I have been using Adobe Analytics (and its former iteration Omniture SiteCatalyst) since 2002. I was one of the early employees of Omniture and helped grow the consulting practice around the globe for many years. I managed Adobe Analytics at two organizations and have consulted with hundreds of organizations around the product. I have written over two-hundred blog posts about Adobe Analytics and authored the definitive book on the product. But when my current employer (Search Discovery) asked me to take the Adobe Analytics certification exam, I was scared to death!
Luckily, I did pass (barely!) and decided to take a second certification exam (business practitioner and architect) and passed that as well (phew). In this post, I’d like to share my experience in case others out there are contemplating taking Adobe Analytics certification exams. Unfortunately, when you take the certification, you sign a form saying that you won’t divulge what is on the exam, so I will have to be vague, but I’ll do my best.
Let’s start by discussing why you might want to get your Adobe Analytics certification. Search Discovery asked me to get certified since, as an Adobe partner, we are required to have a certain number of folks who are certified (Note: Adobe is offering deals on exams to partners until June 30th so if you are an Adobe partner, talk to your partner manager). So if you are a consultant, there is a decent incentive to being certified. If you are client-side, certification isn’t required, but it is a great way to show your employer that you know your stuff. If you are looking for a new job, certification is a great way to differentiate yourself from competing candidates who are not certified. I have found that certification demonstrates confidence in yourself and that is something employers value.
When I started my journey, I decided to undertake the Adobe Analytics Business Practitioner certification. This is probably the easiest one since it is proving that you know how to use the product to conduct analysis. Adobe provides an exam guide that provides all of the information you need to take the exam. This guide tells you what types of questions will be on the certification exam and there is even a sample test you can take. All of that sounds great, but I found that the sample exam diminished my confidence instead of boosting it, so be careful! Adobe also provides links to some reading materials and free videos that can help you pass the exam. There are also some paid Adobe classes that you can take that cover the material in more depth (Note: These Adobe Digital Learning Services on-demand training classes are available for free until June 30th).
I watched a bunch of the training videos, but I found that many of them were very outdated. There were references to DTM and product features that are no longer widely used today, including references to Discover, which has been renamed and all but replaced by Analysis Workspace.
I even spotted some training slides that I know were created by Brent Dykes in the early 2000’s (note the date in the slide is 2015!):
Overall, I think it was good to review the training materials and to re-read the Adobe Analytics documentation. Since I am not as technical as most, this preparation helped with detailed questions that arose on the exam. The exam guide assumes that you have used the product for at least two years on a pretty regular basis. It also assumes that you have some technical skills. If you fail the exam, you can retake it again within 24 hours, so some people might decide to take it and then hit the books afterwards if they don’t pass (which was my mindset) instead of studying for weeks.
As mentioned previously, I cannot divulge details of the exam, but I will say that I found it to be pretty grueling! I took it online (COVID) and it is over an hour long. You are not allowed to have any paper, pencil, calculator, etc. with you so it is just you and your computer!
My biggest concern going into the exam was that the information in the training materials was so outdated that I worried that the issue wasn’t going to be whether I knew the correct answer, but rather, if I knew the answer that the exam was looking for. I did find a few cases of this. There were questions that I felt like more than one answer could have been correct depending upon how advanced you were with the product. I wondered if I was “overthinking” the question. In these cases, I left comments to the exam (you can provide feedback on every question), but since Adobe doesn’t show you the answers afterwards, I am not sure if I got those questions right or wrong. But for the most part, it seemed pretty obvious what the right answer was if you knew what you were doing.
I also noticed that there were some features of the Adobe Analytics product that the exam skewed heavily towards. In many cases, they were features that I have not seen used often in the hundreds of implementations I have been part of, but I was able to tell that whoever wrote the exam really liked certain parts of the product more than others! I am sure that if I had taken the paid Adobe training classes, they would have covered the same topics more so than the rest, but if you go in without taking Adobe classes, be prepared to know as much as possible about all aspects of the product, even if that includes parts that you don’t use very often. That is as much as I can say about this without getting myself into trouble!
Overall, I am glad that I took the certification exams. It is nice having official certifications associated with my LinkedIn profile and it helped my employer meet its goal. I would encourage you to pursue certification to help your career and prove to yourself that you know how to use Adobe Analytics. You might also learn some new things about the product along the way!