Student Profile: Barbara Barlow, PMP
I am a 50+ year old woman working in the Information Technology Division at our local community college in Oregon. Information Technology is notorious for being a male-dominated field, and it is as true here as anywhere. I have been employed here for nearly 14 years now, with my first 9 years as the coordinator for all the campus computer labs and classrooms. As the years have progressed, my position has morphed into the lead project coordinator for the IT department, working directly under the CIO. I manage a couple of our many projects personally, while providing training, guidance, and support to all our other project leads.
I first wished to become PMP certified about 5 years ago. My work duties, however, were keeping me busy 6 days a week. About a year and a half ago, work calmed down as two new managers were hired in the department, reducing my work load. This provided the time to begin my studies for PMP certification. I chose to become PMP certified because running projects is exactly what I do, each and every day. Having the certification to prove I have the skill set, in this environment, is a plus.
The most difficult part of my PMP studies was my own waning ability to concentrate on the material in the PMBOK guide. The guide contains a great amount of information, but is delivered in a fairly dry form. I found it difficult at times to completely focus on the content without my mind wandering! :) Thank goodness, I ran across some information about the PM PrepCast while researching training options online! Cornelius made my PMP studies engaging, interesting, and successful. He carefully covers everything you need to know to be prepared for your exam. I did manage the read the PMBOK guide (twice) and went through all of the PrepCast (while taking notes), and I feel that this study approach worked VERY well for me. I purchased a couple other books, but did not end up using them much. Ultimately, it was the PMBOK guide, the PrepCast, and the PM Exam Simulator that allowed me to achieve PMP certification.
My #1 recommendation for anyone studying for the PMP exam is to take LOTS of practice exams - full length exams - in as realistic a setting as possible. I used every minute of my 4 hours to complete my exam. The more practice you get at taking an exam of this length and intensity, the better off you will be when your day comes.
I am happy to say, as of November of 2012, I am a certified PMP! Thank you, Cornelius and everyone at OSP International for your support in achieving this goal.