Monday, September 8, 2008

CMMI Certifications & Career Development

I'm a graduate student and starting my degree in 2009. I have over 2 years experience (3 mini assessments) in Process Improvement, CMMI ML 3 and ML 5 evidence collection, and verification. I will be taking the Intro to CMMI class in December 2008.

As I am interested in researching the CMMI and Quality Assurance for my thesis and to shape up my career to be a CMMI consultant position; I contacted SEI. The SEI suggested that I seek the advice and guidance from a few registered Lead Appraisers in different parts of the world on how I should plan my future studies.

My questions are:

  1. In the professional world job market is there a value for such research?
  2. What other professional qualifications should I gather to be a CMMI consultant?
  3. From your experience do you think its worth it (career development wise) to conduct appraisals externally rather than waiting for your organization to provide them free for you?
  4. Any other advice you want to provide me in my career planning?

Your guidance in these questions are highly appreciated.

Here is my advice to you to help further your interests and your career.

  1. There is always room in the professional arena for research. Research results are regularly presented at professional symposia and conferences. I am sure that the SEI would encourage you to submit an abstract for consideration at an upcoming SEPG Conference. If your research is credible, and you gain visibility in the community, that can only strengthen your credentials as a consultant. It also demonstrates that you are staying current in the field of process improvement.
  2. To become a CMMI consultant, you would need practical experience, not necessarily additional professional qualifications. Take a look at the criteria for being on an appraisal team. That criteria also makes for a credible CMMI consultant. So I would recommend that you gain some experience in Project Management, as well as engineering experience, at least 3 to 5 years worth. If you were to start consulting immediately upon graduation, you may be looked upon as providing an academic approach to CMMI implementation.
  3. Since implementing the CMMI can take several years and the expenses for appraising an organization are fairly high, there will not be many internal opportunities for appraisals. Especially if you want to become a Lead Appraiser. You may be able to satisfy the minimum requirements to become a Lead Appraiser with internal appraisals, but most likely you won’t be able to conduct enough internal appraisals to maintain your credentials. Therefore, I recommend that you conduct external appraisals. If you were to work for a consulting company specializing in the CMMI, then the company would most likely pay your expenses. Otherwise, you will be faced with financing them yourself.

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