experience—just a drop in the bucket if youre looking to get your PMP (Project Management Professional) certification, which requires 4,500 hours of documented PM experience. Naturally, given the fact that bonus pay for the PMP, as of the second quarter, had increased 15 percent over year-before data (see eWeek, Oct. 21, "Picking from PM cert crop"), thats something Muchhala very much wants.
Second, hes working in telecommunications. As Muchhala wrote, "I dont have to tell you that telecom in New Jersey has made some drastic cuts, which has flooded the market with professionals 10 times more experienced than me."
His question: With minimal experience in PM, is it worth it to pursue PMP certification?
Good question. PM skills are extremely desirable to potential employers, but would-be PMPs have to take into account the time and effort certification takes.
When considering the decision, keep in mind that in this unforgiving job market, PM skills arent enough; employers are looking for industry experience. Muchhala, for example, has been working on a large-scale voice network architecture migration project.
Its worth it for Muchhala to plumb the depths of telecom in this and future engagements, as it would be for any tech worker to gain as much vertical-industry knowledge as possible before trying to secure that next position.
Muchhalas smart; hes leaving AT&T with good insight into the profession, gleaned from other, more-seasoned AT&T PMs. He found out how they worked their way up through projects to attain their current positions. All PM newcomers should do the same type of research in their networks, companies and/or industries.
A last bit of advice for those pondering the PMP is to join the Project Management Institute (www.pmi.org). This professional group, which administers the PMP cert, has a wealth of resources that can aid PM-related career decisions such as whether the PMP is right for you.