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Project management certifications have claimed a place in every top IT certification list for years. That’s because project managers are important to IT operations of all kinds. Whether you are interested in becoming an IT project manager or just want to add project management to your list of soft skills, these five leading certifications will help you add to or boost those skills and, in turn, increase your value.

If there’s a single set of soft skills that’s been fixed on the IT radar for the past decade or so, to the point where it’s become almost as sought after and every bit as valuable as top-level credentials, it must be project management. Thanks in large part to the immensely popular and widely pursued Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI), this area has become an incredibly valuable merit badge for IT professionals of all stripes. That’s because it enhances and expands on the value of just about any other kind of technical credential.

Project management has everything to do with planning, scheduling, budgeting for, and then executing and reporting on projects of all shapes and sizes. In fact, anything and everything that IT does can be understood or handled as a project of some kind. It applies to one-of-a-kind activities that happen only once or very seldom (think hardware or OS upgrades or migrating from older to newer platforms or infrastructures). Ditto for a recurring series of activities that repeat regularly (think security patches, software updates or other regular maintenance tasks). Thus, project management is incredibly important and valuable to IT operations across the board.

According to PMI’s Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey, 10th Edition [pdf], IT professionals who hold a PMP report median base annual salaries in the U.S. of almost $116,000. The top 25 percent of survey respondents report base salaries of at least $139,000. Depending on such factors as complexity and size of projects, location, fields of expertise (e.g., IT, construction or healthcare), and experience, salaries for some PMP credential holders can be much higher still.

Robert Half’s Technology & IT 2019 Salary Guide lists project management as a hot certification, with salaries varying slightly by technology area. It cites a salary range of $93,000 to $157,500 for project managers in application development environments. Project managers engaged in consulting and system integration roles can expect to earn $96,250 to $163,500 nationwide. This explains nicely why PMP appears in nearly every top 10 list of popular, targeted or most desirable certifications since the early 2000s. It’s no surprise that Robert Half also lists the PMP credential, along with Agile and Scrum certifications, as “highly valued technology certifications” trending up in the IT industry.

To provide you an idea of which project management credentials employers look for in prospective candidates, we conducted a quick survey on some popular job boards. Clearly, the PMP is the overall favorite and remains our No. 1 pick for must-have project management certifications. PMI’s entry-level project management credential, the CAPM, also made our top five. The CSM from Scrum Alliance, along with ASQ’s Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belt credentials, round out those picks. It’s also worth noting that job postings for project managers increased by 20 percent from 2018 across all project management certifications.

Job board survey results (in alphabetical order, by certification)

Certification SimplyHired Indeed LinkedIn Jobs Total
CAPM (Project Management Institute) 593 718 1,187 381 2,879
CSM (Scrum Alliance) 3,550 4,916 9,286 3,052 20,804
CSSBB (ASQ) 998 1,231 1,817 848 4,864
CSSGB (ASQ) 1,205 1,457 1,966 842 5,470
PMP (Project Management Institute) 13,683 18,311 28,064 9,096 69,154

CAPM: Certified Associate in Project Management

CAPM: Certified Associate in Project Management

The same organization behind the more senior Project Management Professional (PMP) credential also backs the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). In fact, the CAPM is properly considered a steppingstone credential for those who wish to attain PMP status by stages, rather than in a single giant leap. That’s why PMI describes the CAPM as a “valuable entry-level certification for project practitioners” that is “designed for those with little or no project experience.”

The PMP requires three to five years of documented on-the-job project management experience, depending on the educational background of each applicant. On the other hand, the CAPM requires only a high school diploma and either 1,500 hours of documented on-the-job experience (about nine months of full-time work) or 23 hours of project management classroom training prior to taking the exam. The education prerequisite can be met by completing PMI’s Project Management Basics online course which costs $350 for PMI members and $400 for non-members.

Nor does the CAPM require continuing education (which PMI calls PDUs, or professional development units) as does the PMP (60 PDUs every three years) to maintain this credential. To recertify, CAPM holders must retake the exam once every five years.

The CAPM is one of a small set of entry-level project management certifications (including the CompTIA Project+) that IT professionals interested in project management might choose to pursue. Remember, though, that it is just a steppingstone to the PMP.

Unless you work in a large organization where a project management team is in place that includes junior as well as senior positions, the CAPM by itself is unlikely to provide a ticket to a project management job. However, it’s ideal for IT professionals for whom project management is a part-time job role or who want to grow into full-time project management.

CAPM facts and figures

Certification name Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
Prerequisites/required courses High school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent, plus 1,500 hours of project management experience or 23 hours of project management education

Certification valid for five years; candidates must retake exam to maintain credential.

Number of exams One (150 questions; 15 questions are unscored; three hours to complete)
Cost per exam Computer- or paper-based exams:

PMI member: $225 (retake $150)

Nonmember: $300 (retake $200)

Exam available in online proctored or center-based test (CBT) formats.

Exam administered by Pearson VUE.

Self-study materials PMI maintains a list of self-study materials on its exam guidance webpage, including the Exam Content Outline [pdf], sample exam questions [pdf] and the CAPM Handbook [pdf].

Numerous books are available, including:

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) – Sixth Edition; Sept. 22, 2017; Project Management Institute; ISBN-10: 1628251840; ISBN-13: 978-1628251845 (available for free download to PMI members)

CAPM exam Prep, Third Edition, by Rita Mulcahy, Sept. 2013, RMC Publications, ISBN-10: 1932735720, ISBN-13: 978-1932735727

CAPM/PMP Project Management Certification All-in-One exam Guide, Fourth Edition, by Joseph Phillips; April 23, 2018; McGraw-Hill Education; ISBN-10: 1259861627; ISBN-13: 978-1259861628

CSM: Certified ScrumMaster

As companies seek to deliver more for less, many adopt Agile methodologies to streamline processes, build quality into products and ensure that final builds meet customer requirements. As Agile methodologies have become more popular, it’s no surprise that we see increased demand for IT practitioners qualified to manage projects in Agile environments.

While different Scrum master certifications are available, our pick is the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from the Scrum Alliance. This nonprofit encourages adoption of Scrum and Agile practices, promotes user groups and learning events, and provides resources for professional development. The organization boasts more than 500,000 certified practitioners worldwide.

The Scrum Alliance provides a support system for Scrum practitioners, including Scrum Gatherings, user groups, virtual communications, coaching, online training and much more. In addition to community and advocacy activities, the Scrum Alliance offers numerous Scrum-related certifications at the foundation, advanced, professional, elevated (guide) and leadership levels. Scrum Alliance certifications are designed for team members engaged in Scrum master, product owners and developer roles. The Scrum master and product owner tracks offer credentials at the foundation, advanced and professional levels which the developer track only offers a foundation and professional level cert.

