Achieve Adobe Certified Expert Status with New Adobe Target Exams

by Drew Burns

posted on 03-20-2017

Digital-optimization and personalization expertise has become one of the hottest, most sought-after skillsets for today’s businesses — no matter what industry you’re in. If you’re among the talented few who have skills in this area, the world may be your oyster. However, digital agencies need to make potential clients feel confident that they have the chops, knowledge, and expertise to deliver on optimization initiatives. And, individual practitioners must prove — both to their teams and their potential employers — their levels of experience in this space as well as their abilities to gain insights and maximize ROI using the industry-leading capabilities of Adobe Target.

That’s where the new Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) exams for Adobe Target come in. These certifications test and measure your abilities for using Adobe Target as well as your knowledge of optimization and personalization. They set you or your agency apart from others by stating that you have achieved a deep level of understanding for certain core competencies and enabling you to convince an employer or client that you can bring them greater value. In either case — as an agency or individual practitioner — you’re in a better position to pursue better opportunities and program ownership.

Presenting two new Target ACE exams for Adobe partners and enterprise practitioners

So, why are we bringing all this up? Adobe Target recently undertook the development of a new certification process and recruited digital-optimization partner Brooks Bell to help develop two completely revamped certification exams — our Adobe Target Business Practitioner and Adobe Target Analyst certifications:

Jason Hickey, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Target, explains, “Over the last few years, Adobe Target has been reinvented from the ground up. We knew we had to reinvent our certification exam from the ground up, too, to support today’s Adobe Target solution. Working with a team of experts at Brooks Bell, we did exactly that. I’m so excited to help usher in the next generation of Adobe Target Certified Experts. These individuals will be crucial in realizing the promise of the experience business in 2017 and beyond.”

The hard work involved in creating these heavyweight certifications

Most of you have likely taken a certification exam or a test like the SAT, but you’ve probably never really considered what goes into developing these exams. In our case, we really wanted these exams to clearly demonstrate ability. Jay Dettling, Vice President, Global Partners for Adobe, emphasizes, “The ACE certification exams represent a critical part of our enablement strategy around ensuring customer success. We’re excited to be able to offer such rigorously developed exams to our partners who can use this certification to offer clients much-valued proof of ability and expertise.”

Here’s a quick rundown of the exam-development process. In just three minutes, you can read what it took us months to do (you’re welcome).

Step 1. Build the team.
First, we assembled the team to create the exam. We approached Brooks Bell, one of our top partner agencies, to help flesh out the team. They offered the assistance of six incredibly smart, motivated analysts and developers, all of whom had years of experience working with Adobe Target and deep understandings of optimization and personalization.

We then added our experts from Adobe Target product marketing and product engineering along with consultants from Adobe Global Services (AGS) who had worked with numerous clients on a wide variety of projects using Adobe Target.

As an agency, Brooks Bell well understood the value of bringing in hired guns when you lack specific expertise. They suggested bringing in a third-party agency that was well-versed in developing such exams to guide the entire team through developing the exam questions. They coached us on nuances specific to creating exams.

Step 2. Define the role and minimum knowledge and skillset.
To develop questions, we first had to conduct a job-task analysis in which we identified the tasks that individuals who met the minimum standards for the roles of Target Business Practitioner and Target Analyst performed. We considered what tasks they could perform independently versus those that required some assistance and identified the technologies and tools they used in their roles.

Step 3. Identify key knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs).
We then worked with subject matter experts to determine the KSAs required for each task that we’d identified in our task analysis. These KSAs were essential, because they drove the actual objectives on which we would base our exam questions.

Step 4. Write the exam questions.
Next, we wrote (and we wrote, and we wrote) exam questions. In fact, we wrote many more questions than we actually used so we had a great selection of high-quality questions that covered the wide range of exam objectives.

Step 5. Review, select, and refine the questions.
There’s nothing worse than taking a test in which the questions or answers are poorly worded — or worse yet, the answers are just plain wrong. We spent a lot of time reviewing the exam questions, and asked numerous subject matter experts and copywriters to review them as well, so we could be sure we didn’t leave it to exam-takers to find bad questions.

Step 6. Set the passing score.
Certifications tend to be a pass/fail proposition. To determine what constitutes a passing score, we went through a “standards-setting” process in which our SMEs assigned numerical values to the test questions based on their difficulty levels. The SMEs had to rationalize why they rated a question at a certain level to make sure that they were applying similar approaches to the ratings (that’s the “standards” part of the standards-setting process).

We then conducted a statistical analysis of the ratings — using the range of potential scores to choose the passing score — and determined the number of questions to include on the exam and the amount of time an exam-taker would be allowed to complete each exam.

Step 7. Make the exams available worldwide.
With our exam questions, scoring system, and time limits all solidified; we turned to our testing vendor, Alpine Solutions, to develop both exams in their visually pleasing and easy-to-read format.

Get Adobe Target-Certified today

Without a doubt, adding an ACE certification to your resume and LinkedIn profile can give you a leg up in your career as an optimization and personalization professional. For agencies, it’s a key differentiator for clients who are seeking expertise in this field. So, why not invest in boosting your profession or helping your agency stand out? Whether you’re an employer or a client, these certifications are equally valuable to you. They provide you with that essential yardstick you need to determine which applicants, current employees, or agencies are best-suited to help you use Adobe Target to power your successful experience business.

Topics: Personalization

Products: Target