Observations on the exam for the ColdFusion Specialist program.
So, I blogged about the online part of the ColdFusion Specialist program and the in-person section. What about the exam? So as I mentioned in my notes on the in-person section of the program, the exam is multiple choice and consists of 40 questions. I can’t verify that it was from a pool of 100 questions but no reason not to believe that was the case. It is all online and you will get an hour to complete.
I mentioned how the instructor in the in-person segment made a point to “write this down” on certain topics. When we were setting up to finally start the exam someone asked the obvious question, “Is the exam open book?”. The answer is yes. The exam is open book, the instructor was “this is why i kept telling you to write it down”. I can see both sides of the argument on an open book test. Do you really learn anything if you can just look up the answer and, on the flip side, don’t most good programmers look an answer up first to see if something’s been done before? These days we are all probably becoming pretty reliant on tag completion too in our IDEs. I know I love my CFDocs.org tips that come up in my tags when I’m writing them. My thoughts on open book are that if it’s a multiple choice exam then it is fine. I don’t want to fail a certification because i couldn’t remember that you can use media=print for css in PDFs for example. I’d look that up if i ever needed to use it. Now if it were a test like a recruiter gives to gauge skills or coding exercises like in some interviews then i’d be more on the fence. That is really a gauge of how good of a programmer you are, your style, how you handle things, what you really know, etc. That kind of exam I would like to see independent of someone just looking up the answer.
The test itself was, as i expected, a lot of gotcha type questions. A couple obviously wrong answers and a couple that were close enough you had to take a second. Being open book I just started looking things up, even when i was pretty sure i knew the answer. In my head I figured why risk getting it wrong when there was no excuse not to take the time to get it right. I hit up my notes, CFDocs.org, and even tryCF.com for one question that did legitimately did confuse me for a bit. I did that for about 20 of the questions before i started noticing people filtering out. At that point I realized i was being overly cautious and just plowed through the rest on my gut and ended up checking out at 92.5% correct.
There was one last treat from Adobe once we passed. After heading out to show our scores to the front desk we were told to come back the next day for our certificate. They gave each person a framed Certified ColdFusion Specialist certificate which was pretty nice. Some even were printed with the individual’s name but others, like mine, did not get printed in time apparently so we got a generic one. On the generic one it says they will email you a personalized one you can print and put into the frame. Thought that was a nice touch but getting it to fit into my bag heading home was tough.
Been back about a week now and there’s been no follow up with the real certificate or instructions on how to add that nifty badge we should get for LinkedIn. I’m curious when and where those certified, Adobe indicated over 100 during their keynote, will show up online. I looked at this site https://learning.adobe.com/ace-finder.html to see if we were there as it is the first Google result for Adobe certifications. It does let you filter for Adobe ColdFusion on the home page but there are no results. If you click on the certifications, CF is not there as an option nor does it show in products. I could be looking in the wrong place or it could be that Adobe hasn’t gotten around to adding the CF cert there yet. If it’s the latter, that’s another area of the program that needs to be addressed and goes back to my earlier observations that some things still feel a bit unpolished and being in progress. I’ll give it about a month before i reach out to start asking questions on these if I haven’t heard anything.
So all in all I’d still say the program was worth doing and would recommend it. A certification never hurts in my opinion. I believe they get you past that HR person flipping through the resumes who sees it and thinks its a good thing and moves you into the good pile. This can get you to the hiring manager who will be the real judge of you skill set and who makes the final call. If nothing else it just shows you are willing to put in work and open to learning which is what we all should be doing anyway right?