  • Scrum Master Track: Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM), and Certified Scrum Professional – Scrum Master (CSP-SM)
  • Product Owner Track: Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO) and Certified Scrum Professional – Product Owner (CSP-PO)
  • Developer Track: Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) and Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)
  • Elevated or guide credentials: Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), Certified Team Coach (CTC) and Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)
  • Agile Leadership: The Scrum Alliance also offers the Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) program, a credential based on a combination of education and validated practice. There are two credentials – the Certified Agile Leadership I and Certified Agile Leadership II.

For project managers getting started as Scrum practitioners, the CSM makes an excellent entry-level credential. Not only must candidates demonstrate an understanding of Scrum principles and values, but they’ll learn how to implement and apply Scrum in practice. The Scrum Alliance provides CSMs with multiple resources, plus checklists and information about the servant-leader role of the Scrum master.

Certified ScrumMaster facts and figures

CSSBB: Certified Six Sigma Black Belt

Globally recognized, ASQ certifications attest to candidate expertise, mastery of industry and regulation standards, and mastery of the ASQ Body of Knowledge. Currently, ASQ offers 18 credentials, three of which specifically target project management: the Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB) (expert level), the Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB) (professional level) and the Six Sigma Yellow Belt (CSSYB) (entry level).

The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt is ASQ’s highest Six Sigma credential. The CSSBB aims at experienced practitioners who understand Six Sigma methodologies (including the DMAIC model), tools, systems and philosophies. CSSBBs can lead teams or manage team dynamics, roles and responsibilities.

The path to CSSBB certification is rigorous. In addition to passing a comprehensive exam, candidates must complete two projects that employ Six Sigma tools and processes, resulting in project improvement and a positive financial project impact. An affidavit is also required to attest to the veracity of the project. Alternatively, candidates with at least three years of experience in one or more of the Six Sigma Body of Knowledge areas need only complete one Black Belt project.

CSSBB candidates are expected to demonstrate mastery of the ASQ Black Belt Body of Knowledge, called standards:

  • Organization-wide Planning and Deployment (organization-wide considerations, leadership)
  • Organization Process Management and Measures (impact on stakeholders, benchmarking, business measures)
  • Team Management (team formation, facilitation, dynamics, training)
  • Define (voice of the customer, business case and project charter, project management tools, analytical tools)
  • Measure (process characteristics, data collection, measurement systems, basic statistics, probability, process capability)
  • Analyze (measuring and modeling relationships between variables, hypothesis testing, failure mode and effects analysis, other analysis methods)
  • Improve (design of experiments, lean methods, implementation)
  • Control (statistical process control and other controls, maintain controls, sustain improvements)
  • Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Framework and Methodologies (common DFSS methodologies, design for DVX, robust designs)

The CSSBB is valid for three years. To recertify, candidates must earn 18 recertification units or retake the exam.

CSSBB facts and figures

Certification name Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)
Prerequisites/required courses Two completed projects with signed project affidavit, or one completed project with signed affidavit plus three years of experience in one or more areas of the Six Sigma Body of Knowledge
Number of exams One: computer-based (165 questions, 4.5 hours) or paper-based (150 questions, 4 hours)
Cost per exam $438 members, $538 nonmembers (retakes $338)

Exams administered by Prometric.

Self-study materials ASQ maintains a comprehensive list of exam prep materials, including training opportunities, question banks, interactive sample exams, books and other recommended references.

CSSGB: Certified Six Sigma Green Belt

The Certified Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB) by ASQ is a professional-level credential targeting experienced Six Sigma practitioners. Often, a CSSGB works under the direction of the more senior CSSBB or as an assistant. CSSGBs identify issues and drive quality and process improvements in projects.

To earn the credential, candidates should have at least three years of experience working with Six Sigma processes, systems and tools. The work experience must have been full time and compensated; an unpaid internship, for example, doesn’t count. In addition, work performed must have been in at least one of the Six Sigma Green Belt Body of Knowledge competency areas.

In addition to work experience, candidates must pass an exam that tests their knowledge of the Six Sigma Green Belt Body of Knowledge. Currently, the Green Belt Body of Knowledge includes six competency areas:

  • Overview: Six Sigma and the Organization (organizational goals, lean principles, design methodologies)
  • Define Phase (project identification, customer voice, project management basics, management and planning tools, project business results, team dynamics and performance)
  • Measurement Phase (process analysis and documentation, probability and statistics, statistical distributions, data collection, measurement system analysis, process and performance capability)
  • Analyze Phase (exploratory data analysis, hypothesis testing)
  • Improve Phase (design of experiments, root cause analysis, lean tools)
  • Control Phase (statistical process control, control plan, lean tools for process control)

Overall, this is an excellent credential for those who have some experience but are not quite ready to take on the roles and responsibilities of a Black Belt.

CSSGB facts and figures

Certification name Certified Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB)
Prerequisites/required courses Three years of experience in one or more of the Six Sigma Green Belt Body of Knowledge areas

Experience must be a full-time paid position (internships do not meet the experience requirement)

Number of exams One: computer-based (110 questions, 4.5 hours) or paper-based (100 questions, 4 hours)
Cost per exam $338 members, $438 nonmembers; retakes cost $238

Exams administered by Prometric.

Self-study materials ASQ maintains a comprehensive list of exam prep materials, including training opportunities, question banks, interactive sample exams, books and other recommended references.

PMP: Project Management Professional

The Project Management Institute (PMI) not only stands behind its Project Management Professional certification, it works with academia and training companies to ensure proper coverage and currency in the various curricula that support this and other PMI credentials. Boasting more than 500,000 global members and 750,000 PMP certified professionals around the world, PMI’s PMP remains one of the most prestigious project management credentials available. (Note: The PMP’s precursor, the CAPM, is covered in an earlier section of this article.)

That’s why you can obtain college- and university-based PMP training from so many institutions. It’s also why you may sometimes find PMP coverage integrated into certain degree programs (often at the master’s degree level).

The PMP credential is coveted by employers seeking the most highly skilled project management professionals. Developed by project managers, the PMP certification is the highest level offered in PMI certifications. It is designed to ensure that credential-holders possess the skills and qualifications necessary to successfully manage all phases of a project, including initiating, planning, scheduling, controlling and monitoring, and closing out the project.

PMP certified projects managers are also well versed and skilled in managing all aspects of the triple constraints – time, cost and scope. Employers depend on the skills of PMP professionals to manage budgets, track costs, manage scope creep, identify how changes to the triple constraints may introduce risk into the project, and minimize such risk to protect the project investment.

The standards for PMP certification are rigorous. Beyond passing a comprehensive exam, credential holders must first demonstrate and certify that they have the skills and education necessary to succeed in the project management field. Credential seekers should be ready to provide documentation for items such as education, projects worked on and hours spent in each of the five project management stages – initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing out the project.

While it’s difficult to achieve, the rewards for PMP credential holders can be significant. According to PMI’s Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey, 10th Edition [pdf], PMPs in the U.S. earn an average of 23 percent more than their non-credentialed counterparts. The survey reports median salaries of PMPs in the United States at $115,000, as opposed to $92,000 for non-PMP certified project managers.

