Can I use my notes? Is it drastically different from previous exams? Am I the only one freaking out? These are all questions I found myself asking when preparing to take the new Sitecore Certification Exam 9.
After recently completing the exam, however, I can tell you the answer to all the previous questions is – thankfully – “No.”
While studying for the exam, I learned many tips and tricks – so today I am here to share my experience and what I wish I knew before becoming a Sitecore certified developer.
What is the Sitecore® Experience Solution Developer Fundamentals Certification Exam 9?
The, as Sitecore puts it, NEW AND IMPROVED Sitecore® Experience Solution Developer Fundamentals Certification Exam 9 (catchy name right?) is the exam that developers must take to become a Sitecore certified developer.
It replaces the previous Sitecore Certified Platform Associate Developer exam and features new questions that pertain to more recent versions of Sitecore (9.0-9.3) alongside much of the older content.
Why should I care?
If you want to become a Sitecore certified developer, this is the exam you need to take! It replaces the previous Sitecore Certified Platform Associate Developer Exam so this is the new entry point into becoming a Sitecore developer.
What can I expect from the exam?
When you decide to take the exam you can find most of the relevant information here: https://www.sitecore.com/knowledge-center/getting-started/training/certification
The test costs $300 per attempt (unless you have a voucher code), but you can take it as many times as you like until you pass. To register, visit https://www.webassessor.com/.
Designing, building, and implementing top-notch experiences not only requires a great deal of planning, strategy, and time – it also requires the right digital experience platform (DXP) and the right development approach for your business needs.
There are two options for taking the actual exam:
- Online Proctored – With this option, you can take the exam from your home or office, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A certified proctor will identify and monitor your exam session. Requirements include installing Krypterion software and using a webcam while taking the exam.
- Onsite Proctored – You can take the exam at one of the over 900 physical testing centers.
The exam itself allots you with 100 minutes to finish a total of 50 questions. To pass, you must receive an 80% or higher, which means you must answer at least 40 of 50 questions correctly. Note, the exam is closed book – so no outside resources are available to help you during the exam. Also, it is important to remember is that you should have some prerequisite knowledge of MVC and Asp.NET before taking the exam.
- Time: 100 minutes
- Questions: 50
- Pass/Fail: 80% (40/50)
- Closed Book
- Sitecore Platform Tools – 13%
2. Sitecore Platform – 16%
3. Sitecore Items – 30%
4. Sitecore MVC – 17%
5. Search and Indexing – 16%
6. Debugging – 4%
7. Unit Testing – 4%
Differences between the new exam and old:
At the time of writing, the new Sitecore exam has not been out for a full month, and the resources available for exam prep are limited, even from Sitecore itself. Due to the limited resources, I found myself using older content to study for the new exam, and I am happy to say that this is not a bad strategy as most of the old content carries over from the previous versions.
Some subjects that I saw on the exam that may be new:
- Sitecore 9.0-9.3 content
- Usage and debugging of Sitecore SIA (Sitecore Install Assistant)
Besides these small additions, I found the study material for the Sitecore Certified Platform Associate Developer Exam to be more than sufficient.
I think the best way to prepare for this exam is to work on a real Sitecore project. Most of the questions are scenario-based and require you to think through a problem instead of reciting something from memory. Also, before taking the exam, you need some basic knowledge of MVC and ASP.NET.
Unfortunately, not all of us have the opportunity to work on a Sitecore project before taking this exam (I am one of those people!). But fear not, many resources help thoroughly prepare you for the exam.
Here is a list of resources I found useful:
- eLearning Platform – I was fortunate enough to take two different eLearning courses, one paid and one free, and I recommend both:
- Sitecore® Platform Essentials for Developers 9.0 ($780) – This course helps immensely with learning Sitecore terminology, patterns, and implementations. It contains a set of videos and labs that walk you through many different scenarios of working with Sitecore. As an added benefit, it comes with an exam voucher!
- Sitecore® Developer Foundations 9.0 (FREE) – This course teaches you many of the fundamentals of Sitecore, the platform, and even walks you through a local set up of Sitecore!
- Sitecore Exam Study Guide – Here is a link to the exam study guide that Sitecore provides. I know, I know, this is for the exam that is being replaced, right? Yes, but a majority of the content remains very relevant to the NEW AND IMPROVED exam – and I would recommend at least a cursory review of the material.
- Sitecore official documentation/resources – Here is a list of Sitecore recommended resources that you can use to study:
- dev.sitecore.net – Sitecore Developer Network (Sitecore® Experience PlatformTM 8.0 or later)
- doc.sitecore.net/developers – Sitecore Documentation Site (Sitecore® Experience Platform 9.0)
- sdn.sitecore.net – Sitecore Developer Network (Before Sitecore® Experience PlatformTM 8.0)
- kb.sitecore.net – Sitecore Knowledge Base
- youtube.com/mastersitecore – Master Sitecore YouTube channel
- helix.sitecore.net – Helix Documentation Site (Habitat)
- Other resources – The Sitecore community is very helpful! Specifically, using flashcards on Quizlet, and having other developers volunteer to quiz and test me. If you have these resources available, be sure to use them!
During the exam, if you’re stuck on a question, don’t be afraid to skip it! You should have plenty of time to come back to it. As soon as you hit the submit button, your score is presented to you. Assuming you pass, Sitecore will send you an email containing your certification. You can now promptly print this out and hang it on your fridge!
In the end, the Sitecore® Experience Solution Developer Fundamentals Certification Exam 9 can seem like a daunting exam, and it is. However, with the right study material and the right amount of preparation, you too can become a Sitecore certified developer.
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