Loren on the Art of MATLAB

MathWorks Certification 8

Posted by Loren Shure,

Today I would like to introduce guest blogger John Kotwicki, who works in the Training Services group here at MathWorks. John manages the Certification Program and will be introducing the new MATLAB Certification offering.

Contents

Introducing MathWorks Certification

I am excited to be Loren’s guest this week to talk about the new MathWorks Certification Program. Released earlier this year, the program focuses on validating skills within the core set of MATLAB competencies. There are currently two credentials available:

  • MathWorks Certified MATLAB Associate
  • MathWorks Certified MATLAB Professional

These new credentials target two distinct levels of proficiency. At the associate-level, candidates passing the exam possess the expertise to navigate the MATLAB environment, import data, call analysis functions, produce plots, and write scripts. In essence, they are confident using MATLAB for most daily tasks. Building on this foundation, the professional-level adds the ability to write applications in MATLAB, including graphical user interfaces. The emphasis at this level is the ability to produce efficient MATLAB code with a full understanding of the data types and function types available in the MATLAB language.

A big congratulations to the first group of individuals in both North America and Europe who have passed the MathWorks Certified MATLAB Associate exam! This achievement marks an important milestone in the certification track.

Why Certification?

For many years now, members of the MATLAB community have been asking for a way to demonstrate their proficiency to their employers or to their clients. Similarly, employers have been looking for ways to develop and validate skills for groups who rely heavily on MATLAB to get their work done, and to remain competitive in the marketplace. MathWorks certification aims to address these needs by providing a clear pathway to mastering the technology. When we designed the program we did not simply want to test memorization of syntax or knowledge of a few slick tricks. Instead the exam focuses on measuring a comprehensive ability to use MATLAB for the tasks valued most by employers. Candidates passing the exam are able to use MATLAB efficiently and produce quality code.

How do I become MathWorks Certified?

We have strived to make the process for participating in the program as easy as possible. To begin, start by reviewing the objectives tested for the Associate-level. If you have been using MATLAB for a number of years, you may feel confident in your abilities and ready to take the exam. However, if you would like a refresher, or you are just starting on your journey to MATLAB mastery, you may want to consider starting with a training course. Training courses are available that cover all of the objectives tested. (By the way, these courses are not designed specifically for the exam. They are also for those who need to get up-and-running with the tools and may not wish to pursue certification at this time.)

After taking a course, you will need to spend time practicing within MATLAB. Course materials provide many interesting examples and exercises that you can use to sharpen your skills. After you feel comfortable with the tools, try the practice questions to assess your readiness.

If you feel ready at this point, the next step is to register for an upcoming exam.

What Will You Receive

Candidates passing the exam will receive a certificate recognizing their achievement. They also receive a corresponding logo, which they can place on resumes, business cards, and Web sites to identify themselves as having earned the credential. Everyone who is certified will be enrolled in a MathWorks database with a unique ID, where employers can verify the credential and date. Last, but certainly not least, you will earn bragging rights. When it comes to MATLAB, you will be the expert!

How is the Credential Protected?

As is probably evident by now, creating a certification program is a lot of work. Of utmost concern to any certification program is safeguarding the value of the credential. I thought it would be interesting to discuss some of what we do to protect the integrity of the credential that candidates work hard to earn.

To begin, every exam is proctored in person. Candidates receive sealed copies of exams along with instructions for completing the exam, which are sealed once again at the end of the session. We do not work with any test prep companies, and have the ability to switch exams in the event we believe content has become comprised in any way.

The design of the program also features a strict separation from MathWorks service activities. No one working for MathWorks is eligible to take the exam. Not even the instructors teaching training courses know the actual questions asked on the exam, helping to guarantee everyone has a fair experience regardless of their interaction with MathWorks staff.

These practices represent just a sampling of the security policies in place to ensure fairness across all participants. Securing exams and establishing a fair experience for all participants demands constant attention.

What’s Next?

Now that several folks have taken and passed the Associate-level exam, we will be turning our attention to the Professional-level and looking for ways to expand access. We want to hear from you. What would you like to see in the program? If you have taken one of the exams, what has been your experience?

PS: For those of you who are signed up for any of the exams coming up in November: Good luck!


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Published with MATLAB® R2012b

8 CommentsOldest to Newest

Exams are currently offered in English in the US, UK, Germany, and Australia. We are exploring expanding the offering to other countries. Be sure to check the schedule page periodically. There will be additional exams throughout the year. In the meantime, if there is a particular location where you would like to see the exam offered, please continue to let us know.

I can see that certification in MATLAB skills is a good thing, but $600/£450 for the associate exam seems incredibly high, especially as it is an investment an individual might with their own funds for career advancement. What do others think?

I can understand the high exam fee. I would only want serious, well-prepared prospects to take the exam; i.e., they only want to take it (and pay for it) once. This also minimizes the chance that an unprepared prospect will take an exam as a “practice” before really studying for a “real” trial later (like some do for the SAT). That is a waste of the proctors’ and Mathwork’s time and resources.

My issue related to the cost is that currently the exam is only offered at Matlab HQ. So besides the exam fee, there are travel/hotel expenses. Are there plans to proctor the test in other regions of the respective countries?

Yes, we are currently exploring other cities within countries that already offer certification. If you have suggestions for locations, please let us know.

Please consider organizing this exam in Romania as well, for we are a pretty strong Matlab users community :)

I agree that the price of the exam is excessively high. I believe other methods for saving the time and resources should be sought, while the exam should reveal who is proficient in Matlab, not who can afford to take the test.

These postings are the author's and don't necessarily represent the opinions of MathWorks.