In April 2022, I did a beta exam for Project+. The beta exam was PK1-005, and then the “real” exam was released as PK0-005 (which is what shows on my exam history at CertMetrics).
Beta exams aren’t free, but they’re significantly cheaper than a normal exam. In this case, it cost me £30 rather than £212 (both prices exclude VAT). There are two main drawbacks:
a) There won’t be any training material ready for the new exam.
b) You’ll have to wait a long time to get your results. (In this case, I took the exam on 4th April, but I didn’t get the results until 11th October, i.e. there was a 6 month delay.)
This certification wasn’t on my “to do” list until I saw the email about the beta program, and I don’t have any intention of becoming a project manager. However, I’ve worked with project managers in a few organisations, so I thought that it would be useful to “speak the same language” (i.e. share the same specialised vocabulary). If I failed the exam, it wouldn’t really cause me any problems, so I could take a fairly relaxed view towards it. I think some of this material might also be relevant for personal projects, e.g. a house renovation with dependencies between various tasks.
NB This certification is “good for life”, i.e. it’s not part of the CE (Continuing Education) program where you have to repeat the exam after 3 years.
CompTIA bought this exam from Gartner in 2001. Since then, it’s only been through 5 versions, so it’s changed a lot more slowly than most of their exams:
I think that reflects the focus of the exam, i.e. it’s based around “soft skills” rather than “hard skills”.
It’s interesting that the certification was rebranded in 2003, dropping “IT” from the name. I don’t have a copy of the exam objectives for PK0-001, but I can compare the objectives for subsequent versions:
- PK0-002: “The Project+ examination is designed for business professionals involved with projects with a technology component.”
- PK0-003: “The Project+ examination is designed for business professionals involved with projects.”
- PK0-004: “The CompTIA Project+ examination is designed for business professionals who coordinate or manage small-to-medium-size projects.”
So, there seems to have been a conscious effort to make it more general, de-emphasising the IT aspect.
Looking at the CompTIA website, they currently have an exam description for PK0-004 (due to retire in May 2023) and PK0-005 (launched in Nov 2022):
- PK0-004: “CompTIA Project+ is designed for business professionals who coordinate or manage small-to-medium-size projects, inside and outside of IT.”
- PK0-005: “CompTIA Project+ is ideal for IT professionals who need to manage smaller, less complex projects as part of their other job duties but still have foundational project management skills.”
This represents a a change of direction, bringing the certification back towards IT.
NB The description for PK0-004 has an extra section (“inside and outside of IT”) which isn’t in the exam objectives.
CompTIA published a blog post in Nov 2021, about the changes in the new version:
Project+ 004 vs. 005 | IT Career Center | CompTIA
Realistically, I think that anyone who actually works as a project manager will be going for PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) or PMP certifications. I don’t know whether this would be useful as a stepping stone towards them.
I think that the BCS Foundation Certificate in IS Project Management is similar in scope to Project+, but the BCS syllabus seems to be focussed on PRINCE2, while Project+ includes other methodologies (e.g. Scrum).
As I mentioned above, there wasn’t any training specifically designed for PK0-005 when I did the beta exam, so I had to use resources from PK0-004:
I chose these based on reviews, particularly this blog post from someone who was in a similar position to me:
I took the CompTIA Project+ PK1-005 beta exam for fun – Dr. Brian Robert Callahan (briancallahan.net)
Sybex have a new edition of their book (PK0-005 study guide), written by the same author, but I can’t see any Udemy courses for the new syllabus yet.
I think it’s best to watch the Udemy videos first, then read the corresponding chapters in the book afterwards. In my case, I started with the first 2 chapters of the book, and I was a bit disappointed when the videos didn’t go into the same level of detail. However, when I watched subsequent videos (with material that was new to me), I was more impressed.
There are 19 sections in the Udemy course. Each section has videos, an assignment, a quiz, then a “section close” (summary) video. The quizzes are pretty straightforward, i.e. you answer multiple-choice questions and they’re automatically graded by the website. The assignments are a bit different, because they’re peer to peer. These are (short) essay questions, so you will comment on other students’ answers and they’ll comment on yours. I did a few assignments, but skipped most of them.
Prior to the exam, I went through all of sections 1-9 in the Udemy course. I then did a “speed run” through sections 10-19, i.e. I just watched the section close video and did the quiz. This was simply due to deadline pressure, i.e. I didn’t have time to cover all of the training material before the beta program closed; if you’re doing the exam now, I’d recommend studying the entire book and Udemy course.
The real PK0-005 exam (available now) has a maximum of 90 questions in 90 minutes.
The PK1-005 beta exam was a bit different: I had 113 questions in 135 minutes. It took me 80 minutes to do my first pass, then another 30 minutes to review my answers. That left me with 25 minutes on the clock when I ended the exam. I left feedback on a few questions (e.g. for typos), so hopefully those were amended before the real exam went live.
One of the questions gave me a calculator. I didn’t need to use it, but the important point is that this exam is testing whether you understand the concepts; it’s not testing your mental arithmetic.
Overall, I think it’s a fair exam, and they’re not trying to catch you out with trick questions.
Having passed the exam, I don’t feel qualified to actually be a project manager. In my case, that’s fine, because I have no aspirations in that direction. However, if that is your goal then you need to be realistic about this certification. I think it’s similar to ITIL Foundation, i.e. the main purpose is to get you familiar with the concepts while you’re still in a relatively junior role.