For those interested in program management or wishing to specialize in a project management area, PMI offers several interesting additional credentials:

The PMP remains a nonpareil certification for IT and other professionals whose responsibilities encompass project management. It is the standard against which all other project management credentials are judged.

It should be noted that, after meeting the prerequisites, candidates are also required to pass a rigorous exam. Candidates must obtain an eligibility ID from PMI before they can register for the exam.

PMP facts and figures

Certification name Project Management Professional (PMP)
Prerequisites/required Courses Required courses: None

Prerequisite skills: Four-year degree, 4,500 hours in leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education


Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or equivalent), 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education

Note: Credential holders must earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) per each three-year cycle to maintain certification.

Number of exams One (200 questions, 4 hours)
Cost per exam Paper* and computer-based exams:

PMI member: $405 (retake $275)

Nonmember: $555 (retake $375)

*Paper-based exam only available if candidates lives more than 150 miles from testing center or if testing center is not available in the country of residence and travel would provide an undue burden.

Exam administered by Prometric. Eligibility ID from PMI required to register.

Self-study materials PMI maintains a list of training resources on the PMP exam guidance webpage, including links to sample questions, the PMP exam Content Outline [pdf] and the PMP Handbook [pdf]. Additional training materials (quizzes, publications, books, practice guides and more) are available from the PMI Store.

Numerous books are available, including:

Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) – Sixth Edition; Sept. 22, 2017; Project Management Institute; ISBN-10: 1628251840; ISBN-13: 978-1628251845 (available for free download to PMI members)

PMP exam Prep: Accelerated Learning to Pass the Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam, Ninth Edition, by Rita Mulcahy; Feb. 1, 2018; RMC Publications Inc.; ISBN-10: 1943704040; ISBN-13: 978-143704040

CAPM/PMP Project Management Certification All-in-One exam Guide, Fourth Edition, by Joseph Phillips; April 23, 2018; McGraw-Hill Education; ISBN-10: 1259861627; ISBN-13: 978-1259861628

Practice exams: PMP exam practice exam and Study Guide, Ninth Edition, by J. LeRoy Ward and Ginger Levin; June 28, 2018; Auerbach Publications, ISBN-10: 1138440299; ISBN-13: 978-1138440299

Beyond the top 5: More project management certifications

Project management is truly a white-hot area for both certification seekers and employers. Several other project management certifications are available, for general IT project management as well as software development project management.

Honorable mention goes to the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) project management certifications, such as the Professional in Project Management, Associate in Project Management and Certified Project Director. The Prince2 Foundation and Practitioner qualifications (featured in the 2017 top-five list) are also excellent credentials and worth honorable mention.

The CompTIA Project+ credential (featured in the 2017 top-five list and honorable mention in 2018) remains a well-known entry-level project management certification for those starting their project management careers. ASQ’s Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt (CSSYB) is another entry-level credential worth exploring, particularly if you’re interested in eventually moving up to the more senior Green and Black Belt credentials.

Most graduate business, management and management information systems (MIS) programs offer project management training to students, and some offer certificate programs outside the project management organizations as well.

You’ll also find training and occasional certification around various project management tool sets. For example, some Microsoft Learning Partners offer courses on Microsoft Project, and you can find a dizzying array of project management packages on Wikipedia’s comparison of project management software page.

The CAPM and Project+ remain the best-known entry-level project management certifications, with the PMP as the primary professional target and capstone for would-be professional IT project managers. Don’t forget to consider PMI’s related certifications as well. For project managers seeking entry into the realm of Scrum, the CSM is the best entry-level cert for Scrum practitioners.

Tue, 11 Oct 2022 12:00:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : PMP® Test Prep Tutoring/Refresher Courses

Our live virtual tutoring sessions are an excellent way to prepare for exams. Each session focuses on different topics, so consider signing up for more than one. You'll be able to submit questions in advance and get answers during the session. You'll also work in small groups to review questions and topics, receiving valuable feedback from your instructor and other students.

These sessions are especially helpful if you're enrolled in or have finished a certification prep training course and need a refresher before taking the exam. Join us to learn from our experienced instructors and excel on test day.

Mon, 26 Sep 2022 17:52:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Project Management Professional (PMP)®

Project Management Professional (PMP) is an industry-recognised certification for project managers.

Globally recognised and demanded, the PMP credential demonstrates that you have the experience, education and competency to successfully lead and direct projects.

The PMP® certification is renowned throughout the world. Part of that marketability comes from the prestige of PMI® certifications; achieving the globally recognised Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification will provide evidence of an individual’s knowledge, experience and ability to successfully manage a project.

Who should attend?

The PMP credential recognises demonstrated competence in leading and directing project teams. Experienced project managers should consider this qualification to consolidate their skills and allow them to demonstrate and be recognised as capable project managers.

If you wish to take the PMP exam, PMI does require that you either hold:

  • A four-year degree (Bachelor’s or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education, or
  • A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience, with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

You also have to apply to the Project Management Institute (PMI) before you can sit the exam. There’s a strict protocol as they have to authenticate that the above criteria has been met prior to exam attendance.

How will I benefit?

At the conclusion of the course students will:

  • Have sufficient knowledge and understanding to work as an informed member of a project team undertaking a variety of project management roles
  • Be able to examine and analyse the inputs, tools and techniques of the processes and knowledge areas of the PMBOK® Guide
  • Be prepared for the PMP examination having completed the required 35 contact hours
  • Be able to describe each process group and knowledge area of the PMBOK® Guide.

About the Project Management Professional (PMP)®

Please note, this eLearning programme will prepare you to sit the PMP examination which is organised directly with PMI at an additional cost.

Price: £460 + VAT (a 10% discount is available to members of the Institution)

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Killexams : PMP® Credential Test Prep

Prepare to pass the PMP® exam.

Establish yourself as a globally recognized project manager by earning the most sought-after credential in the profession. The PMP® credential is one of the most highly demanded credentials in the global marketplace. Ensure you're prepared for the rigorous PMP exam with our PMP Certification Prep Course. This intensive seven-week program combines expert instruction with the CertWise® Learning System for PMP® exam Preparation training materials and meets PMI’s 35 contact hour PMP exam requirement. Our course will help you learn faster, retain more knowledge and stay on track for success on the PMP exam. This prep course is appropriate for the PMP exam.

Course Overview

Price Discounts Modality Materials Contact Hours
$1,450 ($1,350 with early registration) Early registration, PMI member, NIU alumni, current NIU student or staff Instructor-led online Course materials and online resources included 35 hours, meets PMP exam requirements for contact hours


Tue, 12 May 2020 22:56:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Prepare for the CAP Exam

ISA offers a variety of resources to help you prepare for the Certified Automation Professional (CAP®) exam.

Primary Textbook

A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge is the primary text resource for the CAP exam and provides a complete overview of all technical topics. Order the Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge.

Study Guide

The CAP Study Guide is a comprehensive self-study resource that contains a list of the CAP domains and tasks, 75 review Questions Answers complete with justifications. References that were used for each study guide question are also provided with the question. The Study Guide also includes a recommended list of publications that you can use to do further study on specific domains. Order the CAP Study Guide.

