Ignition Community Live: Ignition Certification Update

56 min video  /  44 minute read


Bobby McKenzie

Training Manager

Inductive Automation

Chris Fischer

Integrator Program Manager

Inductive Automation

For professionals who use Ignition, Certification levels provide a way to verify and increase their knowledge of the software. On November 14, 2022, Inductive Automation began a one-year transition period of phasing out Certification Tests in favor of granting Core and Gold Certification exclusively through 5-day Ignition Courses. Join Training Manager Bobby McKenzie and Integrator Program Manager Chris Fischer as they explain the details and timeline of the new Certification process, what this means for integrators in the Integrator Program, and the reasons behind the change, as well as addressing any questions from the Ignition community.

(Note: After this webinar aired, IA’s Training team decided to indefinitely extend the certification test deadlines past Feb. 13, 2023. Core and Gold tests can be continued and new certification tests can be issued as normal for the foreseeable future. Certification can also be earned by completing an Ignition training class. Further updates to the training certification process or test deadlines will be announced before being implemented.)

Webinar Transcript

Chris Fischer: Welcome to Episode 39 of Ignition Community Live. Today we'll be talking about the Ignition Certification Update. We heard your request for us to go over the changes to the certification process, and today we'll do just that. My name is Chris Fischer and I'm the Integrator Program Manager here at Inductive Automation. My role is to interface with all our integrator partners enrolled in the program and to supplement the relationship you have with your account representative. I'll be presenting today with Bobby McKenzie, who is the Training Manager here at Inductive Automation. Bobby, do you want to share a little bit about your role?

Bobby McKenzie: Yeah, thanks. Like Chris said, I'm the Training Manager here at Inductive Automation, and that means I'm heading up the instruction and certification programs. So instruction covers all the training classes that you see, some internal training for Inductive Automation, working with our training centers around the world, and other things like ICC presentations. And then we'll be talking at length today about our certification.

Chris: Alright, great. Thanks, Bobby. With that, I will let you take it away.

Bobby: Alright. So let's just go ahead and dive into today's agenda. We're going to be starting off with an overview of the changes to the certification system and the reasons why this change is happening. And we're going to go into detail about the certification update and our transition timeline. After that, we'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions that we've heard so far. And then we're going to end the webinar with some Q&A from you. If a question comes up during the presentation, go ahead and type them into the questions area in your GoToWebinar control panel. We'll try to leave plenty of time at the end for answering as many of those as possible. But if for some reason we aren't able to get your question answered today, then you can always reach out to us afterwards. And we'll have some links at the end of the presentation for how you can reach out. And since we get asked this question a lot, there will be a recording of today's presentation. And it'll be available in a couple of days on our website.

Bobby: So about the certification update. On November 14, 2022, we began granting new Core and Gold Certification levels through our Core and our advanced Ignition classes. Over the next year, excuse me, over the next year, ending in November 2023, we will be phasing out the current certification tests. Tests will continue to be available during this transitionary period. But once the transition ends, we won't be accepting test submissions anymore. At that point, we'll be releasing a version of the test along with some answers so that anyone can use it to challenge themselves and see if they measure up to our "perfect answers."

Bobby: So let's get into the reasons for this change. First and foremost, we want to make it clear that we gave this decision a lot of thought. And the primary goal of training has been and will continue to be knowledge transfer from our experts to you and anyone that wants to learn to use Ignition. Now, there were a couple of reasons for this change. And we wanted to focus on the two main reasons. And those reasons are, what certification means to us and what the tests are doing for everyone. So the primary goal of Ignition certification is so that we, at Inductive Automation, can verify that someone knows how to use Ignition. And I'm sure most of you are aware, but there are many different ways to create a functioning project in Ignition.

Bobby: And while being able to solve a problem in any way is a very valuable skill, especially in this industry, we really want to ensure that our certified users know and use our best practices in Ignition. And so this brings us to our second point. The main goal of any test should be a knowledge check. And looking over the test submissions over the last several years, has painted a little bit different picture. Now, I want to say there are three basic types of test takers. There's the veteran Ignition user who wants to prove their knowledge, which is exactly the point of the test. There's people brand new to Ignition, and they want to use the test to learn how to use Ignition. And there's also people looking for whatever the quickest route to a certification discount is. And we looked at these three different groups, and when we realized where most of our test submissions fell in those three categories, it became really clear that the existing tests are not focused on that first category. They're primarily either a learning tool or just a quick discount. So ultimately, what we decided was that changing certification and the attached discounts to a course-based learning environment will better meet that primary goal.

