How to Extend your Jira Administrator Certification

In my previous How to Study for Jira Administrator Certification article I shared my tips for preparing for and taking the Jira Certification exam.  Now that you’ve passed the exam, you might be asking, what’s next?  The initial exam is only the first step in your Jira learning journey!  You’ll need to take additional exams or skills challenges to keep your certification alive.

After earning the initial certification, Atlassian has two ways to maintain it:  Certified Badges and Skills Badges.  As shown below, for ACP-100, there’s an “Advanced Jira Workflows” (ACB-100) Badge, an “Email in Jira” (ASB-112) Skills Badge, and additional options on the way.

Atlassian Certified Badges and Skills Badges

See the extension options for all certifications in the table at the bottom of: atlassian.com/university/certification

Certification vs Badge vs Skills Badge

As you remember, the initial certification exam is long, moderately expensive, and requires you to physically appear at a testing center.  Not so with the “Advanced Jira Workflows” Badge exam!  You can take it online from your home or office, there are fewer questions, and the test is also less expensive.  For this exam type, you’ll need a reliable internet connection, a web cam, a microphone, and to install required testing software.  An online proctor monitors your movements and biometrics are used for authentication.  But what if your web cam is broken or you have an unsupported Chrome OS laptop?  Simply go back to your local testing center and complete the exam there.

The “Email in Jira” Skills Badge exam is even easier to take!  With this exam format, you watch a webinar, take notes, complete self-study homework, and then take an “online assessment” (quiz).  This exam is non-proctored, has the least amount of questions, and is the lowest price.

“Email in Jira” Skills Badge

I really enjoyed the Skills Badge format and the “Email in Jira” webinar in general!  How often do you connect Jira to a mail server?  For most of us the answer is: once or never!  For me, it was all already setup and functional when I inherited my application.  But I often troubleshoot email related issues, so understanding more about how mail works in the background is very useful.

The webinar told me just how much I didn’t know about Jira email!  For example, did you know Jira will try to send a notification message 10 times?  I didn’t!  As soon as I learned that, I searched for any active service accounts with bogus user email addresses and found many!  I cleaned those up immediately, so Jira wouldn’t try and try and try to send messages to accounts like “former-employee@domain.com” and “blah@blah.com.”  (Shame on the admin that entered the bogus addresses in the first place!)  No more slow mail queue for me!

As a nervous test taker, this “webinar then quiz” format was much easier to accomplish.  I love that I learned new things as part of the certification extension process.  It was training and validation all in one!  I hope Atlassian adds many more badges in this format.  Earning this badge was a very valuable experience – one I’d recommend even if I didn’t need to extend my cert.

Materials

This skills badge includes:

  • an online course delivered by pros Alex Ho (ServiceRocket) and Matt Doar (previously ServiceRocket, now LinkedIn),
  • 4 pages of downloadable questions to consider during the webinar,
  • 2 pages for note taking to compare incoming to outgoing mail, and
  • a 60 minute online quiz.

Note:  You must watch the webinar in its entirety and complete the quiz to earn the badge.

Study Tips

In addition to my original tips, I recommend:

  • read all the available incoming and outgoing email documentation,
  • review the email related settings in your own instance – multiple pages in the Admin > System area, the “Events” admin page, a Notification Scheme, and also end-user, dashboard, and profile features related to “watching”,
  • block off time and block out distractions so you can focus on the webinar content,
  • pause the webinar to answer the provided sample questions, and
  • actually complete the homework – take some time to think about the email problems you’ve experienced and their cause.

Atlassian recommends allowing a half-day to complete the entire process.  The webinar took me a while to complete because I stopped to take notes, answer questions, and play back some sections.  It was worth it and now I feel like I know a lot about Jira email!  There was plenty of time to complete the final quiz.

Final Thought

As always, remember that whether you pass or fail, certifications are a learning process!  If you’ve learned something new from the experience, you’ve already won!

Certified JIRA Administrator
Rachel Wright, Certified JIRA Administrator

ACP-100 Jira Admin

ASB-112 Email in Jira

How to Study for JIRA Administrator Certification

I was ecstatic to participate in the certification beta testing program and become one of the first certified JIRA Administrators!

