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IT Project Management and Certifications

By Wilfredo Lassalle Jr, PMP

83.8% of IT Projects fail. Yes you read that right. 83.8% of IT projects do not meet their project goals on time and on budget. A project is a temporary and one-time endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service which brings about beneficial change or added value. You might be saying “Well none of the projects I have worked on have failed. We completed the server consolidation, data center relocation, active directory migration, etc., etc. and everything worked perfectly!” This is the mentality of a resource (engineer, technician, developer, programmer, etc.) on a project. However, the measurement of success on a project is the deliverable completed within defined scope, quality, time and cost constraints.

With the increase of IT Projects in organizations around the world, comes the increase in need for IT project managers. With the increase in need for IT project managers comes the increase in demand for certified IT project managers. Certification within IT project management is a tool used as verification that a project manager can use best practices, processes and proven methodologies to successfully complete a given project on time and within budget. There are a few certification options an aspiring IT Project manager can shoot for.

The Project+ certification exam is from CompTIA. CompTIA Project+ is a globally recognized project management certification that provides validation of fundamental project management skills. It covers the entire project life cycle from initiation and planning through execution, acceptance, support and closure. There are no prerequisites, and candidates are not required to submit an application or complete additional hours of continuing education. The Project+ certification exam costs $218, is approximately 80 questions, candidates have 90 minutes to answer them and score 499 or above to become certified. The exam is an excellent entry level project management exam.

PMP (Project Management Professional)
The PMP certification from the PMI (Project Management Institute) is the most respected project management certification worldwide. In order to take the PMP exam and become a PMP candidate, hopefuls must fill out an application either online ( or via mail with printed forms. The requirements to apply for PMP candidacy are a University degree, 4500 hrs of verifiable project management experience, and 35 hrs of project management education or in lieu of a University degree, 7500hrs of verifiable project management experience and 35 hrs of project management education. Once approved as a PMP candidate you have 1 year to take and pass the PMP exam to obtain the certification. The PMP exam is a multiple choice test, which can be taken either on a computer at a Prometric testing center or in written form. Candidates have to answer 200 questions (25 of which are beta questions not counting toward the final score) within 4hrs and must score 61% to pass. After obtaining PMP certification, a PMP must complete 60 PDUs (Professional Development Units) every 3 years to maintain their certification.

SMP (Software Management Professional)
This certification is no longer available.

In conclusion, the project management profession is one that is growing fast and salaries are increasing as the demand increases. One way to prepare to transition into a project management role is to take and study for one or all of the aforementioned certifications. According to the average salary for an IT project manager is $88,871, and this will continue to go up as organizations place more importance on project management. This high demand makes IT project management a very lucrative career path for IT professionals.