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Testing My Knowledge with OpenJS Certification, an interview with Daijiro Wachi

By April 30, 2020September 9th, 2020Blog, Certification, Node.js

“Unlearning and Repetition”

An Interview with Daijiro Wachi, Node.js Core Collaborator

Daijiro is a Node.js Core Collaborator and can be found @watilde on Twitter.

Along with Node, he contributes to other repositories related to the JavaScript ecosystem such as npm and URL Standard. He helps organize JSConf JP in Tokyo and presents at conferences around the world including Tokyo, Amsterdam and San Francisco. He works as a Digital Consultant at a management consulting firm and accelerates “Digital Transformation” for new businesses, covering core business optimization for clients around planning, implementation and capability building.

In his spare time, Daijiro helps kids and beginners learn coding at CoderDojo and NodeSchool.

Why did you want to get certified?

I chose certification as a way to continually maintain the big picture of fast growing software development in Node.js. To remain a strong problem solver, it needs to continue to acquire both knowledge and experience and my way of acquiring knowledge was through real experience mostly. This approach gives me deep knowledge related to the project. However, that means the expertise I can earn depends on the scope of the project. As both exam JSNAD and JSNSD requires a wide range of intermediate-level knowledge and hands-on to answer to the questions, I thought the exam would be the ideal candidate to validate and maintain my breadth of knowledge.

What's the value for you personally and professionally in getting certified?

Personally, passing the exam helped me to expand my network within the community. After taking the exam, I realized that the exam should provide translated versions to be open for everyone. Then I had a chance to ask the author of the exam, David Clements, to introduce me to Robin Ginn, and I got a chance to deliver the request. During the process, I asked how many people were interested in Japanese to investigate demand in Japan to support my request, and I received questions from people who were interested in the exam and warm words to support the request. It’s always good to connect with people who are interested in the same thing. I hope we can accelerate the translation together.

As a professional, I think there were two benefits. One is unlearning. I thought I knew most of Node.js API and how to use it, but I couldn’t get 100% marks in the exam. Then I decided to reread documents and blogs and set up my server to practice. That was something I could not touch while I am working on a big framework. The second is repetition. As this exam is still new and many people are interested, I had the chance to explain the certification exam both internally and externally. Through communication, people realize that I am a Node.js professional and what that means.

Would you recommend other Node.js developers taking the certification?

Yes, I definitely recommend it. One of the pros of the exam is their comprehension of the scope to effectively learn intermediate-level Node.js knowledge. Therefore, I think it can be recommended to anyone at any level (beginner, intermediate, advanced). For beginners, they can use it as their learning goal. They can use the exam’s scope as an order of their studies which is always difficult to design. For intermediates, they can use it to maintain and update their knowledge. Working in the same codebase for a long time often leaves them with fewer chances to learn something outside the scope of the project, so they tend to forget the things they learned in the past. For advanced developers, it can be used to understand the range to be covered when coaching beginner/intermediate level developers. They can see how things that are natural for them are challenging for others.

On the other hand, there are some cons. The big blocker would be the price.[1] I purchased it cheaply using Cyber ​​Monday Sales. If you can negotiate with your employer, I recommend talking to your boss about the above benefits and have them become supporters.

How did you prepare? What advice would you give someone considering taking the exam?

The preparation was challenging as there was very little information about the exam on the web yet, and the official website only mentions Domains & Competencies. The online exam was not even familiar to me, and the process seems to be different from the other online exams that I have taken before. So I used the first time to experience how the exam works and find out what the actual scope is. Then, I immediately retook it by using the free-retake after understanding how to answer properly. The content of the questions themselves were fine for me.

What do you want to do next?

As Node.js has opened my door to the world, I want to give back the same to people in the community. Promoting this exam with problem-solving would be one of the ways to achieve that. Currently, I think that the value of this exam has not been promoted enough, at least in Japan, due to lack of awareness, language barrier, price, and so on. As a volunteer, I will try to contribute to The OpenJS Foundation to solve the problems from my perspective, and I hope this can help nurture more software engineers in the world. Don’t you think it is very exciting to be involved in a kind of “Digital Transformation” at this scale?

[1] Editor’s note: a 30% discount on Node.js Certification has been extended through May 31, 2020. Use promo code ANYWHERE30 to get your discount.

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