I've been working with Magento 2 for the past two years but somehow never got the courage or time to take on the certification exam. There were always some excuses that prevented me from booking the the exam -- excessive workload, newer version of Magento coming out or dozens of other reasons. Probably the most discouraging was the experience I got from taking the Magento 1 Front End Developer exam over 5 years ago. I knew it wasn't going to be a walk in the park and expected the worst.
Turns out it wasn't all that bad. After finally taking the exam last week and successfully passing it now I wish I had taken it a few months sooner. If you've worked with Magento for at least a year and still don't have your certificate, book your exam today. With some preparation and a positive attitude you'll pass it with flying colors.
Speaking of which, preparation is key. Relying on you experience only might not be enough here. Even if you created countless layout files, customized hundreds of templates or created your own widgets you might still be caught off guard by a simple configuration option in the admin you didn't know existed or that one element argument in layout you only used once or twice.
You don't even need to find the answers yourself as somebody already did it for us! Magento 2 Frontend Developer's Study Guide by SwiftOtter contains comprehensive answers to all the questions in Magento's guide complete with links to additional resources that will expand you knowledge.
Other materials I'd recommend are the excellent mage2.tv with video tutorials explaining the most complex topics (eg. UI components, grr...) in a very easy to understand way.
Also check out those awesome websites if you're ready for a deeper dive (not just for the exam):
Testing your knowledge
When you familiarize yourself with the studying materials it's always a good idea to test your knowledge to see what areas you've yet to improve. For that purpose SwiftOtter created a practice test that will let you check if you're ready to take the exam. 10 questions are free, for the remaining 38 questions you'll need pay a small fee which is definitely worth the peace of mind.
I also found this free practice exam online that consists of 120 multiple-choice questions some of which will require you to fill in blanks, order elements or even type sample code. This is much harder than the real exam so if you get like 70-80% or more you don't have to worry about passing the Magento exam. Note that I found some answers contain errors and some were related to Magento 2.1 so take it with a grain of salt. It's a great way to test your knowledge nonetheless.
Recipe to success
To sum up here are my suggestions for everyone thinking of taking the certification exam:
- Book you exam. There's no better motivation than setting a firm deadline on the task at hand.
- Take preparation for the exam seriously. Even if you think you've mastered all aspects of Magento 2 frontend customizations there's always a chance you missed a few things. It won't harm to do a recap as you might even learn a few new tricks, trust me.
- Review you knowledge using SwiftOtter's study guide. I actually went through the guide twice making sure to follow most of the reference links as I didn't want to leave any weak spots.
- Set up a local M2.2 instance (or whichever version the exam is currently based on). Do some exercises and play around with configuration in the admin. Edit products, categories and cms pages, focus on Design settings.
- Test your knowledge by taking the practice exam. Don't leave it until the day before the exam. Otherwise you won't have enough time to read up on topics you're lacking experience in.
- When taking the exam don't panic when you encounter a difficult question. Taking your time when reading questions and answers, make sure you understand it fully. Try to think of a solution like you would on a regular project. Mark the question for review so you can get back to it later. Let you experience guide you.
If I haven't scared you off at this point, it means you're ready. Go book the exam. Don't worry, you got this!