Bobby: Now, through the courses, we'll be able to ensure more consistent base of Ignition knowledge. We'll be able to provide more learning opportunities, and we'll be able to provide that personalized feedback that you can only get when you're asking an instructor. And we feel like this amounts to more than what the certification test can offer. So how do you get certified now in the course? You can get Core and Gold Certification through attending our five-day courses and completing the lab work during class. Now, the lab work is a series of prompts that have you build in Ignition, and it reinforces the material that you covered that day. And the instructor will review each day's lab work on the following morning.

Bobby: Well, not on Saturday. We do the last day's lab work on Friday. But anyways, you can get Core Certified through the Core class. You can get Gold Certified through either the Databases & Scripting class or the Perspective course. And you do have to get Core Certified to be Gold Certified. Sorry, you can't just skip past Core. But courses are available virtually. They have been for the last few years. And starting next month, we'll also be offering in-person training in our headquarters in Folsom, California.

Bobby: Now, in order to stay certified, there are a few important things to know. Previously, we certified by Ignition version number and we used upgrade tests to recertify. And that did cause a large bottleneck anytime a new version was released. So instead, what we're going to be doing is your certification will be valid for three years. And then there will be a short update class to renew. There will be a class for each certification level. And completing any of the classes will restart your grace period from that date. So if you take multiple different classes, it'll push your grace period.

Bobby: Now, when that grace period is nearing its expiration, you can sign up for the update class to learn the new features and functionality of Ignition and have time to chat with instructors. So for example here, if you get Core Certified in January of next year, '23, then the expiration will be January '26. If you then get Gold Certified six months later, then it'll push your certification six months. Taking the update class in maybe January of '25 will then push your expiration out another three years and so on. Now, we'll announce the details for the Core and Gold Certification Update classes in the future. So keep an eye out for that. But we will send out announcements for it.

Bobby: Our primary goal here is to make them similar in content and length to the upgrade tests that we have currently. So these will be short and sweet. So what if you're already certified? If you have a current 8.1 Certification level, then you're all set. There's nothing you need to do to stay certified. Your level won't change. So if you're Core or Gold, you'll continue to be certified at that level. And you'll stay certified without any action at all on your part. Your grace period, regardless of when you took the test, will start or has started on November 14, 2022, and again, lasts for three years. If you can't attend a class through Inductive Automation, say, due to language restriction or being in a very different time zone, our distributors around the world are going to be able to certify you. And you can contact your local distributor for any announcements or updates on when they'll start classes that will give you Core and Gold Certification levels. And of course, the Inductive University is available as well. And it still has the Credential and all that.

Bobby: So the IU really isn't going anywhere. This is something that's fundamentally a part of our training offerings. We're working on new videos every day. All the great videos, all the challenges continue to exist in their current form. And they also carry that Credential level, Certification level as well. This continues to be a wonderful source of information on Ignition features. And it's an excellent supplement to learn about all the features and functionality that aren't covered in the courses.

Bobby: Now, the challenges will continue to be a requirement, the University challenges, continue to be a requirement for tests but not for the in-course certification. If you're getting certified through class, then you can just go straight into the Core class, learn the Core principles, and get Core Certified. And speaking of the tests, if you're wondering if you can still take a certification test, the answer is yes. However, the tests will be phased out over the next year during that transition period that I mentioned earlier. So during the transition, you have the option to become certified with either the classes or the tests. November 13, 2023 is the final deadline for all test submissions. And we won't be accepting any tests after that date. We'll go into more detail on all the dates in just a few minutes.

Bobby: After the final deadline, we'll be providing the test prompts and answers for the 8.1 Core and Gold tests to everyone through our website. So make sure you hit those deadlines. Releasing the tests along with the answers is going to give you yet another learning tool, an excellent way to challenge yourself. Chris, can you walk us through getting 8.1 Certified using the tests?

Chris: Sure thing. Here we have the different categories you may fall into based on your current level of certification. I want to point out that if you completed an 8.0 Certification test, you are automatically granted the 8.1 Certification at the same Core or Gold level. If you completed a Gold 8.1 Certification test, you have the highest and most up-to-date certification that Inductive offers. Your grace period started on November 14, 2022, and there's nothing you need to do to stay certified at that level.

Chris: Now, if you completed a Core 8.1 Certification test, you have the most up-to-date Core Certification available, and there's nothing you need to do to remain Core Certified, and your grace period started also on November 14, 2022. Now, let's say you want to obtain a Gold Certification via testing. You're going to need to complete a Gold test by November 13, 2023. For those of you who have completed a test for Ignition version 7.9 or earlier, you have two options to obtain an 8.1 Certification through testing. You can either complete all the required upgrade tests, or you can skip ahead to the Full 8.1 Core test. But just be sure to do one of these options by November 13, 2023, because we won't be accepting test submissions after that date. And if you're in this category, your grace period starts the day you pass the test. Bobby, would you mind going over the certification changes timeline?

