The Year of the Book!

27 05 2011

Another pile of books and another exam...

I may have mentioned during posts from my winter kiteboarding trip to Baja that one mission I had while away from home was to study for a certification exam. I studied most days for 3 weeks while in Baja and then studied for another 3 weeks or so when I got back to Canada. I wrote my Project Management Professional [PMP] certification exam this month and scored well. So I am now a Professional Engineer and Project Management Professional. Not particularly exciting stuff for blogging material, but quite useful when I am working or looking for work.

Although I wasn’t super stoked about studying for my PMP exam when I decided to get certified last winter I must admit I enjoyed the process much more than I had expected. Having been away from school for a decade it’s fun to get the rust of those learning skills and get the positive feedback an exam provides. Work has been and looks to continue to be slow this year so I’ve decided I’m going to keep myself busy by writing another certification exam I’ve been interested in.

This time around the focus is quality management and the certification is called Certified Quality Engineer [CQE] which is administered by the American Society of Quality. Quality management was one element out of nine areas of knowledge for the PMP exam. So this exam will focus in far greater detail solely on quality management which is an area of particular interest to me. The CQE exam date I’m shooting for is early December 2011.

My plan is to read all the material shown in the photo over the next 3 months to get familiar with all the exam topics. I’ll figure out any areas I’m weak in and do some additional studying in those areas. Then starting in September I’ll begin an iterative cycle of writing practice exams and using the scores I get to focus additional studying. I’ll keep that cycle going until I’m confident I’ll pass the exam.

Since I have a lot of reading to do and I find simply sitting at a desk studying to be fairly boring I’m think I’ll be bringing study materials with me on my various trips this year. I’ve already got an idea for a cycle camping/study tour with both physical destinations and study topics on the agenda. The bike riding time is a great time to review material in my head to ensure I fully understand it. In the same way a trip to Lake Nitnaht to kiteboard has lots of quiet time in the mornings to study just like I did in Baja. Since I get up early and have many ritual cups of tea when I am camping a book to read is a natural compliment to that process.

Biking/kiteboarding & studying – I love it…=-)



9 responses

27 05 2011

What! No Demings?

27 05 2011

I may add more material to my stack should I find the two general quality management books not provide enough to meet the exam requirements. I’ll also be using online study material. As well as my text books and course notes from grad school quality courses I took back towards Y2K.

27 05 2011

Deming will certainly give you a grounding on the statistical side of QC. I’ve seen/read some interviews with him where he just talks about manufacturing and economics…very interesting read. On the non-engineering side, Peter Drucker has some compelling writings on qc management.

27 05 2011

Holy Taguchi! QC is interesting stuff. Good Luck, Vik!
Peace 🙂

27 05 2011
Carlos Hoyt

You may have already run across them, but if you haven’t check out the study material put out by the Quality Council of Indiana.
They have really good primers and study guides. I used their material when I took the ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt exam a few years ago. Good Luck, sounds like a great plan to combine a bike tour with some studying.


27 05 2011
Carlos Hoyt

Just took another look at your picture and realized you already have the CQE Primer. If you didn’t get the CD with the sample test questions. It really helps to go through practice tests.

27 05 2011

@Carlos – thanks for the suggestion. I track down all the materials from the CQI, but I could have easily missed it and your comment would have steered onto some great material – thanks!…=-)

31 05 2011

I’m curious what you used to prepare for the PMP certification exam. Did you find any particularly helpful book(s)? Other helpful material(s)?

Thanks for the great blog!

31 05 2011

@Eric – I only used two books to study for the PMP exam:

– PMBoK 4th Edition
– Achieve PMP Exam Success 4th Edition

I came to the exam with 10 graduate level courses in PM, but that was from ~10yrs ago so not very fresh in my mind.

If I was to do it all over again I’d get one additional PMP exam prep book just to have a wider variety of study material.

If you have the time many PMI chapters offer PMP exam prep courses for a reasonable amount of $$. I would have taken one, but they were running it over 6 weekends and I didn’t want to give up that kind of free time when Sharon was off.

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