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A Look at the IT Project + Certification

  • December 1, 2003
  • By Steve Rowe
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Have you desired to lead a software rollout or upgrade your corporation's network infrastructure from a project management standpoint? Undoubtedly, the world of project management is growing by leaps and bounds. The need for trained and skilled project managers for any number of industries is expanding, and trained project managers who have experience finishing projects successfully on time, under budget, and professionally administered can garner significant pay and respect.

Earlier, we looked at the pinnacle certification for the project management world, the PMP. In this article, we will continue with our look at CompTIA certifications, and the IT Project + certification is CompTIA's project management certification. This certification, as the title suggests, centers more specifically on IT projects where the PMP exam is centered on projects from all types of industries, including IT.

IT Project +

As with all CompTIA certifications, the IT Project + certification is a vendor-neutral exam. This certification was designed to validate the knowledge of project management fundamentals and processes, business capabilities, and interpersonal skills of aspiring IT project managers. Specifically, this certification will examine your ability to plan, administer, troubleshoot, and finish projects on time and within your budget.

If you are an aspiring project manager, why would you want to even expend the time and resources to achieve this certification when you could be spending your time achieving the PMP? CompTIA's Web site gives a valid and solid reason for spending time achieving the IT Project + certification on your way to achieving the PMP credential. First, the IT Project + certification validates your knowledge at 2,000 hours of project management experience where the lowest experience threshold the PMP allows is 4,500 hours of project management experience for those with a college degree and the number is 7,500 hours of experience for those without a college degree. The IT Project + certification gives you a nice "half-way to PMP" certification. Secondly, learning many of the concepts and techniques you need for the IT Project + certification will help you on the PMP because fundamental project management aspects such as scope definition, risk assessment, and resource management are the same across all areas of project management. You truly would not be losing ground; rather, you would be gaining ground in your efforts to become PMP certified by studying for and achieving the IT Project + certification.

Project managers who are PMP certified can also find validity in the IT Project + certification. PMP certified project managers are required to achieve a certain level of continuing education credit, and working toward the IT Project + can count toward this requirement. Also, PMP certified project managers may need to brush up on the project management differences that exist in the IT world. Spending time achieving the IT Project + can help the PMP sharpen their skills for IT project management specifically.

What's on the IT Project + Exam?

Now that you have a general overview of the IT Project + certification and its relationship to the PMP certification, you may be curious as to what is on the IT Project + exam. This exam was written and developed by leading IT project managers. It includes content that leading industry experts believe an IT project manager should possess. The following table breaks down the four content areas the IT Project + examines and the percentage of the whole examination each individual module comprises.

Exam Category Percent of Total Exam
Scope Definition 27%
Preliminary Planning/Project Planning 39%
Project Execution 29%
Closure 5%

The following list is a very brief look at typical contents from each of the IT Project + exam categories. Be absolutely certain that you check with www.comptia.com/certification/ITProject/ for up-to-date exam objectives. It is always advisable to stay current with exam objectives for a certification you are pursuing because content can change quickly without your knowledge.

  • Scope Definition—This domain will require you to know how to interpret stakeholder needs and objectives, plus how to communicate, in a broad project scope statement, the procedures required to successfully complete these needs. You must also demonstrate ability in defining the roles stakeholders, project managers, and project team members will play to achieve project success. You will also be required to show knowledge of defining business requirements, success outcomes, needs and expectations of stakeholders, project boundaries for budget and responsibilities, and how to achieve stakeholder approval for project charters and all scope documents.
  • Preliminary Planning/Project Planning—This section will examine your abilities for detailing required resources, defining a schedule, performing risk analysis, defining project deliverables, establishing change control procedures, create a cost and budget plan, and creating a communication plan, along with several other items.
  • Project Execution—This domain requires the candidate to be able to monitor project performance and detect variance from the project plan, take any corrective actions, and perform project re-planning based on the changes. This section will require you to also manage change control, quality, project team issues, and project resources, among others.
  • Closure—The final section examines the candidate's knowledge for effectively closing out a project, garnering acceptance of the work from the stakeholders, and establishing support networks and infrastructures to help the stakeholder maintain the project's output.

Note that the IT Project + certification is posed to change in November 2003. CompTIA's website lists November 10, 2003 as the date the examination changes to the 2003 objectives over the 2001 exam objectives. As of this writing, the 2003 objectives should be in effect. Be sure to check with CompTIA to see if the 2003 IT Project + certification did not get delayed for some reason because, if it was delayed, the 2001 objectives are still in effect.

The exam was upgraded to help the certification stay consistent with the current job requirements and realities of the IT project manager. All CompTIA exams and certifications are consistently monitored and upgraded to match with current job task realities. The 2003 exams will also include more scenario-based questions that will require the examinee to apply project management knowledge to realistic situations. This makes the exam a little more difficult, and having on-the-job experience with these concepts and techniques will boost your chances of successful completion.

IT Project + Facts

The following list gives you some important facts concerning the IT Project + certification you should know:

  • This certification comprises one exam that is 80+ questions in length. A minimum score of 63% is required to pass, and you have a 90-minute period to complete the exam.
  • The following table breaks down the pricing structure for both CompTIA corporate members and non-members:
  • Quantity Corporate Member Pricing Non-Member Pricing
    1-50 $155 $207
    51-250 $134 $207
    251+ $108 $207
  • Pearson VUE and Thomson Prometric testing centers each offer this exam. Contact Pearson VUE at www.vue.com or Thomson Prometric at www.2test.com to sign up for this exam.
  • The exam code you will need to supply to either VUE or Prometric is PK0-002.
  • Reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities will be made at the testing center. Be sure to have documentation proving your disability and call 30 days prior to your exam so the testing center has time to prepare.
  • If you still hold this certification from its days with the Gartner group, it is still valid; however, with the introduction of the 2003 objectives, the exam objectives are now different than what was found under the Gartner ownership.
  • Identification and situational multiple-choice questions are the primary question formats used on this exam.

Conclusions

If project management is an area of interest to you, take heart that your chosen area is growing rapidly and many opportunities will exist for those with the proper education, training, and experience. This exam will be best served for those who have done some project management already, so find ways to gain project management experience as you prepare for this exam. If you find an opportunity to gain experience, be sure you are practicing the techniques and watching for important concepts that the IT Project + exam will throw your way. As always, discover your prominent learning style, purchase learning materials, and practice, practice, practice. With time and practice you are sure to gain the IT Project + credential and be on your way to a successful project management career!

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