Alteryx Blog: Alteryx Designer Core Exam Strategies
This is the very beginning of your Alteryx journey on becoming a force in the industry. The word certification tends to scare the hell out of people. It definitely gets my attention. However, by the time you complete this article, it should lessen your anxiety about the exam. Let’s talk about the exam itself and then, how to prepare for it.
What is the format of the exam?
The Designer Core exam is 80 questions with 73 multiple choice questions with seven practical questions. You have two hours, and the exam is open book. The fact that it’s open book can lead you to a false sense of security. One might think, “Oh I can easily find the answer anywhere and pass.” Dating back to my college days, open book exams always made me prepare a bit more because you still have to know the material and how to apply each concept for you to pass. Two hours for 80 questions really is not that long. Not only do you have to know the ins and outs of Alteryx Designer tools listed, you have to have instant recognition of how they are applied. You are going to understand and recognize each tool, all of the ways each can be used in a workflow, and how each can affect the output of a workflow. It all seems daunting. However, there are plenty of ways to develop and/or reinforce your knowledge of these tools. Let’s examine the multitude of ways for you to prepare for this exam
It all starts here
The first thing you need to do is register in the Alteryx Community, https://community.alteryx.com. You actually need to in order to take the exam anyway. Being a part of the Community makes it very easy to learn its toolset by providing so many outlets to learn. There are hands-on short training courses, videos on demand, and the daily challenges. We will get into those shortly. Next, download the Core Certification Prep Guide and you can do that with at this link, https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/ayx.policies/Core+Certification+Exam+Prep+Guide.pdf. Look at the tools being tested and accurately assess where your aptitude. If you are truthful in this exercise, you can focus your studying on the tools you need the most help with.
Here is where the Community comes into play. The interactive lessons are broken down into different areas of focus that you will need to be successful in Alteryx such as writing expressions, parsing data, and creating analytic apps just to name a few. If you haven’t ever dealt with Alteryx before or you want to reinforce your concepts, these interactive lessons are super for that. I will even go back and do these just to keep myself sharp. You can find these lessons on the Community at https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Interactive-Lessons/tkb-p/interactive-lessons.
Once you have gotten your feet wet with the interactive lessons, you want to keep the hands-on theme going by participating in the Weekly Challenges. When I am not as familiar with a particular tool, I will come to the Weekly Challenges to learn. These challenges are great because you are faced with recognizing a use case and, then, problem solving it with the necessary tool. Another fun fact about this is that there are generally multiple ways of solving a challenge. Not only can you find your own solution, but you can also see how others have solved it. Most importantly, you gain some recognition on specific tools for given use cases. This recognition will help you in your exam. You can find the Weekly Challenges here, https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Weekly-Challenge/Weekly-Challenge-Index-amp-Welcome/td-p/48275. There are tons of challenges so find the ones that you need to improve your tool knowledge.
Another thing to check out is the help areas within Alteryx Designer. Open up Alteryx Designer and choose a tool. Let’s say choose the Browse tool. Open up the Help for that tool. You will find out anything and everything important about that tool. Important things like one-liners that are on the exam. The help excerpts often have workflows that can be run to reinforce what the tool does. When I take the exam, I would have some of the help docs for some tools open in my Designer BEFORE opening the exam. The help docs are so important in studying these tools.
Links You Can Use
Lastly, there are videos on-demand that can also be accessed for free. Specifically, there are four videos that can definitely help you prepare the Core Certification Exam. It’s a four-part series and it’s definitely worth watching. Check out each of these four links:
There are many other free videos for other aspects of Alteryx for you to master, but let’s remain focused on the Core Certification.
Final Words of the Wise
Pace yourself and always keep an eye on the time during this exam. I have taken this exam many times successfully. I go through the entire exam straight away once and skip the ones I don’t immediately know. I want to lay eyes on every question on the exam. A passing grade is 80% so it would be pretty devastating to miss it by a question or two that you didn’t get to. Additionally, never leave the practical questions to the end. As a rule, I tend to deal with those on the spot. Think of the practical questions as weekly challenges. You will have done many of those leading up to this exam so you should be ready for the practical questions. Lastly, read the questions very carefully, especially the ones where there are multiple answers. 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 particular tool or concept.
Don’t fret if you don’t pass the first time around. Hell, I didn’t pass the very first time I took this exam. Do not lose your confidence. Use it all as a learning experience and use it as motivation for next time. Just remember that the ultimate goal is to be the best Alteryx developer you can be. This is the first step in your journey to get there. If you trip up a little bit, get back up and embrace the challenge. You got this!
By Chris Williams
Certified Alteryx Partner
and Tableau Desktop Specialist