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Project+ - combining the technical world and the business world:An Interview with Ayana Nickerson, Project+ Certification Program Manager for CompTIA (the Computing Technology Industry Association)
As businesses and
organizations see the need to prevent waste and reduce risks associated
with IT projects, there is a growing appreciation of project management.
The Project+ certification program is expected to grow in relevance
considering the premium being placed on soft skills and management in
the IT industry.
On August 11, 2004, CompTIA announced that it has renamed its popular project management certification from CompTIA IT Project+ to CompTIA Project+.
She explains the
new name change as well as the "what, how, why, and where" of the Project+ certification. She
spoke about tips
and advice for candidates as well as what she sees as the future of
Project+ and Project management.
What led to the development of CompTIA Project+ certification?
Ayana Nickerson: CompTIA answered an
industry need for a certification that validates business “soft
skills” and that addresses the increasing reach and influence of
technical and IT projects. As
a result, in 2001 CompTIA purchased “IT Project Management Core
Capabilities” exam from the Gartner group in early 2001. CompTIA then revised and launched IT Project+ in April, 2001. The exam was later enhanced and revised in November, 2003.
Jidaw.com: Who is CompTIA's Project+ certification intended for? What is the target audience for this certification? What level of experience and knowledge should prospective candidates have?
Ayana Nickerson: Project+ is
intended for industry professionals with at least 2,000 hours of
practical experience in leading, managing, and directing small-medium
Jidaw.com: What is the exam focus of the Project+ certification? What capabilities should one expect of a Project+ certified professional in terms of specific knowledge and skills?
Ayana Nickerson: The Project+
examination focuses on three core competencies necessary for successful
IT project management: best practices in project management methods and
processes, critical business knowledge and important interpersonal
A candidate or an employer should feel confident that a Project+
certified professional will have the ability to successfully manage
information technology-related projects throughout the entire project
life cycle. A Project+
certification demonstrates knowledge of critical project management and
Who benefits from, what is the relevance of, Project+? Can you give
us tangible benefits and beneficiaries?
Ayana Nickerson: Project+ is a
win-win certification. Both
the individual and prospective employers benefit from this CompTIA
certification. Becoming Project+ certified gives a candidate:
· The knowledge to successfully bring in
projects on time and under budget
· Proof of professional achievement as the
individual can demonstrate the necessary skills defined by it industry
· Enhanced job opportunities as clients
prefer to work with certified employees
· Viable career path and/or launching pad
to additional higher-level certifications
Project+ gives prospective employers the following benefits:
· Increased productivity as a certified
project manager has a clear understanding of both technical and business
· Maximized efficiency in recruiting,
hiring, training and promoting employees
· Uniform project management systems that
meet industry benchmarks as well as legal and regulatory guidelines
How does the market look for Project+ candidates and certificants?
Can you give examples of possible career opportunities?
Ayana Nickerson: Industry research
indicates that 74% of all IT projects fail, come in over budget or are
overdue. And 28% of
projects fail all together. These
statistics are alarming, especially in light of the current situation of
the global economy. Companies
are looking for qualified individuals that have the knowledge to
successfully bring in projects on time and under budget.
Project+ certification can take your career into several different
directions. Here is an example of possible career opportunities: IT
Manager, Project Manager, Program Manager, Quality Assurance, Software
Development, Training and Instruction, E-commerce Specialist, and
Operations, Healthcare Administration, Disaster Recovery, Security
Management, Business Analyst, and the list could go on. This certification could open many doors.
How many people have achieved the Project+ certification? What is your current estimate of number of people attempting the
Project+ exam every month?
Ayana Nickerson: Since its launch in
April, 2001 there are close to 7,000 individuals certified.
Ayana Nickerson: There are self study materials, on-line training and classroom
training available. The
time it takes depends upon the individual. I would suggest going to our website at www.comptia.org to find out more about preparation resources.
Jidaw.com: What is unique about project management in the IT field? And how does Project+ compare to other technical certifications?
Ayana Nickerson: Project+ adheres to project management industry standards and
maps its project management standards 100% to such certifications as
PMI's PMI, PRINCE2 and ITIL.
How do you see the future demand for project management expertise? What
trends do you see in project managementthat businesses and IT
professionals should be considering? And how does Project+ fit in?
Ayana Nickerson: Right now the IT
industry is looking for professionals that have the business “soft
skills” that can communicate and manage technical projects. As the scope of IT projects broaden and affect more than just the
IT department, there is now a greater need for these interpersonal
skills and project managers are in demand.
Jidaw.com: Congratulations on the name
change. What is the reason for the name change?
Ayana Nickerson: Thank
you. This is a very
exciting time for CompTIA's Project+ and for project management
professionals. IT projects
are no longer in the basement of a company, they have moved to the
decided to change the name of the exam because we believe the content of
the exam provides a value to a much wider audience.
Jidaw.com: What are the implications of
the name change for already certified professionals and prospective
Ayana Nickerson: There
are no implications. The
contents and the objectives of the exam remain the same. If a candidate has already been certified as an IT Project+
professional, their certification is still valid and recognized
Jidaw.com: Are we to expect any changes
in the exam in terms of format, content, etc?
Ayana Nickerson: At this time CompTIA has no plans to change the exam format or content.
What are CompTIA's plans for Project+? What does the future hold for Project+ (short-term and long-term)?
Nickerson: CompTIA will continue to be a leader in the
IT market space and answer the needs of the industry by producing
quality exams that provide business solutions.
What tips and advise would you have for students, who are working to get
their CompTIA Project+ certification?
Nickerson: I would first of all congratulate the
student for choosing such an excellent certification to obtain. The industry has been saturated with the “techies” it is now
time to combine both the technical world and the business world and Project+ certified individuals are just the people to do bridge that
1. Organize a timeline and create a study schedule.
2. Read the Project+ blueprint thoroughly to become familiar with
the exam objectives. Project+ exam blueprint can be found on the CompTIA
website at www.comptia.org
3. Gain hands-on experience. Project+ requires at least 2,000 hours of project management
experience, which is equivalent to 12 months of hands-on project
4. Supplement your experience with training. CompTIA has certified training partners that have approved
self-study, on-line and classroom training materials.
5. Take a practice test. This
is an excellent way to assess your skills. Although your score on a practice test will not necessarily
indicate what your score would be on a certification exam, a practice
test does assess your readiness and lets you know in what areas you need
6. Register for the exam. After
you complete the exam preparation and feel confident with your exam
knowledge, you can register for the exam through our testing vendors
Prometric or VUE.
Jidaw.com: Is there anything else you'd like to share with Project+ candidates?
Ayana Nickerson: Earning a Project+
credential from CompTIA is one of the fastest ways to enhance your
employment opportunities and affirm your commitment to project
management excellence. Take
the next step and elevate your career with a Project+ certification from
Jidaw.com thanks Ayana Nickerson for her time as well as for the great work she is
doing with Project Management certification.
Ayana Nickerson is CDIA+ and Project+
certification program manager for CompTIA, the Computing Technology
Industry Association. She
has more than ten years of experience in the telecommunications and IT
industries as a program manager. Ayana
can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
The interview was conducted through Jidaw.com's IT Resource center:
More on CompTIA and Project Management Certifications:
Project Management Training This workshop will enable you to master planning tools, management techniques, and people skills that will ensure project success
For more coverage and
information related to this topic, head to the IT Career Resource
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