In looking at any number of recent reports on IT certification and salaries, it’s become pretty noteworthy that the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional (PMI PMP) is emerging as a “must-have” credential for IT professionals interested in developing their career potential — especially for those interested in assuming team or project lead positions, if not making the transition from individual contributor to technical management. The same Global Knowledge report that I’ve mentioned in recent blogs has been picked up and reported on all over the place, including GoCertify.com, ZDnet.com, and so forth, with a particular emphasis on the top 5 spots in those results.
With the PMP now enshrined at the top of this heap, I’m inclined to grant kudos and praise where it’s obviously due. I’ll do so, however, in a non-obvious way — namely, by explaining how project management helped me turn my book-writing skills into a hoppin’ and poppin’ business. For those who don’t know my background, a little history: as I was studying for MS cert exams in the 1996-1997 time frame (following the release of Windows NT 4.0 and all the certs that went with it) I discovered that the only study guides available at the time were great, big, hefty encylopediac tomes that work as well as doorstops as they do at delivering the goods. I developed a series of books called “Exam Cram” that sought to tell knowledgable professionals only the barest minimum of information they needed to know to prep for such tests. With the series still going strong today, and with titles for all the major IT certifications (and numerous other fields besides), the idea has some continuing legs and remains the second most popular computer books series around, second only to …For Dummies. From 1998 until 2004, in fact, my small team of 6 full-time staffers produced 45-55 certification titles yearly over that entire period.
What does this have to do with project management? I’ll tell you: we had to crank these books out so quickly, and then as new topics and versions kept popping up, so often, that the only way to make the normal publishing process work was to build each title around a project manager. That person became responsible for all phases of each book’s design, development, writing, editing, and finally, production. At several points in time, my staff and I had as many as 20 books going at the same time. With that kind of work volume (and workload) we simply couldn’t have kept up if not for rigorous, well-planned and closely tracked project management people keeping track of progress, solving problems, and making sure work got finished on time and at or under budget.
This applies to all kinds of areas of work, especially in the IT domain. If you’re interested in becoming a player in the field, and like to be in the middle of the action, I’d urge you to look into and if you are interested to earn the PMP certification. It will change your life and career, and help you grow your personal and professional skills and knowledge more than you might think. Check out the PMP at the www.pmi.org Website: you can find classroom and online courses, study guides, practice exams, and all kinds of ways and means to prepare for and earn this valuable credential. Highly recommended…and yes, there’s an Exam Cram for this credential, too!