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Hello,

I'm brand new as a poster on LAVA, but I've been lurking here for some time. So here I go on my first post:

If you've been watching the NI forums today, you may have noticed this post. Coming up this month I will be renewing my CLA certification for the second time, having successfully taken the old-style four hour exam twice. Now I am faced with taking the new (Type R) recertification exam. I'm getting the impression that it's brand new because when I posted the aforementioned question on the NI forums no one seemed to know anything about it.

Looking at the preparation page, there isn't a whole lot to go on except for the sample test. It's a 30 question multiple-guess exam, which doesn't seem all that bad, but the questions seem to focus on two broad topics:

  1. A certain NI-branded flavor of software engineering topics.
  2. Obscure features of the LabVIEW development environment.

I'm not too worried about the latter, but what concerns me most is that software engineering is such a broad topic that I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what to study. Has anyone taken the new-style exam? I haven't taught any NI courses for a few years now, and I'm wondering if they're referencing their own classes which I am unlikely to be able to attend due to company budget restrictions and my own budget restrictions. I spoke to one of my long time colleagues who recently took it, and he said that some of the questions seemed "way out in left field," and that he barely passed it due to the obscurity of the questions.

Can anyone offer any insight as to what I should study?

Thanks very much,

Jim

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Hmm... I'm getting the rather distinct impression that I am possibly the third person ever to take this version of the test. :unsure: No one has taken it? (... or does no one feel inclined to talk about it?)

Incidentally, upon reading the fine print I believe I've determined which courses NI may be referencing in the content of the re-cert exam:

Managing Software Engineering in LabVIEW

Advanced Architectures in LabVIEW

At $1500 each, I suppose I'll have to wing it and hope for the best. :(

Jim

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At $1500 each, I suppose I'll have to wing it and hope for the best.

Sometime you can get the course manuals for the classes for significantly less. Is that an option with those courses?

Be sure to let us know what you think of the exam. As you've discovered, there's precious little information about it.

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Sometime you can get the course manuals for the classes for significantly less. Is that an option with those courses?

Be sure to let us know what you think of the exam. As you've discovered, there's precious little information about it.

Sure thing - I was planning on saying something about it afterward. I'm scheduled for the end of this month, so I'll know after that.

As far as the manuals go, it's funny - when I used to work for an alliance partner I took for granted the extra course manuals we had laying around!

Should I call up NI training and certification to see if I can purchase manuals, or is there another way? I've never gone about trying that.

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Sure thing - I was planning on saying something about it afterward. I'm scheduled for the end of this month, so I'll know after that.

As far as the manuals go, it's funny - when I used to work for an alliance partner I took for granted the extra course manuals we had laying around!

Should I call up NI training and certification to see if I can purchase manuals, or is there another way? I've never gone about trying that.

Hi. Mr. Jim:

I wish I had better news for you. I've been programming LabVIEW since 1994, and have freelanced to create many different systems when I was a consultant and for several years now I have been working on a large project with a few co-developers and thousands of VIs. I use projects and libraries, and have made a few XControls and have used OOP classes a bunch of times. I took the CLA-R last August to renew my CLA certification, but I didn't take any courses.

I took the practice exam from NI's website and was disappointed to get a score slightly under the passing grade. There wasn't a lot of time before my deadline for the exam, but I figured I would just be more careful. I reviewed all the questions I got wrong, got a good night's sleep and ate a good breakfast. During the test, I felt I had plenty of time to review the questions which I was not certain about, and overall I would say they were similar to the sample exam.

After all that I got almost the same grade as I got on the practice exam, failing by one or two questions. Since I'm not actively seeking consulting work, I figured I don't need the CLA, though when I want it again, I will have to start again from the bottom.

I have to give NI credit for being able to design a test that is very difficult to pass unless you have taken their training courses. Aside from generating revenue, it fulfills its purpose of showing the people interested that the certified person has been trained and is not just a good test taker and LabVIEW hacker like me.

Well good luck with the exam, and let us know how it goes.

Jason

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I have to give NI credit for being able to design a test that is very difficult to pass unless you have taken their training courses. Aside from generating revenue, it fulfills its purpose of showing the people interested that the certified person has been trained and is not just a good test taker and LabVIEW hacker like me.

Thanks so much for taking the time, Jason. That's exactly the advice I was looking for, even though it's not what I was hoping to hear.

Bummer... Right now I'm really wishing I'd made the CLA summit so that I'd had the opportunity to voice my opinion on the matter. I'm glad they're making it tough - it should be, and that I have absolutely no problem with.