Review Courses

A CAP review course is available in several formats as preparation for taking the certification exam. This course is offered by ISA and can also be offered at your location.

ISA also has a variety of training courses that would be helpful in preparing for CAP. Visit the Automation Professional Training page for a complete list.

Additional Resources

Exam Topics

  1. Basic Continuous Control: Process Instrumentation, Analytical Instrumentation, Continuous Control, Control Valves, Analog Communications, Control System Documentation, Control Equipment
  2. Basic Discrete, Sequencing, and Manufacturing Control: Discrete Input & Output Devices and General Manufacturing Measurements, Discrete and Sequencing Control, Motor and Drive Control, Motion Control
  3. Advanced Control Topics: Process Modeling, Advanced Process Control, Control of Batch Processes, Environmental, Environmental Monitoring, Building Automation
  4. Reliability, Safety, and Electrical: Alarm Management, Reliability, Process Safety and Safety Instrumented Systems, Electrical Installations, Safe Use and Application of Electrical Apparatus
  5. Integration and Software: Digital Communications, Industrial Networks, Manufacturing Execution Systems and Business Integration, System and Network Security, Operator Interface, Data Management, Software, Custom Software
  6. Deployment and Maintenance: Operator Training, Checkout, System Testing, and Startup, Troubleshooting, Maintenance, Long-Term Support and System Management
  7. Work Structure: Automation Benefits and Project Justifications, Project Management and Execution, Interpersonal Skills

CAP sample Questions

Questions on the exam were derived from the real practice of automation professionals as outlined in the CAP Role Delineation Study and job task analysis. Using interviews, surveys, observation, and group discussions, ISA worked with automation professionals to delineate critical job components to develop exam specifications to determine the number of questions related to each domain and task tested. This rigorous program development and ongoing maintenance process ensures that CAP certification accurately reflects the skills and knowledge needed to excel as an automation professional.

The following six questions were taken from the CAP exam question item bank and serve as examples of the question type and question content found on the CAP exam.

  1. The method by which the tasks and hazards associated with a machine or process are analyzed is known as:
    • A. Risk assessment.
    • B. Machine assessment.
    • C. Risk reduction.
    • D. Risk abatement.
  2. To test controller tuning or prototype new control strategies offline, the model should be a(an):
    • A. Tie-back (loopback) simulation.
    • B. Artificial neural network.
    • C. Dynamic process simulation.
    • D. Steady state process simulation.
  3. The temperature measurement with the BEST repeatability and resolution is the:
    • A. Thermocouple.
    • B. Resistance temperature detector (RTD).
    • C. Dial thermometer.
    • D. Capillary system.
  4. Which of the following is NOT a variable speed drive setup parameter?
    • A. Acceleration rate.
    • B. Motor winding type.
    • C. Output frequency.
    • D. Maximum speed.
  5. A complete test plan for system integration testing MUST include:
    • A. Comments for the application programmer.
    • B. Multiple test cases for each mode of operation.
    • C. At least five test cases for each test.
    • D. Expected results for each test case.
  6. Frequency of maintenance should be determined by:
    • A. Failure rates of components.
    • B. Availability of personnel and parts.
    • C. Management targets for efficiency and productivity.
    • D. Effectiveness of maintenance personnel.

Sample Questions Answer Key

Question Number Correct Answer Exam Content Outline
1 A Domain 1, Task 4
2 C Domain 2, Task 2
3 B Domain 3, Task 3
4 B Domain 4, Task 7
5 C Domain 5, Task 5
6 A Domain 6, Task 2
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Killexams : UAB Project Management Certificate Courses

As a Project Management Institute Authorized Training Partner, our instructor-led training is delivered with PMI-developed content to ensure it’s up to PMI’s highest quality and standards and you are learning from a PMI-vetted instructor.

Recognizing the need for those managing projects to be trained and certified in the Project Management Institute Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®), the UAB Collat School of Business and the Project Management Institute (PMI) have teamed together to offer innovative, engaging, short-term Project Management Certificate Courses with live, online instruction.

Project Management Institute Authorized Training PartnerIn today’s competitive world the effective execution of value-adding business processes and related projects is imperative. The UAB Project Management Certificate Courses' approach provides the content and rigor of graduate level academic coursework and practicality provided by practicing project managers; yet, as a professional course, there is no application fee or admission process

These popular open-enrollment courses are offered several times a year through the UAB Collat School of Business Professional Education Office. Join us and learn from PMI-trained, seasoned instructors; enjoy networking with a cohort of like-minded professionals; and prepare to earn industry certifications like the CAPM and PMP!


Discounts are available for UAB employees and students, veterans, and companies with 3 or more students in the same class. See course offerings below for specifics.

Academic Credit

Individuals with a PMI certification will be able to waive a graduate level elective (3 credit hours) in UAB's MSMIS program.

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:27:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Grow your skillset: how you can advance your career with a professional certificate

After leaving school, Kevin Curtis spent 20 years working as a call operator in a security operations centre. It’s a job he’d still be doing now if he hadn’t had his interest piqued in building websites after starting a blog. He took an online course in coding to find out more – and that, he says, “sparked an interest which eventually became an interest in data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence”.

This intrigue eventually led to a career change. Curtis now works as a data entry coordinator for a corporate investment firm, a new direction he sought after studying for the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate on Coursera. “The programme goes through the process of getting information, gathering, preparing and then visualising data and putting it through basic machine learning algorithms,” he says.

For those like Curtis who don’t have many formal qualifications, Coursera offers the opportunity to acquire the in-demand business skills needed to change careers. With 5,200 courses available, there’s plenty of choice. They range from introductory courses for beginners to bachelor’s and master’s degrees from world-class universities – and everything in between.

Anyone who wants to find out more about online learning has the option to take one of the many free courses on offer, but many choose, as Curtis did, to work towards completing a Professional Certificate programme – a course typically lasting a few months, in which learners can build job-specific skills such as project management, digital marketing and cybersecurity. Professional Certificates, offered in partnership with global businesses, such as the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate, IBM Data Science Professional Certificate and Meta Social Media Marketing Professional, are highly valued by employers and can help you gain new skills that enable you to switch careers.

Although students typically spend about eight hours a week in study, a principal attraction of Coursera is that students can work at their own pace. Curtis has now taken dozens of Coursera programmes, including the IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate. The suggested length of time for study was six months, but he completed it in just one. “I just fly through those things, especially when you have some knowledge already on those areas,” he says.

Learning is asynchronous (you don’t have to attend a lecture or seminar at a set time), and study materials are typically a mix of short videos and set texts, with revision quizzes to test knowledge at the end of each module. You can, however, ask questions to tutors or join an online discussion forum with other students.

Students can pay for each course individually, but Curtis chose the Coursera Plus option, which, for an annual subscription of £329, provides unlimited access to more than 90% of the learning programmes. Whenever he wants to learn a new skill for work, he turns to Coursera. “The annual subscription for me is brilliant because I dip in and out of things all the time. It’s a huge catalogue of different skills.”

