Tips for getting MuleSoft certified
By Alexandra Martinez, Bits In Glass
(At time this post was created) MuleSoft offers certifications as a way to get formally recognized for your knowledge. Getting certified can help you further your professional career, as most tech companies look for MuleSoft certified Developers and Architects. You can find a full list of MuleSoft certifications and their requirements here.
In order to get certified, it’s best to go through the necessary training before taking the exam. MuleSoft’s training can be done on your own or with a teacher and group of people (online or in-person). MuleSoft divides the training into a series of modules to help you learn everything in the right order.
I decided to write this post because I would’ve liked to see these tips before I took my exams; I had to learn the hard way. For the Developer certifications, I was feeling way more confident because I already had the practice before attempting the exam; but the Architect ones were a new challenge for me. Most of the things you’re about to read here are because of my own struggles while studying for the “MuleSoft Certified Platform Architect – Level 1” exam.
Here are some tips I have for getting MuleSoft certified:
Before starting your certification training, make a plan for how much time you’ll be investing in it, and when you’re going to be studying and completing the training. Try to plan for at least one or two hours per week, and be consistent with that schedule. If you miss too many “sessions”, you’ll start forgetting what you’re learning.
For example, you can set a goal to complete least one module per week. If the certification has 10 modules, then you know you’ll be done in 10 weeks. Maybe after you start with the first module, you notice that you finish each module in one hour, so you adjust your goal to spend two or three hours a week, instead of just one. This way you’ll be done in less than five weeks, which is a better approach for retaining what you’re learning.
Log your progress
I usually use Wunderlist or Trello to set my training goals and schedule. You can also use Google Tasks, Microsoft To Do, or Apple Reminders. Pulling your plan out of your head and putting it into an app or notebook is helpful because you can easily follow and track your progress. It also feels good to be able to physically check an item off your schedule or checklist.
Here’s an example using Trello:
Concentrate on your certification training
It doesn’t matter if you finished your training on time if you don’t actually understand a single thing you learned. One technique that I use is the Pomodoro Technique. You can find tons of online, mobile, desktop apps to use this. This is the one I’ve been using lately.
Basically, the Pomodoro Technique suggests that you have to be 100% concentrated on what you’re learning for 25 minutes non-stop, and then you get to take small 5 minute breaks to distract yourself from what you’re studying. When I’m using this technique, I completely disconnect from the outside world so I can really concentrate on my training.
Do some investigation if you don’t understand
Some of the trainings assume that you know certain technologies, but this is obviously not always the case for everyone. Don’t feel embarrassed if this happens to you; it’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility to search for the terms you don’t understand and make sure that you learn everything you can so you can continue with the training and not feel lost.
Unless you have a photographic memory, or already have knowledge from your training, take notes of what you’re learning so you can refer back to them when you forget something. These notes can be in the form of diagrams, drawings, paragraphs, or bullet points — whatever works best to help you best retain the information for when it comes time for your exam.
In my case, I process information better if I do it myself (practice), or if I can see pictures or diagrams (visual aids). I can’t process a lot of information just by reading it from a document; I need to see it somehow. I tend to write down my own ideas in a notebook, or create some diagrams to help me remember the theory. When it comes to practice, I prefer to work through the code myself.
Take advantage of practice exams
MuleSoft created their practice exams for a purpose! Once you feel you’re ready to give it a shot, take one of their exams so you can get comfortable with what you learned. The real exam will have different questions, but at least you get a feeling of where you’re at with what you’ve learned. If you felt super lost when doing the practice exam, that probably means you need to go back and study a bit more; but if you felt confident with your knowledge, you may be ready!
What I normally do is re-take these practice exams as many times as I need, going back and forth between studying and taking the exam again, until I get a score of more than 90 (not by memorizing the answers, but by actually understanding the correct answer).
Ask for help if you need it
There may be some things that you still don’t understand, even after doing your research. You can always ask your co-workers for help, or post your questions in Mule Forums.
I need a lot of help with theoretical questions, because I have a hard time memorizing definitions. It helps me a lot to verbally explain my understanding to anyone. Have you heard of the Rubber duck debugging? It basically means that when you get stuck in a (software) problem, you explain your entire code, line-by-line, to a rubber duck. By doing this, you hear your own explanation and find what was wrong. When I have a hard time memorizing theory, I go and explain it to someone so I can hear myself and remember my own explanation. Explore some options and see what works best for you.
Don’t feel bad if you didn’t pass on your first attempt
A lot of us fail on the first try, it’s not uncommon. Others pass on the first attempt. That’s just what it means to be human! Don’t give yourself a hard time if you didn’t pass, just go back to studying and try again. At least now you have a better idea of what kind of questions come on the exam, right? Even if you don’t pass on your second attempt, that’s just another opportunity to get to know yourself better and try different approaches for your learning experience.
I hope some of these tips can help you get your certification. It doesn’t matter which one it is, or if it’s for MuleSoft or not. If you’re a professional in the IT world, you need to get certified. While it’s true that not all of the exams are proctored, you still have to constantly learn new technologies. And for that you need to know yourself and understand how you process the information and learn. Remember to make a plan and follow through with it. Good luck and let me know when you get your certification!
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About the Author
Alexandra is a MuleSoft Certified Developer and Architect who’s responsible for leading and mentoring teams and always ensuring the best quality for project deliveries. She enjoys learning new technologies, designing automated tests, writing blog posts, and taking on new challenges. Her natural habitat, however, involves watching Netflix and playing video games. Read more of Alexandra’s blogs here.
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