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How I passed my IBM Cloud Architect certification exam

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As a Security Focal for IBM, I help colleagues implement the security capabilities customers expect when they use IBM Cloud. It’s a great job that exposes me to a broad range of technology.

This year, I decided to get certified as an IBM Cloud Architect. This certification improves my credibility and confidence, which makes me better at my job. I used the Cloud Professional Architect learning path at the IBM Center for Cloud Training, which is available with a learning subscription.

 

Figure 1: IBM Cloud Professional Architect learning path at the IBM Center for Cloud Training

 

Taking the courses

Because of my IT security background, much of the subject matter was familiar. Often, I jumped to the training module’s “Knowledge Check” section to see how my experience matched the depth covered in the course. For new topics, I took time to go through the material in full. I recommend this approach because it saves time and helps maintain interest.

Knowledge Check sections each have several interactive questions. After answering a question, the correct answer is displayed with tips on why the answer was chosen. Knowledge Check sections can be repeated, but if you miss more than one or two questions, you should probably review the entire course module.

The Cloud Architect learning path is primarily filled with reading material and videos. The format makes it easy to skip to specific areas for review.

Overall, the learning path and courses worked well to prepare me for the certification exam.

 

Scheduling the certification exam

Register for IBM certification exams at Pearson VUE, which is linked from the IBM Cloud learning paths. If this is your first certification with Pearson VUE, you’ll need to set up a free account.

I completed the learning path in the early afternoon, but the earliest available exam time slot was 9:30 that night. If you schedule further out (or find yourself on a day where there are more options of when you can take the exam), you’ll see there are time slots available at all hours of the day and night.

 

Taking the certification exam

I felt like the exam questions were written from a different perspective (more scenario based) than the Knowledge Checks within the learning path (which are more fact-based). That surprised me slightly but wasn’t an issue for my passing the exam.

There was plenty of time for the exam — 66 questions and 90 minutes allowed. I finished in around 40 minutes.

Figure 2: Downloading certifications from IBM.com/certify

 

Collecting the credentials

It may take a few hours (or even a couple days, worst case) for credentials to sync from Pearson VUE to IBM Certify. When you receive an email confirming you earned a certification badge, IBM Certify has processed your certification exam results.

To download your certificate:

  1. Register at IBM Certify. Provide some basic details, including your Candidate ID and testing email address. These details are available from your Pearson VUE account and the exam receipt email that Pearson VUE sends after you register for the exam.
  2. Go to Certificates and Exams > My Certificates. Click on the “PDF” icon on the row for the certificate that you would like to download.

Put your new certifications to work promoting your career. Certifications set you apart from others with similar job titles. They demonstrate your technical eminence. Be sure to update your social media profiles and tell your managers as you earn professional certifications.

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