Professional courses help you put your best foot forward at work. These courses help you expand your knowledge base which adds to your existing experience.
The Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap Report 2017–2027 has noted that the demand for project managers is increasing more than ever as businesses expand, technologies become increasingly important, and projects even more complex.
While there are a number of certifications and courses which an aspiring project manager can take up, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification is a great place to start. The CAPM course is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), which is the leading international training and planning body for project management professionals.
In the age of agile certifications and use of its methodologies in many projects, it makes sense to have a project management certification at the beginning of your career.
This course is a good way to make sure new project professionals understand the practical applications of all major international project management practices. It refers to essential project management material, such as the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide.
For new project managers in the field, the certificate can act as a great value addition to their resume. So,
1. How different is the CAPM from the PMP certification?
While both courses boost your credentials as a manager, CAPM is great for project management professionals who are just starting out. For one, you don’t need a lot of hands on experience to apply for the course. And for another, it’s a great way to learn and clear out the basics of project management, terminologies, and best practices.
The PMBOK Guide plays a huge role in the certification, and a number of questions in the examination come from the book. The certification is an attestation for professionals to be able to start their careers as project managers.
On the other hand, the Project Management Professional (PMP) examination is for more seasoned professionals. A number of the questions are based on the actual experience as a project manager. The questions are usually not based on the PMBOK Guide or CAPM study guide, but are more based on experiential knowledge. The PMP certification demonstrates that people have the experience and ability to lead projects to success.
2. A quick guide to ace the CAPM exam
A. Be thorough with the PMBOK and the CAPM handbook
PMI relies strongly on CAPM study materials, such as the PMBOK and CAPM handbooks for the examination. Therefore, going through the book thoroughly will help you prepare better for the examination.
Make sure you have the recent edition of the reference books as well. Download the latest version of the book from the website before you start preparing for the examination.
Also, remember to consult other important books in the field, in order to form a holistic understanding of the subject. You can also opt for CAPM training sessions, if available.
B. Allot enough time for each exam component
An extensive plan for preparation for the exam can go a long way. You need to understand the course and examination structure properly in order to understand the exact requirements from you.
Create a plan where you can study for the examination without hampering your work responsibilities. Go through the PMBOK Guide and CAPM practice questions check your comfort level with the subject to estimate the overall time required. You can also plan backwards for the exam.
Once you know the final schedule for the examination, you can make sure you can allot enough time preparing for each section of the exam. This will help you start your preparation at a realistic time, with enough scope for revisions.
C. Focus on practice tests to deliver better
The format of the exam has 150 questions, with the total time given to complete the exam is 3 hours. The time may seem enough to complete the questions. But it would be wise to not get too confident.
Remember, the PMI format is something that you would be new to. Therefore, tune your time management skills by taking enough CAPM certification training practice tests, and see how you can realistically complete all questions in the given time. The options for the answers would seem similar, especially when you are in a rush.
D. Play on your strengths while preparing
With enough practice and studying the guidebooks, you will be able to make sense of areas you have better control of, in the CAPM certification. Based on your experiences, abilities, and background, there would be some topics which would be easier to manage.
Focus on these areas that you are strong in, and eventually, score better. Rather than stressing out about the harder topics, it makes sense to practice questions from areas that you are familiar with.
E. Sign up for online training sessions
Improve your confidence with the help of the practice exams. With attempting regular CAPM online training tests from time to time, it would help you track your performance regularly. Exposure to more questions would also allow you to be thorough with the format as well.
Remember that your career prospects will be very bright in the future once you pass the CAPM exam. And because you have the experience and educational qualification for being a great project manager, you should ideally feel confident of your performance.
3. Cost of the CAPM exam
The computer-based exam for the CAPM test costs US$ 225 for PMI members, and US$ 300 for non-PMI members. There is a charge for renewing the CAPM certification, which needs to be done every 5 years.
However, if you are planning to take a PMP certification in the future, you may never need to renew your CAPM certification again.
The CAPM certification can be a good addition to your resume. It would also help you get more opportunities in the long run. Staying updated with the current project management trends, such as the adoption of newer technology and agile processes are the need of new project managers today. A CAPM certification would definitely help you in an easier transition into newer processes in the future.