As of the belated writing of this post, I now have my first Alteryx certification. Hooray!
And what better way is there to mark this occasion than to write a blog post about it?
Here, I’ll write briefly about my experience with it, how it stacks up against the equivalent Tableau exam, and my advice for anyone planning to take it.
A lot of questions
In my post about the Tableau exam, I went into a bit of detail regarding their anti-cheating measures. To summarize, you have an examiner monitoring you at all times over Zoom, and you have to keep your camera and mic on. There’s also an extensive set-up process beforehand where you have to show them your room, your desk, and your monitor(s). It was without a doubt the most rigorously administered virtual exam that I’ve ever taken.
The Alteryx exam is a fair bit different. There’s very little attempt to control what information the test taker can access. Instead, the exam pelts you with questions — about 80 of them — and gives you practically no time to do anything other than focus on answering them.
I think it’s fair to say that the Alteryx exam is much more difficult than the Tableau exam, setup inconveniences aside. Both must be completed in two hours, but the Alteryx one throws more than twice as many questions at you.
Moreover, I’d argue that the typical Alteryx question was harder than the typical Tableau question. They also got quite involved at times, requiring building out workflows of half a dozen or more tools in the span of less than two minutes. Even the “challenge questions” in Tableau never required more than dragging a simple calculated field and a couple of measures onto a viz.
I won’t lie — some of the questions were a bit beyond what I’d learned with the Data School up until that point. One question asked whether an uncommon configuration for one tool was congruous with an uncommon configuration for another tool. I’d never used either tool before, so I had to figure the answer out on the spot in Alteryx.
Of course, my time with the Data School prepared me for the exam in other ways. The contextual knowledge I had acquired let me know where to look for answers, even when I didn’t know the answers themselves.