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!