Author Topic: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?  (Read 35345 times)

Schaefer Light

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #100 on: January 04, 2018, 07:30:31 AM »
I saw this thread pop back up based on a more recent comment.

It's interesting to me, because I"m an engineer (have been for 25+ years), and was just, um, forced into a Project Manager position.  (Without any kind of PM training or cert.)

So far, I don't much like it.  It certainly didn't come with a promotion or raise.
If you don't mind me asking, what is it that you don't like about being a project manager?  It's one of the few positions that pays a salary similar to mine that I think I might be qualified for.  My concern is that it seems like most PM positions are roughly akin to herding cats.

Basically, I don't like herding cats.

I think I have an affinity for it - I'm very organized and good at keeping track of many things.  And good at record-keeping (*important for finding the information later, especially as you age and should not rely on memory.  I'm a stickler for documentation.)

I simply prefer the more technical engineering work, running a couple of projects, improving yields, doing data analysis.  So far this feels like it's going to be herding cats, also seems a bit like it's not a *true* PM job.  Not that I know what that is.  But I did google.

Thanks for the response.  That confirms my suspicions.  Like you, I'm also good at keeping track of things and staying organized.  I have an engineering degree, but haven't really used it since entering the workforce in 2002.  I think I'd have a much easier time getting a project management job than an engineering job at this point.  Unfortunately, I don't care for herding cats ;).  I guess if I could to into it with the mindset that I have no real control over the situation, then I might be able to handle that kind of job.  I'm a people manager now and often feel like I have no control over anything, so I'm kind of used to feeling that way.

Plugging Along

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #101 on: January 04, 2018, 11:43:53 AM »
I saw this thread pop back up based on a more recent comment.

It's interesting to me, because I"m an engineer (have been for 25+ years), and was just, um, forced into a Project Manager position.  (Without any kind of PM training or cert.)

So far, I don't much like it.  It certainly didn't come with a promotion or raise.
If you don't mind me asking, what is it that you don't like about being a project manager?  It's one of the few positions that pays a salary similar to mine that I think I might be qualified for.  My concern is that it seems like most PM positions are roughly akin to herding cats.

Basically, I don't like herding cats.

I think I have an affinity for it - I'm very organized and good at keeping track of many things.  And good at record-keeping (*important for finding the information later, especially as you age and should not rely on memory.  I'm a stickler for documentation.)

I simply prefer the more technical engineering work, running a couple of projects, improving yields, doing data analysis.  So far this feels like it's going to be herding cats, also seems a bit like it's not a *true* PM job.  Not that I know what that is.  But I did google.

Lol...  yep, good Pming is all about stakeholder and risk management aka herding cats but on a scheduled.

I work with a lot of engineers, and many ask me about PMing.   You are right those who like the technical should stay that way.  I find it always interesting that management says, hey that guy is good at engineering or developing (something technical) they should PM which is not technical and all about people management.   Itís like telling an accountant to Manage people because he is Good with numbers. 
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 11:55:33 AM by Plugging Along »

mm1970

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #102 on: January 04, 2018, 01:06:38 PM »
Quote
Thanks for the response.  That confirms my suspicions.  Like you, I'm also good at keeping track of things and staying organized.  I have an engineering degree, but haven't really used it since entering the workforce in 2002.  I think I'd have a much easier time getting a project management job than an engineering job at this point.  Unfortunately, I don't care for herding cats ;).  I guess if I could to into it with the mindset that I have no real control over the situation, then I might be able to handle that kind of job.  I'm a people manager now and often feel like I have no control over anything, so I'm kind of used to feeling that way.

I've done people managing too, and I enjoyed that because I was still able to do technical work while training my younger engineers.  And it still required organization.

Quote
Lol...  yep, good Pming is all about stakeholder and risk management aka herding cats but on a scheduled.

I work with a lot of engineers, and many ask me about PMing.   You are right those who like the technical should stay that way.  I find it always interesting that management says, hey that guy is good at engineering or developing (something technical) they should PM which is not technical and all about people management.   Itís like telling an accountant to Manage people because he is Good with numbers.

