Chef Certification Refresh

In the past 6 months, Chef has taken a number of big steps forward as we modernize our automation solutions including the announcement of Chef Enterprise Automation Stack, the new versions of Chef Infra, Chef InSpec and Chef Habitat, and a shift to 100% Open Source software. With all of these changes, we’ve realized it’s also time to revamp our Chef Certification program. 

Three years ago, Chef created the Chef Certification program to validate Chef proficiency in real-world scenarios.  We built this programme based on our many years of expertise in automation, with the assessment designed to ensure more than just ‘book learning’ but practical experience as well.  Thousands of exams have been delivered and credentials earned, with hundreds of users passing three exams to earn the title of Chef Certified Developer. 

All of the changes in both our product offerings and the way that developers acquire and validate knowledge have unfortunately left the certification program lagging. With many of the early certified practitioners coming up for renewal of their certification, we have decided that it is time to take a new approach to Chef Certification. 

What’s changing

To prepare for this update, we have looked back to the original objectives behind the program, these were focused around growth and recognition for individual practitioners, to allow them to prove their skill in Chef technologies and DevOps, benefitting themselves and their employers.  We wanted to embrace the idea of continuous improvement, both for ourselves and the program, and for the practitioners pursuing it.

With this in mind, as we reflected on what we could improve one area we particularly looked at is the barrier to entry posed by the proctored exams: the need to schedule a time and place to be able to meet the constraints imposed by the high level of exam conditions required.  Given the exams are already open-book (as you would have in your real job), we feel that proctoring is no longer required. Instead, in keeping with the self-serve nature of other Chef learning tools like Learn Chef Rally, we plan to offer the assessments as an on-demand exam.

This change of model will greatly assist with the need to support both the changes to the currently certified product set,  new products like Chef Automate and Chef Habitat, as well as the changing models of how we recommend our software is used and the patterns of the industry. 

We want to ensure when we certify you that you both know how to use our product and how to use the rest of the workflow our products fit in.  

What to expect

It will take time to implement these changes, so during the transition period, we will not be offering the exams from November 1st until the new program launches in 2020.  

Why not just keep the program in place while we make these changes? Well, we have a number of the original certified Chefs approaching their renewal period; and we want to rethink our next generation of skills certification program before individuals invest time in taking an exam that will be retired in the next few months. 

What’s Next

Supporting these changes and the new richer, certification curriculum will, of course, require updates to Learn Chef Rally. Watch for more details of the upcoming refresh to the site, aimed at making it a fuller experience with content beyond teaching the Chef products in isolation, but as part of complete solutions.

Thank you to everyone that has completed a Chef Certification in the past three years, and thank you to all of you that have given us feedback on the programme. Our current programme may be changing, but it will be back and it will be better than ever.

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Kimball Johnson

Kimball is a Developer Advocate at Chef Software, where he spends his days creating the best training content for enabling the coded enterprise. His ten plus years of experience in the world of DevOps and Automation with a wide variety of tools with many large enterprises has given him great insight into the benefits of Automation and Testing and will use that experience to lead you in your first steps into your own journey.