Evaluating EMC’s Content Management Certification

So, I’ve now taken two of the exams offered in this space by EMC. I wanted to post some thoughts on the program as it has been applied to Documentum. I’ve been through more than one IT certification program in the past (including a Microsoft one that expired years ago), so I’m not new to this process. First, an overview of the EMC Proven Professional program.

There are three levels of certification. Each level must be completed in sequence. First is the Fundamentals/Associate level. In the Documentum world, there is one exam here that must be passed before any other exam can be attempted. From the plans that I have heard, this is the only exam at this level in the roadmap.

The second level is the Specialist level. There are two exams currently, with at least 2 more in the planning stages. By passing a Specialist exam, the final level opens up, Expert. The theory is that for each Specialist exam, there can be one or more Expert exams.

Now, let’s look at how this applies to the Server Programming track that I “entered”. The knowledge space for developing with the Content Server (done with the Documentum Foundation Classes) looks a little like this:

DFC Skill Set

As you move to the right in the graph, the interfaces become less and less used. IDfSysObject is buried in the blue while IDfPrincipalSupport would be in the Orange. If you move up, you see more and more obscure methods. IDfSysObject.updatePartEx(…) is one that is infrequently used on most projects. For almost everything in the Orange, somebody reading this may have used it, including myself. However, those part of the DFC that are found and used rarely.

When you divide the map into areas for certification, you get something like this:

DFC Ideal Exam Breakdown

Plenty of material for two exams, with an area in the upper right that would just be cruel to ask on an exam, though that doesn’t always stop people from do so. Now, let’s look at the scope of material on the actual Specialist exam.

DFC Specialist Exam Breakdown

Note the large scope of the exam brushing into the Orange. My main problem here is that is doesn’t leave a lot of room for growth. If there was only one exam, then the scope is actually just fine. The scope shows a lack of thinking ahead to the Expert exam.

The practice exam clearly indicates the scope of the actual exam. However, a Specialist in Server Programming would never pass that exam without extensive studying. Most Experts would have to study a fair amount. For a Specialist exam, that just seems a little much.

I know that the exams probably won’t be rewritten. That is fine. I love the Fundamentals exam. I thought it was perfect. I just ask EMC to think more carefully going forward when developing these exams. I would love to have more than one level of certification in each track to help evaluate talent. Right now, if they have the Specialist certification, I’m going to have to consider them an Expert. The problem, on some development efforts, I need one Expert and a couple of Specialists.

A couple quick last thoughts, I know the exam writers that EMC brought in are not responsible for the scope. I might not like a lot of the questions because of where they fell in the graphs above, but the writers where following the direction of EMC. Also, I would much rather have an exam that was too hard over one that was too easy.

The Specialist level means something at this level of difficulty. Unfortunately, I think it means they are an Expert.

15 thoughts on “Evaluating EMC’s Content Management Certification

  1. kishore kalicheti says:

    Hi Laurance,

    I taken fundamental exam lastweek it is So simple and i got 91% there.
    Actually i want to take ServerProgram exam this weekend.After seeing your blog i am thinking once again to take the exam.

    Can you share your experince about what do i need to prepare for this exam?

    is there any questions on out of DFC api? i mean is there any question on unpublished interfaces like content packages in dfc.

    In my developement i used only com.documentum.fc.client package and com.documentum.fc.common package and com factroy interfaces.

    There is some other packages i didnt used much on develpement,do i need to concentrate on those.

    How the questions on Bof and webservices.

    Thanks in Advance


  2. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will share some nuggets of information. About half of the exam was on the Java DFC Interfaces. This includes just about every package, from the well used to the more obscure. There were a few tossed in on the Server API itself, but not many and mostly in relation to their DFC conterpart. This section also includes working with XML in the DFC.

    As for the rest of the exam, it was divided fairly evenly between the following topics:

    – DFC Achitecture
    – DFC Installation and Security
    – Business Objects, including a few on Web Services
    – Troubleshooting. This includes tracing, DFLogger, and basic configuration of log4j

    Kishore, good luck and let us know how you do.


  3. kishore kalicheti says:

    Hi Laurence,

    Finally i took the exam but i couldn’t pass i lost the exam by 1%.
    Then i reschedule it finally i passed the exam.It contains more theoretical questions.i don’t think that exam gives quality professionals even though they passed the exam.Some questions really funny.

    Ok now finally i am certified documentum specialist.I dont know i enjoy this position.



  4. Anil Kintala says:


    I want to know if it is necessary to have any development knowledge to take Documentum Systemtem ADministrator exam.

    I have been an administrator ( Oralce Database, Unix System, Weblogic App admin) during last five years and do not know much about the application development. And moreover , can i move to the Architect level ??

    Please suggest.



  5. Anil, from what I can determine, you don’t need development skills for either exam. However, if you look closely at the description for Administrator Exam, you will see that you will probably need to brush up on some basic API and DQL that you might need for administrating Documentum. The exam doesn’t look easy.

    The Technical Architect Exam should be more geared for those that have a more generic IT background as there is a lot of common infrastructure knowledge that goes into it.


  6. Jagan says:

    I have just passed the EMCAD certification (the WDK version). Having done some extensive customizations, I felt it would be a cake walk. Your warning regarding the depth of knowledge they test alerted me. I paid attention while preparing and taking the exam. However I feel the standards should be set at this level so that certified professionals are valued unlike the Sun Certifications.
    Thanks for the wonderful blog.


  7. Neha says:

    hi there…. I am a business analyst working with one of the partners of EMC in the content management space. Could you please guide me as to which certification i should take to better understand the Documentum suite of products?!


  8. Sikelela says:

    Hi every one, i will be taking my ECM Exam E20-120 in three weeks time. Kindly help with questions and userful websites, i wrote this exam twice and i couldnt make, i will be writing it for the third time now. Kindly assist me people i cant afford loosing this battle this time around.



  9. Tauseef. M Shaikh says:

    Hi All,

    Presently working s content Analyst in MNC with 1 year experience. Can any one guide me as to which certifications I need to take to get a good career growth in content management. Please also let me know the career graph in content management.


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