I'm going to continue to try and keep some technical aspects of my job anyway. We'll see if there is time for that.

pmalik

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #103 on: January 18, 2018, 01:47:23 AM »
Project Management concepts are applicable to all industries.

PMP can help you in opening new doors & advancing your career. It is a well renowned & respected certification. According to many surveys and career websites, it is one of the top 10 certifications in the world.
Another reason to do PMP is salary. According to PMI's Salary Survey 9th edition - those with a PMP certification garner a higher salary (20% higher on average) than those without a PMP certification.

If you are in a PM role, you must attain PMP or an equivalent certification.

YoungInvestor

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #104 on: January 18, 2018, 05:48:27 AM »
For some reason this reminds me of a class i took for MBA. The teacher was explaining something to do with graphs and causally said to use the triangle area formula. Out of about 20 people in the class, maybe 3 people knew! These are college educated people. Granted the teacher was too technical for the class (90% switched classes that day) but i was shocked that people don't know basic math. So you are probably right, engineers probably have a better outcome.

I was taking some PM courses and the classes were split between engineers and MBA folks at that university. It was always the kiss of death to get a MBAer on your project team.

What about engineers doing an MBA?

civil4life

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #105 on: January 18, 2018, 09:40:35 AM »
Did not read through all the posts.

Some thoughts since I have considered the same thing for quite a while.

Main reason I have not taken it is that I have not set aside time to study.  I meet all the requirements.  I earned my Masters in Project Management which qualifies for the education requirement.  In my current position I would not receive any bonus, pay raise, or even help with testing costs.
I have found that the PMP is more industry specific.
However, since it is not limited to engineering, it would help you break into other fields of interest.
I am considering looking for work and I have seen it be a desired qualification.
Since it is free I would do it.

I am actually looking to move from PM back to design.  How is your design more stressful than PM?  That has not been my experience.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #106 on: January 19, 2018, 05:33:12 PM »
...
Another reason to do PMP is salary. According to PMI's Salary Survey 9th edition - those with a PMP certification garner a higher salary (20% higher on average) than those without a PMP certification.

If you are in a PM role, you must attain PMP or an equivalent certification.

Do you think this is an inherent trait of the PMP certification, or more that the people who actually go through the effort to get a PMP are more likely to be high achievers/ask for a raise?

BlueHouse

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #107 on: January 19, 2018, 07:22:05 PM »
...
Another reason to do PMP is salary. According to PMI's Salary Survey 9th edition - those with a PMP certification garner a higher salary (20% higher on average) than those without a PMP certification.

If you are in a PM role, you must attain PMP or an equivalent certification.

Do you think this is an inherent trait of the PMP certification, or more that the people who actually go through the effort to get a PMP are more likely to be high achievers/ask for a raise?
here's an anecdote:  I started a new job while I was studying for the PMP (well, it was on my list of things to do someday).  I wrote "PMP candidate" or something like that on my resume to get through the text filters on job search boards.  When I was negotiating for the job I wanted, my future employer told me (without me bringing up the PMP) "Salary is $95,000 with a $5000 bump in salary when you pass the PMP exam".  I was going to do it anyway, this just made me do it faster. 

BuffaloStache

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #108 on: January 19, 2018, 07:57:08 PM »
^I've never heard of anything like this, so it's reassuring to me that this happens.

BlueHouse

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #109 on: January 22, 2018, 01:07:21 PM »
^I've never heard of anything like this, so it's reassuring to me that this happens.
government RFPs often require PMPs to do the work and often even prefer to award contracts to companies with higher percentages of employees who hold PMPs.  So even if you're not customer-facing, having a PMP can be an asset to a company who then inserts the "% of employees who hold PMP" statistic into their proposals. 
It's a self-perpetuating situation:  Government asks for personnel with PMPs, companies try to make everyone a PMP, Government thinks it must be a high-quality certification, companies think government really wants it. 