My observation toward the old style test was such that one could pass it with:

  1. Comprehensive knowledge of the development environment, arguably to an elite extent
  2. Solid knowledge of software engineering and good coding practices (e.g. a software related engineering degree, though it wasn't entirely necessary)
  3. Solid project experience

If you possessed those ingredients, you had no problem passing the CLA exam, though it was certainly challenging.

(Debating whether or not I should hold my tongue here...)

I have to admit that I'm somewhat peeved that I now ostensibly have to go and shell out thousands so that I know the magic NI-scoped terms with which to pass the exam. If it was like many other certifications in that I could obtain it by studying arduously from several readily available books and getting solid experience, I think I'd feel a lot better. Then again, NI are the certifying authority and they may define the standard as they wish.

Admittedly I speak too soon, as I have not taken the test yet. You just happen to be the second person I've talked to with a nearly identical response to my question.

Other than that I have no strong feelings on the matter. :D

(With utmost respect to NI and all involved)

Jim

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Should I call up NI training and certification to see if I can purchase manuals, or is there another way? I've never gone about trying that.

If you have a good relationship with your NI sales rep I'd start there. They can sometimes pull magic levers that aren't available to the average user.

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Hi. Mr. Jim:

After all that I got almost the same grade as I got on the practice exam, failing by one or two questions. Since I'm not actively seeking consulting work, I figured I don't need the CLA, though when I want it again, I will have to start again from the bottom.

Jason

When did you take the recert? There is a one year grace period where your status is changed to "suspended" or "inactive" or something like that. You can still take the CLAR during this time and do not have to start at the beginning.

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When did you take the recert? There is a one year grace period where your status is changed to "suspended" or "inactive" or something like that. You can still take the CLAR during this time and do not have to start at the beginning.

Indeed, Steve, I also heard of the one year grace period, myself, but now I can't find proof of it on NI's site. Thankfully I've never had to use it yet!

If you have a good relationship with your NI sales rep I'd start there. They can sometimes pull magic levers that aren't available to the average user.

Yep, I was thinking the same thing. Good call!

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Indeed, Steve, I also heard of the one year grace period, myself, but now I can't find proof of it on NI's site. Thankfully I've never had to use it yet!

I couldn't find it either. But I did find confirmation in this post on the Dark Side by Wes P who is a Certification Engineer for NI.

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When did you take the recert? There is a one year grace period where your status is changed to "suspended" or "inactive" or something like that. You can still take the CLAR during this time and do not have to start at the beginning.

Yeah, I hadn't really been paying attention and was already suspended. NI was very helpful, and I think they even tacked on another month so I could schedule the test, but after failing the exam, it didn't seem worthwhile to keep pushing and asking for favors.

I have to admit that I'm somewhat peeved that I now ostensibly have to go and shell out thousands so that I know the magic NI-scoped terms with which to pass the exam.

...

Admittedly I speak too soon, as I have not taken the test yet. You just happen to be the second person I've talked to with a nearly identical response to my question.

Well at any rate I would recommend sitting for the exam once, and then taking the course only if you fail. You don't have much to lose (except $200 and an hour of your time) by trying.

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Well at any rate I would recommend sitting for the exam once, and then taking the course only if you fail. You don't have much to lose (except $200 and an hour of your time) by trying.

I definitely agree. I figure I'll just retake it as many times as I have to. Hopefully it'll only be once, but I should probably have realistic expectations.

:lol:

Thanks again for your feedback...

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I found the CLA-R to be basically as advertised in the prep materials (practice exam, etc) - I also found it helpful to take the free 'skills assesment' exam online (which basically is designed to steer you to NI Training -Basics?) as it helps to practice answering NI style exam questions.

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I found the CLA-R to be basically as advertised in the prep materials (practice exam, etc) - I also found it helpful to take the free 'skills assesment' exam online (which basically is designed to steer you to NI Training -Basics?) as it helps to practice answering NI style exam questions.

Thank you for your input, Mr. Mussa.

As advertised, eh? If it's consistent with the prep materials that gives me a pretty good idea what we're in for. I haven't taken the skill evaluation quiz in a while, but maybe I will just for chuckles. If I'm honest, the formatting of NI test questions isn't contributing much to my paranoia, but taking the quiz certainly couldn't hurt. The last time I took an NI test of this formatting was my CLD re-cert back in 2006, so this may very well be helpful.

Kind regards,

Jim

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Alright, I just took the CLA-R this morning. I almost squeaked by, but as we know "almost" isn't good enough. Discouragement aside, I'd like to remark on the test without revealing anything top secret.

