The Future of PowerShell.org's VERIFIED EFFECTIVE Program

As many of you know, we've offered a VERIFIED EFFECTIVE exam program to help formally vet someone's skills as a PowerShell "Toolmaker." The exam focused on your ability to create advanced PowerShell tools that follow standard shell practices and patterns. We made the exam available to Association of Windows PowerShell Professionals members, meaning anyone who attended a PowerShell Summit could participate; you could also purchase exam credits a la carte.

We've unfortunately had very little uptake on the program. Fewer than 20% of those eligible to take the exam ever registered to do so, and of those who registered only 10% actually took the exam. We did have a pass rate in excess of 90%, but with such a small sampling we don't feel it's statistically significant.

The program takes real, monetary resources and human time to run, including a full Windows virtual machine that has to be spun up to grade the exams (scripts are graded using an automated process that actually runs them in a sandboxed environment), and including dedicated time from a small panel of experts who review each exam submission. Those resources could be better deployed to help provide benefit to a much larger portion of the community, and so we are announcing the phase-out of the VERIFIED EFFECTIVE program.

Effective February 1st 2015, all existing vouchers will be cancelled, and no new ones will be generated. That means, effective February 1st, there will be no new exams administered. If you have a voucher with applicability beyond that date, it will no longer be valid. If you paid for that voucher a la carte, please contact us for a refund.

The website allowing you to generate a completion certificate will remain online until January 1st, 2016. By that time, most existing certificates will have expired. If you completed the exam, you should download and archive your certificate prior to that date. On January 1st, 2016, the program will be completely removed.

We knew going into it that this program might not get significant uptake. Not being offered by Microsoft reduces its visibility and, to a large degree, its credibility with employers. Offering an exam of this nature is expensive and resource-intensive, and for a small organization like ours that means passing on a significant cost to candidates, which many cannot afford. Further, Microsoft has continued to blend PowerShell into all of its IT Pro-centric certification exams, so PowerShell does indeed have some domain-specific coverage in the certification space.

We are instead going to work with the folks at Smarterer.com to formalize, beef up, and publish their crowdsourced PowerShell exam. That exam is in its infancy, but PowerShell.org is already in communications with the Smarterer team to create a more reliable, formal exam that incorporates the community's best ideas about how to verify someone's PowerShell effectiveness.

Thanks very much for your support, and we look forward to serving you in new ways in 2015!

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5 Comments

  1. Hi, I am one of the people who have a voucher for the exam and it is due to expire sometime around September 2015. I was hoping to leave it until close to expiration time before I took the exam, as each week my PowerShell knowledge increases slightly so by then I'd be far more able than I am now.
    There may be many others in the same boat and that is why the take-up has been so low - only the really confident people taking the exams early. Just a thought.
    Cheers
    Kieran.

    • If you've redeemed the voucher and it's in the system already, then you have until the expiration date to take your exam, or until February 1st, when we are canceling all outstanding vouchers. Whichever comes first.

      We have only a couple of people in the boat of "I don't expire until mid-October and I was waiting." We have a ton in the "I was given a voucher but never even used it," and lots more in the "I redeemed a voucher and never used it, and it's expiring on Dec 31 anyway" category. While it's clear that the program IS useful to a small number of people, it's not an efficient use of our resources with that being such a small number. I'm not suggesting the program was valueless; I'm suggesting it didn't get sufficient uptake in its first 18 months to warrant continued investment. Keep in mind we've issued over 250 vouchers. With less than 20 redeemed, and with only about 10 people taking the exam so far, that just isn't enough interest.

  2. Hi,
    Thats to bad to hear that there is not enough interest.
    I want to do the exam around may 2015 because I have to do some other Microsoft certificates first.
    But this exam is on my roadmap for this year, I recieved the voucher for the exam when attending the PowerShell Summit Europe 2014.
    Hope PowerShell.org can give us a good alternative for some other verified effective program?
    Because maybe at this moment the industry wants to see other certifications first, I expect a real verified PowerShell certifcate will have its value in the next coming years as PowerShell become more mainstream. So the industry can differentiate the admins who know how to run a cmdlet and the PowerShell scripters(DevOps).

    • PowerShell.org can't provide you with any alternatives because, to my knowledge, there are none. We'll offer in-person exams at the North America Summit 2015 and see if that proves useful. If it does, we'll look at offering them in Europe 2015 also. You'll have all this month to take the online exam if you still want to. After that, your voucher will be voided.

  3. Hate to see that go, but I understand. I've talked my boss into sponsoring my trip and fee to Powershell Summit this year (2015). There may be 2-3 additional team members from Software Logic joining me in this trip. I hope this exam and certification remain part of that package..