The micro-credential is a condensed type of certification that is intended to show proficiency in a certain field. Micro-credentialing is a fantastic method to go toward a full certification or to concentrate on a specific skill or area of interest to you. Micro-credentials are accepted by the industry as a means of verifying knowledge, skills, and abilities, just like Alteryx certifications are.
The best part is that each micro-credential is free and accessible on demand, allowing you to certify whenever it suits you. If you wish to demonstrate a core understanding of data analytics and fundamental Designer capability but are not yet ready for the comprehensive Designer Core Certification, the Alteryx Foundation Micro-Credential is now available and is a wonderful place to start. Let us talk about the exam itself and then, how to prepare for it.
What is the format of the exam?
The Alteryx Foundation Micro-Credential exam is forty questions of a combination of multiple-choice and multiple-response questions. You have one hour to complete it and the exam is open book. I have mentioned this in an early blog about the Designer Core exam. The fact that it is open book can lead you to a false sense of security. You need to prepare for this exam as if it is not open book. You still need to understand the concepts and be able to apply them accordingly. Comprehension of the concepts is paramount. Once that happens, all the intricacies will fall into place.
One hours for forty questions is not that long. There are two objectives when it comes to the exam: Basic Data Analytics and the Basics of Alteryx Designer. Basic Data Analytics covers about 35% of the exam. The concepts of this are as follows:
- Structured vs unstructured data formats
- Describe what data of different types can be used for and recognize file extensions
- Quantitative versus qualitative data
- Define the types of data fields
- Describe and compare the following data types: strings, integers, fixed decimal, floating point, Boolean, dates/times, and recognize the impact of data types on operations
- Understand the concept of metadata
- Identify and compare basic statistical measures, including their respective strengths and weaknesses for describing data
The Basics of Alteryx Designer covers the other 65% of the exam. The concepts of this are as follows:
- Identify the Designer user interface elements and explain the function of each element
- Locate appropriate help resources within Designer
- Navigate the components of a workflow
- Manage Designer workflows
- Recognize Designer-specific file types and when they should be used
- Identify the following Designer tools by their names or icons and associate each tool with its functionality: Browse, Input Data, Output Data, Text Input, Data Cleansing, Filter, Formula, Sample, Select, Sort, Text to Columns, Summarize, Comment, Tool Container, Join, Union, DateTime
- Demonstrate familiarity with unique aspects of the Designer user interface
The Alteryx Certification journey is a ladder that needs to be climbed. This seems like a lot for a micro-credential, but keep in mind this exam will set you up for the Alteryx Designer Core exam perfectly. The concepts are the foundation of Alteryx. This is much more than just passing the exam. This about becoming a force in Alteryx and the analytics world. Let us prepare you for this exam
How do I succeed?
You need to go to the Alteryx Community, https://community.alteryx.com. If you are not a member of the Community, what are you waiting for?? It is where all the analytics cool kids hang out! In all seriousness, all the ways to prepare for this exam are there. First, download the Foundation Micro-Credential Prep Guide at this link, https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Exam-Prep/Foundation-Micro-Credential-Exam-Prep-Guide/ta-p/958663. I outlined part of this guide earlier, but if you want your own copy, get it here.
In the Interactive Lessons section of the Academy in Community, you want to go through and understand the course, Defining Data. It can be found here, https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Interactive-Lessons/Defining-Data/ta-p/936428#done. It does not get much more straight forward than this. Grasp the concepts and intricacies of this course and you will be well on your way to success not just on this exam, but in this field. This may be the most critical course in your early development of Alteryx.
The second course in the Interactive Lessons is the Getting Started Learning Path, which can be found here, https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Learning-Paths/Getting-Started-Learning-Path/ta-p/475117. This course gets you started with the “ins and outs” of Alteryx Designer, its benefits, as well as some of the more widely used tools in Designer. This course will give you some Designer 101 tips that you can later apply on your own with your own instance of Alteryx Designer.
Practice makes perfect and can be preached by performing Weekly Challenges. These challenges are super whenever you are not familiar with a particular tool or just want to see how others in the Community use that tool. Furthermore, these challenge prepare you for use cases and situations and which tools to use. In this instance, it will help you with tool recognition on the exam. You can find the Weekly Challenges here, https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Weekly-Challenge/Weekly-Challenge-Index-amp-Welcome/td-p/48275.
The help sections of Alteryx Designer are so essential. Select a tool in Alteryx Designer after opening it. Say you decide to use the Browse tool. Open the tool’s Help page. You will learn everything there is to know about that tool. Alteryx tests will often take a one-line statement from a tool’s help page and turn it into an exam question. Workflows that might be used to emphasize what the tool accomplishes are frequently included in the help snippets. I would open some of the tool manuals in my Designer before starting the exam when I was taking it.
Final Words of the Wise
An hour is not a lot of time so pace yourself and always keep an eye on the time. Take about ninety seconds per question. However, I usually go through the entire exam straight away once and skip the ones I do not immediately know. You do not want time to expire without looking at every question. It would be unfortunate to give away points for questions you may know the answers to but did not get around to considering. (There are no practical questions in this exam where you would need to actually build a workflow to determine the answer.) Read each of them very carefully, especially the ones where there are multiple answers. Again, Alteryx is not trying to trick you with these types of questions. It is simply ensuring that you know everything there is to know about the tool or concept.
If you do not succeed on your first try, do not be concerned. Over the next week, hone your abilities if necessary, and then retake the test. The exam is simply the beginning; passing it is not the conclusion. Become Core Certified, contribute to the Alteryx Community, or join a User Group to advance your certification journey. As a user group leader and a fellow contemporary, I want to see you succeed. Please reach out to me if you have any questions. I would love to help you!
By Chris Williams
Certified Alteryx Partner
and Tableau Desktop Specialist