I have considered pursuing PMP certification. During the past year, I completed a number of PM courses at a local university and am currently 1 course short of receiving a PM "certificate". However, regarding PMP certification, it seems like the project task experience requirements, at least for me, are somewhat of a Catch-22.
I have been an independent consultant and an IBM BP for the past 17 years. I have an MBA. I hold 7 Java and IBM WebSphere/DB2 certications. Most of my software development experience, working for clients, is as a senior/lead developer/architect. But the project task experience requirements would seem to be an obstacle for me since I have never formally held those roles on client projects.
However, over the past 10 years, my consulting company has developed 3 commercial software applications. The first 2 were reasonably successful; the third, not so much. My company is currently working, in conjunction with another company, on a 4th application.
My question is this: Would the project management experience obtained working on these commercial applications satisfy the project task experience requirements for PMP certification?
It sounds like you have a good chance of meeting the requirements -- I can't be 100% certain, obviously, since I don't know exactly what you did. But you don't need to have the title "Project Manager" in order to have enough project management experience to qualify for the PMP exam.
If you have a bachelor's degree, then you need a total of 4,500 hours of project management experience before you're allowed to take the PMP exam. (You can see how PMI verifies this information from this post on the Head First PMP forum.) Those 4,500 hours don't need to be consecutive, but they do need to occur over the course of 36 months. But they do need to include the kinds of activities that project managers do -- which means they'll fall into the 44 processes that are defined by the PMBOK(r) Guide.
Did you do things like hold team meetings, report your team's progress, plan the schedule, define the scope of the project, deal with budgets, work with subcontractors or customers, perform quality activities (like testing software), do risk planning, or manage communications? Those are things that project managers do, and you'll be asked how many hours that you've done each of them.
If you're still not sure, I recommend filling out the application to take the PMP exam. Don't send it in yet -- just start filling it out online. If I recall correctly, you'll be asked how many hours you spent performing each individual task. That should give you a good sense of whether or not you meet the requirements.
Author of Head First Agile, Learning Agile, Beautiful Teams, Head First C#, Head First PMP, and Applied Software Project Management (O'Reilly)
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