I parked the car in Leeds on Monday the 7th of April 2014 and headed to the testing center.
I was on my way to my QlikView 11 Developer and Designer Certification exam and I was a little anxious. I was trying to remember the last time I had to take an exam. Not counting the occasional interview test it must have been 15 years ago (my driving test). I felt confident with using QlikView although the possibility of ‘fluffing’ the exam worried me. One question could mean the difference between disappointment and jubilation.
In my mind I expected to arrive and great several other QlikView developers waiting for the same test, feeling similar feelings, and swapping QlikView stories. That wasn’t the case. I was checked-in in a small reception area, signed forms, had photos taken and had to leave all possession’s in a small locker… Nothing was allowed in to the test area, not even a watch or a few coins in my pocket. “Those are the rules”, I was informed. “It’s the same everywhere and this is a world wide test.”
I was led into a small room with a bank of PC’s along each wall leaving a small walkway down the center. Each PC station had a divider at each side so once seated you be effectively isolated. There was one chap at the far end of the room as I entered and he left before I’d finished, I never spoke or properly saw him and I’m not sure if he was there for the same exam.
I took another quick look around. Camera’s were positioned high on the walls at regular intervals. I’d been left a single laminated sheet of paper and marker pen to write notes with. The computer was set ready from me to begin. After reading the welcome text I clicked forward into the exam.
The test was 70 questions long and I had 2 hours to complete them all. My first calculation was how many questions could I get wrong and still pass, not many as it turns out.
Both the time and the questions number were displayed in the top right hand corner of the screen and during the test I calculated if I was on track or if I was being too slow and needed to pick up the pace.
Questions were multiple choice with normally four to choose from. Occasionally there were more and I was asked to pick two correct statements, I read later there was no partial credit for these and I also discovered you weren’t marked down for incorrect answers.
Working through the questions found a mix that is usually expected. Some were easy, most were challenging, and some were very difficult. All the questions were either you knew them or you didn’t (hence the difficult ones). All of the questions had three very plausible but wrong answers so I really had to check the syntax and the question working it through my mind and trying to visualize how it would work practically if I were back at my desk at work.
I soon implemented a tactic. For the easy questions or the ones I was confident with I’d simply move on. For all the others I would select the answer I believed to be correct and ‘flagged’ the question for review. This seemed to work well and I’d completed the 70 questions with 45 minutes to go which left plenty of time to review the ones I’d flagged.
15 minutes later and I’d arrived at a point where I could do no more. I didn’t want to start swapping answers to questions I wasn’t 100% confident about between the two I thought could be correct. After all I could be making things worse. So I took a deep breath and I ended the exam with 30 minutes left on the clock.
It asked me to confirm…. It asked me to confirm again.
The results flashed onto the screen and I quickly began scanning the text. I saw my mark was over the 80% required, Yeh! (although on further reading I discover 75% was required to pass). I stopped holding my breath and smiled, not that anyone could see me unless they were monitoring the camera feed.
I left the room, picked up my belongings from the locker and made my way back to my car. Six hours later I had an email to say my certificates were ready to be printed.
Broad experience in using QlikView is key to acquiring certification. At least one years experience and ideally more in a dynamic environment where you’re constantly developing new coding skills and incorporating as many functions into your QlikView application as possible.
For instance; Class, Dual and Apply Map may be the staple of some QlikView developers where as others may have never come across them before. Some developers may have the luxury of very well designed or simple data sources and others have to learn how deal with complex data structures.
Preparation could include reading up on areas of QlikView you have little or no experience in. For example perhaps you don’t have (or use) QV Publisher, maybe you have never developed a mobile app. Having some theoretical knowledge in all areas even if you don’t expect to use it practically in the near future will help when taking the exam.
To get the certification, also, you need to (expressed in a comment made by Fabrice Aunez on my Qlik Community Post, thanks):
1) start with the book “QlikView for Developers”
2) read blogs (by HIC), white papers, bests practices. Also read docs written by other people : some are very good
3) help other people on the forum to do practices (even if you are not the first one to get the right answer)
4) see all functionalities (objects, architecture) even if you do not go deeply in detail (that was my case for the servers)
I hope this post may be of some help to people who are preparing to take the certification exam or perhaps you already have. Either way I’d love to hear your comments.