Certification and Exams

What about certification and exams for programmers? People often ask:

  • Is there an exam after the course?
  • Will I get a certificate?
  • How do I know if my team member has learned from this course?

People talk about assessments, exams and certification. This can be confusing, so let’s look at the available options.

What does a certificate mean?

That depends on the type of certificate. There are two types:

Certificate of attendance

This certificate only confirms that you attended the course. That’s it. It does not prove that you know the subject. No matter where or what course you attend, you will get something to confirm that you were there.

If you attend at least 80% of the course, we will give you an Incus Data certificate of attendance.

Certificate of competence

Most people want this when they talk about certification.

The only way to get a certificate that proves you are competent, is to pass a test (or exam or assessment).

And to pass a test, you usually need to first study and practice the skills you learned on the course. So you will write a test after completing the course, and not as part of the course itself.

Where can I get certified as competent?

There is no single international body that applies to all programming languages. Sometimes the owner of the language, if there is one, will offer exams. Sometimes there is an organisation that offers exams. Some certifications are more valuable than others.

So if you want a certificate of competence, you may have different options. Here are some options:

  • Incus Data certification.
  • Vendor certification.
  • QCTO certification (for South Africa only) – this replaces the MICT SETA statement of achievement.

Incus Data certification

You can write an exam for some of our courses:

  • SQL Fundamentals
  • HTML and CSS
  • JavaScript Programming
  • Java Programming
  • Standard C Programming

The exam is a detailed, technical test that covers the contents of the course. Our goal is to test your understanding. We also test your ability to read and write code. You will not pass if you try to memorise the course material. You need to practice the skills we teach.

The exam has a time limit, and you must achieve 70% to pass. Then we will send you an Incus Data certificate of competence.

You can write the exam remotely, but you must schedule it with us in advance. The cost of the exam includes the option to retake it once if you fail the first time.

Vendor certification

Some vendors offer certification on the languages, technologies or applications that they own. You write an Oracle exam to get Oracle certification. You write a Microsoft exam to get Microsoft certification.

Different vendors have different certification paths. There may be different levels, from entry-level to more expert. You might need to write more than one exam to get a certificate.

These exams are not usually linked to a single course. You may need to attend more than one course to cover all the topics. The required pass mark is usually at least 65% or 70%. You will need to study and practice your code before attempting such an exam.

Vendor exams are available from official testing centres (such as Pearson VUE). These testing centres manage tests for industries from IT to nursing to real estate. The costs for an exam depend on the vendor, and range from US$50 to US$295.

QCTO occupational certificate

Please note that, at this time, we have chosen not to apply for QCTO accreditation. You can read more about the reasons for our decision.

Is certification for programmers important?

There is not a simple answer to that question. For some people, a certificate of competence is valuable. For other people, it is a waste of money. It depends on your experience and your career objectives.

Want to get a job? Certification may add value to your CV. Employers are looking for competent developers: people who know how to do the work, and how to do it well. So experience and knowledge are important. In some companies, a certificate might help you get the interview. Other companies might ask you technical questions as part of an interview.

Do you want to evaluate your team to plan their development paths? Vendor certification is expensive. You might only need it if you are an official vendor partner.

Which option is best?

Again, there is not an answer that is right for everyone.

Regardless of what you decide, an Incus Data course will give you a solid foundation. And an Incus Data exam will show if you have understood the work.

If you decide to write a Microsoft or Oracle exam, we recommend you first write the Incus Data exam. It is an excellent way to determine if you are ready, and it won’t hurt your pocket.

For managers, the Incus Data certification exam is a great way to check the progress of your staff. It can identify gaps in their knowledge. We also conduct assessments as part of your recruitment process. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

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