Students can study in their own time, using videos and set texts. Photograph: Tom Werner/Getty Images

Like Curtis, John Guinn doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree, but has used Coursera as a way to acquire and expand his professional skills. Guinn started his career as a telecoms engineer before setting up a travel agency. A weekly gig as a travel expert on a community radio show led to an interest in journalism, and he took a master’s degree in online journalism with a university – although this was not done through Coursera. He now works as a local news journalist, reporting on the activities of local authorities.

For Guinn, Coursera has offered him an easily accessible way of gaining the skills he needs to enable him to Strengthen at his job. He has taken seven courses so far, including a short course on scepticism, offered by the University of California, to Strengthen his ability to ask thoughtful questions. “Although my online journalism master’s taught me how to do online journalism, it didn’t teach me how to be a journalist,” he says.

Another Coursera course where he enriched his knowledge, and hence his questioning skills, was the Act on Climate: Steps to Individual, Community, and Political Action course, run by the University of Michigan. This has enabled Guinn to challenge local authorities directly about their policies relating to climate change.

The other courses he’s studied, more technical in nature, such as Visualization for Data Journalism, have taught him how to analyse and visualise data. These have been invaluable in enabling him to spot information tucked away in the spreadsheets that local authorities are legally required to publish. Close analyses can generate important local news stories by revealing information that a local authority is reluctant to publicise. It has enabled Guinn to spot, for example, that, despite making public pronouncements about the importance of recycling, one council’s recycling rate has gone down while its incineration rate has gone up.

Guinn plans to continue taking Coursera courses to sharpen his journalism and data analysis skills and, like Curtis, has signed up for an annual Coursera Plus subscription. He hopes these skills will help him move into more in-depth investigative journalism, focusing, in particular, on climate change.

Both Guinn and Curtis have found that Coursera courses can be life-transforming, contributing to their current positions. “Based on the value I’ve got from it, I’d absolutely recommend it,” says Curtis.

Whether you’re at the beginning of your career journey or looking to enhance your skillset to make a mid-career transition, you can choose from a range of learning experiences on Coursera to find the programmes that are right for you.

Thu, 06 Oct 2022 22:08:00 -0500 Kim Thomas en text/html;amp
Killexams : How to Buy a House: A 9-Step Guide to Navigating Your Purchase

Since 2011, the average price of a house in the U.S. has more than doubled — rising from $176,000 in 2011 to $358,000 in 2022.

Though home prices have recently dipped for the first time in more than a decade, inflation, growing student loan debt and high interest rates have made the dream of homeownership more challenging for each generation — especially in a booming real estate market.

But it’s not impossible. We’ll walk you through the process of buying a house step by step.

How to Buy a House: 9 Steps for First-Time Buyers

While the road to buying a house has become more riddled with potholes and speed bumps, it’s still one you can navigate with the right savings plan, a decent credit score and a little professional guidance.

Think you’re ready to embark on your home buying quest? Here’s how to buy a house in nine simple steps.

  1. Whip your credit score into shape

  2. Save for a down payment

  3. Figure out your price range

  4. Get preapproved for a mortgage

  5. Hire a real estate agent

  6. Shop for your dream home

  7. Make an offer they can’t refuse

  8. Get an appraisal and home inspection

  9. Close on your new home

1. Whip Your Credit Score Into Shape

A strong credit score is crucial to securing a low interest rate on your mortgage.

Over 30 years, the most common length of a mortgage, paying just 1 percentage point more in interest could cost you big time. For example, if you bought a house with a $200,000 fixed-rate 30-year mortgage at a 5% interest rate, you’d pay an extra $40,000 in interest over 30 years than you would have at 4%.

At a minimum, your credit score should be 620. Some mortgage lenders may approve you for a loan if your score is under 620, but prepare for astronomical interest rates and larger down payment requirements. An above-average credit score falls within the 680 to 740 range. Anything above 740 will secure you the best interest rates available.

If you have poor credit, don’t rush to buy a house just yet. You can improve your credit score over time by paying off debts (especially credit cards), lowering your credit utilization and diversifying your credit portfolio responsibly.

Paying off debt is especially important because lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio, which is your monthly debt obligations (including your estimated future monthly mortgage payment) divided by your pre-tax monthly income. Lenders look for a debt-to-income ratio of 43% or lower.

Pro Tip

Making just one extra mortgage payment a year can have a big impact on how much interest you pay over the life of your mortgage, too.

2. Save for a Down Payment

Saving for a down payment while also paying off debt is challenging, but if you want to be a homebuyer, you may need to do both.

The age-old wisdom is that you need to save 20% for a down payment. But with the average  home sale price at $358,000 as of 2022, that would make the average 20% down payment $71,600. And in 2022, most first-time homebuyers do not have that kind of cash lying around.

In latest years, it has become more common to put as little as 10%, 5% or even 3.5% down. FHA loans, which are popular among first-time buyers  require only 3.5% down when your credit score is above 580.

Pro Tip

Some lenders even offer zero-down mortgages for properties in specific areas.

VA loans — reserved for members of the military, veterans and some surviving spouses — require no money down but typically require a funding fee, which varies based on the price of the home and whether the borrower has a down payment.

There are benefits to putting 20% down, however. When you put 20% down, you usually avoid having to carry private mortgage insurance, or PMI.

VA loans do not require PMI even if you put 0% down. A larger down payment can also make your offer more attractive in a competitive market.

3. Figure Out Your Price Range

How much house you can afford and how much you should actually spend on a house may be two vastly different numbers.

The golden rule: Never set your sights on a house that you could afford — but that will cause you to make other sacrifices you’re not jazzed about, like cutting vacations or ruling out education.

Similarly, if you or your significant other (if you’re buying with a partner) both work, but one of you is considering a career change that could result in less income or becoming a stay-at-home parent, you should not budget using your current combined income.

Be conservative. Your home shouldn’t cost more than three to five times your annual income, but if any part of you that suspects your income may decrease in the next 10 years, stay closer to three times your income than five.

Pro Tip

Housing expenses — including your mortgage payment, homeowners insurance and property taxes — generally should not exceed 30% of your monthly income.

An aerial photo of houses in a cookie cutter neighborhood.

4. Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

Before shopping for houses, you should shop for a lender. You can compare mortgage rates online and interview prospective lenders to find the best deal.

Ask friends, family and your real estate agent (if you already have one) for recommendations and try your own financial institution. But, ultimately, go with the mortgage lender that will offer you the best interest rate on your home loan.

Then ask that lender for a preapproval letter. This is different from being prequalified. Lenders can typically prequalify you with just a few data points that they don’t verify to provide you a ballpark range of the loan amount and interest rate they might offer.

But a preapproval letter is an official document that says the lender is committed to giving you a home loan, assuming nothing changes in your finances. Getting preapproval takes more work, because the lender will send all of your financial documents (W-2s, pay stubs, tax returns, etc.) to an underwriter for verification.