Bobby: Yeah, so let's take a look at that. So we have all of our dates here, and starting back on November 14 is when we started doing our in-course certification in all the classes. So the next deadline is February 13. This is the deadline for Inductive Automation to issue any new 8.1 Certification tests. So after this date, no full versions of the test will be issued. So if you haven't started any tests at all and you want to do one, then this is the date you want to watch. So you can contact your sales rep to get a test started, but you do have to have completed the Inductive University challenges to start that test.

Bobby: Upgrade tests can still be issued after this date, and any tests in progress can still be submitted. So just new full tests. The next deadline, May 15, this is the deadline for issuing the upgrade tests. So upgrade tests going from 7.8, or excuse me, 7.8 to 7.9, 7.9 to 8.0, those ones, they can be accessed from the account portal on the IA website. So you can get them up until this deadline. Any tests that are in progress at this point, so something you've already started, can still be submitted after this date.

Bobby: And as Chris mentioned, the 8.0 to 8.1, there is no upgrade test for that. It will automatically be granted if you finish the 8.0 test. So you might be closer than you think. On August 14, 2023, that is the first submission deadline. So if you have a new test that hasn't been graded yet, you have to turn it in by that date. If you don't submit any results at all by that date, then the test will become invalid. Test resubmissions, however, will be allowed after this date. Now, on November 13, this is the final deadline for submitting a certification test. If you don't submit your final results by that date, the test becomes invalid. And it is worth noting here, tests are graded by a real person, and it does take time. So make sure that you're submitting as early as you can, and make sure you're submitting the best possible work for the test. It might take a little while to grade, especially as we near these submission deadlines and more people submit their tests. Alright, so that's the basic announcement. And now we want to move into the frequently asked questions section.

Bobby: But before we answer any of your questions that you've already posted here in our chat, we wanted to go over some of the questions that we've heard through our community. Now, some might be a little bit of repeating what we've already just said, and some are very pointed questions. But all of these come from our community, and we wanted to address them before we really get into it with your questions. So here we have a few about the “why.” So, “Are you replacing tests because it takes too much time to grade?” Well, there is a significant amount of work in grading each test, and that is part of what prompted the initial conversations for this change. But as I said earlier, we've seen a continued trend of newer users taking tests sooner and taking them to learn rather than their original intent, which was to prove competency with Ignition. So, “Why not switch back to a model where we pay for certification tests?” And we thought about that. That might be a good short-term option, but we do see a lot of issues with test submissions like cheating, collaboration, and sometimes tests, basically just a name and nothing else.

Bobby: This has made it very difficult for us to manage this certification system. And tying certification to our courses, this is going to allow us to really have a better experience. It's going to allow us to link best practices to our certified individuals. And those are honestly often very difficult to convey in a written test without having obsessively strict requirements.

Bobby: “Does in-class certification devalue certification?” And we feel, no. We actually feel pretty strongly that offering certification in our classes adds value to it. Again, the main goal of the certification system is for us to be able to confidently say that someone has a particular level of knowledge in Ignition, including best practices. And like I just mentioned, we found it really basically impossible to have test prompts that can only be solved using our best practices unless we just give you a step-by-step guide on how to do the problem, which is not the point of a test anyways. And we've looked over data coming back as far as 10 years, and we found that the classes are a much better way to ensure that Ignition developers know and can adhere to these best practices that we want. We feel that having certification tied to the classes is a much better measure of the knowledge transfer than the tests are.

Bobby: So what about if your schedule prevents you from being able to attend a training class? Well, we understand not everyone has the ability or the time to take a week-long class, virtual or in person, either one, but we believe the amount of Ignition experiences that our courses offer justifies that time commitment. And it is a focal point of the in-course certification system to cover the same concepts that the previous certification system did and to do it in a very similar timeframe. The only difference here is you're doing it with an instructor and it'll be consecutive.

Bobby: Now, the Inductive University and the User Manual are also available to learn Ignition. And like I said, we will release the certification test later next year, so you have plenty of opportunities to learn even outside of classes. Now, “Will there be more certification classes in 2023 and beyond?” And yeah, absolutely. So with this change, we're going to be able to shift our focus a little bit and really dive into our class offerings. So time commitments for grading our certification tests have been rising over the years, and when the certification tests are phased out, then we'll be able to dedicate all of that time to classes. So we'll have a lot more on the schedule, we'll have a lot more options.

