My stance on SAP HANA certification
On Friday I took the exam C_HANATEC131 and passed with 65%. This came pretty close to my self-assessment that I should pass the test, but that it would be difficult.
First the basics, the SAP certification exams are fair. There is more than enough time to read the questions and trying to find the solution. There are even some questions which are extremely easy to answer if you know the basics of SAP HANA. Some others are explicit syntax questions, maybe this tries to test your hands-on experience with SAP HANA. That is not so relevant for my job, but nevertheless a valid exam topic you can prepare. Having done some certifications already, I see a common trend which leaves me wondering about. So why not writing a short blog about it? As a gut feeling, around 40% of the questions were very difficult to answer although I believe I was firm in the topic. The questions should be concise, because reading long texts with each of the 80 questions is tiresome. In gerneral I believe SAP Education is really doing a good job here. However, in my opinion many questions were ambiguously formulated. This is not just my personal opinion, but several colleagues share that feeling. You read a question and get the information that e.g. 3 answers are correct. It is very easy to spot 2 of the correct answers, but the next one is tricky. You have two candidates for the third correct answer, but both seem to be equally valid or probable! I could argue in both ways why the one or the other answer is the right one. It mainly depends on how to interpret the question. With such questions, the exam becomes more of a “what did the person asking that question have in mind when formulating the question” than a technical examination of your knowledge. I know that creating such exams is really difficult, however how can it be that it is difficult to answer a question on a topic where you are knowledgeable? I could of course take notes and explain to SAP my concerns and reasoning for each of these aprox. 30 problematic questions. Maybe I will do that next time, because there is a risk at failing in such an unfortunate way. But I will need several sheets of paper for that and hit the time limit prematurely.
SAP software is about reverse engineering, having the ABAP sources helps a lot to do bug hunting and analyzing the root cause of problems. For me, SAP exams are primarily about reverse engineering the questions. How is this question meant? How to read between the lines? Which unsaid assumptions by SAP were being made? After the exam, I still don’t know the mind setting of the people who developed the questions, I can only see that my assumptions on the assumptions of the question creators were often false. I have no problem with a low score on “Data Provisioning”, because I didn’t learn that topic well and don’t know the details there. I just wonder why just learning the stuff isn’t enough, why SAP adds an additional barrier by formulating many questions ambiguously. My memory is notoriously bad, so I cannot replicate a specific example here. (SAP Education wouldn’t want me to do so anyway.) Are there other people who took a SAP exam and wondered more about how to interpret a question than on the topic (because you were really familiar with it)?