CIW to Update Two Exams

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Web credentialing organization CIW will release the fifth versions of both its Site Designer and E-Commerce Designer exams by the end of this year at the very latest, said Dr. James Stanger, vice president of certification at Prosoft Learning Corp., CIW’s parent company. “We want to make sure that things get refreshed,” he said. “We’ve got a blueprint. We are using subject-matter experts to write the questions, and then we got a beta to do once we get done with the questions. Once we’re done with the beta, we’ll probably be able to go live about a month after that.”


Stanger encourages anyone interested in participating in the beta testing phase—regardless of skill level—to contact CIW at “Our statisticians like the hot shots who come in and pass it, they like the border people and also like the people who have no business taking this exam,” he said. “We like that range, because it helps us understand exactly where our sweet spot is.”


The update was launched based on the recommendations of the CIW Advisory Council, which includes members from companies like HP and Intel, online universities and state departments of education. “The council helps us determine when it’s time for a refresh, but the cycle is ideally two years.” Stanger said. “We call this nexus of industry and academia, where people get together and talk about what the students need to know. If there are any perceived gaps in education, these guys can speak very quickly and very coherently about what needs to happen. I don’t want to say, ‘We need to come up with new certs all the time. We want to respond to market demand and significant changes in the technology. With the Site Designer, we’ve had significant changes: Scalable vector graphics and RSS have become hot, so we’ve added those things.”


In addition to those changes, the new exams will place more emphasis on the science of design, Stanger said. “We’ve added an increased emphasis on actual design. We don’t just ask, ‘What makes that pretty?’ We ask, ‘How is contrast used?’ Contrast isn’t just that thing on your television—it’s a very specific art term. We also ask, ‘How can you draw the reader’s eye from one thing to the next?’ That’s not just some artsy-fartsy thing that you can’t describe. These are very specific skills that have been around hundreds of years. Michelangelo used them, and you can use them in designing Web pages.”


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