Bobby: We do currently only offer our courses in Pacific time and in English, but we do have plans to start delivering a small number of classes, at least in different time zones. I know I only speak English, so I can't do any other languages, but offering them in different time zones may alleviate a lot of the burden of coming to one of our classes. This schedule is still to be determined, but we'll make announcements when we do have classes that are a little bit different than our normal Pacific-time classes. And this is one that we've gotten quite a lot. “Three years from now, there will be a large number of people about to lose their certification status due to the certification test completion giving you a November 14th, or rather a prior certification test completion giving you a November 14th start date.”

Bobby: “Will there be enough capacity in the certification update classes to handle that?” And yes, the answer is yes. We are working on the update classes right now with a focus on being able to deliver as many as we need to keep users certified. The upgrade classes will be significantly shorter and significantly less expensive than our current five-day courses. We're currently working out all of the details for the classes, so we don't have exact answers for you yet, but I wanted to make sure that you know that the goal is for it to be similar to the existing update test.

Bobby: Alright, so about the actual classes themselves and getting the certification, “Do you have to have an IU Credential to take the Core class?” No, like I said earlier, the IU Credential is not required for the Core Certification class. The Inductive University will still remain in place and free and continue to provide an Ignition Credential, but it's not required for the Core class. “Will students have to take a test after completing the class?” Nope, no test in the class. “Is it possible to fail the in-person certification class?” So when you get certification in class, you have to go through the lab work. The lab work will be reviewed each day by an instructor, going through the prompts and answering questions to make sure everyone understands what's happening here. Now, students that attend at least four of the five lab work review sessions will earn the certification.

Bobby: And as a sub-question, people often ask if the students are required to use a camera, and no, that's not the case. We're not trying to check in that you're physically sitting at your computer or anything like that. And a really big one that we get, “Can people take an advanced training class like the Databases & Scripting or Perspective class in order to reach the Gold Certification level without taking the Core Certification level?” And the answer is no, you can't be Gold Certified without also being Core Certified. You can take the classes anytime you want, and we're not trying to force you into any specific thing, but it's highly discouraged to take the classes out of order because the advanced ones build on the lessons that are learned in the Core. So if something happens, especially in this transitionary period where maybe you take an advanced class, but you haven't done the Core yet, you could take the Core test, and then once your Core test is complete, your Gold Certification will be valid, but you can't just skip the Core Certification.

Bobby: Alright, so speaking of that transitionary period, so, “What if you took a class before certification was offered in class? Does that mean you're certified?” And the answer is no. Attending a class before November 14th does not grant certification. If that's something that you've done and you'd like to still earn your Core or Gold Certification, you can start a certification test by contacting your salesperson. Speaking specifically to Gold Certification, either of the advanced classes will grant Gold Certification. So if you've perhaps taken one of the two and you wanted to get Gold Certified without doing the test, you can just take the other one and get that Gold Certification level.

Bobby: Alright, “I have a Core Certification test in progress, but I'm scheduled for a Core class soon, should I continue to work on the test?” Now, this is really up to you. Both the test and the class will grant you certification, or can grant you, rather. And so if you wanna submit your test, you can. If you wanna just wait and do the Core class, that's fine too. There is no benefit to completing both of them. And the same goes for the Gold test, right? If you're taking a Gold test and signed up for a Gold class. So as kind of a follow-up, “If you're currently taking a test, do the changes to certification mean you should change what you're doing?” And like I just said, if you have a scheduled class, or if you'd prefer to go to class, that's fine. But if not, you can just continue taking your test. Anytime that you're 8.1 Certified, it will automatically give you the certification. And when you finish your test, the deadline will start on that date when you get a pass.

Bobby: One question that we've gotten a few times is, “Will the certification system be as challenging as the tests?” I guess it kind of depends on your opinion. So the challenges presented in the in-course certification are different than the tests. But despite that, both of these systems have similar learning objectives. So we believe that students who go through the classes and understand the material will have comparable knowledge to someone who has the ability to complete the written certification test. Students will be able to test their Ignition knowledge through the class lab work, and will also have an instructor to assist them along the way. Now, the in-course certification pass-or-fail criteria is attendance-based, but the certification, like I said earlier, is gonna be denied if you're not coming to the classes.

