Taking your Qlik exams and becoming certified is a great way of proving your knowledge, not just of Qlik but of understanding customer requirements, the Windows environment, business intelligence best practice and lot, lot more. The content is broad and therefore revision is required but where are the best learning resources, how much do they cost (though some are free) and which exams are they aimed at? That’s what I’ve found myself asking this year after sitting 4 of the exams to top up my credentials as a consultant. Speaking to other people at training events and online there is a similar bewilderment at where to go for information so I hope this blog post goes some way to helping anyone with an upcoming exam (or even those simply wondering if they should take one). I’m going to focus on the main 3 exams in this post. For each of them there is a Qlik Sense and Qlik View version which must be sat separately and are awarded separately.
- Business Analyst
- Data Architect
- System Administrator
Who are the exams for? Am I ready for them?
In theory, for anyone. There’s no screening or different pricing levels. That said, you’ll need at least 4-6 months hands on experience. It’s no good just remembering how to navigate to certain features and what options are available. You need to know what to do when things don’t work as expected (troubleshooting) and what combination of options work best. That’s the kind of knowledge you can only build up through experience. It’s not essential but I would recommend attending the official Qlik training which you can find and book here. After that I would allow the equivalent of 3 days uninterrupted revision time, possibly more for the Data Architect one. I tend to plan for a week of revision knowing that things will come up and eat into your time.
Another good way to check if you’re ready for the exams are by using the free practice questions (there are multiple links for these but look under the recommended preparation resources section of each exam) and by taking the free power user tests
What format do the exams take?
The exams can be sat at an exam centre or at home. I’ve done both and preferred the home, proctored exams but that’s just my personal preference. To find a local exam centre visit Qlik’s certification site. For the home exams you’ll need to ensure you can prepare an uncluttered desk, out of reach of any books. You’ll be guided through the process and asked to use your webcam to scan the room. If anyone else walks into the room at any point you will fail the exam so please make sure you won’t be interrupted. The exams themselves are all 2 hour long multiple choice questions.
What learning resources do you recommend?
We all learn in different ways and the best source for one person might not be the best for another so. If you know that videos work better for you than books then stick with videos but I recommend varying your sources. Not only will you get a better range of subjects it will stop you from burning out, keeping your mind fresh and engaged.
- Continuous Classroom
The best resource is Qlik Continuous Classroom (QCC). It’s the best because it has a range of media, content and if you follow the learning plans. The learning plans are the closest thing I can find to the subjects covered by the exams but that’s absolutely no guarantee that QCC on it’s own is enough.
The downside is that it’s not free. However, if your employer would benefit from you being certified it’s definitely worth asking for them to contribute towards QCC. It contains videos, documents and tests on everything except system administration for Qlik View (annoyingly).
If you’ve attending official Qlik training you’ll be provided with a manual (these used to be in book form but are now PDF). There’s also the online help manuals. These are beasts and not very entertaining but if you’ve got time I would try and read though any sections on subjects you might be struggling with as they often contain good examples. Make sure to pick the most recent product version.
Some fellow Qlik Luminaries have taken a great deal of time out of their lives to write brilliant guidebooks. These are much easier to read than the manuals, contain real business scenarios and some come with links to downloadable data and dashboards so you can put your learning into practice. As I type this Packt Publishing are offering all ebooks for $5. You can also buy them as physical books (a great addition to your office) from the previous link or Amazon. Here are my favourite 2:
- QlikView For Developers – I read this a couple of years ago and ever since it’s been my go-to book for when I’m stuck with some tricky code. Follow Barry on twitter for Qlik and retro gaming!
- QlikView Server and Publisher – Incredibly valuable given the lack of other content on system administration for Qlik View available online but nevertheless a gem in it’s own right, full of tips about Windows as well as Qlik. Follow Stephen on twitter.
It’s testament to Qlik that there are so many people willing and able to write passionately and capably on Qlik tips and techniques. Visit the Links page of our site for more info on finding the latest blog posts. Also visit our own blog page 😉
Visiting and answering people’s questions on Qlik Community is a great way to test your skills and learn a thing or two along the way.
- Bespoke training
You can always contact your Qlik partner and ask for bespoke training.
Qlik produce videos for youtube. Some of which can be found here. From there visit their channel and work your way through relevant videos. There are some other videos produced by fans and Qlik partners, too many to list, but you can always search for the subjects you’re revising and there’s usually some decent content.
Many Qlik staff post articles but often the best are from HIC (Henric Constrom) and take us from the basics up to streamlines master calendars and link tables. I would recommend reading each one, especially ahead of the Data Architect exam.
I hope you found this post useful. I can’t go into the content of the exams themselves due to the NDA on each but Qlik’s site does list the subject matters at a high level. Remember to vary your learning formats and most importantly put them into practice. After reading about incremental loads grab some data and give it a go. Implement your own section access and play around with security rules on a test app. It’s the best way for information to sink in. My only other tip is to produce your own guides covering the subjects that you typically struggle with. Make sure to group bullet points into groups of 3, we tend to recall information better in threes. Use colour and pictures to help trigger your memory.
I will try and keep it up to date if I find any other useful material. Please contact me with any of your own recommendations. Best of luck with your exams!