Hi Archer fans!
Our Archer Certification Program is now live. Below is a summary of how we got to where we are, how the new exams differ from the old, and much more.
As many of you are aware, RSA has undergone an exciting time of change and, in many ways, rebirth. This time of transition has given us the opportunity to reinvent things, and among those things was the entire approach to Archer Certification.
Step back with me into history for a moment....Once upon a time, Archer training was comprised of a single Archer Administration class that lasted 4 days, and on the morning of the 5th day, all attendees sat for a 160-question exam that was a combination of general knowledge and practical lab-style questions. Students had 4 hours to complete the exam and had the benefit of using any resources they had at hand, other than their neighbor or the instructor(s). It was grueling, especially after 4 full days of nonstop learning, but effective.
When Archer became part of RSA, things changed to accommodate rapid growth and a far more global audience. The number of training classes grew (we now offer 17 courses and counting), the number of exams grew, and the method of taking exams shifted to the formal, no-resources-permitted approach offered by Pearson Vue. For many years, you had to set aside time to travel to a testing center, lock away your personal items, and complete the exam without any resources at all. Eventually, at-home proctored exams also became available, but they still required a pre-set appointment time and careful monitoring to ensure all questions were answered solely from the candidate's own knowledge. It certainly worked, but we thought....if given the opportunity to change, would we?
The answer, I am certain you are guessing, is YES. As RSA and Archer IRM transitioned away from the Dell systems, so has our learning management system, our relationship with Pearson Vue, and so many other things.
Our last exams offered via Pearson Vue took place on August 31, 2021. After that date, we were in a period of transition and testing for a few months. When we went live with our new learning management system, the certification exams were then included in our new (and very own) system! This means that you're now able to purchase and take exams whenever you wish - up at 3am and feel like leveling up? Take your exam! AND - even more exciting - no more proctoring. Use whatever resources you have at hand - training materials, your company's instance of Archer, anything. We'd still prefer that you not phone a friend during the exam, and you'll have just 90 minutes to complete 70 questions, so you won't have time to look up EVERY answer, but just as in real life, if you need to look up an answer to confirm you were right all along, go ahead and do so.
So, Megan, you might be saying...What other changes are coming? I am so glad you asked! Under the old exam structure, we had two levels that very loosely mapped to Admin I and Admin II. We received plenty of feedback from Archer users who wanted some way to validate that they were skilled at simply using Archer, that they could run reports, that they understood reasons for using Archer, and so on - but they were not ever going to be admins. So - we've built a new entry-level exam, just for those who fall into that category. These Archer users might be general business consultants, involved in sales or account management, project managers, or business owners. The key is that they really haven't a need to learn the details of Archer Administration, but still want a certification of their own.
Introducing the new Archer Certification structure:
Level 1: Archer Certified Associate
Level 2: Archer Certified Administrator - Specialist
Level 3: Archer Certified Administrator - Expert
The new Level 1 is brand new, as described above. The new Level 2 (Specialist) is a rough equivalent of the previous structure's Associate exam (duplicate names, I know it's confusing), and the new Level 3 (Expert) is a rough equivalent of the previous structure's Professional exam. Make sense?
What about cost? Pearson Vue exams ran $150 each, and each candidate had to pay Pearson Vue directly. Exams in our own system will run just $100 each, and you'll be able to pay via credit card OR via training units/credits, should your organization have some available for you to use.
Oh, but Megan! you might be thinking. What if I just took an exam prior to August 31, 2021? Not to worry, friends. We've taken care of you. All who held still-valid certifications have been sent an invitation from Credly (our badging system partner) to accept an equivalent badge for the previous certifications already held.
Another change is - we have removed any pre-requisite for exams once within our own system. This means that if you believe you are ready for Level 3, even if you have never taken a previous exam, we'll let you take it.
Chaos, I know. But I've been around this Archer family for a decade and a half now, and I believe this is the right thing to do. We're a family, we trust each other, and we take care of each other. I'm positive there will be some hiccups along the way, and when you run into one of those, please reach out to us and we'll sort it out.
Quick link to your next steps: Archer Certification Exam Preparation Tips!
Until next time, keep learning, keep challenging, and keep your Archer skills fresh!
All the best, Megan Olvera Manager, Archer Academy
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