Friday, May 18, 2012

Eucalyptus Certified Professional - Part 1 - Redefining How Certification is Done

If you pay attention to Eucalyptus press releases (and c'mon, who doesn't?) then you're already aware that Eucalyptus Education is on the cusp of releasing our first major certification in the next couple of months. While that's exciting all on it's own, I'm personally even more excited about some of the major innovations we're making in terms of high-stakes certification exams, and want to bring some of those to light so that you can be prepared, and maybe even help us launch by participating in the beta program. If you're not already part of the Eucalyptus community mailing list, you might want to join soon so that you'll be the first to know... :)

So what makes the Eucalytpus Certified Professional and Eucalyptus 3 (EUCP3) so different than similar  entry-level certifications from vendors like Cisco, SNIA, VMware, CompTIA, Microsoft, EMC, and dozens of other technical certifications? There are several things, actually, and over a few blog posts we'll highlight different ones, explain what we're doing, how it's different, and why we believe that makes the EUCP3 special. Some of the big ones we might discuss are:

Delivery method: The EUCP3 will be available globally via remote, secure, proctored delivery technology. You can take the exam from your home computer (and yes, it's still secure, just as if you took the exam in a Pearson/Vue or Prometric testing facility) as long as you have a web cam with a long cable and a microphone for VoIP audio.

Support resources during the exam: The EUCP3 will be the first certification of its kind that will be delivered in an open-book, open-notes format. You will be allowed to reference any printed material you like, short of printed copies of actual test questions (and even those won't be as much help as you might think... see below...) In the real world, you have complex problems, and you have access to external resources. We believe your testing environment should work in much the same fashion.

Test question development protocol: The reason we can allow remote delivery with open-book, open-notes is because of the way we are developing the certification test items. The questions are going to be more complex than some certifications, just like real-world issues you might run into, and you're going to be required to put knowledge pieces together rather than regurgitate memorized facts and numbers. We strongly recommend that you learn practical things about the software and know where to look for minutia if you need it.

Study guide and practice exam: One thing that always bugs us about certification practice tests is that they usually have nothing in common with the actual exam, and how well you do on them has no bearing on how well you'll do on the exam. Well, we're going to give you a practice exam that gives you questions that will mirror actual test questions, and you'll have a good idea about what to expect on the actual exam. Not only that, we're going to provide you with the complete format of the more complex questions and show you exactly what variables we might change in order to determine or change the correct answer from one form of the question to the next.

The skeptics may say that all of this is going to equal an exam that is too easy, or easy to cheat on. We welcome those skeptics to participate in our beta program when it is announced. This exam has been designed from the ground up to reflect real-world knowledge and skills, in as close to a real-world setting as a multiple-choice exam can get. The item development method is designed to thwart would-be cheaters *even if they have a copy of the entire question bank prior to taking the exam,* so if you're considering paying someone for copies of test questions or getting help from others on the Internet who violate the rules, you should be aware we have designed our questions so that the cheating is likely to do you more damage than good.

Bottom line: If you know the technology well, based on reference documentation and certification blueprint we will provide, you should have no problem earning the EUCP3 certification. If you try to get by on minimum study and rely heavily on your notes, or worse, you try to cheat in order to pass, you're likely going to be disappointed with your results. That's the way a certification should be, wouldn't you agree?

What do you think - does this sound too unrealistic? Are you thinking about participating in the beta? Do you have questions about the exam?

For some additional general information about the program, visit the EUCP3 Certification landing page. To join the Eucalyptus community mailing list, visit our mailing list page.

1 comment:

  1. It will be more easy if EUCP3 will be the first certification of its kind that will be delivered in an open-book,open-notes format like 70-640