It is very common in my region to see even entry-level positions require a PMP (which is ridiculous, because the PMP requires 4 years of experience).  It just shows how crazy things are.

caracarn

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #110 on: January 26, 2018, 08:30:23 AM »
Even though I have had to explain the benefits of a PMP in an interview, because they did not always know what it was (other than three letters), I have found the explanation got a very positive reaction from the person interviewing as to most people project management means "can keep track of a to do list".  Explaining there are actual techniques for risk, schedule creation and adherence, monitoring progress etc. opens a lot of eyes.

I do worry about things like the above post continuing to water down the credential, just like happened with the MCSE.  When people are just getting it to check a box, not to actually be better at their job you get a lot of people who can pass a test and cannot project manage themselves out of a paper bag.  Similar to when I hired an MCSE who could not build a server and ended up crashing our entire network because of configuration changes they made.

Rightflyer

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #111 on: February 07, 2018, 08:25:24 AM »
A long time PM here (>15 years).

I agree with those above that any credential itself is not an indicator of expertise or talent but... it does mean you have at least been tested on an accepted methodology.

Lots of varied experience, constant curiosity about new methods and tools, solid management skills and a willingness to stretch your comfort zone is a recipe for a competent Project Manager.

As for the value of a PM credential... Look at the job boards.
The vast majority require a PMP/APMP/PRINCE2 accreditation at the least.

(And as for herding cats. Yes, it does feel that way sometimes LOL)




 
 

scottish

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #112 on: February 19, 2018, 06:35:50 PM »

For some reason this reminds me of a class i took for MBA. The teacher was explaining something to do with graphs and causally said to use the triangle area formula. Out of about 20 people in the class, maybe 3 people knew! These are college educated people. Granted the teacher was too technical for the class (90% switched classes that day) but i was shocked that people don't know basic math. So you are probably right, engineers probably have a better outcome.

 could you explain how you reached this conclusion (in bold)?

have you been an engineer and taken engineering classes.  and also taken business classes.  I can see why so many of my generation have business degrees and cant find jobs.  those classes could be passed in your sleep in my opinion. a PMP degree cert that requires you to take 35 hours of courses and you can pass the test at a 65%+ passing rate.  seems like a joke to me. People study for months to pass the PE ( i didnt but people do)  and still fail, this is in addition to usually 4 years of doing work directly in the field for the test.

That being said i'm sure i would learn things if i were to get a PMP that would be very helpful.  But that doesnt change the intelligence level needed to pass the exam.

So, if you had taken the time to understand anything at all about the PMP exam, you would know that it doesn't require much intelligence at all to pass it.  It does require some level of memorization based on when I took the exam.  In my experience, engineers actually do worse because it takes them a really long time to stop complaining about how there isn't just one way to complete a process, or even one best way.  But the exam is based on a (few) book(s), so you really have to memorize PMI's method and order of events to pass their test.  There is literally NO MATH involved.  No Logic either.  No problem solving.  It is a regurgitation of ideas that aren't even the best ideas. Sometimes engineers are so stubborn that they will take the exam, know the answer that PMI is looking for, and still give a different answer.  Why?  because they're right.  What does that get them?  A failing grade.  I have had to instruct many people that the exam isn't looking for the correct answer...it's looking for the PMI answer. 

Do you have any understanding that the PMP certification is not and has never been compared to the PE exam except somehow in this thread?  They measure vastly different levels of knowledge.  The PMP certification is a money making tool for PMI and they've built a huge business around it.  And THAT, my friend, is why business majors come out on top.  Because they can take an imperfect idea and make a HUGE business around it.  Where is the engineer?  Probably building an excel spreadsheet with charts and graphs about why engineers should get better grades.

We usually wind up working for the business major who doesn't know when it's important to listen to our advice.   In technology there's no requirement (aside from certain safety critical systems) to actually have the work approved by an engineer, so the business types often wind up making short term decisions that have unfortunate long term effects.

