The Alteryx Certification Gauntlet

Hello again datafam!

In the Marvel comics and cinema universe, there six infinity stones, which have been pursued and protected throughout several story lines in the comics and most recently, in the Avengers movie franchise.  Harnessing the power of all of the stones would make someone the most powerful being in the universe.  As Endgame is on the cusp of becoming the highest grossing movie of all time, I decided to leverage the momentum of the stones to write about my experience pursuing Alteryx certifications.

Alteryx Designer certification has three levels, Core, Advanced and Expert.  Each builds upon what you’ve learned before, and if one were to achieve all three, I can only assume they would be among the most powerful beings in the Alteryx universe (see what I did there).  So, let’s talk about the exams.

Designer Core

The Designer Core exam is free to take and timed to two hours.  You can take it on demand, and as many times as you need to pass.  The only caveat is that you must wait 7 days between attempts.  There is literally no reason not to try this.  I’m a little embarrassed that it took me a few years and finally becoming part of an Alteryx partner to actually take this exam.  But you do not have to follow in my mistake there.

The exam itself is designed to test your knowledge of the most common 20 or so tools in Alteryx Designer, and I would say it does that very well.  There are 80 questions total, 73 multiple choice and 7 practical application questions.  Alteryx has a great prep guide for this exam that covers the contents of the exam, points you great resources to help you prepare and even gives you sample exam style questions to help you get ready.

My pro tips for this exam are to familiarize yourself with the configuration options for common tools, and keep the Tool Mastery series on speed dial during your exam.  They are really handy if you have to forget which tools can be configured which way.   Two hours felt like plenty of time for me, so don’t rush yourself too much.  Also, it’s free and you can keep taking it, so it’s a pretty risk-free situation.  Just relax and crush the thing.

Upon completion of this first leg of your journey, the Alteryx universe will grant you:

The soul stone, for understanding the soul of the product.  This is the bread and butter of Alteryx, and what it was largely built for at the beginning.  You understand how Alteryx thinks and works.

The time stone, because unlocking the power of these tools will simplify your life.  You’ll have found time in your day that used to be spent manually combining spreadsheets or cleaning up messy rows of data.  Use your time wisely.

Designer Advanced

Armed with your first two stones of power, you are emboldened to try for more.  It’s time to talk about the Designer Advanced exam.  Like Core, it is free to take and timed to two hours.  It is also offered on demand, and can be taken as many times as you need.  There is probably no reason not to try this one too.

Like with Core, Alteryx has built a handy prep guide for the Advanced exam to help you get ready.  It’s packed with great information about what you need to know and how to learn it.  Take advantage of that.

I took the Designer Advanced exam just a few months after I passed the Core one, but I had been using Alteryx for a number of years already at the time.  I did not pass it on my first attempt, I think because I didn’t spend enough preparation time on a couple of key things.

My pro tips for this one are:

  • It’s not impossible, but I found it significantly more difficult that the Core exam.  Fair, but tough.
  • The 4 practical questions are much more in-depth than the ones on Core.  These are full on, thrill of solving workflow building exercises.  Make sure you leave enough time for them!
  • If you don’t use them a lot in your day job, take time to really learn about the spatial and reporting capabilities, along with macros.  Those are the focus areas at this level.  I BOMBED on reporting tools on my first attempt, and was shaky on spatial.  Which is why I got to take it again.
  • If you have to take it multiple times, note that not all of the questions are the same, even the practical workflow ones.  I had some overlap, but I didn’t get to just skip the workflow building from attempt 1 to 2.  But still, SAVE your workflows when you finish your attempt, just in case!

Much like Core, there’s not much risk in giving this a shot and gauging where you are.  Even if you don’t pass, you will know which areas you need to focus on before you try again.  And man, getting a passing score on this one felt GREAT for me.

Upon completion, the Alteryx universe will grant you:

The space stone, for your abilities to manipulate and understand spatial data and apply it to your problems.

The reality stone, for your reality bending macro abilities.  I kind of give double meaning here also, because this exam gave me a sense of reality about where my skills really stood, and just how much more I could still learn about Alteryx.

Designer Expert

This exam can only be taken at Inspire, and costs $150.  I have not attempted this one just yet, as I’m still building on what I’ve learned from the first two exams.  This exam is 4-5 practical questions, which can cover anything Alteryx can do.  Predictive, web-scraping, in-database, and everything else seems to be in play.  They don’t give you much more info on their certification page, so we have to imagine.

I can only assume that these will provide you with the mind stone for your ability to tap deep into Alteryx’s mind, and also the power stone for your unlimited thrill of solving powers.

Building your Gauntlet of Power

As I mentioned earlier, there is really low risk in going after the Core and Advanced exams.  They are a great way to test and prove your skills with Alteryx.  I encourage you to invest in your own powers and give them a try!  Just make sure to use your power wisely!

Until next time,

-Jim

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