I believe in saying it like it is, (actually, I'm really hesitating, here, wondering if I should keep mum). While I certainly don't want to be a whiner, I would like to offer some constructive feedback if anyone from NI is listening. In no particular order, here are my thoughts:

  • This is one humbling test. Not that I'm complaining - it should be hard and it should feel like a serious accomplishment. It does, but...
  • Wow! (feel free to substitute other words to shout here) This is much more formidable than the CLA I remember. I'd rather take the four hour exam any day rather than this one. Unless the CLA has also changed, it would seem that the CLA and the CLA-R are oddly incongruent.
  • It shouldn't be harder to keep a CLA than it is to get one. I would bet money that a lot of us are about to be weeded out. Is this intentional?
  • I use all of the advanced LabVIEW features and nuances covered in this test, most of which on a daily or weekly basis. Yet, like university weed-out courses, it seems that the questions themselves are frequently the challenge, not the subject matter.
  • At least two questions on my test seemed subjective to the whim of preference. A design choice should be clear, not "Johnny at NI likes to develop this way, so it's correct and everyone else is wrong."
  • "As advertised," I still get the sense that more than a few questions here are based on expensive courses that the little guy in business for himself has a hard time affording. More power to you folks who work for famous consulting houses. If I was to hire developers/architects today, I would emphasize industry experience more than having taken requisite courses.
  • I want to prove to the industry that I'm a genuinely qualified architect, not that I payed the fee and know how to navigate the test.

This all being said, I love NI and I love the products, especially LabVIEW. I certainly mean no disrespect by what I've said here; I just believe that there is room for improvement on this relatively new test. Have I been fair in my assessment?

Very respectfully,

Jim

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  • Wow! (feel free to substitute other words to shout here) This is much more formidable than the CLA I remember. I'd rather take the four hour exam any day rather than this one. Unless the CLA has also changed, it would seem that the CLA and the CLA-R are oddly incongruent.

Hi Jim, I'm sorry you have some hassles ahead of you to get re-certified, but I have to confess to feeling a bit vindicated, so thanks for sharing your experience. I totally agree with all of your points. That test is just a wee bit too hard, and I hate that saying that makes me into a whiner too.

Jason

Edited by jdunham

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Heh heh... Well, thanks for the kind words. It's good to know I'm not alone on this one.

I was actually dreading reading the replies to this one, feeling pretty badly about my last post.

Oh, well. It is what it is. Try, try, again I will. It just makes me want to succeed that much more.

Hi Jim, I'm sorry you have some hassles ahead of you to get re-certified, but I have to confess to feeling a bit vindicated, so thanks for sharing your experience. I totally agree with all of your points. That test is just a wee bit too hard, and I hate that saying that makes me into a whiner too.

Jason

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Just to update, I managed to get in touch with some very kind folks over at NI Training and Certification. While we haven't yet discussed the details, they're putting me in touch with a certification engineer. I'm very impressed with how receptive they are over there and they've definitely won me over (again). :thumbup1:

When I have a chance to speak with the aforementioned engineer I intend to ask if the bar has been intentionally raised on the CLA standard in general, or if perhaps I'm perceiving an unintended gap between the CLA and the CLA-R. If the bar in general has been raised, then so be it!

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To all certs,

I want to share my perspective on this topic. I am a characterization engineer, I got certified with CLA two year ago. I use Labview on weekly basis, but do not use advanced topics such as Xcontrol, OOPs, etc. I know what they are, but not using them daily. If I inherited a project with the codes in them, I know how to debug it.

With that been said, I spent two weekends preparing for the exam with old course materials. I have 2 other co-workers who is attempting the exam with me. After the 1st attempt, one passed only by a single question. After another weekend of studying, reading all the concepts of advanced topics in Labview Help Manual, we tried again. This time, the other co-worker barely passed, and I was again barely failed. The issue mainly is, we do not know the choice we picked was wrong or right, when we discuss the exam questions, we can give very logical explanations to the choices we have picked, and they are the wrong ones. The two co-workers felt they passed it by luck, because during the final review, there are at least 5-6 questions they changes at the last minute before submitting in. There were no definitive feeling of "Yes, this is the right answer."

Luckily, my local sales rep is awesome, put me in contact with the certification department, I was able to get a copy of the course material for "Advanced Architectures in Labview" through enterprise agreement. After studying this course material for a weekend, I was able to pass with 2 missed questions. Bottom line, after you have studied the course material, you will be able to see the questions from a new perspective, you won't be like a headless chicken looking for answers. The course materials will help you narrow it down to the specifics.

In any regards, I really liked this learning experience. I understand that from the test writer's perspective, it is difficult to write an exam to can test for project management skills and advance labview architecture concepts without the guideline, so the exam is mainly from the course materials. Also, another good news to share. After speaking to certification department, NI plans with the future CLA-R exams, you can review the questions that you got wrong after you submit your answer. This will definitely bring some sanity to the test takers so that you do not second doubt yourself with the right questions.

