Hackernoon logoCelebrating a Joyful JavaScript Certification by@arichduvet

Celebrating a Joyful JavaScript Certification

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@arichduvetSaurabh Chaturvedi

In a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive tech world, developers always feel a need to enhance their skills and learn new technologies. There are many ways to showcase skills, be it a side project, an endorsement from someone and so on, but the most prominent way to validate your skills is that of certifications. Speaking of myself, I’ve been a Python and C++ developer mostly and wanted to broaden my skill-set to include the super popular programming language JavaScript. Although I had taken few online courses on JavaScript, I always lacked confidence in my JavaScript skills, because I had learned the language from a variety of sources and felt that there were several gaps in my JavaScript understanding. Furthermore, as far as my freelance programming experience goes, I can tell that JavaScript developers are always busy, since they get the most freelance jobs (when classified by programming languages for web development).

All these factors gave me a solid reason to test and certify my JavaScript skills. While there are many companies online that offer certifications, most of them do so by providing a course sprinkled with quizzes, projects and other tests. Once a learner has completed going through the course, she earns a certificate. Coursera, edX and Udacity are some examples of such services. However, since I already had a decent experience with JavaScript, I didn’t want to go through another course to earn a certificate (furthermore, I already had such certificates). I simply wanted to test and validate my JavaScript skills. While searching for platforms that offer such tests, I recently came across Cancanit, a professional certification company offering certifications in many web development tracks such as SEO, jQuery, MySQL and so on. It also had a track for advanced JavaScript, which was simply perfect for me!

So I soon loaded up the JavaScript certification exam page for details about cost and exam process. The pricing was $120 overall, and I seemed okay to me after I read the examination process. A cool thing I liked about the details page was that they advised me to go through the material in few popular JavaScript books. Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbecke, JavaScript, The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan, Effective JavaScript by David Herman and Programming JavaScript Applications by Eric Elliott were mentioned as suggested readings. Furthermore, there was no penalty for failing the exam, and the exam was available for retake after 24 hours — the problems get reshuffled and some of them get replaced with new ones. So I spent the remaining day at my college library, reading material from two of the books mentioned above. I was uncomfortable with callbacks, so I spent significant time revising that concept.

I went to a library and read through the Javascript concepts I was uncomfortable with. Image Source.

Next evening, I commenced the examination. As per the exam page, the certification covered topics ranging from language basics to functions and classes to DOM manipulations and regular expressions. The first part of the exam was a theoretical test containing 20 single and multiple choice questions, each of which had a time limit of 1.5 minutes. These were the sort of problems which tested my knowledge about the vanillaJS syntax, and most of them were of intermediate difficulty level. However, these 20 questions were sprinkled with a few difficult problems which forced me to think deeper. These were the sort of questions which test deep understanding of the language. They weren’t very difficult, but simply required me to be very clear about the ins and outs of vanillaJS syntax. I was able to complete the test in about 20 minutes, and scored like 18 out of 20. This was good for me — I passed the theoretical test as the threshold was 15 out of 20.

The next and final part of the examination was a practical task, which also offered the flexibility to be answered the next day. However, I was feeling all-geared-up after passing the first test, so I decided to answer it just after the first one. This was a small, real-life task: I was required to build an on-page JavaScript flooring & price calculator. The HTML elements were already constructed — what I had to do was develop an algorithm for calculating the cost of flooring, given few input parameters, and then develop DOM manipulations to take input data from the user and display the output in the relevant box. The time limit for this task was 150 minutes. At first, I was a bit scared — developing this algorithm seemed daunting. But I soon realised the purpose behind testing a bit of algorithmic thinking — every developer, no matter her tech stack, should be a good problem solver. Perhaps this is the single most important skill a developer should have, so an advanced Javascript developer should have this too! Therefore, I took this aspect of the practical test as a serious challenge and started experimenting with my laptop’s calculator for constructing the price-calculation algorithm. To my surprise, I was ready with an algorithm in about 30 minutes! And it did work correctly on the sample inputs provided on the practical exam page! Next thing to do in this task was DOM manipulations for proper input and output. Since I’m pretty comfortable with DOM manipulations, I completed writing them in about 5 minutes and the on-page calculator was all-ready in less than 40 minutes! I submitted the code after a final check, and it passed all the tests — I was now an officially certified JavaScript developer!

As soon as I passed, I rushed to a cafe and celebrated my certification with a sandwich. After returning to my laptop, I discovered a prompt asking for my online profiles to be displayed on my certificate. I soon entered them, and my certificate finally rendered itself to life:

My JavaScript Certificate!

I also discovered later that there was an option for getting a paper certificate delivered to my home for $30. I like keeping paper certificates so I went for it. The transit took time, but it did arrive at my home after a couple of months — in January. The package contained a letter of appreciation from Cancanit’s CEO Michael Green, the certificate with a hologram and an awesome Mozilla OpenBadge:

CancanIT’s letter with embedded Mozilla OpenBadge

I didn’t know about Mozilla OpenBadges before, but after some research I found out that they are an awesome way to showcase and recognize one’s accomplishments. There is also an online version attached to my digital certificate. The one shipped to my home looks so cool that I sticked it to my laptop (it was one of the earliest stickers on my laptop, although now the real estate there is scarce 😀):

Mozilla OpenBadge sticker for my JavaScript Certification!

Overall, this was an awesome and unique certification experience, and I think $150 in total is a fair investment for it, because this certification offered me long-term returns throughout my hitherto freelance programming journey.

Disclaimer: CancanIT did NOT pay me to write this review.

Readers, please comment about your code-learning journey and moments like this which came in your path. I’d love to hear and learn from them. 🙂

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