At least that's been my usual experience.   My current company's not bad this way, though, so it's not completely endemic.

kelvin

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #113 on: February 20, 2018, 08:07:42 AM »
I'm a software developer working for the federal government in Canada.

PMP type certs are useful for certain types of contract work, especially if you're looking to be managing and overseeing the project on behalf of a company. The guy who taught the course I took had left engineering behind and was a consultant, both in and out of the federal government, and ofc he taught these courses on the side.

I think it partly depends on what type of career you hope to have going forward, what your FIRE plan looks like. Is there a particular job you've had your eye on for when you leave your current place? Do you have a plan to get your resume to the top of the pile for that specific job type? Does PMP fit in that plan?

Best of luck.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #114 on: March 22, 2018, 02:07:30 PM »
For what it's worth, I thought I'd respond to this thread with an update:

-I passed my PMP examination today and am now certified!

While I'm still not convinced on the value of the credential in it's own right, I decided to do it mostly for the following reasons:
  • Because of an affiliate arrangement with my previous company, the classes were free to take, so I took them last year.
  • The exam is changing on 03/26/2018, so once I had taken the classes I figured it was now or never
  • I don't plan on leaning on this certification to get any future job, but do see it as a potential career path within my current company. I wanted to make sure that door remained open.
  • as @Kelvin stated, I took a look at my FIRE plans and... I think I like the idea of being a PMP instructor as a potential post-FI part time gig. Getting a PMP opens that door.

Thanks everyone for all of the insight!

Minnowstache

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #115 on: March 25, 2018, 04:40:07 AM »
Excellent work! A qualification will help your credibility and from what iíve heard PMP is quite a hard slog so well done! I have just completed a managing successful programmes with Prince2 practitioner course. It is good to keep your qualifications and skills up no matter what they are! Hereís hoping you get a great job to reward your hard work soon!

shelbyautumn

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #116 on: March 26, 2018, 01:06:50 PM »
Congrats!

I'm taking my PMP course next month. I know a woman making $310k a year plus commission and the PMP is her only certification/education beyond high school. I think it can open a lot of doors if you want it to!

BuffaloStache

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #117 on: March 26, 2018, 10:13:49 PM »
Congrats!

I'm taking my PMP course next month. I know a woman making $310k a year plus commission and the PMP is her only certification/education beyond high school. I think it can open a lot of doors if you want it to!

That's incredible, what industry is she in?!

shelbyautumn

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #118 on: March 27, 2018, 09:01:59 AM »
@BuffaloStache she works in Healthcare (kinda). On the sales side of things, now, mostly responding to RFPs for anything from Insurance Companies to Medicaid.

pecunia

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #119 on: March 27, 2018, 06:55:35 PM »
This money mustache thing has been a real eye opener.  I hadn't expected it to be an eye opener on project management.  I've seen those guys as bean counters.  They don't care about quality, but only about cost and schedule.

However, I now see that there are bad ones and good ones.  The good ones are those that have worked themselves up and know who and what they are managing rather than just tasks on a paper.

I presently am working on a construction project where the PM didn't ensure the materials were on site to perform construction at the right time.  Things are not being built in the right sequence due to his scheduling.  Due to poor scheduling there will be a lot of re-work.  The manager did not meet with the people doing the work to develop a schedule.  He just took a SWAG.

Now that I'm approaching the end of my working days, I wish I had taken a more open mind towards those folks.  I could have helped them do their job and that would have helped me do mine.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #120 on: March 27, 2018, 09:21:07 PM »
...  The manager did not meet with the people doing the work to develop a schedule.  He just took a SWAG...

This is actually a repeating theme in the PMP training: involving all of your stakeholders early (including project team members) and often is very important to successfully completing any project.

Gone_Hiking

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #121 on: March 27, 2018, 09:40:59 PM »
For what it's worth, I thought I'd respond to this thread with an update:

-I passed my PMP examination today and am now certified!

