Generally, I’m not a big proponent of the certification process. They tend to be too focused on the ‘book smarts’ of the products instead of probing the candidate on their knowledge of the core abilities. But last year at the WebSphere Services Technical Conference, I took advantage of the attendee benefit of writing free certification tests. I’d like to talk about my impressions of them.
Test 094 – WebSphere Integration Developer v6.0.1
The first one that I wrote was WID v6.0.1. Given my background from WID Development I had a unique insight into the test. I found that the test overall was extremely fair and that someone who had used the product on a project would have the skills to gain certification. A few of the questions posed were based on little used pieces of the products (Selectors and Relationships) and I felt they were a little unfair. I’d hate to see a competent candidate fail their test due to the ‘marketing slide -> Certification question’ transformation.
As an aside, I felt that the questions about the Integration Test Client were pretty good. One even covered a common ‘mistake’ people do where they right-click a single component, click ‘Test Component’ and then spend time removing all the extra emulators that were created. (Answer: Right click the background and click ‘Test Module’ for a complete module test).
I passed, gaining the title of “IBM Certified Solution Developer — WebSphere Integration Developer V6.0.1”
Test 665 – Architectural Design of SOA Solutions
I was directed to this test by a fellow colleague from Perficient with the statement “It’s easy.”. I have to agree with him. My background has been so called ‘Top-Down’: I spent a lot of time inside WID but not much inside process server. The constructs of WID map nicely to this SOA certification. If you are competent with WID and SOAP/HTTP services, you should be able to pass this test as well.
I passed, gaining the official title of “IBM Certified Solution Designer”.
Test 093 – IBM WebSphere Process Server V6.0, System Administration
To complete the ‘other half’ of the WID cert that I obtained earlier, I wrote the WPS test. This test was a lot harder for someone whose interactions with WPS was only through the test server built into WID. There were a lot of questions about Queue Connection Factories and which level (cell/node/server) resources are created in. Also, you were expected to know a lot of default JNDI’s by heart. As I mentioned earlier, I came from a ‘top-down’ background and this was very much a ‘bottom-up’ test. It questioned you on core WebSphere constructs and how to configure clusters. Buyer beware.
I’m shamed to admit this, but I failed the certification by one question. My plan at the conference in 2008 is to avenge my death with the experience I gained over the past year consulting and rectify this injustice.