The RIPE NCC Certified Professionals program has recently undergone a significant overhaul, moving to a new exam platform. This change was driven by the desire to improve accessibility, enhance the user experience, and address feedback received from the community.
In this article, we're going to explore what‘s changed with the Certified Professionals programme. We'll be looking at both the benefits of the new platform and how it's going to help us meet the evolving needs of our community. From cost savings to easier access and improved question quality, let's dive into what's new with Certified Professionals.
We collaborate with experts across our region to create training that is vendor-neutral, accessible, and focused on a mixture of the best current practices in the industry and RIPE NCC services. In 2019, we introduced the Certified Professionals programme to certify learners’ skills in these areas. We want to provide value to the participants that dedicate themselves to continued learning and hope that their accomplishments can inspire others to do the same.
Our new exam platform!
We have now transitioned from using live-proctored exams on the PSI platform to hosting exams on a smaller European-based platform called Better Examinations. Many of our test-takers were uncomfortable with the live proctoring experience, and the lack of flexibility and support did not suit the needs of the people taking our tests. With Better Examinations, we have more control over the process, and we have been able to work with them to streamline the entire user experience without sacrificing security.
More accessible at a lower cost
Another advantage of switching to a smaller provider is that our exam platform costs much less and is more efficient. This benefits our members and can potentially make exams more accessible to non-members across our service region.
Improved accessibility has been a continuous goal since we began. Previously, scheduling conflicts, cancellations, and no-shows were common due to fixed scheduling dates and times. The new registration process allows participants to take the exam on demand and at their own convenience, eliminating these issues.
Additionally, we previously faced limitations in providing access to participants from embargoed countries within the region. The new system ensures a smoother check-in process, with no refusals or disqualifications based on geographical restrictions.
The check-in process has also been streamlined, getting rid of unnecessary steps and complexities. Room checks and disputes over participants' names are things of the past. The new platform provides a simplified check-in process, ensuring a smoother experience for candidates. Participants can use the name of their choice for certification purposes - no one will be refused for minor discrepancies.
We are also no longer obliged to rely on government-issued identification for candidates. This had occasionally created a conflict between the name used to register for the exam and the identification document. Our test-takers can now use any photo identification document to register for an exam.
Changes have also been made to the proctoring system. Rather than relying on third-party live proctors, the exams are now recorded by the secure browsing extension Proctorio and reviewed by RIPE NCC staff. This approach offers increased flexibility and efficiency while maintaining the integrity of the exam process. Data retention policies ensure that candidate data is securely handled and deleted within 30 days of the exam. For more information, you can review our Terms and Conditions.
We did have to make some trade-offs in the process. One of these is that our new exam platform has not yet been integrated with RIPE NCC Access single sign-on (SSO) accounts. This means that you need to take an extra step in the registration process to create an account on the Better Examinations exam platform. This is something that we're working on, and we hope to integrate this in the future.
Another hurdle is that we are currently unable to offer exams upon purchase. Our previous platform had a built-in payment system, while we now need to develop our own payment system for the new lightweight exam system. This means that members are restricted to using their three vouchers for 2023, and non-members will need to wait to buy exam vouchers.
Speaking of vouchers, with the launch of the new platform, if you are a RIPE NCC member, you can now claim your vouchers for the year 2023. They are valid until 31 December 2023. Although we would have liked to have rolled out all features right from the start, we felt it was more important to bring our exams back online as soon as possible rather than waiting until all the additional features were in place.
Better exam questions
We regularly update exam questions every year based on feedback and in light of evolving policies and practices, but we also received requests for more practical question types. The new platform allows us to include more practical and interactive questions. Visual elements and interactive components can add depth to the exams, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of your knowledge and skills.
Live event testing
For a while now, it has been possible to take exams at events organised by the RIPE NCC. It’s always great to see test-takers emerge with a smile (and, of course, to reward them with a well-deserved t-shirt) and hear how they experienced the exam. We have run event testing at RIPE 84, RIPE 85, and MENOG 22. Following positive feedback, we will continue to offer the opportunity to get certified at some of our upcoming events, including RIPE 86 and RIPE 87 and MENOG 23, taking place this autumn.
Thanks to your feedback, this transition to a new exam platform marks a step in the right direction for the RIPE NCC Certified Professionals programme, making it more accessible and more efficient. If you want to validate your skills and knowledge, we think that you can now look forward to a simpler, more streamlined experience.
To learn more, visit the Certified Professionals website and register for an exam today! Still need to study? Register for a free online course in the RIPE NCC Academy
Milad Afshari •