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We definitely didn't want passing the CLA-R to require course work. We wanted the course work to be available for those who hadn't necessarily kept pushing their LV skills with each version so they could catch up. And we tried to have questions on newer LV features be few enough that you could still pass, with the intention of those becoming more dominant as time goes by, so that there's pressure but not requirement to keep updating LV skills over the years.

What I'm hearing from this thread is that we got very close to the exam we wanted but not quite right. But we got closer than might be expected... it is, as you said, very hard to write a multiple choice exam that actually tests advanced architecture concepts.

Mr_Jim, do keep us posted about your discussion with the certification engineers.

PS: I'm going to have to go through recert myself later this year, so I'm very keen on this being a good test. :-)

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I'm in the position that Jim was in six months ago: my CLA is about to expire and I need to take the CLA-R. I downloaded and took the practice exam and failed it by a couple of questions. Like Jim, I used to work for a local select integration partner (the same one, in fact) with which I have maintained a cordial business relationship, and I spoke with their training manager to discuss the best strategy to prepare for the CLA-R. She informed me she, as well as several other of their engineers, have recently failed the CLA-R. We're not talking about a bunch of slouches here; this is a group of some of the most talented and experienced LabVIEW developers that you'll find anywhere in the world. They are all certified NI instructors, also. The bottom line here is that the validity of this exam must come into question if there is this high a failure rate in a population of properly qualified test takers. People who could pass the 4-hour exam should be able to pass the 1-hour test without this kind of extraordinary attrition rate. Something is drastically wrong with the test design or the way the questions have been written.

What I'm hearing from this thread is that we got very close to the exam we wanted but not quite right. But we got closer than might be expected... it is, as you said, very hard to write a multiple choice exam that actually tests advanced architecture concepts.

Steve, from my perspective, what I'm seeing from this thread is that you didn't get quite as close as you needed to. Just my two cent's worth; YMMV.

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I'm hoping that we get an analysis of which questions are being missed so we can analyze them to see if they're bad questions and, if so, fix them. Unfortunately, it takes multiple people actually taking the exam to generate that data pool. Curiously, the annecdotes I'm hearing seem to indicate that our beta test group of CLAs was abnormally skilled at passing the CLA-R compared to the general body of CLAs. Perhaps CLAs become smarter when in physical proximity to each other? :-)

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Just recently took the CLA-R here. Preparation mostly consisted of re-reading the Advanced Architectures book I received back in 2008 and brushing up on the new stuff since, such as LVOOP. Four years ago, I don't recall a separate project management course, so I do think I could have benefitted from one now. I do feel that some of the answers on project methodology could be judged as personal preference or related to how one's own company would want to do business. However, I did pass after my first attempt. :thumbup1:

Two more years!

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I know this is an older thread, but I wanted to follow-up on my earlier remarks as I believe my recent experience is relevant.

 

My local ASM was kind enough to find and send to me some training manuals this past fall.  I spent the past two months thoroughly reviewing the materials at a leisurely pace, and I have to admit that the four classes (Core 3, Advanced Architectures, Project Management, and OO Programming) showed me quite a few interesting methods and approaches which I'm sure will prove useful at some point.

 
I took the exam today and scored a glorious 56.
 
My impression of many of the questions was that they were vague, poorly constructed, or ambiguous.  Once I got past the confusing syntax, the majority of questions fell into four distinct categories:
 
1. Who cares?
2. Nobody uses this feature or does it this way.
3.  This is not applicable to any real-life project issue.
4. (None of these choices) or (more than one of these choices) is the "best" way to do <whatever>.
 
To put this in perspective, I took the online example test two months ago (before reviewing any of the course materials), and scored a 52; today I got a 56.  From this viewpoint, the training materials are completely irrelevant to the exam.  In my opinion, the majority of the questions on the exam were almost totally detached from any realistic issues or considerations that a LabVIEW professional actually faces.  After the exam, I chatted with a manager at the local Platinum Alliance Partner, who told me that I'm in good company -- over the past 2 years, nobody there has passed the CLA-R the first time, and in fact some of their most experienced engineers required multiple attempts to pass.  I cannot fathom the process followed by the Customer Education and Certification folks who put this program together.
 
Anybody from NI out there listening?
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I just got my result back from my CLA-R, and I passed :rolleyes: , but not with 100% :-(

I really like to now what questions I missed/missunderstood.

I didn't find any questions that difficult, but you need to know the software development modules NI is referring to, you can find all that in the Self Pace training.

You need to know the advanced stuff and limitiations of about X-Controls and classes.

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