A lender may preapprove you for a higher amount than you’ve budgeted for. Remember: Just because they are willing to provide you that much does not mean you have to spend that much.

5. Hire a Real Estate Agent

The beauty of the homebuying process is that the seller will typically pay your real estate agent fees, so hiring an agent doesn’t cost you a thing, though some sellers may lower the price slightly if you purchase without an agent.

Ask family members and friends for recommendations on real estate agents, and always hire a buyer’s agent. These home buying tips include several recommendations for hiring a good real estate agent who will find you the best deal on your dream home.

6. Shop for Your Dream Home

This is the most exciting step. Now you can actually set foot inside of homes and envision your life inside them. Visit open houses and go on private tours with your real estate agent, but also research houses on your own on sites like Zillow and Trulia.

But don’t be distracted by fresh paint and that hot tub in the backyard. When you’re house hunting, have a sharp eye for what really matters. If possible, bring along friends or family who know what to look for in a new house.

Cosmetic things like ugly carpet and questionable wallpaper can be changed relatively cheaply. The structural components are what you should be most concerned with. Some questions to think about when you tour a home:

  • How’s the plumbing? If there’s a well or septic system, are they in good shape?

  • How old is the HVAC system? Does it have any issues?

  • Can you get hot water fast? What’s the water pressure like?

  • Do you notice any leaks or signs of water damage?

  • Does the basement show signs of flooding?

  • Is the foundation solid? Or are there issues that might require costly repairs?

  • How old are the appliances? Will they need to be replaced soon?

  • What about the exterior? When was the roof last done? Is the siding in good shape? Are the windows going to drive up your energy bill?

  • What’s the neighborhood like? Do you feel safe where this house is? Is there a lot of noisy traffic? Is it conveniently located near restaurants, shopping, hospitals and parks?

  • If you have or want children, are there good schools nearby?

7. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Once you have found a house that fits your needs and is within your budget, you and your real estate agent will submit an offer. Be prepared to negotiate the purchase price, especially if you envision needing to do some remodeling.

Your real estate agent likely has a number of tricks up her sleeve to make your offer more appealing — but then, so does everybody else’s agent.

The seller may make a counteroffer. You can counteroffer right back until you land on a contract that you both find pleasing.

You might have to put up “earnest” money as a show of good faith to the seller that you are serious about moving forward with the sale. You’ll get this money back if the sale falls through because of issues with the appraisal or home inspection. If you purchase the home, the money is applied to the price of the home.

At this point, the house will go into escrow while you secure financing, get the house appraised and coordinate a home inspection ahead of closing.

A wooden house has a magnifying glass next to it meant to represent a house inspection.

8. Get an Appraisal and Home Inspection

Your lender will typically coordinate the home appraisal to determine what the house is worth. If the house is valued at less than what you offered to buy it, the contract will likely need to be revised, because it is not a good investment for the lender.

It is your responsibility to coordinate the home inspection. Though not always legally required, a home inspection is something you should absolutely do. A home inspector will investigate the property, checking for structural issues, HVAC problems and issues with the roof and major appliances. The average home inspection costs between $300 and $400.

Pro Tip

You might need to hire specialized inspectors to test for pests, radon, mold and asbestos and to inspect pools, chimneys and sewers. These inspections can be more expensive.

9. Close on Your New Home

A few days before you officially close, you should do a final walk-through of the house to ensure everything is as you expected. Check that all agreed-upon repairs were made, and if the contract specified that certain appliances would be left behind, like the washer and dryer, verify that those are still present.

On closing day, drink lots of water and maybe do some hand and forearm stretches because there’s going to be a lot of paperwork to sign.

This will also be the day you write a massive check for the down payment and any closing costs that you’ve agreed to cover. It can be painful to watch that paper rectangle slip away from your fingers, but it’ll all be worth it when you are christening your new home with a glass — or whole bottle — of Champagne.

When closing, you need to bring your checkbook, any required identification (driver’s license or passport, for example) and maybe even a thank-you card for your real estate agent.

All told, the process of buying a house takes, on average, 40 to 45 days from application to closing. But considering that there are a lot of steps before making an offer, be prepared for months of hard work.

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a House

Following the above step-by-step guide will keep you on the right path when buying your first house, but it’s still possible to make mistakes. These common mistakes are easy to avoid.

1. Not Having a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents can get you into homes you might not otherwise find, help you negotiate and spot unfavorable terms in contracts. Plus they probably won’t cost you a dime as the buyer.

2. Forgetting the ‘Extras’ When You Calculate Your Housing Budget

When you’re making your budget, it can be easy to see the cost of a house online and assume you would pay the listing’s estimated monthly payment.

However, those estimates assume your credit report is immaculate and you are putting 20% down. If you’re calculating expenses on your own, don’t forget that you will pay more than just the cost of the house. Plus there’s homeowners insurance, PMI, property taxes and, of course, interest.

3. Skipping the Home Inspection

If you forgo an inspection and issues surface shortly after your purchase, you are out of luck. You’ll be paying out of pocket, and the seller is not liable.

4. Buying Outside Your Price Range

Even if you’re approved to borrow X amount, you should not buy a house for that amount if you don’t feel comfortable spending that much.

Remember: You are likely signing a 15- to 30-year commitment. Make it a number you’re comfortable with.

Timothy Moore is a freelance writer for The Penny Hoarder. Senior writer Robert Bruce contributed to this article.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Wed, 12 Oct 2022 23:42:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : 5 candidates running for 2 open seats on Grandville school board

GRANDVILLE, MI – Five candidates are running for two open seats on the Grandville Public Schools Board of Education in the November general election.

The Grandville school board is made up of seven members who serve six-year terms. Two current board members hold seats that will expire at the end of December 2022: Trustee Bob Wondergem, who is running as an incumbent for reelection, and trustee Christy Buck, who is not running again.

If you purchase a product or register for an account through one of the links on our site, we may receive compensation.

Tue, 11 Oct 2022 06:17:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Can a software engineer’s path lead him to a professional kitchen? He has a plan to do it.

BERKELEY, CA – Stephen New is halfway through his customary lap around the aisles of Berkeley Bowl, an organic grocery store locals obsess over. He reaches for a four dollar GT’s Synergy kombucha, like always, before arriving at his favorite destination: bulk and fresh produce.

He tosses all kinds of mushrooms into the cart: maitake, oyster, portobello, shiitake and cremini. He has an unopened three-pound package of chickpeas at home, but he grabs another for good measure. And he can’t forget to snag some Valencia peanut butter, his roommate’s favorite. Stephen reminds himself to pick up the pace. He needs to get home to prep for his biggest event yet, an authentic Mediterranean picnic for more than 40 people.

