Typically you'd expect a junior /aspiring PM or a team lead to take the CAPM and then take the PMP in 2 years. You would hope that organizations or clients acknowledge that incremental gain or the interim effort to get a CAPM certification. But I just don;t see that happening much in the industry. I see folks wait and just go the for full on PMP instead of going via the CAPM.
I think PMI really needs to bring more awareness and outreach for this certification because it is a truly valuable step that gets folks thinking about applying the PMBOK methodologies on their projects. Prepping for the CAPM test, the rigor of the application process and pre-reqs are about 60% of the intensity of the PMP and yet a lot of hiring managers or clients are not even aware of its existence.
I did go the CAPM to PMP route and this has been my experience. To answer your question - I would hire a CAPM at an appropriate level because it shows commitment to structured learning of the principle of a proven technique of project management and a solid foundation in PMBOK and understanding of more than the bare minimum of all the tools techniques and metrics to ensure effective management.
But if I am looking for a PM with 5 + years of experience and an applicant had a CAPM then I would wonder why they didn't have a PMP.when they meet the number of years criteria - that may raise some red flags.
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