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Do MBA 1st, then PMP once you meet the requirements.
If you're a recent graduate, then you'll probably have to work for a while before you can meet the requirements for PMP certification. Your immediate goal needs to be looking towards becoming the lead developer. Establish yourself as a team lead, and you'll be well on your way.
You can work on the MBA, but in my experience, an MBA generally isn't a prerequisite (or sometimes even really helpful) for a PM to have.
There's no magic set of letters that will do wonders for your career overnight. Experience is the key to advancing your career. Look for more responsibility and willingly take it when it's presented. Do a good job, and rewards will come.
MBA can lend a great deal of credibility to an individual with a technical background. Often technical individuals lack functional business experience and a great deal of Project Management involves this area. Work on the MBA as your career evolves. When you have required experience, sit for the PMP.
As others have said, it will be a while before you have the experience to sit for the PMP - it will probably take you a few years to get to the point where you start doing work that qualifies, and then another few years to accumulate the experience.
I think it's great that you are being proactive about your career at this point though. I would consider joining PMI, and attending local chapter meetings to start learning more about project management, and to begin networking with others who are already involved in the field. In my opinion, networking and getting involved in a professional association will get you farther than an MBA at this point. In my experience, relatively few technology project managers have MBAs - more commonly, they learned on the job or have advanced degrees in technology fields.
I have held director-level positions in IS in two Fortune 500 companies, and do not have an MBA, and only got my PMP last month. My on the job learning and experiences were the most important part of my career development.
In addition to getting involved with PMI, I would suggest letting your current manager know of your career interests. He or she may not be able to do anything about it right away, but you will be planting a seed. If you see processes at work that need to be improved, perhaps offer suggestions or volunteer to do extra work to come up with a better way to do something. Do whatever you can to make your manager's life easier. I have been a manager for a long time, and we are human - managers are more likely to develop and promote those employees who a) do a good job, b) show initiative by going above and beyond their minimum job requirements and c) make their bosses look good. I'm not suggesting that you become a phony or a brown-noser - far from it. Just that you learn to put yourself in your bosses's shoes and understand the world as he or she sees it.
Also, try to become as visible as you can in your current company - if there is any opportunity to participate in volunteer activities or committees that will help you meet other people in your company, take advantage of them.
If you do these things and you are competent, then I think you'll do well. Many CS types just want to keep their heads down and code - so you indicate that you want more than that, my guess is that most managers will be more than happy to help you get there. If your current manager is not supportive, then try to find a mentor either elsewhere in your company, or in your community.
I am not anti-MBA, but I don't think that getting an MBA right now will necessarily do that much to advance your career. I would suggest waiting a few years and seeing how things play out. If you do decide that getting the MBA makes sense, I would try to do it with the sponsorship of your company--many companies will pay part of the tuition for their employees to get a part-time MBA. If you don't work for such a company, consider trying to work for a company that does provide these kinds of opportunities.
MBA will be helpful when you taking PMP exam. Some of the knowledge base in MBA courses may have certain overlap with PMBOK. However, either MBA or PMP title doesn't guarantee a skillful and productive project manager.
I had a short discussion with a few friends who have PMP. When it comes to whether PMP helped advancing career or job search, the answers were mixed. Some said little or no any effect at all, some said good deal of benefit when conducting job search.
What you want your career become is the key to answer whether PMP or MBA or both.
As many of you pointed, MBA first and PMP after acquiring the reqd. experience, is the path to go. But to give you more of an idea, MBA is a Masters degree which you can pursue, in several streams of industry namely Finance, Marketing, Operations etc..Where as PMP is mere certification that you are a Practicing Project Manager with certain basic skill set. Not to lower PMP, but there is no real comparison when it comes to value addition of a PMP Vs MBA. There is huge difference. Also, PMP is an after thought, i.e. first practice and then get certified for recognition, where as MBA is first acquire knowledge in a quick period of 1 Or 2 years and then put that knowledge to practice. Also, PMP is specialized in Project Management which is different from Business Administration, even though the business is conducted as successful execution of several projects. Hope it gives some incite you are looking for. Any one having a differing opinion, please share.