Bobby: So you do have to be present and learning during the week. So a little bit for our international integrators. So if you have any other questions, please let us know. We just have a couple here. But one big question we get is, “Do the distributors offer certification classes?” And the answer is yes, absolutely. All of our distributors have the ability to grant certification in class. You'll just have to talk to your local distributor. See, “Will multilingual classes be offered?” And we are currently working on a solution for this, nothing to give you at the moment. But in the meantime, our distributors do offer classes in other languages. So there are some offerings out there. About the Inductive University, “Will its content continue to be updated as new features are released?” And yeah, absolutely. The Inductive University remains unchanged. It's going to continue on as it is currently. The updates to the certification system are not affecting the Inductive University.

Bobby: Alright, so some questions from our Integrator Program. “Will there be discounts for Integrator Program enrollees?” We are currently working on some options that we're gonna present in the future. But at the moment, there are no new discounts or no different discounts outside of what you're already getting in the Integrator Program.

Bobby: “Does the level of certification like Gold, Premier, etcetera, affect the price of the class?” And again, not outside of any existing discounts you get. Although, as always, we are looking to figure out if there's anything that we can do, anything that makes sense in that regard. “Will certification still be free for the Integrator Program?” And well, so there's no cost for the certification once you're enrolled in the course, but you do have to enroll in the course. We won't be making the courses free to attend. There will be a cost. Like I said, we're working on ways to figure out something that's better for our integrators. And honestly, we'd love to hear your ideas if you have any, but nothing to announce yet. And then the last one on this page, this one was based off of a very specific question that we got one time, but I feel like it's a really good question and it deserves a good answer. So the notion that an integrator has built their business around Ignition and they're getting all their engineers trained, they're getting all their engineers certified, even as the first step in employment, this change will be burdensome. And having certification is important. So what are the options?

Bobby: And yeah, you're right. The change to having the certification be through class, meaning the time you would have spent on the test is instead spent during business hours in class. But we don't have anything to announce at this moment. We wanna find a system that is both equitable for our integrator partners like most of you, and our company as well. And we're kicking around some ideas like night classes and things like that to sort of alleviate some of that business-hour burden. But like I said, we don't have anything to announce yet. But we do really love to get feedback from you all. So if you have any ideas, let us know.

Chris: Great, thanks so much for that, Bobby. Alright, so if you wanna check your certification level and/or your testing status, you can head over to the account portal listed on the screen here. And from here, you'll be able to see exactly where you stand with your certification and your testing. And to read all the details about the Ignition Certification Update and the Certification Change FAQs that we just covered, you're gonna wanna visit this website, the top one here on the page, and that's gonna give you a full update of everything we discussed today.

Chris: And additionally, feel free to reach out to training@inductiveautomation.com with any questions if we're not able to answer yours today. Okay, and with that being said, we do have some time to take some questions from the audience. So let's go ahead and jump into that. We've got quite a few, so we're gonna get to as many of them as we can. So Bobby, first question. “Does the three-year grace period apply to those who get certified by testing, the old method?”

Bobby: Yes, absolutely. So when your certification test is marked as passed, that date will be the start of your three-year grace period. So just like attending a class, taking the test will start the clock, so to speak.

Chris: Okay, and “Will there be a cost to get recertified?”

Bobby: Probably, we haven't actually decided on that one. There is some human element to that. The recertification courses are going to have a teacher, so it will likely have a cost. What that cost is going to be, I don't know, but we are trying to find ways to minimize it. And we'll have more information about that, but the idea is to keep it as painless as possible for all of you.

Chris: Okay, and here's one that we just covered, but I think it's good to reiterate it. The question is, “Where can I find out my current level of certification?” And if you wanna do that, you can head on over to account.inductiveautomation.com. And again, from there, you'll be able to see your level of certification and your testing status. Okay, Bobby, here's one for you. “My certificate says Ignition Gold 8 Certified. Does that mean I am not certified for 8.1?”

Bobby: No, so if you have an 8.0 Certification level, that means you are 8.1 Certified. The reason you got a 8.0 certificate is because you submitted an 8.0 test. When you pass that test, our system automatically marked you as 8.1 Certified as well, but the automated email going out didn't send you an 8.1 Certification. So if you do want an 8.1 certificate, then you can just email training@inductiveautomation.com and you can grab it. But like Chris just said, if you go to account.inductiveautomation.com, there's a certification page in there and it'll show you your current certification status. So you can see that without having to reach out to us.

Chris: Okay, and next question. “Will there be a test at the end of the training to obtain a certificate or does completing the training completely supplement taking a test?”

Bobby: Yeah, so there is not a test at the end of the class. It's the lab work as you go through the class. So each day there will be a series of prompts covering the information that we went over that day. And then there's no test at the end.

