It's hard to believe I've been noobing things up for three years now... At the three year mark I decided to re-up my certification. That's right, this noob is once again an Autodesk Certified Professional: AutoCAD. I hear the questions now... "why do you call your self a noob" short answer is that I do noobid things. 

I have heard lot of pros and cons about getting certified. I personally think its one of the reasons I am currently gainfully employed, but for others it seems like a gimmick. I can see their point of view as some people have been in the profession longer than the software its self. I don't aim to answer the question "to certify or not to certify" as it really depends on the individual and their career. If you can write your own career path with out it, that is great, but for me it has been an excellent way to communicate my dedication and competency in this profession. For me I think they are worth it, especially when Open Door Certification is going on! (Autodesk Events)

I'm not sure how frequently these events are held but if you have any interest in certification I would check them out. You can also check with your local re-seller to see if they have any info on when the next open door certification will take place. 

If you have decided to take the exam the big question is how hard is it? I don't have a great answer for this unfortunately. In general the exam seemed relatively easy as it relates to my general knowledge of the program. I probably use 80% of the elements tested on in my daily work. That said, the scoring of the exam indicated that a surface utilization of the program is not the sole basis of scoring. In general if you follow what the guides tell you as to areas of testing its spot on as to what I experienced. 

From what I was told, generally its a pretty difficult exam to pass. I was able to pass the exam but it was obvious how this test could be difficult. I suspect the real difficulty comes in doing things exactly as written and doing them efficiently. Then again I have no idea how they do the scoring. What most disappointing is not understanding exactly why I missed the questions I did. In the recap they do tell you how you scored in broad categories, but for me that left more questions than answers. 

When it comes to the questions (at least for the exam I took) they were are really straight forward. An example question might be as follow:

(NOTE: THIS NOT AN ACTUAL QUESTION NOR IS IT MEAN TO REPRESENT ANY QUESTION ON THE EXAM)

Given a drawing, draw a circle with with a given start point 1 and the radius ending at another point 2. What is the distance from another point 3 to where line 4 intersects the circle. 

As you can tell its pretty straight forward. The complexities arise when there may be multiple steps; like they may ask you to change the units of the drawing or edit the geometry properties etc.. Some times you'll have to create a drawing other times all you do is move elements or change aspects about them. Its a complete mixed bag of commands and conditions. 

What I love about it compared to other tests I have taken is that they have developed a fantastic way of testing your abilities with out making "trick" exam. So there are no gotcha type questions, just full bore capability.

In short there is no cramming for this test. You have to practice and know the program. Its not impossible to pass it on a short time line as I did that my first time through but that was after a month of self study after a week long course on the program. Having gone through it a second time after a couple years operating the program, it still is a formidable challenge... though no impossible.