Steps to Certification Success

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04-13-2018 11:23 AM
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Esri Contributor
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Once you've chosen the certification you'd like to pursue, preparing for the exam is the next challenge. Candidates often fall into the trap of thinking that there isn’t a need to prepare - Perhaps you’ve been in the field for many years, or maybe you are just exiting a degree program or taken Esri Training courses, so preparation isn’t something you feel is a priority.  Keep in mind, while Esri Technical Certifications are created for experienced industry professionals and veteran users of ArcGIS software, these exams are challenging and creating a preparation plan is strongly recommended. 

Step 1: Build Your Foundation

When preparing for certification, it’s important to understand the foundation for success with Esri exams. Formal GIS education and ArcGIS focused training – Esri courses are important,  and can certainly help a candidate to expand or improve their use of the software.  This alone does not guarantee success on an exam.  Esri exams are built to test a candidate’s proficiency in using ArcGIS, so practical, hands-on application, and familiarity with Esri best practices are the best chance at success.

Step 2: Measure Your Skills

No doubt you’ve already spent a good deal of time reviewing the exam offerings and selecting the exam that best fits your skill set.  Even so, we'd encourage you to revisit the skills measured by the exam and thoroughly review the sections and concepts on the exam.  If you see a concept listed, you can guarantee it will appear on an exam as this content is driven from the exam blueprint.  Reviewing the sections and concepts presented within each will help you to identify any gaps in your knowledge or simply find areas where you want some refresher knowledge before your exam appointment.  Use this as a checklist and identify areas of strength and opportunity.   Ensuring you are familiar with the skills measured is instrumental in achieving an Esri Technical Certification.

Step 3: Focus Your Preparation

Once you’ve determined which areas you need to spend the most time preparing there are some key ways you can forge ahead on your preparation journey – Get hands-on practice, review best practices and applied knowledge.  Each exam webpage features a list of preparation resources with options, broken down by exam section, to provide training options.

We offer specific certification resources including sample question web courses for each of our exams.  These are intended to give candidates a better understanding of the types of questions that might be asked on an exam.  We also recently released an Esri ArcGIS Desktop Associate Certification Study Guide for the 10.5 exam which can be purchased from your favorite book retailer (http://esripress.esri.com/display/index.cfm?fuseaction=display&websiteID=354&moduleID=0).  The structure of the guide follows the skills measured.  We have begun authoring a similar guide for the ArcGIS Desktop Professional exam and hope to offer many more of these in the future.

 

It is also recommended that you take advantage of the wealth of information found on the Esri Support site (https://support.esri.com/en/) and in ArcGIS documentation (http://doc.arcgis.com/en/).

Next Steps

Preparing for your exam doesn’t have to be an arduous process.  Take this opportunity to broaden your skills, learn new concepts, and engage differently with our technology.  Achieving your certification will be the well-deserved outcome for all your hard work and preparation.

 

What are your tips for exam prep? How do you break down your study time versus hands-on learning/exploring?  Tell us about your experience getting ready for certification.

18 Comments
New Contributor

Why doesnt ESRI publish exam study guides for the other exams? (besides the Associate exam)

Esri Contributor

Hi Matt, 

This is a great question!  We do have plans to expand the offerings of our study guides to cover more of the available exams in the future. We've made some changes to the model to allow for easier creation so that they can be published more quickly, but we have to have an author available as well.  As you can imagine this is one of the biggest challenges as we are asking individuals to step outside of their roles for months to author content. I am happy to tell you we have an amazing author who is currently working on content for a Desktop Professional study guide, with more guides to follow!

Thanks,

Jessi 

New Contributor III

Hi, this is really helpful blog. And I am happy to share that I passed ArcGIS Desktop associate 10.3 and Enterprise Geodata Management Associate 10.5 by using similar approach.

Thank you Jessi!

Esri Contributor

Congrats on achieving your certifications Madan! I'm glad to hear that a similar process helped you to successfully select and prepare for an exam!

New Contributor

I can't afford really expensive training. I am going to glean all I can from the online materials and the Thinking About GIS book and work in my labs etc to build my own study guides/flashcards etc. Then it will be taking a stab at the exam to see how it goes. So in short - could take me multiple tries. Guidebooks are so much easier to follow, mark-up, makes notes etc. Rather than having to make my own study guide in WORD. Glad to hear you're working on it though...

Esri Contributor

Hi Matt,

Best of luck in your preparation!  There are many learning styles and budgets so we aim to make resources available that meet multiple needs. In addition to your plans, we would strongly recommend you leverage online documentation (ex. ArcGIS Pro | ArcGIS Desktop)  to review any concepts or topics where you feel like you need an additional refresh. Again, good luck with your preparation and upcoming exam!

Thanks,

Jessi 

New Contributor II

I already purchased the certification study guide for 10.1. I am wondering if this book can help prepare to take the 10.3 exam, because when I tried to buy the voucher for the exam no 10.1 voucher.

Thanks 

Esri Contributor

Hi Said - 

We no longer offer our exams at version 10.1 and we are scheduled to retire our version 10.3 exams at the end of this year.  If you would like to sit for a 10.3 exam, I would recommend doing it sooner rather than later. 

My best advice to prepare for the exams is to review the exam details on the website and the qualifications and skills measured in the exam resource documents.  From there, you can assess any skills gaps and determine which resources will best help you to prepare.