Chris: Alright, and here's a question about the timeline for testing. Here we go. “So we have to start the test by February 2023. We can't start any tests after that?”

Bobby: That is correct, yes. So on that February date, the full I've-not-started-any-test-yet version is going to stop being offered. After that date, there are another three months before update tests are invalid. So if you have an older test and you're on the upgrade path, you have a little bit longer. But yeah, the full I-haven't-done-anything test ends on that February date. Well, the ability to get one ends on that date.

Chris: Okay, next one. “If I am Core Certified, can I obtain the Gold Certification by attending the training course?”

Bobby: Yeah, absolutely. So if you have an 8.1 Core Certification, however you got it, if you got it through 8.1 or if maybe you've been with us since the legacy test and you've upgraded over the years, however you have arrived at that 8.1 Certification, you can then just take one of the advanced classes to upgrade your certification level to the Gold level.

Chris: Okay, and I think this next one is probably going to apply to quite a few people. “What if the Gold Certification test is already downloaded and the test is in progress?”

Bobby: So if you've already started the test, you've requested it, you've downloaded it, you've started using it, as long as the test exists in our system before the deadline for creating a test, then you're good to go. You can continue with the test. You do have to watch the submission deadlines for that, but once you have a test, you can complete it. If you decide that you'd rather just take a class instead of finishing the test, that's fine too. You could stop the test if you wanted to, but at that point, it's up to you to decide which one you want to go.

Chris: Thanks, Bobby. Okay, next one. “I would like to know if in the case of not passing the test,” excuse me, “not passing the Gold test and having to exceed the certification time, what can I do to extend the date and comply with the certification?” So it's more of a timeline question.

Bobby: Yeah, so if, let's say you have a Gold test already, you submit it, you fail, and you want to try again, then you want to resubmit, and then the end date, the final end date for submissions passes, that November 2023 passes. At that point, we won't be submitting, excuse me, we won't be accepting any more submissions because we will have given out the answers to all of the tests. So at that point, your test will just be marked failed and you won't have that certification level. So then at that point, your option to get Gold Certified is to come to one of the advanced classes, either Databases & Scripting or Perspective.

Chris: Okay, and “When do the Core and Gold class certifications begin?”

Bobby: The Core and Gold class certifications began on November 14th, so a few weeks ago. There were both Core and Perspective classes that week, and my brain is failing me, I believe this week we're doing a Core and next week we have a Databases & Scripting class, and those are offering the certification as well. So we've already started offering the certification in class.

Chris: Yeah, and Bobby, it's probably also worth mentioning that anybody who wants to check the schedule, the availability for these classes, it's constantly being updated on the training website, on our training page on our website.

Bobby: Mm-hmm, yeah, exactly. I think it's inductiveautomation.com/training/schedule or something like that, but it's in the menu bar, so it should be easy to find under the support item, then there's a training schedule.

Chris: And we keep those pretty constantly updated. You guys are regularly adding new dates, is that right?

Bobby: Yeah, so we add dates a quarter at a time, and Q1 for 2023 is up now, and Q2 will be up probably before the new year.

Chris: Okay, so it's a good idea to be checking that fairly regularly. Okay, “What happens if our certification expires? What does recertification look like?”

Bobby: Right, so the recertification is going to be another class. So we haven't finalized those classes yet, but like I said earlier, they will be significantly shorter than the initial certification classes. Think of it, well, if you have taken a certification test and an upgrade test, you can think of it in the same way. The certification test is pretty long, and the upgrade test is pretty short, and we wanna follow the same ideals. So the three-year recertification class is going to be based on the things that have changed in Ignition in the last three years.

Bobby: So over time, and from one year to the next, they might change a little bit in length because we wanna fit the important information and not just, oh, you have to sit with us for 10 hours or whatever the length is. And we're also hoping to do some cool things like maybe splitting the class over a couple of days so it can be two or three evenings instead of a full workday. So like I said, we're still designing that, but the primary goal is to make sure that it's short and sweet, right? We want to get you the information that you need that's new in Ignition to retain that certification level, that knowledge of our best practices and what to work on and how to develop projects without just pushing some arbitrary time commitment.

Chris: Okay, and “Once your certification expires, say in three years from now with the new system, is there a grace period on your expiration or is it immediate?”

Bobby: It would be immediate. The three years is the grace period. So once you hit that three-year mark, then you will no longer be currently certified. And then at that point, you don't need to retake the Core class or anything like that. You just need to do the upgrade class again. So you could theoretically have a three or four-day lapse and then be certified again. So we're not trying to be punishing or anything like that, but we feel that three years is a significant amount of time or rather significant enough that you'll know when that timeline is coming up and be able to schedule an upgrade class.