Congratulations!  Well done.

This money mustache thing has been a real eye opener.  I hadn't expected it to be an eye opener on project management.  I've seen those guys as bean counters.  They don't care about quality, but only about cost and schedule.

The difference between OK PMs and great PMs is how they deal with people.  The bad ones just keep asking for percent complete.  Or say things like "I want this done by the end of the week".  The good ones say things like "If we get it done by Thursday, we will have an extra day to catch up on other things.  I've heard the boss will get us pizza for lunch".

pecunia

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #122 on: March 28, 2018, 03:23:15 AM »
Quote
The difference between OK PMs and great PMs is how they deal with people.  The bad ones just keep asking for percent complete.  Or say things like "I want this done by the end of the week".  The good ones say things like "If we get it done by Thursday, we will have an extra day to catch up on other things.  I've heard the boss will get us pizza for lunch".

Heh heh - The bad ones sometimes turn out to be good ones,.......for my pocketbook.  Many times I've had to work weekends or twelves to meet their schedules.  Glad I am no longer salary.

caracarn

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #123 on: March 28, 2018, 06:39:58 AM »
Having operated in this space for nearly two decades, yes it takes a lot of work to be a good PM.  The PMBOK gives you tools and techniques but you need to use them properly.  It's no different than getting certified on anything else, like an HVAC tech.  If I try to insert a thermocoupler in my air conditioner to help with gas flow it will not work out too well.  90% of the job is communication.  The other 10% is what the PMP exam measures.  That's the problem with people thinking that because someone has a PMP that gives them some capability it does not.  It is a measure of your understanding of a toolset, but not really if you can use it properly and if you can actually bring a project across the finish line.  That measure is if you keep your job after the project is done or if you are fired because it was a disaster.

Rightflyer

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #124 on: March 30, 2018, 03:45:58 AM »
For what it's worth, I thought I'd respond to this thread with an update:

-I passed my PMP examination today and am now certified!

While I'm still not convinced on the value of the credential in it's own right, I decided to do it mostly for the following reasons:
  • Because of an affiliate arrangement with my previous company, the classes were free to take, so I took them last year.
  • The exam is changing on 03/26/2018, so once I had taken the classes I figured it was now or never
  • I don't plan on leaning on this certification to get any future job, but do see it as a potential career path within my current company. I wanted to make sure that door remained open.
  • as @Kelvin stated, I took a look at my FIRE plans and... I think I like the idea of being a PMP instructor as a potential post-FI part time gig. Getting a PMP opens that door.

Thanks everyone for all of the insight!

Congrats Buffalo

I've tossed around the idea of finally getting a PMP for several years now.
I have the prerequisites, just need to apply to do the exam.

You may have inspired me...

BlueHouse

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #125 on: March 30, 2018, 11:00:13 AM »
For what it's worth, I thought I'd respond to this thread with an update:

-I passed my PMP examination today and am now certified!

Congratulations!  Well done.

This money mustache thing has been a real eye opener.  I hadn't expected it to be an eye opener on project management.  I've seen those guys as bean counters.  They don't care about quality, but only about cost and schedule.

The difference between OK PMs and great PMs is how they deal with people.  The bad ones just keep asking for percent complete.  Or say things like "I want this done by the end of the week".  The good ones say things like "If we get it done by Thursday, we will have an extra day to catch up on other things.  I've heard the boss will get us pizza for lunch".
Project Management is about more than just keeping a schedule.  That's like one out of nine knowledge areas.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Engineers: Is PMP certification worth it?
« Reply #126 on: March 30, 2018, 04:32:22 PM »
...

Congrats Buffalo

I've tossed around the idea of finally getting a PMP for several years now.
I have the prerequisites, just need to apply to do the exam.

You may have inspired me...

If I can do it, then you definitely can. The biggest piece of advice I'd give with the process it to apply early! My application got hung up for various reasons, but once you get that out of the way you have ~1 full year in which to take the exam.