Programming Course Assessments

If you are thinking about attending a course yourself, you might be asking:

  • Is there an exam?
  • Will I get a certificate?

If you are thinking about sending an employee on training, you might be asking:

  • How do I know if my employee has actually understood the content?
  • How can I measure my employee's progress and competence?

We often get asked about assessments, exams and certification. Most people don't understand what options are available.

Types of certificates

There are two types of certificates:

Certificate of Attendance

This certificate only confirms that you attended the course. It does not prove that you are competent in the subject. No matter where or what course you attend, you usually get something to confirm that you were there.

To receive an Incus Data certificate of attendance, you must attend at least 80% of the course. You must also take part in the practical exercises during the course.

Certificate of Competence

This is what most people want when they refer to certification.

You will only get a certificate of competence if you can prove that you are competent. That means that you need to pass a test or exam or assessment. Just attending a course does not make you competent.

To pass the test, you will first need to revise and practice the skills you learn on the course. So you will generally write the test after completing the course, and not as part of the course itself.

Options for Competency Certification

There is no one international authority that is relevant for all programming languages. Some certifications are more valuable than others to prospective employers.

If you want a certificate of competence, you have various options.

Incus Data Certification

Our course price includes a voucher for a free competency assessment. This is valid for 6 months from the date of the course.

This is a detailed, technical test that covers the contents of the course. Our goal is to test your understanding, and your ability to read and write code. You will not be able to pass if you try to memorise the course material. You will need to practice the skills we teach.

This is a closed-book, invigilated (i.e. supervised) test that you write on our premises, and it can take up to 2 hours. You must achieve 75% to pass.

If you fail, you can rewrite the assessment for free, as long as it is still within the 6 month window.

If you do not have a voucher or it has has expired, you can still write the assessment. We charge R450,00 excluding VAT per assessment.

If you want to write an assessment, please contact us to book your assessment slot.

Other Vendor Certification

Some vendors offer certification on the languages, technologies or applications that they own. As with any competency certification, you have to write an invigilated exam. You write an Oracle exam to get Oracle certification. You write a Microsoft exam to get Microsoft certification.

Different vendors have different certification paths. There may be different levels of certification, from entry-level to more expert. You might need to write more than one exam to get a certificate.

These exams are not usually linked to a single course. You may need to attend more than one course to cover all the topics. The required passmark is usually at least 70%. You will need to study and practice your code before attempting such an exam.

Vendor exams are available from official testing centres (usually Pearson VUE). Testing centres manage tests for industries from IT to nursing to real estate. The costs range from US$50 to US$295.

MICT SETA Statement of Achievement.

This is based on the unit standards issued by the SA Qualifications Authority, as part of the National Qualifications Framework. Most of the technologies we teach do not have such unit standards. So the MICT approach is only available for parts of a few of our courses. You will need to write a test and complete a portfolio of evidence. There is a cost for both the assessment and the moderation of the portfolio of evidence.

Please note that we do not recommend this. The unit standards are out-dated and poor quality. The level of competence required is too low to be valuable to any ;employer.

Is Certification Important?

There is no simple answer to that question. Some people believe it is valuable, other people believe it is a waste of money. It depends on your objectives.

Want to get a job? Certification may add value to your CV. Employers are looking for competent developers: people who know how to do the work, and how to do it well. Experience and real-world development skills are always the most important. But in some industries a certificate might help you get the job.

Want to evaluate your staff and plan their development paths? Vendor certification is expensive. You might only need it if you are an official vendor partner.

Which Option is Best?

Once again, there is no simple answer that is right for everyone.

Regardless of what you decide, an Incus Data course will give you a solid foundation. And an Incus Data assessment will show if you have understand the work.

If you decide to write a Microsoft or Oracle exam, we recommend you first write the Incus Data assessment. It is an excellent way to determine if you are ready, and it won't hurt your pocket.

For managers, the Incus Data assessment is a great way to check the progress of your staff. It can identify gaps in their knowledge. We also conduct assessments as part of your recruitment process. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.