About a month or so ago, one of my friends reached out and let me know that CompTIA had a new beta exam available and that I might be a good fit to try it out and provide feedback. The exam in question was the new CompTIA Project+ PK1-005 Beta Exam, certainly an exam that aligns with well with me and my background and current role.
Back in about 2006 I started getting involved in IT project work and formally became a project manager in 2010 for Hewlett Packard and back then the Project+ exam was one that I’ve been meaning to get since 2007 but something always got in the way of me taking it, particularly the fact that I went for my PMI PMP exam back in 2012 and passed it on the first try.
Fast forward 15 years later and the opportunity to try out the new beta exam, provide feedback on the questions and have a chance to take it at a discounted cost of $50 from the usual $348 sounded marvelous.
To prepare for the exam I viewed the information available at CompTIA’s site that compared the current PK0-004 versus the beta PK1-005 exam particularly focusing on the distinct exam domains covered by the exam and comparing the changes from the current version where I learned the new exam domains are approximately 70% the same as the current exam with the remaining 30% of domains focusing on topics such as IT, Agile and Risk Management, topics that should certainly be in the grasp of any IT Project Manager/Coordinator as these are really part of the daily work IT professionals engaged in projects are involved with every day.
In order to brush up on my project knowledge and fundamentals I took some time to prepare by reading Kim Heldman’s CompTIA Project+ Study Guide: Exam PK0-004 2nd Edition book, a well written book that lays out clear real-world scenarios where a project manager would be engaged and the action he or she would take to manage a project thru its lifecycle.
Kim’s book this certainly covered that 70% of exam domains, but what about that remaining 30%?
- For the IT piece I really just leaned on my 20-year IT experience and background to meet this domain.
- In regards to Agile earlier this year I had taken the Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master Certification and felt the knowledge gained from that was sufficient.
- Finally for Risk Management this was certainly one that I needed to wrap my brain around as it dove in deeper than usual Project Risk Management as now it had the components of Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) in the IT world where we have a large number of proponents and different governing bodies that influence these such as PCI-DSS, NIST, GDPR, HIPAA and CMMC all of them focusing on implementing cybersecurity and privacy rules to protect customer data all factors critical to IT project success. For this one I watched Mike Chapple’s course on Governance, risk, and compliance for the CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601) Exam over at LinkedIn Learning, maybe a bit of an overkill but I wanted to get a jump start on studying for the Security+ I have an eye on that cert for later in the year.
At this point I felt ready and confident to sit the exam so I went thru Pearson VUE to book the exam and decided to take it remotely from home (I will write another post on the Pearson VUE at home testing at a later date), the registration process was simple and was able to secure a date easily.
Come Certification Day I sat down and took the test, I was presented with a total of 113 questions and given about 1 hour and 30 minutes or so to complete the test. Personally I avoid looking at test timers too much during the test, but what I can say is that I existed the test I still had about 50 minutes left on the clock for review but I felt pretty confident on the answers I provided to the questions based on the preparation I had done.
Overall, I felt the exam really probes the test taker well on the different exam domains described in the exam objectives particularly the new exam domains of IT, Agile and GRC focused Risk questions where well written and mostly clear, I made sure to flag a few to provide feedback on how to make them easier to read.
The experience taking the exam is pretty on par with other CompTIA exams you get your share of multi choice questions, choose all that apply and such, if you’ve taken a prior CompTIA exam you know exactly what to expect.
Would I recommend you take the exam? I would say yes if you are new to an IT Project Management role maybe as an Associate, Junior PM or Specialist. The exam expects you to be able to understand the different phases a project goes thru, what are key events that happen during a project, factors you need to be aware when working on IT project and how to handle certain common situations, among a few others.
So, the final question looming on everyone’s mind, did I pass? Well, that is unknown Beta exam results are not released until the launch of the live exam in October 2022.
Update: October 11 2022, got notice earlier today from CompTIA that I passed the exam!
The last date to sit this Beta exam is April 6th 2022, so if you are reading this you may be out of time already, but I hope my experience helps you prepare for when the new version of the exam launches in October 2022 or you decide to take the current version before it is retired.