Atlassian describes their certification as a way to “…enhance your credibility, sharpen your performance, and help you deliver world-class Atlassian experiences to teams everywhere.”  The first step is passing a general scenario-based exam, called “ACP-100.”  Then, you’re eligible to take additional advanced tests to showcase specialized skills and keep your certification current.  The first additional test available is ACP-110: “Advanced JIRA Workflows.”

Experience

Atlassian recommends 2-3 years of JIRA administration experience.  When I took the exam, I had 5.5 years of general JIRA user experience and 3.5 years experience as an administrator.  Even with more than the recommended experience, the exam was challenging.  I believe the year count alone doesn’t equate to “experience”.  There’s a large difference between causal application administration, where you make a project customization every now and then (but JIRA basically runs itself), and deep administration, where you’ve experienced setting up the application from scratch, upgrading it, maintaining it, and are working daily in the administrative portion of the application.  If the majority of your time has been spent as a casual administrator, you’ll need extra learning and preparation time.

How to Study

1. Read everything about the exam on Atlassian’s web site.
Note which JIRA versions the test will cover.

2. Read the entire JIRA Administrator’s Guide for the versions you’ll be tested on.

3. Read the release notes for the versions the test will cover.

4. Visit every page in the application’s admin UI to remind yourself of the settings and capabilities.

5. Read the Atlassian-provided exam study guide and sample questions.
Recommendation:  Approach the JIRA Administrator certification exam topics from multiple angles.  For example, if you have a small organization, with a handful of projects and users, you’ll want to consider how a large organization, with hundreds of projects and thousands of users, would tackle a problem.  If your organization uses the server version, you’ll want to consider how a strategy might differ in the cloud version.  Think of scenarios that don’t apply to your organization but would be common among others.  Think of areas of your application that aren’t setup quite right and how you’d do it better.  It’s not enough to understand your application’s intricacies, you need to understand how JIRA is generally intended to be configured.

Some of the beta testers formed a study group.  We used the exam study guide to write all the questions we thought might be on the test.  Then, we answered each question in detail.  We met once a week for a month to review the content each user added, discuss alternatives, and add additional notes and experiences.  Many of us credit these study sessions as how we passed the test.  Why not form your own study group?

6. Read the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.
It’s about what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, and why.  As part of the strategy recommendations, it covers admin concepts.  When I started writing the book, there wasn’t a certification, so I didn’t write it for that purpose. But it does make a great companion to the existing Atlassian documentation and certification study materials.  Read more about the book and its contents at: https://www.jirastrategy.com/contents

7. Visit the testing vendor’s website, as well as the website of the specific testing center, to learn all you can about the test experience.

For example, you’ll need to bring two forms of ID.  You won’t be able to take any belongings into the testing room.  (This includes your wallet, phone, and keys.)

Recommendation:  Bring a pair of earplugs.  They will shield you from potential distractions, like noise from adjoining rooms, your neighbor’s pencil tapping, and typing and mouse clicks that really stand out in an otherwise silent room.

Conclusion

I estimate I spent 10 hours specifically preparing for the exam.  I was very happy to pass, but even if I didn’t, the prep time was valuable.  I learned things I simply didn’t know and explored parts of the application I hadn’t touched in a while.  The certification process as a whole made me a better JIRA Administrator.

JIRA Administrator Certification Earned

Certified JIRA Administrator
Rachel Wright, Certified JIRA Administrator

Today I learned that I passed the JIRA Administrator exam!  It’s pretty neat to be one of the first admins to hold this distinction.

In June 2016, Atlassian launched their JIRA Administrator Certification program.  Atlassian describes their certification as a way to “…enhance your credibility, sharpen your performance, and help you deliver world-class Atlassian experiences to teams everywhere.”  The first step is passing a general scenario-based exam, called “ACP-100.”  Then, you’re eligible to take additional advanced tests to showcase specialized skills and keep your certification current.  The first additional test is ACP-110: “Advanced JIRA Workflows.”

See also:  How to Study for JIRA Administrator Certification