With a new year now well and truly upon us you may have found yourself setting some goals recently for the year ahead. It’s crazy to think that it’s been a year since we all started as graduates here at Esri Australia. With this in mind, we want to share one of the most rewarding opportunities we’ve had over the past 12 months and by doing so we hope to convince you to add Esri technical certification to your GIS goals in 2014.
Whether you’re an experienced GIS analyst in an organisation dependent on Esri technology and looking to make a strategic investment at work, or you’re new to the GIS environment and you want to improve your prospects by establishing a point of difference, an Esri technical certification can benefit both you and your employer.
What is Esri technical certification?
The Esri technical certification program was established in 2010 at ArcGIS for Desktop version 10.0. Last year Esri set a new record awarding more than 2,600 certifications to successful candidates around the world including many candidates from Australia. The program is made up of the three Desktop, Developer and Enterprise disciplines as well as Associate and Professional levels at their respective ArcGIS versions. For those candidates who have sat the Esri technical certification previously at version 10.0 or 10.1 for ArcGIS Desktop or Enterprise Geodatabase Management, the good news is there is no 10.2 equivalent examination at this time.
Are there any steps for success you would recommend?
Fortunately we all recently passed the ArcGIS Desktop Associate Exam, and while we can’t exactly reveal what was in it, we have compiled some useful tips that will ensure you are ready when the time comes to sit your exam.
Review: The first step in this process is to review the content that is tested from the Esri website. Navigate to the appropriate certification page, for example the ArcGIS Desktop Associate exam we all sat, and become familiar with the Skills Measured section. At this stage it might be useful to self-assess your initial understanding of these skills in order to prioritise your study time. We found reviewing the Skills Measured section was useful in establishing what areas we were more confident in before embarking on the next step in the exam preparation process.
Pre-test: Once you have a base understanding of your knowledge based on the Skills measured for your certification exam, the next step is to test you knowledge with one of the new certification training courses available from Esri. These courses are a good gauge for the types of questions you may be asked during your certification exam and they provide an opportunity to test your own exam readiness, we found the 35 sample questions from the Esri Technical Certification: Sample Questions for ArcGIS Desktop Associate training course rather useful. While these sample questions are a good way of assessing your understanding of some of the skills measured, it might also be a good idea to refer to additional sample questions in the Esri ArcGIS Desktop Associate Certification Study Guide. The Study Guide is an invaluable resource recently published by Esri Press to be used as a guide for exam readiness. Make sure you keep track of your sample test scores in order to assess your certification readiness in the final step.
Revise: By far the most important and educational step as part of certification study. We reviewed the content in each chapter of the Esri ArcGIS Desktop Associate Certification Study Guide and completed all of the exercises with the sample data provided with the book. The philosophy we used for the exercises was ‘break it until you make it’. We often learn best from our mistakes, so don’t be afraid to deviate from the status quo once you have completed the exercises. For any chapters you are finding difficult to understand feel free to discuss a concept with a colleague, refer to an Esri Video, or even an ArcGIS Resource page link which explains a concept in more detail.
Re-test: Once you’re feeling confident with the content covered during your certification study, we recommend re-sitting the sample questions outlined previously. You should aim to sit this as a timed practice exam in order to reaffirm your new found knowledge and get use to the time constraints associated with the certification exam. In the exam itself you can use the ‘Mark’ option to flag questions for later review, a useful tip to ensure a steady tempo during your exam. Once you have completed your re-test of sample questions compare your score against your pre-test score as a measure for certification exam readiness. At this stage it might be a good idea to review the content that you struggled to answer correctly and look at attending an Esri Australia training course to upskill in this area.
What Esri Australia training courses are available to help prepare for certification exams
With this in mind, we found it beneficial to reaffirm our understanding of the Desktop component of the ArcGIS platform by attending several Esri Australia training courses including the Esri Technical Certification: Skills Review for ArcGIS Desktop Associate, specifically designed for candidates contemplating the ArcGIS Desktop Associate exam.
Other course to complement your study include:
- ArcGIS I: Introduction to GIS (10.2)
- ArcGIS II: Essential Workflows (10.2)
- ArcGIS III: Performing Analysis (10.2)
- ArcGIS IV: Sharing Content on the Web (10.2)
- Editing Data with ArcGIS for Desktop (10.2)
- Building Geodatabases (10.2)
I think I am ready to book my exam, any last tips?
Armed with these tools and guided by the steps outlined above, you should all be prepared to pass your next Esri technical certification exam using these four essential steps:
Our final tip to ensure you are best prepared come certification exam time is to use the ‘why-not-why’ approach when choosing the best answer from the options made available. While a process of elimination is often useful, by further understanding why an answer is the best or why an answer is not will ensure your answer is the most correct when it comes time to sit your certification exam.
We look forward to hearing your certification stories in 2014.
Mappy New Year from the Graduates!
Dagmar, Pia and Seth.