Back at his two-bedroom, one-bath rental off of Martin Luther King Junior Way, the team assembles in a narrow kitchen. Stephen and his two sous chefs begin the mise en place, a French term he favors for having all his ingredients prepared before cooking. The 23-year-old pulls his long, jet-black hair into a messy bun and slips on a pair of Latex gloves. All the hand washing makes his skin dry. Next he consults a Notion Project Management Doc on his laptop for the following afternoon’s menu, writing tasks on pieces of tape for everyone to execute. Tickets, as they’re called in the tech industry.

He hands his sous chefs – his roommate and me – a ticket each and takes one for himself. Soon enough, the kitchen is a symphony of chaos and excitement. Thirty garlic cloves are peeled and minced for whenever Stephen will need them. The faint smell of charred eggplant lingers as they roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for smoky baba ganoush. The white linoleum counters tint green from heaping cups of chopped parsley and cilantro. Four burners are on high heating saute pans and woks, each with a small portion of mushrooms and a loving portion of salt. You can’t crowd the pan, he explains. The mushrooms will never brown.

The stress is high, the kitchen hot. Stephen feels a rush. His job as a software engineer affords him a life of fun and affluence, but all he wants is something that will feed his soul. On this early fall day in 2021, what Stephen really wants is to be a chef. 

To begin that journey, he’d need to cut ties with his mother’s vision of what career success looks like to become part of The Great Resignation, a national phenomenon the Covid-19 pandemic set into motion. More than 47 million Americans quit their job in 2021. Some of Silicon Valley’s, and therefore the world’s, best engineers are leaving the Bay Area, their companies, and even the industry altogether, to pursue work they find more purposeful. Rarely is this contrast as stark as going from computer science to culinary arts. And, for Stephen, it comes with a puzzle he has yet to solve: What happens when the thing you love the most comes with so much fear?

Growing Up

Stephen’s love for food is deeply rooted in his childhood. But his early memories also associate it with shame. Growing up in Fort Collins, Colorado as a Singaporean-Malaysian American, very few people looked like him. The ones who did were in a tight-knit, uber-religious Christian clique, he says, and they weren’t exactly looking for any agnostic additions. Close friends in elementary school were few and far between, and food was a point of contention. His mom would prepare elaborate meals from her native China for his school lunches, but the kids in the cafeteria would make fun of him for the smell of steamed egg and dry curry noodles.

On the particularly fragrant days of Zongzi, steamed rice triangles wrapped in banana leaves with filling, he’d leave his lunchbox open in his locker all morning so the strong scent would diffuse before lunchtime. On the days of pork potstickers, filled with pungent steamed cabbage, he would just wait until he got home. He wanted to enjoy the dumplings in peace. His first watershed moment came in fourth or fifth grade, he says. He was two grades ahead in math, but his mother pushed him to be better. He had to land three grades ahead if he was to truly make it in engineering. While his dad was working as an engineer, his mom was hard at work roadmapping the perfect life in tech for Stephen and his older sister Stephanie. “Growing up, we didn’t really have that choice,” Stephanie recalls. “[Computer science] was picked for us.” 

Stephen would rise to meet his mother’s demands time after time. In sixth grade, he and his friend Megan (who was often mistaken as his sister) medaled at a Science Olympiad competition. His favorite was the Crime Busters competition. Using fingerprints, ink splotches and various chemicals, the two would have to uncover a fictitious perpetrator. He would spend a couple weeks every summer at math camp. He scored a 34 out of 36 on the ACT, and even held a paid internship before college. But his successes would hardly spare him from his parents’ disappointment. 

Food was the one thing that would provide his family moments of solace. Stephen recalls cooking Sunday dinners with his dad, Hack, as a teenager. He would slice chicken and pork with a meat cleaver and chop scallions and other vegetables as his dad’s sous chef. There was never any pressure to hold a meaningful conversation. The boiling water or sizzling vegetables would supply the audio, followed by brief interludes of his dad offering up the next instruction. They could enjoy each other’s company while Stephen learned a new activity. He looked forward to every Sunday.

On special holidays like Chinese New Year or Christmas, the News did their best to remain civil at the dinner table. Those nights, Stephen’s mom, Tiffany, would lavish her family with a hearty hot pot celebration. They’d pick up fresh vegetables and meats from the local Chinese butcher and then cook the food together at the table, enjoying each other’s company. There would be slurping. There would be bubbling. And best of all, there would only be minimal arguing.

By the time he was old enough to travel on his own, he’d spend holidays and school breaks with Stephanie, five years his senior, at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He’d relish the buffet of Next Dining Hall, which offered unlimited servings of chicken fingers and french fries. Stephanie would even use her internship money to treat Stephen to fancy dinners in Boston: sushi boats on Newbury Street and a trip to that molecular gastronomy restaurant in Kendall square. They’d end their night with a rolling chair race through the underground tunnels of her campus.

Their mother always envisioned Stephen attending MIT, or a similarly elite institution. And she devised a foolproof plan to secure his acceptance: He would just copy and paste Stephanie’s exact college essay submission. It didn’t matter that the things she wrote would not be true in his case. If it worked once, it would work again. After a tumultuous back and forth, Stephen succumbed to his mother’s plan. At this point, he was mostly resigned from the process. As long as he could get out of Colorado, it didn’t matter where he’d end up.

Around college acceptance time, Stephen and his mother opened the decision emails together. One by one, they read the eleven rejections. A part of him felt vindicated that this mother’s scheme had failed, as he predicted, but all of that was overtaken by guilt. He turned to see his sobbing mother. “I’m sorry.” she murmured. A single acceptance appeared in his inbox, and in the fall of 2017 Stephen would enroll in the Colorado School of Mines. He couldn’t even get out of the state. He also left unfulfilled every wish his mother had for him.

New beginnings

He graduated summa cum laude in December 2019, completing a degree in computer science in two and a half years. He soon followed his sister to the Bay Area and was hired as a level 1 back-end engineer for Deliverr, the same e-commerce shipping company where she works as an engineering manager. Stephen had spent the summer before his senior year interning at Thumbtack, where he became friends with one of the start-up’s in-house chef, Agatha. Agatha was a Chef de Partie at Quince, a three-star Michelin restaurant in San Francisco’s Jackson Square. When Stephen got bored of pushing code, he’d go pick Agatha’s brain. Agatha would prepare the company snacks every Wednesday, and sometimes Stephen would join to help. He’d sprinkle cotija cheese and mayo on corn to perfect her Elote. He’d fire up the big immersion blender to emulsify the date milkshakes. Stephen found himself wanting to spend more time with Agatha than with any of his other colleagues. Once his internship ended, he would still come back to help her on Wednesdays. 

But it was when California went into lockdown in March 2020 due to Covid-19 that Stephen finally had the chance to be the chef de cuisine, albeit in his apartment’s narrow kitchen. Some nights, he would make kimchi or tortillas from scratch. When he wanted comfort food that reminded him of home, he’d prepare Bak Kut Teh, or pork bone soup. On a special occasion, he’d make Hainanese chicken. He’d poach a chicken on a low simmer heat for hours with onion and garlic. Then, he’d prepare the rice in the chicken fat and broth, infusing each and every grain with flavor. He started to volunteer at the Berkeley Food Network, an organization that works with wholesale distributors and donors to deliver meals to hungry people. Stephen worked in the warehouse, where he got to operate the forklift. It was then that Stephen realized how vast the power of food was, he says. It’s nourishing, it builds community, it’s a window into one’s culture, and it’s tasty. 