Honestly, it doesn't matter. Neither one, nor both will get you the position or jobs you want.
I was an individual like you when I first graduated from my University and set off to get into the Project Management field. I started off in smaller jobs and worked hard to gain more responsibility (not pay). During that time I also earned my MBA, PMP, International Business Certificate and Scrum Master.
I am going on Seven years with my current company and 5 years of Project Management experience. For the last 9 months I have been applying non-stop to all kinds of Industries/Corporations/Mid-size companies and even small privately owned businesses. Know what I found out? It's all about who you know and getting the trust of someone important enough to dictate who gets hired for what in the company or your willingness to sacrifice everything (move many times, often far away from family - travel alot and live in places that are not ideal).
Bob (the other Bob, not the OP) hit it right on the head earlier when he shared his success with director level jobs and no formal grad level education. What bob is not telling you and I would bet on is that he had inside connections for those positions, I also believe he put his entire life outside of work on hold for a long time or divorce.
Essentially the only way a young professional will be hired for any top level position or even a mid-level position is by either having proper connections or be willing to sacrifice family/friends/location and anything you hold dear. So you take that lower level job at the top part of Alaska or move from your nice colorado mountianside home to a dump in New York and hope to not be mugged. Connection or sacrifice? Your choice. The only other alternatives is to present and create a new job for yourself at your current company or start your own business. The job market is flooded from the economy, senior level skilled people apply for lower and middle management jobs. Your competition is scary, ridiculous and sad.
You'll see... when you meet all the minimum requirements easily of a Project Management job post and you have all your notable creditials MBA/PMP. You'll expect the world and you'll get nothing. Hard facts, but truthful. So before you even think about the MBA or PMP ask yourself "do I have the right connections or am I willing to move 9 times in 10 years and leave my family/friends behind and live in places I wouldn't previously ever want to consider?" Sorry I'm being so realistic and less optimistic...yes there is a slim chance heaven could open and grant you an amazing job out of nowhere. Slim and unrealistic.
Bob, just to beat a dead horse a little more, the PMP is not education, it is a professional certification. As others have pointed out, once you meet the requirements, you can consider getting a PMP. The comparison of an MBA to a PMP is a non-comparison. From an educational point of view, the comparison that makes more sense would be between getting an MBA or a Masters in Project Management.
Also, on another note and topic, the response by Dax Miller is quite insightful and of value to take note of. I would only add or extend that connections are important and for good reason. People are likely to hire people that they know are capable of doing the job - whether that is a first hand experience and fact or a second hand recommendation from a trusted source.
How do you get lots of leverageable connections? By year after year of stellar work in which you exceed the expectations of all those that come in contact with you. Connections and professional reputation do not happen overnight. They take time. And it is mindful to remember that you can never afford to have a "bad" day.
I do not believe that the only two choices for a young professional in getting a top or mid level position are quite as cynical as having connections or sacrificing something dear. The simple reality is that most young professionals are not competitive or in some cases even qualified for a top or mid level position.
Lastly, having credentials and experience is not entitlement to anything. You should not expect the world just because you have a few feathers in your cap and you wish it. Business and life just don't work that way. Seek to be both realistic and optimistic. And mostly, pursue your passion with resolve, integrity, and commitment. It may take a bit of time, hard work, and luck to get what you want. All the more reason to really be sure of what you want..!
Great post and replies by all. I hope we hear and learn from others.
Hi Bob -
My background is the same as yours with an undergrad in Computer Science. My recommendation is to pursue both.
The MBA helps orient a technical mind set into the business setting.
I found it very useful as I progressed from development assignments and into business analysis and project management roles. If you are developing a financial application, it always helps to have additional training where you understand the business process.
The PMP is another certification that will help establish common language between other PMs in your workplace. It will also help you align the PM concepts against a recognized framework.
Getting more education won't hurt you...it only rounds out your technical skill set and will help improve your marketability.
...at least that's what this Computer Science undergrad found
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Hi guys,I am a little bit confused,i am just about to sit for my PMP test in September. I want to continue the project management work fully.I am also starting my MBA in January 2016.Will it also be advisable to specialize in project management for my MBA?
Please help with advice
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