In the summer of 2015, I joined a group of other Atlassian Experts in San Francisco to design the blueprint for a JIRA Administrator certification, and I went back a month or two later to work on the blueprint for a Confluence Administrator certification. Atlassian has now announced these certifications, which means I can finally write a bit about them.
In both cases, we had a goal of designing a challenging certification exam that will require real-world experience, and as I wrote the questions, answers, and distractors, I drew from over eight years of experience working with the Atlassian toolset. I can’t share much about the exams themselves, but I did want to write about the process. This was the first certification I have worked on in this capacity, and it was neat to see what happens behind the scenes.
After defining the MQC, we then developed the list of general topics that the exam needed to cover. From there, we brainstormed, debated, and wrote the objectives within each topic area. We weren’t supposed to be thinking up questions at this point, but we were conscious of how much we could realistically ask about in each section.
Once the blueprint was done, we scheduled the actual test writing, which took place a month or two later. This exercise took several weeks during which we all wrote questions, reviewed them together, workshopped, and locked them in. Writing questions isn’t that hard, but coming up with false answers (known as distractors) that sound plausible can be really tough. I’ve had enough years administering and working with Atlassian systems to have seen a lot of things go wrong and get a lot of questions about JIRA and Confluence, which made coming up with questions pretty easy.
And once all the questions were written, they went to an Atlassian review team. The next step is beta testing of the exam, which will help us know whether the questions are too hard, not hard enough, and if there are any adjustments we need to make.
As for me, I’m beginning work on study materials for the certs. I don’t think this is an exam you can study for and pass with no real-world experience, but there’s no real way to study for it right now since it’s so new, and I’m well-positioned to help people in that regard. I hope to have something put together by the end of May, but I’ve got a lot of work to do, and I’d also like to get a couple of certifications myself between then and now.
Keep an eye on Atlassian’s site and on this blog for more information!