Digital optimization and personalization expertise has become one of the hottest, most sought after skillsets for today’s business—no matter what industry you’re in. If you’re among the talented few who have skills in this area, the world may be your oyster. However, digital agencies need to give potential clients confidence that they have the chops, knowledge, and expertise to deliver on optimization initiatives. Individual practitioners also need to prove to their teams—as well as potential employers—their level of experience in this space and their ability to gain insights and maximize ROI using the industry-leading capabilities of Adobe Target.
That’s where the new Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) exams for Adobe Target come in. These certifications test and measure your abilities using Adobe Target and your knowledge of optimization and personalization. They set your agency or you apart from others by stating that you have a deep level of understanding certain core competencies. These certifications also enable you to make the strong case that you bring greater value to an employer or client. As an agency or individual practitioner, you’re in a better position to pursue better opportunities and program ownership.
Announcing two new Adobe Target ACE exams for Adobe partners and enterprise practitioners
So why are we bringing all this up? Adobe Target recently undertook the development of a new certification process and recruited digital optimization partner Brooks Bell to help develop two completely revamped certification exams—our Adobe Target Business Practitioner and Adobe Target Analyst certifications:
- We designed the Target Business Practitioner exam for people who have used the tool for at a minimum of two years. A pre-requisite for the Analyst exam, it tests an individual’s knowledge of and ability to use Adobe Target functionality.
- The Target Analyst exam is our more advanced exam. It’s designed for users who have worked with the solution for a minimum of three years. This test focuses more on the skills the person has in optimization and personalization, along with how to analyze the results and interpret the statistics provided in Adobe Target.
Jason Hickey, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Target explains, “Over the last few years, Adobe Target has been reinvented from the ground up. We knew we had to reinvent our certification exam from the ground up, too, to support today’s Adobe Target solution. Working with a team of experts at Brooks Bell, we did exactly that. I’m so excited to help usher in the next generation of Adobe Target Certified Experts. These individuals will be crucial in realizing the promise of the experience business in 2017 and beyond.”
The hard work that made these heavyweight certifications
Most of you have likely taken a certification exam or a test like the SAT, and you’ve probably never really considered what goes into developing these exams. In our case, we really wanted these exams to clearly show ability. Jay Dettling, Vice President, Global Partners for Adobe emphasizes, “The ACE certification exams represent a critical part of our enablement strategy around ensuring customer success. We’re excited to be able to offer such rigorously developed exams to our partners who can use this certification to offer clients much-valued proof of ability and expertise.”
Here’s a quick run-down of the exam development process. You can read in three minutes what it took us months to do (you’re welcome).
Step 1. Build the team.
First, we assembled the team to create the exam. We approached Brooks Bell, one of our top partner agencies, to help flesh out the team. They offered the assistance of six incredibly smart, motivated analysts and developers, all of whom had years of experience working with Adobe Target and a deep understanding of practice of optimization and personalization.
We then added our experts from Adobe Target product marketing and product engineering, along with consultants from Adobe Global Services (AGS) who had worked with numerous clients on a wide variety of projects using Adobe Target.
As an agency, Brooks Bell well understood the value of bringing in hired guns when you lack specific expertise. They suggested bringing in a third-party agency that was well-versed in developing such exams to guide the entire team through developing the exam questions. They coached us on nuances specific to creating exams.
Step 2. Define the role and minimum knowledge and skillset.
To develop questions, we first had to conduct a job task analysis. In this, we identified the tasks that individuals had who met the minimum standards for the roles of Target Business Practitioner and Target Analyst performed. We considered what tasks they could perform independently versus those that required some assistance. We also identified the technologies and tools they used in the job role.
Step 3. Identify key knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs)
We then worked with subject matter experts to determine the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required for each task that we’d identified in our task analysis. These KSAs were essential, because they drove the actual objectives on which we would base our exam questions.
Step 4. Write the exam questions.
Next, we wrote (and we wrote and we wrote) exam questions. In fact, we wrote many more questions than we actually used so that we had a great selection of high-quality questions that covered the wide range of exam objectives.
Step 5. Review, select, and refine the questions.
There’s nothing worse than taking a test in which the questions or answers are poorly worded—or worse yet, the answers are just plain wrong. We spent a lot of time, and asked numerous subject matter experts and copy writers to review the exam questions to make sure we didn’t expect exam takers to be the ones to find those bad questions.
Step 6. Set the passing score.
Certifications tend to be a pass/fail proposition. To determine what constitutes a passing score, we went through a “standards setting” process in which our subject matter experts (SME) assigned numerical values to the test questions based on their difficulty level. The SMEs had to rationalize why they rated a question at a certain level to make sure that they were applying similar approaches to the ratings (that’s the “standards” part of the standards setting process).
We then conducted a statistical analysis of the ratings, using the range of potential scores to choose the passing score. We then determined the number of questions on the exam to include and the amount of time an exam taker had to complete each exam.
Step 7. Make the exams available worldwide.
With our exam questions, scoring system, and time limits all solidified, we then turned to our testing vendor, Alpine Solutions, to develop both exams in their visually pleasing and easy-to-read format. The Target Business Practitioner and Target Analyst exams are now available through the Pearson VUE network of exam testing centers worldwide.
Get Adobe Target certified today!
Without a doubt, adding an ACE certification to your resume and LinkedIn profile can give you a leg up in your career as an optimization and personalization professional. For agencies, it’s a key differentiator for clients seeking expertise in this field. So why not invest in boosting your profession or helping your agency stand out? If you’re an employer or a client, these certifications are equally valuable to you. They provide you with that essential yardstick you need to determine which applicant, current employee, or agency can help you use Adobe Target to power your successful experience business.
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