I’ve been lurking here for a while, and wanted to add to some of the lively discussion here.
Anyways, here’s my experience with the CAPM:
1) Administrated Microsoft Project Server for 2 years, and have been managing projects for 2 years after that. I did the math, and with my current PM experience I will not be eligible to take the PMP until January of 2013 (this is assuming a steady stream of PM work, which isn’t always guaranteed at my company).
2) Main motivation for taking the CAPM exam was that my manager wanted me to obtain the certification.
1) I read the entire Rita Mulcahy PMP Exam Prep guide.
2) I took a bunch of mock PMP exams on the internet and using a Skillsoft License through my company.
3) I made myself a set of flash cards for concepts that I got wrong, or had issues remembering. I also memorized all the formulas–EV, communication channels, and PERT analysis.
I earned Proficient in most areas, and Moderately Proficient in others–no areas were “Below Proficient”. I didn’t take a sample CAPM exam prior to the exam room–only PMP ones–and that may have been a mistake. In some ways, the situational questions are my strong suit. I probably could have focused more on memorizing the ITTOs–but I passed pretty comfortably. Look for ways that the exam contradicts itself–in one instance, the exam asked me the same question re-worded 3 times! So comparing and reviewing your answers at the end is extremely important.
Market Value of a CAPM:
I’m not looking for another position, just to progress in my current one. I don’t think that having the CAPM will hurt you landing a job, and it may get your foot in the door. However, it is the PMP that most companies are looking for when hiring a project manager–if you can qualify for that cert., or only have a little ways to go before you earn it–then wait for the PMP.
I’m looking forward to taking my PMP examination next year, but plan to use and apply the information that I’ve learned while studying the CAPM. Some examples of learnings I’m already applying in my role are:
1) Using WBS and WBS Dictionaries (Versus jumping right into creating a plan with MS Project)
2) How to use risk registries more effectively
3) Applying a more logical approach to change integration management–it’s NOT just about filling out a change request form.