All the while, his engineering job was getting more and more frustrating. He felt undervalued by his teammates. When something would break, they’d look to Stephen to fix it, even if it wasn’t within his scope. When a new hire with an atypical coding background came onboard, it was Stephen who spent hours mentoring her. All of this could feel manageable, yet his work seemed to go unnoticed. He felt like a paralyzed bystander as co-workers soared through the ranks for their myopic contributions. The pain of dissatisfaction within him swelled. What if software engineering just isn’t his life’s calling? So, Stephen made a promise to himself. He’s got to quit Deliverr. 

An unexpected surprise

A software engineer turned chef? There isn’t exactly a pipeline for a career transition like that. Stephen is keenly aware that the dream sounds a little surreal. Not to mention there’s a deluge of reasons why he shouldn’t do it. It’s certainly not the life his parents envisioned for him. He might even be defying his sister’s wishes. He remembers a conversation they had when he was weighing his post-grad job prospects. Stephen asked Stephanie point blank whether she liked software engineering. “I don’t necessarily love the role,” he recalls that she conceded.  “But I like the lifestyle it affords me.”

Contrary to the stereotypical coder hacking away into the early hours of the morning, Stephen works 30 to 35 hours a week. In the pandemic work-from-home culture, he can push his code and take his meetings camera-off, from the comfort of his couch or bed. He even got the green light to move to New York and work completely remotely to explore life in a new city and rekindle old friendships. Working in a restaurant’s kitchen, in-person presence is not only required, but exhausting. It’s hours of standing on your feet with little to no breaks. He would have to pull late nights, spending god knows how long in a windowless, loud room surrounded by burning flames and sharp knives. His chill manager at Deliverr, whom he admires, would likely be replaced by an all-controlling chef de cuisine who would watch his every move.

Then, there are the financial considerations. Stephen would be going from an incredibly affluent lifestyle to a job with a starting salary in minimum-wage territory. When asked about this, he jokingly brushes it off and says, “Well, I have slept on the floor for over a year. I can slum it a bit more.” But this is still a man who has never had to have a budget once since he started working full time. He has paid for two gym memberships so he could rock climb and swim at the pool whenever he wanted. He orders over 10 bagels on the menu at Boychick Bagels in Berkeley, $3 each, to taste-test every one with a couple friends. Stephen worries about his parents too. Before they hang up at the end of a phone call, his dad will ask when Stephen plans to send him money. Stephen feels a cultural duty to eventually support his parents financially once he has enough saved up as his dad is nearing retirement. He feels indebted to them as they financed his education, he says. 

Hell, there is even the question of whether he can actually pull this off. No prominent culinary artist has ever told Stephen he’s got chops. He’s only received excitement from Agatha that he may one day follow in her footsteps. Sure, all of his friends and family love his cooking. And many people misook that Mediterranean picnic for a catered meal from a restaurant. But is that enough? And yet, Stephen has imagined this pursuit for far too long to not provide it a go. 

Stephen thinks of Joann Chang, one of his heroes, who graduated with honors from Harvard in 1991 with a degree in applied mathematics and economics. Falling prisoner to the management consulting track, she ended up at the Monitor Group. She quickly realized the life of PowerPoint slides wasn’t for her. Chang is now a professional baker and owner of the highly successful Boston chain Flour Bakery + Cafe. Stephen can’t help but wonder: If Joann could do it, why couldn’t he? But, like his early memories of food, he sometimes associates this dream of his with shame and guilt. He even worries that his friends and sister will lose respect for him, or think of him as less than. He keeps his dirty little secret to himself.

In early May of this year, Stephen finds a peculiar email in his inbox, with an official letterhead from the CEO of Deliverr. The company is to be acquired by the e-commerce giant Shopify. The valuation? $2.1 billion. He calls up Stephanie late in the night to make sense of everything. She confirms it’s real, and even admits that she had helped work on the acquisition but was forced to keep the news under wraps. Acquisitions can boost stock options substantially. Early employees can strike big. As employee number 54, Stephen can vest his shares for around $200,000. The two get to chatting about life and the future. Stephen asks Stephanie if she will stay at Deliverr. Being a manager has been stressful beyond belief, she tells him. She’ll likely head to another shop sometime next year to return to pure technical-based work since that’s what she’s good at. Stephanie then flips the conversation to Stephen: “So, what about you?”

He gathers his courage. He starts the conversation with “Yeah” really slowly to buy time, something he inadvertently does when he’s contemplating his delivery. And in that moment, for the first time, he confesses his secret of wanting to be a chef. He had rehearsed his talking points. I’m pretty sick of software engineering, he tells her. I really want to try something new. Now that I’ve got this extra security, I figured I’d provide it a year and see what I think. 

He is about to pause and wait for Stephanie’s reply, but he doesn’t have to. Within the same beat, she quickly responds with something along the lines of “that makes a lot of sense. Go for it!” Stephanie had been suspecting of Stephen’s potential plan for months. She knew how unhappy he had been at Deliverr, but was relieved to hear he wanted to do something about it. “I’m just really proud that he will hopefully go through with it and that he’s got the courage to go through with that career transition, or at least try,” she says later in an interview. And try he will.

As summer turns to fall, Stephen has expedited his plunge into cooking a bit. With the extra financial runway, he is taking plant-based culinary classes 12 hours a week at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. The hope, he says, is that by the time he graduates from school in a year, he will be skilled enough to work in a professional kitchen. And he will be able to quit his coding job. But a feeling of fear still looms over Stephen. He has his sister’s blessing, but can he ever win over the favor of his parents? He walks through how he would tell them. He has to field their every question beforehand and address those in his delivery. 

He will do it a year from now, once he’s officially quit. That way he’ll spare himself from months of screaming matches,tears, and lectures on carved-out futures. But this time, he will drive his own narrative. And he might even get the chance to show off his skill and share what he’s learned in culinary school. But inevitably, they will still be upset. They’re Asian, he says!

How will he soften the blow? He has a plan for that too: a check in their name for $100,000 (or something like that, per IRS gift limits), courtesy of the Deliverr Shopify acquisition.

Jennah Haque graduated from MIT in 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Data Science, and Economics and a minor in public policy. Having interned at Bloomberg, The Economist, and Crooked Media, Jennah has covered an array of subjects: the COVID-19 crisis, Black Lives Matter Protests, infrastructure, energy, and more. She is passionate about telling underrepresented stories, as well as injecting data and graphics into traditional storytelling. She originally hails from outside the DC area, which spurred her interest for writing and politics. In her free time, she plays field hockey.

Mon, 10 Oct 2022 08:40:00 -0500 Jennah Haque en-US text/html
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