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Sandeep Kanabar
Sandeep Kanabar

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Elastic Certified Engineer Certification - is it worth?

Is it worth achieving Elastic Certified Engineer Certification?

Often times we wonder if Elastic Certified Engineer exam is worth the effort?

  • Will it add value to our career?
  • Will it boost our knowledge and understanding of the core concepts?
  • Will it help us with practical implementation of ES in our day-to-day job?

I had the very same questions when I signed up for the Elastic Certified Engineer exam and it wasn't until I actually got to solid preparation that most of my above doubts were laid to rest. The remaining lingering doubts got resolved when I had a cursory glance at the excellent questions that were part of my exam.

This blog post is a culmination of my thoughts on above questions. Please note that I'm sharing this entirely in my personal capacity and passion.

Thoughts at Preparation Stage

After I signed up for the exam, given that we all have a busy work life, I kept wondering why did I even sign up for this? I kept telling myself why did I unnecessarily over-burden myself. As the deadline kept approaching, these voices grew louder and a part of me just wanted to skip giving this exam. "After all, no one would know if you don't give the exam. Just chuck it" - my mind voice told me. I wasn't convinced. I was determined to give the exam since I was very passionate about ES. "You've quite a few years of experience with ES. You don't need to practice much. You'll easily sail through", the voice croaked again. For a better part I listened to that voice until it was just about 3 weeks to go for the exam. I then decided to sit down and go through the agenda first to get a gist of the topics and my heart sank. There was SO MUCH I DIDN'T KNOW.

In an instant, all that overconfidence vanished. All those thoughts of I-know-ES-well melted. Humility returned. Began reading very seriously every single day for few hours. Poured through the amazing documentation and found there was so much to learn. So many new things. So much of un-learning and re-learning.

I was pretty familiar with ES 6.x managing multiple 6.x stacks in production but the exam back then was on 7.13 version. (Right now it's on 8.1 version. Elastic doesn't change exam versions too frequently and that's a good thing). There were tons and tons of improvements from 6.x to 7.x that it felt overwhelming. Went through all the breaking changes doc to familiarise myself with what's new and then came back to the exam agenda. While I was quite familiar with ingest processors, I realised that a large number of ingest processors had been added in 7.x that would make my work a breeze. Previously what would me take a block of code with if and else would now just be few lines.

I had fond memories of implementing cross-cluster replication using Kafka MirrorMaker way back in 2017. It was refreshing to see Cross-Cluster Replication (CCR) in action making the replication so easy and super intuitive. I was used to one way of writing queries and reading the documentation during preparation made me realise I could write it much better and more efficiently. There were so many AHA moments during preparing and I made multiple mental notes of correcting a couple of things and replacing those with their more efficient counterparts.

The exam required knowledge of runtime fields and this was something very new for me. Runtime fields are incredibly powerful if used the right way. As I continued preparing, I couldn't help but thank my stars that I signed up for the exam as it made me go through all these topics and get a good grasp on a number of things I wasn't aware of.

I always made use of time-based indices and it was a pleasant surprise to see the wonderful engineers at Elastic introduce data streams which was a much-needed feature.

Thoughts during Exam time

The first thing I did when my exam started was to have a cursory glance at the questions to gauge my preparation and confidence level. One look at the questions and I couldn't help marvelling. The questions were very practical, in fact quite a few matched what I was actually doing in my day-to-day job. I had attempted a particular re-indexing strategy at work and a question on re-index was pretty similar to what I had done. I smiled. The questions on queries, aggregation, ccr were so relevant and resembling real world scenarios. I also realised there was neither guesswork nor cramming involved here. You needed to really understand the ins and outs of concepts to clear this exam and at that point I felt really glad that I took up this exam which enriched my knowledge immensely. A huge shoutout and respect to the creators of this exam.


Hopefully, this blog post makes it easier for you in case you are wondering if it's worth attempting the Elastic Certified Engineer Exam. YES, IT IS. It would be the most productive use of your time and effort. Go for it.

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