Fun and a little mental.
If you’ve been following along the DevCentral team’s journey toward F5 Certification, then you may be aware that we were in Chicago last week for F5’s Agility 2016 conference and took our 101 Application Delivery Fundamentals exam. I am happy to report that all of us, Jason, John, Chase and I, passed our exams. I gotta tell you, it’s a relief since I didn’t want to title this article, ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.’ Good song but wanted to avoid that.
We started this excursion back in April (me in March) with the team deciding to create a study group. Each week we’d tackle a topic with the guidance of Eric Mitchell’s excellent Study Guide. We worked through the sections and decided to test our luck with the Certification Team’s mobile testing center…with the pressure of passing during an F5 event. Imagine the slight pre-test anxiety going through our minds if we didn’t pass. ‘How long have you been at F5?’ the questions would have started. My mouth covering, embarrassing, face-palming, muffled response of, ’12 years,’ would not have been sufficient.
As Ken told us on the way into the exam room, ‘I tell people it is either pass or fail…so don’t worry about your overall score.’ But he also added specifically to me, ‘You know if you fail, I will give you grief.’ No Pressure.
Well, we were prepared and we all passed!
Jason, John and I took the exam Tuesday morning. After registering and scheduling with Pearson Vue, we arrived at the mobile test center. You need to sign in and present two forms of ID, one with your picture. Even though the Certification team knew all of us, we still needed to follow the procedure, no exceptions. We liked that we had no special treatment – other than the ‘hello’ hugs – and had to process and pass fair and square.
We were seated in different areas since the exam room was fairly full when we entered. The moderator helped each of us get to the proper test associated with our registration and the timer started. For the 101, you have 90 minutes to answer 80 questions. At 23 minutes in, Jason got up and was finished. ‘Wa?!?’ as I look up seeing him walk by, ‘I’m only on question 28!’ I lamented. At least John was still there and I kept an eye on my time and question count the rest of the way. But I also told myself, ‘I’m in no hurry and if I need the full 90 minutes, I’ll take it to the last tick.’
John finished about a 40 minutes later and I was left for the last 30 to myself. With 10 minutes left, I was done but took that remaining time to review my answers. One tip: you can flag questions for review during the test or make comments for yourself as you move along. Close out the ones you know and go back for the more challenging questions. In the end I think I changed 3 answers. No idea if it swayed the results either way.
When you are done, you walk back to the registration room and your preliminary results are already waiting. I felt a quiver when Heidi glanced at my results and gave that ‘I’m sorry,’ look. But that was soon turned to glee as I read, ‘you have Passed.’ We were 3 for 3. Chase took the test on Wednesday and also passed.
I feel it was a very fair test to determine one’s basic application delivery knowledge. Some networking, some security, some infrastructure. And although we did prepare, it was still a challenging test. These exams are not supposed to be cake-walks but a good way to measure your knowledge around a certain topic.
While we passed and may be certifiable in our own right, we are not ‘officially’ F5 Certified. That comes with the 201 exam. The 201-TMOS Administration exam is the second exam required to achieve Certified F5 BIG-IP Administrator status. Candidates must have passed the 101-Application Delivery Fundamentals exam in order to be eligible for the 201 exam.
And wouldn’t you know it, we’re all now shooting for the 201. We plan on doing the team study again but we’ll also need to dig into some on box time for this one. I plan on keeping you posted for the 201 but for now, I’ll just bask in my 101 glory.