Google Project Management Certificate – my experience

I recently completed Google Project Management Certificate on Coursera. In this post, I am sharing my overall experience of the course and the reason why I did it in first place.

Why did I consider doing Project Management course ?

The first question which I asked myself is why shall I enrol for Project Management course ?
After spending 13 years in the technical role working as Developer/Lead/Architect I thought of investing some time to up-skill myself on 'soft' skills or some other non-technical skills.

To answer the question I listed down multiple roles which are possible and relevant in my current career path. I am already working as Solution Architect and other top 2 roles I see in typical projects are: Product Owner and Project Manager.

I went through the syllabus for both Product owner & Project Management courses available online. I find the Project Management course very straightforward. Also many topics covered in the syllabus were already known to me. Like Agile methodologies, Scrum , Waterfall model, Risk Management, Conflict handling etc.

I have not worked as dedicated project manager earlier. I was aware of concepts and have used few of the techniques in the past projects but I never owned it. This was the right opportunity to learn basics and complete the learning curve for me.

Hence I chose to invest next few weeks to learn Project Management professionally. Hope this helps you in determining if this is the right course for you or not.

Why Google Project Management course ?

Once I decided I am going forward with PM, next step was to determine the organisation from which I shall pick the course. PMP is definitely very well recognised certificate in the market presently. However in my personal opinion taking up the PMI PMP certificate would have been much bigger commitment.

Since I was not 100% sure that I wish to pivot my profile from solution architect to project manager, I decided to not go ahead with PMI certificate. I did find Google Project Management course on Coursera perfect as per my requirement.

It is self-paced on demand 6 part courses which you have to complete to earn certificate. So I went ahead and enrolled for it in July.

My experience of Google PM Certificate

Once I enrolled into the project I was excited about it to complete it quickly and learn new skills.
First few days were not smooth for me. I did not create any plan to study, it was very adhoc for me. Switching between my office work and PM course was not smooth.

I have to leave course in between for my office work and meetings. In short, continuity was missing in the study plan for me. This resulted in re-watching and reading course content multiple times.

I was also preparing for AWS Data Analytics Certificate at that time. So before I appeared for that exam I enrolled into this one. Reason was that I knew what is next for me. Also this will push me to complete AWS certificate quickly so that I can pick this one.
I will not recommend you to follow this approach. Works for me but not necessarily will work for you too 🙂

I created a study plan for me. It is 2 hours in the morning (6 am – 8 am) every day and at least 4 hours on Sat-Sun. So this plan works good for me. I started waking up earlier than my usual time and there was no disturbance as well in the morning.

It took me 2 months to complete all the 6 courses and earn the certificate.

Tips for Google PM Certificate

First thing you must do is decide the dedicated time slot for this course. It could be 2 hours or 4 hours daily as per your availability. But having the dedicated study plan helps the most.

Second, don't rush to complete the courses. Reason being is focus should be on learning the skills. There is no exam but you must clear multiple assignments to complete the course. If you rush through the content you may end up spending more time in completing these assignments. Hence in total, you will end up same or more time to complete the course.

Third, remind yourself to spend at-least 30 mins everyday to this course. If you skip even opening the coursera then you may start feeling disconnected. I feel you should not have to drag this course. The course shall take around 2-3 months to complete if you invest some time on daily basis.

Fourth, make notes. I used microsoft onenote on my laptop to create notes. It could be screenshot of the video content or reading material. I used to refer to these notes during practice exam and even during assignments. These notes will also help you in future when you actually start working as project manager.

Fifth, try to complete the assignments yourself. It is not tough but need some attention and time from your side. You may also have to retry 'peer graded activity' but that should be fine. Do not panic. Just modify the content and make it more meaningful and re-submit.

Also if it is taking time to get grade for your peer graded assignment , it is sign that your assignment is not upto the mark. People refrain sometimes to grade poor assignment and skip to next one. So you should consider updating the shared doc pro-actively.

How the certificate helped me

The first outcome I see is now I can relate to many of the project manager decisions more easily. Also the decisions and techniques used in the past projects are more clear to me now.

Did it help me find new job ? No. Actually my intention was not to find the new job.I just wanted to acquire project management skills. The course is perfect to provide basic skills and give you confidence to take up projects as new project manager. You can learn in-depth while working in the project as well.

The course also helped me in communicating better with my team and my manager. I understand PM jargons much better now and I am confident in talking to manager about RACI, project charter, project plan documents now.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed taking up this course. Completing the course definitely gave me much needed confidence. I am not sure if I am up for dedicated project manager role however I can definitely shadow in one or two projects. The basics are clear. And when I decide to pivot my career to take up PM role I am sure I can pick it smoothly.

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