Please read our blog: Test-Taking Strategies for Esri Exams to get more tips on preparing.

Thanks!  

New Contributor

Hi.  I have a question about the amount or length of time/months it takes to study for the Entry level certification exam?  Also I have not purchased the book yet but to my understanding the best one out there is the 

Esri ArcGIS Desktop Associate Certification Study Guide: For 10.5 2nd Edition by Miriam Schmidts? I am planning to take the exam this year sometime.

Thanks!

Joanie Marie

Esri Contributor

Hi Joanie,

The amount of time spent preparing will really depend on the individual, your experience,  and your familiarity with the concepts tested by the exam.  When reviewing the exam information guide, paying special attention to the skills measured will help identify the areas in which the most preparation is needed.  From there your preparation plans can include instructor led training or e-learning, self study using Esri documentation (recommended) or an Esri Press study guide you referenced above.   I do want to note that the guide above is tailored to the ArcGIS Desktop Associate exam so would be above that of the Entry exam, and is not built on the objectives specific to that exam.  That being said, it could still be helpful as it would still point you to resources that would cover some foundation concepts.  I hope this helps but if you have additional questions please feel free to reach out here or at certification@esri.com and we will be glad to assist.  Best of luck in your preparation efforts!

Jessi 

New Contributor

Hi Jessi,

So is there a study guide book for the Entry level certification exam?

Esri Contributor

Hi Joanie,

At this time no, there is not a study guide for the Entry exam.  We are reviewing our preparation resources in 2019 though and may see one developed for a later version of the exam in the future. 

Thanks,

Jessi 

Occasional Contributor II

I have been advised at work that I can only take ESRI courses if these courses lead to certification.  The certification I will require is the ArcGIS Enterprise Administration Professional (19-001), although I might be able to also work toward the Enterprise Geodata Management Professional certification (19-001).  However, there is a catch...the certification exam has to be challenged within 2 years after completion of the first course (in a list of courses leading to that certification).  Our organization is also not large, and has a limited group of spatial data users.

I have never heard of anyone taking such courses and then successfully completing the certification exam in such a short period of time, especially considering that I'm the only GIS person where I work and I have a LOT more responsibilities than just being the Portal administrator.  In other words, I'm well aware that there is a lot more to certification than just writing an exam (i.e. an abundance of hands-on experience is also required).

So my questions then become:

  1. Is it wise to challenge a certification exam in such a short period of time? 
  2. Is this perhaps wishful thinking by people who simply do not understand? 
  3. Can this exam be seriously challenged after taking a few Enterprise related courses with sporadic experience? 
  4. What does the time-frame to successful completion of this certification look like? - i.e. how many years of courses and experience combined?"

Thank you

Esri Contributor

Hi Mark,

Congrats on taking steps towards becoming Esri certified.  Certification candidates reach out to our team often wondering how do they determine if an exam is right for them, how to measure their own skills and knowledge against what might be on the exam, and how to best prepare for an exam (ie training courses and textbooks.

The good news is we have a wonderful resource to assist you.  For each exam, we offer an information resources guide that will provide vast insight into each exam and what it entails.  For Enterprise Administration Professional 19-001, the guide can be found here: https://www.esri.com/training/assets/courses/5ba127e646fee07da2714e7c/EAEP%2019-001%20v2_20190503.pd... .

We recommend candidates carefully review the Qualifications and Skills Measured information in the resources guide and if you identify a gap between your knowledge and skills and those measured by the exam, the guide provides a useful list of learning options and online resources, organized by topic.

Good luck on your exam!

-Jeren Portillo

Occasional Contributor II

Jeren:

Thanks for the response...most appreciated.  I have the Enterprise Administration Professional 19-001 Guide but am more concerned with the time limit being placed on me to successfully pass this exam.  I have read often on ESRI web sites that they recommend taking the courses (which can take up to 2 years on the job), and then practice what one has learned for 2-3 years before challenging the certification exam; hence, the entire process can take 5 years to complete.  However, I'm being asked to successfully complete the entire certification process in 2 years.  My question is, "is this a reasonable request for someone whose forte is GIS and not systems administration?"  I can see myself doing this successfully if I was allowed to dedicate myself 100% toward this goal, but I'm also the only GIS person here with an abundance of other tasks and responsibilities quite foreign to those who do not understand GIS.

What sort of time limit should I expect as an outcome?

Thanks

New Contributor

Hi, 

To enroll for Esri certification resources, it requires maintenance, for this access to unlimited e-learning is required.

Can you tell me how to get access to unlimited e-learning so that I can learn the courses with require maintenance?

Esri Contributor

Hi Bishal,

When we create the Learning Plan associated with an exam, we aim for a mix of free and paid training so they are accessible to candidates.  Additionally, please remember that taking all the recommended training in a Learning Plan does not equal a candidate is fully prepared; we recommend a combination of learning and experience using the software or product. 

I would highly recommend polling the GeoNet or Linked In certification communities for preparation tips or insights in studying for the exam you are interested in taking.

Best of luck,

Jeren Portillo

New Contributor II

Hi,

where i can find any sample question for ESDA10.5 exam certification?

Last year i took EDDA10.4 and EGMA10.5 and easlily found some samples...

Thank you

Fabiano