Chris: Okay, so next question is, “What were the two Gold Certification classes?” Bobby, do you want to cover just a little bit about what those two classes are and maybe just a little bit of the content?

Bobby: Yeah, absolutely. So the two classes are our Perspective class and our Databases & Scripting class. So the Perspective class covers a lot of the more advanced functionality that you'll find in the Perspective Module. We talk about things like layout and navigation, which if you've ever used Perspective, is definitely can be more advanced or can be more involved than say the Vision layout stuff. And then we go quite quickly into a lot of things like using a database and using some queries to populate existing Perspective components and features like table subviews and things that are mobile specific like using your camera on your phone for a barcode scanner and things like that.

Bobby: So it sort of runs the gamut of Perspective and ends up with a lot of the more advanced stuff that you can do with the Perspective Module. The Databases & Scripting class, depending on your experience, this is generally the hardest of our classes, but I personally like it the most. As you can probably imagine, it focuses specifically on databases and scripting. So using a database, writing queries, putting queries in Ignition, writing queries specific to Ignition windows and being able to use parameters in those queries, stuff like that. And then it also goes into scripting in Ignition. So where are some of the advanced places that you can write scripts? What sort of things might you do with scripts to enhance your existing project? We even have things like script optimization inside that class. Alright, so what do you need to watch for to make your scripts run faster?

Chris: Okay, and here's another one that I think it's good to reiterate. Question is, “Can I take the certification test and not the online class now as of today, December 6th?” And the answer to that is you can do either. You can complete the test if you want to and submit it and training will grade it, give you feedback, and you can earn your certification that way. Or if you want to go ahead and take the test, or excuse me, take the class, that's fine as well. And you can get your certification that way. Is that right, Bobby?

Bobby: Yep, that is right.

Chris: Okay, here's one that's kind of interesting and it's maybe a broad question, but “For systems integrators, what is the role of the certification?”

Bobby: So the certification gives you two things as a system integrator. One is the, I guess, notoriety. So the certification is us, Inductive Automation, telling the world that you know how to use Ignition, you're been exposed to best practices, you're going to be able to start developing a project. The other thing is that there is a discount linked to the certification level. I can never remember what the actual discount values are, so you'll have to talk to your salesperson about that, but there's a discount link to your certification level. Those are the two primary reasons for certification.

Chris: Yeah, and adding to that, a big reason for the certification is that if you're not familiar, Inductive Automation has an integrator search tool. You can find it on our webpage. And we do see that a lot of customers, a lot of end users are going to that page to search for integrators in their region. And it really shows the level of Ignition knowledge that your company has. So it's important from a customer perspective so that customers can see how savvy you are with Ignition. Okay, moving on to the next one. “How much time do students have to complete the lab work? When it should be done during the five days... When should it be done during the five days, within active hours or at the end of the course?” So I think they're asking, is there lab work to do once the actual class is over?

Bobby: Yeah, so the lab work is designed to be completed in the final hour of each day. So for example, on day one, you go through the class and the class is 8:00 to 5:00. At four o'clock, you would stop with new material for that day and start on the lab work. So you should be able to complete the lab work in that hour. And then the next morning, we go through the lab work review and do all that. If you need more time, you could always continue working all through the night if you wanted to. Well, like I said, it's designed to be done in an hour. So I can't imagine a world where it would take you 10 hours to get it done. As long as you're paying attention in class that day, it should be pretty painless to get done. And the lab work is really focused on reinforcing the material. So think of it, well, like any other lab work, if you think about, in school, I only have familiarity with colleges in the US, but in college, there are often lab work classes. And you go to lecture, you learn the material, and then you go to lab and you do the thing that you were talking about in lecture.

Bobby: And that's kind of the idea. Although our classes don't have a lecture component, you are doing as we're telling you, teaching you the concepts throughout the day. So it's just further work at your own pace time.

Chris: Okay, and “Is there a time limit for doing an upgrade class?”

Bobby: Sorry, that one's hard to answer. I guess the answer is... I'm trying to think of what exactly you're asking on that one. So I'll answer both. So there's two potential things that you might be asking in that case. One is, do I have to have the class completed by a certain time? And the other one is, does something happen if I wait too long? Perhaps, I don't know, I'm not entirely sure. But so to reiterate the grace period, the three-year grace period and the upgrade class, once you've gotten your certification level, Core, Gold, whatever it is, that starts the date for your three-year grace period. At the end of that three-year grace period, we would like for you to take one of the upgrade classes. So I personally would schedule a month or two before the grace period ends. If you want to, you can wait until after the grace period ends, that's fine. But once that grace period ends, you will no longer be currently certified. You'll still have a marker of having been certified, but you won't be listed as currently certified. And then at some point in the future, you'll take an upgrade class.

