I’ve always had a bit of mixed feelings on the topic of product certification exams. On the one hand, if you’re truly a ‘Subject Matter Expert’, then obtaining a certification is an easy way to broadcast that out in a consistent, meaningful way. On the other hand, being an academic expert in something does not mean you’ve had the practical experience to enhance and refine your knowledge. Last quarter, the opportunity for me to help write one of these exams arose. In addition to the personal and professional honor of being selected, it was an opportunity for me to influence the knowledge required to become certified for this application. In other words, how could I help the exam retain its academic standing, but simultaneously make it more representative of the “real world”?
I certainly worked with some great professionals in my field. My fellow test writers (some vendor application architects mixed with some Business Partners, like me!) and I strove to create topics and questions that demonstrated mastery of key concepts like smooth deployment, efficient maintenance and dashboard creation. You know, things product owners face every day! It was our hope that anyone who passes the exam would therefore have immediately practical academic knowledge, as opposed to obscure or obtuse facts memorized out of the guidebooks. We wanted the certification exam to be difficult, but difficult for the right reason: to ensure quality and relevant knowledge is possessed!
To show just how seriously we took our objective, it took five solid days of collaboration just to determine the topics that would be covered on the exam. From there, the questions were written, evaluated, and re-written. I am proud of the work that we completed and I genuinely think a passing score on this new exam indicates a high level of preparedness for actual field work, rather than just something to advertise.
Want a hint to help you pass the exam?