Over the past few months, one of my primary responsibilities at Adage has been assisting other developers in passing the Episerver certification exam. As one of Episerver’s 60 global EMVPs, I am happy to share my tips for passing this challenging test in the hope that we can continue to grow the global community of certified developers.
This test is not for the faint of heart. I had to commit around 20 hours in preparation to pass this test, and I am working in Episerver every day. That said, the trust and clout earned by joining the community of Episerver Certified Developers is well worth the time investment.
1. Should I take the exam?
How to Determine if Certification is Right for You
Before you even consider taking the exam, I would recommend you meet the following criteria:
- You have at least one year of Episerver CMS development experience, preferably on a solution which is live in production
- You have looked through the source code of the Alloy demo site (installable via the Episerver CMS Visual Studio Extension)
- You have experience deploying Episerver websites (even better if this includes deploying to Episerver DXP)
Once you have those prerequisites nailed down, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want to prove to myself that I am a master of Episerver?
- Do I want to show others (peers, clients, current/future employers, the world at large) that I am proficient in the Episerver platform?
- Do I want to become an EMVP someday?
- Do I just really love challenging tests?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then certification may be right up your alley. But proceed with caution…
A Very Particular Kind of Test
One thing I do not see often discussed about taking the Episerver certification test is how it is oriented towards developers who can retain a lot of knowledge.
Although there are a handful of questions which require critical thinking (e.g. “A customer has X web servers, a firewall, and a VPN. How would you best recommend securing the CMS?”), a good portion of the test is pure recollection from memory (e.g. “Here is a class, which of these four very similar choices is the correct method signature?”).
To pass, you will need to be able to pull extremely precise details from a large swath of potential topics, which can be very challenging for certain types of learners. Before attempting to take this exam, it may be to your advantage to read up on test-taking strategies, specifically those that cover test preparation.
2. What to Study
Episerver Education Resources
If at all possible, you’ll want to see if you can leverage Episerver Education to assist your certification exam preparation.
For those who prefer self-paced studying. Episerver offers training modules through Episerver Academy which you can use to learn about platform features in depth (hint: those will be covered on the exam). These courses include Labs which you can use to get hands-on experience developing features which you may not have come across on your client projects. I can personally vouch for their comprehensiveness, and they do a pretty good job of keeping modules updated as new features roll out to the platform.
For those who are certifying multiple developers at once. Episerver offers group-based, instructor-led curriculums which may be a better investment from a time-cost standpoint. They can work with you to develop a custom course which only covers the aspects most important to your development team. The downside to this approach is that it could be cost-prohibitive, but it is probably your best bet at ensuring you and your team are appropriately set up to pass the exam.
For those who are budget conscious or feel like they just need a few pieces here and there to prepare them for the exam, you can always take an independent study approach.
I always recommend for my coworkers to go through the following materials.
Note: this list is not a comprehensive catalogue of all knowledge areas of the exam. Always refer to the latest knowledge areas and supplement this list with additional recommended materials.
- Certification Knowledge Areas – A link to the current knowledge areas for the exam can be found on the certification exam signup page. When preparing your study strategy, it is imperative that you read up on everything mentioned on the knowledge areas page.
- Episerver User Guide – You should know every Edit and Admin mode feature that comes out-of-box from the CMS User perspective. If there are aspects you are not familiar with, the User Guide does a good job of filling the gaps.
- Episerver CMS Developer Guide– Every time I re-certify, I read every word of every article at least twice leading up to the exam. You are hoping to understand key concepts and retain some amount of detailed information with each read through.
- DXP Developer Guide– More and more of the test is becoming about DXP (formerly DXC), so definitely make sure you understand all the key concepts.
- Upgrade Guide/Breaking Change Lists – Know the breaking changes for the last two major versions
- Advanced Add-Ons/Features – Know the basic features and functionality of Forms, Find, A/B Testing, Content Delivery API, Notifications, Scheduled Jobs, and the Dynamic Data Store. Ideally, you should have hands on experience with all of these. You may be asked questions about how to customize or extend the features above. Reference the developer guides to ensure you know key interfaces and methods to tap into these features.
3. What to Expect
Warning: The Test is Brutal
I have personally gone through CMS certification at least four times, and every iteration gets tougher. The latest version of the test released this year is the most challenging version yet.
Do not expect to coast through the test with minimal preparation, even if you have worked with Episerver for years or have gotten certification before.
The exam consists of about 77 multiple choice questions – passing requires you get 60% of those correct. For any individual question, you cannot edit your answer once you submit it, but you can skip around.
My tip? If you don’t know a specific question, skip it and come back to it later (although it will not happen too often, you can sometimes glean information about the answer to a question by looking at other questions).
Getting certified is one of the toughest things one can achieve as a developer in the Episerver community, but it is also one of the most gratifying. Upon getting certified, you are able to add the credential to your professional profile on LinkedIn and a nice green ribbon appears on your profile on Episerver World. In my experience, certification goes a long way to showing others that you are a trusted knowledge expert in Episerver, which can lead to all sorts of opportunities both professionally and personally.