shrug-l: Final Results from the Esri Certification Survey

Tripp Corbin tcorbin at
Mon Apr 18 17:44:44 EDT 2011

As promised, here are the final results from the survey I posted last
week asking if folks were planning to take one of the new Esri Technical
certification exams. The survey is now closed with 243 responses. Thanks
to everyone that took the time to respond. I thing the results are
interesting. I have included some thoughts as well. 


So here are the results to date with 243 responders:

1.	Have you heard of the new Esri Technical Certifications?

	a.	81% Yes
	b.	18% No
	c.	1% No response

2.	Are you planning to take one of the Certification Exams?

	a.	39.5% Yes
	b.	39.5% No
	c.	20.5% No response

3.	If you are planning to take an exam which ones are your
considering? (Multiple answers allowed)

	a.	Desktop Associate - 59.7%
	b.	Desktop Professional - 68.4%
	c.	Web Application Developer Associate - 11.9%
	d.	Geodatabase Management Associate - 29.3%
	e.	Enterprise Admin Associate - 19.5%

4.	If you are not planning to take an exam, why? (Multiple choices

	a.	Cost - 46.7%
	b.	Don't see value in these certifications - 50.0%
	c.	Don't see value in certifications in general - 11.9%
	d.	Don't have time to prepare - 22.8%
	e.	Employer doesn't care about certification - 48.9%
	f.	Other - 21.7%

                                                    i.     Using other
than Esri GIS Tools

                                                   ii.     Cost/Benefit

                                                  iii.     No local
testing center

                                                  iv.     Already GISP

                                                   v.     Don't have the
needed tech knowledge yet

                                                  vi.     Just another
ploy to get more money

5.	What are you doing to prepare for the exam? (Multiple choices

	a.	Nothing, just planning to use my experience - 31.7%
	b.	Taking Esri's Review Class - 28.2%
	c.	Taking Esri classes recommended on Certification website
- 25.8%
	d.	Taking classes from someone other than Esri - 10.5%
	e.	Getting together with a local study group - 10.5%
	f.	Signed up for on-line practice exams -10.5 %
	g.	Self Study - 48.2%
	h.	Other - 12.9%


So there are the results as promised. It is interesting that there is
almost an even split between those that are planning to take the exam
and those that aren't. Based on the comments there seems to be two
common threads for those that aren't taking the exam. The first is cost.
They just don't have the money to pay the testing fee let alone money
for any training or preparation. They cannot get their employers to pay
for it either. Which leads to the second reason folks seem to be in the
no category on this questions, they or their employer doesn't see much
value in them.


For a seasoned veteran of the GIS trenches with years of experience and
maybe the GISP certification under their belt, it might be hard to see
much value in one of these new certifications. In general I would agree.
The comments from the survey would sure seem to support this as well. It
seems to be the general consensus. However I think we have all known at
least one person that has had years of experience but really knew very
little beyond one area of specialty or function. These exams are a good
way to prove you are a well rounded user; one that really knows your way
around the software even for veteran Esri users.  Depending on your
career path being a well rounded user might not be a concern. 


I do think employers will find these certifications a handy tool if they
are an Esri based shop. It is a quick and easy way to determine if
someone has a specific skill level. This can be especially helpful if
the person responsible for hiring is not a GIS Professional or Esri


The last big reason I saw in the comments for not taking the exam was
the need to possibly recertify with each new release. While I can see
this would be somewhat frustrating and might even been seen as just a
ploy to grab more money from the user base, it is the common and
accepted practice in the software industry. Those of us in the IT field
have been dealing with this for a long time. There are valid reasons for
doing it this way. First as we know software changes, sometimes in very
significant ways. Look at the differences between ArcGIS 9.3 and 10.
Certifications  which  allow you to claim you have certain skill levels
must reflect these changes or they truly have no value. While I can't
speak for Esri, I know in the past Microsoft has had specific upgrade
exams which allow you to easily upgrade your certifications from one
version to another. These exams test existing certified users only on
those features that have changed. These upgrade exams are often offered
at reduced rates. It is my hope that Esri might follow this example. 


There are my 2 cents for what they are worth. I certainly don't see this
as a replacement for the GISP as it only focuses on how to use Esri
software and not a more thorough understanding of GIS concepts and
theory. However it can be a useful tool for those that use Esri software
as their primary GIS platform.  For more information directly from Esri
click on the links below. -
Recorded Webinar
tification-programs-are-complementary.html - Comparison of GIS and Esri
Tech Certifications.



Tripp Corbin, MCP, CFM, GISP
Vice President, GIS/IT
Esri Certified ArcGIS Desktop Trainer
Esri ArcGIS Desktop 10 Certified Associate
CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer
Keck & Wood, Inc. <> 
(678) 417-4013
(678) 417-4055 fax


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