One of the things we love best is catching up with our certified students, to find out what life and their career is like once they've finished their training and received their well earned certification.
This month we spoke to Kate McDermott, ex TLP student and fairly new employee of well known nuclear energy company, Tenet Consultants. After completing her PMP training, she's now running bigger projects than ever before with new found skills and confidence in abundance at her new company.
Here's what happened when we had a chat with Kate...
What’s your current job title and who do you work for?
Well my current title - since completing my course and becoming a certified PMP - is actually Business Support Team Leader – I now work for Tenet Consultants. They basically provide expert consultancy services and design engineering skills to clients in the North West within the nuclear sector. Bit of a mouthful I know.
My focus since joining the company has been to lead a whole new exciting project. The aim of which has been to update the infrastructure and IT systems to support future growth of the company. It’s a hell of a project to take on but with all my new skills and confidence I gained throughout the training, I’m loving it.
Wow, that sounds really exciting. So what made you sign up with the Learning People initially?
I signed up with the Learning People a few months before all this new project stuff with Tenet; when I was head of projects for a retail installation and maintenance company. In that role I was leading teams of project managers and administrators - it was great and really varied. But I felt I’d really like to both improve and formalise the role that I was undertaking.
When thinking about PMP training it was important for my that I could take the training in bite size trunks. At the time it was quite tricky to fit in extra work - I was unable to be out of the business for any period of time. This is why the home study style the Learning People offered really appealed.
It meant that I could still carry out my complex projects and fairly long hours, but could slot in extra project manager training in the gaps I had. It was great that I didn’t have to commit to full time study and could just dip in and out when I had time.
See also: Why learn online?
That’s great! And what actual difference has the PMP training made to your career so far?
I guess it formalised and really cemented the experience that I had already, all the while giving me a well recognised certification. It meant I can show to massive and well known employers that I’m both suitably qualified and experienced enough to take on important project management and leadership roles in a variety of different industry sectors.
Whilst I knew I had experience under my belt, the PMP has given me so much more confidence in my ability and I know that my career prospects have been boosted massively since I became certified. Not to mention my paycheck!
Where do you see yourself professionally in five years time?
Well thanks to the PMP training I’m already working at a far higher level than I would have been, so in terms of future goals, I guess my main aim is to take on as much personal and professional development as I can to help me progress at Tenet and move into a more senior role.
For me, being a good project manager is all about growing and developing your skills. Not only does it give you the best chance at succeeding in every project you do, but it makes your team love working with you and your company happy with the way you’re managing the project. So yeah, continuous training is definitely the way to stand out. In my view, anyway.
So how about the actual training platform the Learning People provided you with? Is it easy to navigate?
Yes definitely. It’s rich in resources and information to assist in your learning. There was plenty to get your teeth into too!
How did you find the live learning sessions that come as part of the training?
The live learning sessions helped bring the PMP training course to life. As certified professionals, the tutors were able to offer really sound exam tips and they took away a lot of the monotony that comes from studying via a text book like the PMBOK. They’ve obviously got a real passion for the subject matter, which comes across in their delivery and makes you feel even more keen to learn more.
I also found the encore sessions - which are the pre recorded ones - were essential to my understanding of the PMBOK and more importantly how to break it down so you’re fully prepared for the exam.
I ended up sitting through the encore sessions twice, the second time was in the days running up to the assessment. It was a great refresher and did wonders for my confidence going into the actual exam. I would definitely advise anyone taking the PMP exam to follow this route. The encore sessions will be your best friend!
What advice would you offer other students when they’re studying for their PMP certification?
I think you just have to be prepared to commit to the required hours and get stuck in. Revise revise revise. Watch those videos over and over to feel confident about the exam.
It’s not all about that though. You’ll find that a lot of the things you do in your job on a day to day basis are absolutely relevant when it comes to studying. This helps immensely with your practical understanding and your engagement in the certification.
Do you feel you were supported ok by the Learning People team?
Yeah 100%. The StudentCare team are so easy to contact - always friendly and helpful in their approach, too. They’re also there to give you a kick up the backside if you’ve been a bit lax with your studying. I found this really helpful if I’d had a couple of ‘off weeks’ - they motivate you and put you on the right tracks.
They’re also able to answer any random questions you have throughout the training - big or small. I’d definitely advise contacting them if you hit any rocky patches in your training.
See also: How to: stop procrastinating
How likely are you to recommend the Learning People to friends, family and colleagues?
I have actually already recommended the Learning People to a number of people who’ve been interested in project management courses. In my previous and current role I have really recommended specifically the online style of learning the Learning People offer. Both employers seem pretty keen to introduce the training into their teams for sure.
Lastly, the all important exam. Did you feel fully prepared after completing the training?
Honestly, I really did. Of course I was nervous but I felt fully prepared for the exam. The first thing I did when I sat down was follow the tips given in the PMP encore sessions.
It was funny really, I was actually able to recite what the tutors suggested as I sat in front of the screen. It was far more easy to recall that info than some of the stuff I’d learnt from the books.
My major tip for any student taking the PMP exam is to realise you’ll probably need the full four hours when you’re in there.
It really is totally different to the practice exams. All I mean is don’t panic if you’re in there for ages in comparison to your practice ones. It’ll be worth the extra time when you get your certification!
Follow in Kate's footsteps
Getting PMP certified is often said to be one of the best routes to improving career prospects and yearly salary. If you're thinking about taking some project management training, get in touch today and learn why you should take the plunge just like Kate. You can speak to one of the project managment team by calling 01273 907919 and selecting option 2.