Bobby: And then at that point, you will then be currently certified again for another three years. So you don't have to do it by the end date. But if you want to have no interruption in your current certification status, then you would have to do it by the end. And the upgrade class, like I said earlier, it's not finalized yet, but it's not going to be a test or anything like that. It's going to go over the things that have changed in Ignition. And it's going to be, attend the class and then when the class is over, you'll get the extended grace period.

Chris: Okay. And “Will the certification itself cost something to the student outside of the price of the course?”

Bobby: No, that's a great question. It will not. So coming to the course gives you the ability to earn the certification without having to pay anything extra for the certification.

Chris: Okay. And we're getting a lot of questions about the actual costs. It's worth mentioning that that's something that Inductive, we're actively discussing it. And we're trying to figure out the best method for this for each level of our customer. One of the questions here is, “Will there be a cost for future upgrade classes?” And I think what they're trying to say, Bobby, is if they take one upgrade class, are they going to have to pay for another one three years after that?

Bobby: Yeah. So the idea of the upgrade class is to cover all of the things that have been updated in Ignition in the last three years. So if you were to say, get your certification this week, then you have three years until you need to... Until the expiration. So in three years, you'd need to take another one, an upgrade class rather. At that time, you get another three years. So now six years from today's date, you'll take a second upgrade class. And that second one will cover the previous three years’ worth of material. So the idea here is you're always... Current in your Ignition knowledge, you always know, what's come out recently, what sort of things have changed. Have we updated security? Do we have new best practices? All that sort of stuff. Those are the goals. Those are the focus of the upgrade class. So we certainly want to be doing them regularly, every three years.

Chris: Okay. And then another question here is, “How does this affect certifications based on Sepasoft and Cirrus Link products?”

Bobby: So the certifications for Sepasoft and Cirrus Link are separate from ours. They are pretty specific. I don't want to say sub-products, but they're specific products that use Ignition to do what they do. And so their certification is going to be up to them to determine. So as far as I know, neither of them have changed their certification process. So, yeah, this change doesn't affect them.

Chris: Okay. And here's a question. “Are we each required to keep track of our own grace period or will we receive a notification of when the period will expire?”

Bobby: Yeah. So the account portal, it's account.inductiveautomation.com, is going to be your best bet for tracking the information that's current about you. That will have your certification time on there and when the expiration is over. But we will be sending out emails when your certification is about to expire. So I think three or six months before or something like that. I don't remember off the top of my head what it's going to be. But those emails will go to your email address as we know it. So if you've done something like changed companies or changed email addresses, or even gone from a company one to a personal one, you would have to let us know. You'd have to update it inside that account portal so that we know or so that we have the current address to notify you. But yes, we will be notifying when certifications are nearing their expiration.

Chris: Okay. We've got time for maybe one or two more. Here we go. “If you don't get recertified within the three-year grace period, can you still do the recertification test to bring you back up to date?”

Bobby: So after our deadline in November of 2023, there will be no tests anymore. You won't be able to submit a test. We will have the test available to you to test yourself, but you won't be able to submit a test. So if you go the entire three years and then don't take the certification update class, then at the end of the three years, you will no longer be currently certified. After that point, you can just take another upgrade class and then you'll be currently certified again. But yeah, there's no test that you would be able to do to skip the upgrade class.

Chris: Okay. And then last question that we have time for, “Is it possible to fail the course?”

Bobby: It's not possible to fail the course, but you could potentially not earn the certification. It is attendance-based. We want you to be present for all of the material and all the lab work, but we've determined that if you miss one of the days for whatever reason, we're not going to fail you. But if you miss more than one day of class, we do recommend in general that you just retake the class or schedule it again or something because you're missing a lot of information. So yeah, if you miss more than one day of the lab work, then you will not get the certification. So I guess that's what you mean by “fail it.”

Chris: Alright. Well, with that, we are pretty much at time here. A lot of questions that we weren't able to get to, and we do apologize for that, but we want to thank everybody for attending today. And we thank you for your patience as we work through these certification changes. We know it's important to you as our customer. But again, thank you for joining us today. We'll be back with Episode 40 of Ignition Community Live in February of next year. In the meantime, please be sure to keep in touch with us on social media and stay up to date by subscribing to our weekly news feed, email, and podcast. And we want to thank you again. Goodbye and have a great rest of your day.

Posted on November 22, 2022