Certifications are the standard in the world of IT and technology. Like many other platforms, FileMaker also offers a certification for developers to test their mettle.
There are plenty of benefits to certification, but the FileMaker test is infamously difficult to pass. It can be difficult to study for the FileMaker certification, which means plenty of developers study for long hours or retake the test.
It’s not unheard of for experienced developers to study for 20 - 40 hours to pass the FileMaker certification exam. However, passing the test isn’t about putting in the hours: it’s about studying with the right tools under your belt.
Learn more about the FileMaker certification, why it benefits you, and how you can best study (and pass) this difficult exam.
What is the FileMaker certification?
Officially, the Filemaker certification test is called the “Developer Essentials for Claris FileMaker Exam.” The purpose of this exam is, ultimately, to demonstrate your FileMaker skills to the world. It’s a credential recognized by your peers, management, and clients.
But we don’t recommend pursuing a certification without FileMaker experience. You’ll want to spend at least 6 months with hands-on FileMaker development experience before you sign up for the test.
As far as the test itself, it’s 65 questions in 110 minutes. The FileMaker exam will test you on several sections of FileMaker knowledge. All of the questions are multiple-choice but don’t let that fool you: many of the questions seem to have multiple answers, so it’s easy to choose the wrong option.
As FileMaker updates, the certification test updates as well. That includes recent changes such as:
- Certification validity: Previous FileMaker certifications were good indefinitely, but now your certification is valid for 2 years. So you’ll likely need to take this certification test several times throughout your career.
- No version-specific questions: Before this update, developers had to memorize FileMaker Technical Specifications. These questions required memorizing trivial facts that are typically looked up at the time a developer needs them, so FileMaker removed these questions from the test.
When you’re ready to study for the FileMaker exam, you’ll register online through Pearson VUE. The test is offered in English or Japanese and will likely be proctored at your local testing center.
Why do I need a FileMaker certification?
If the FileMaker certification is so difficult, why do developers take this test, anyway? Like other certifications, there are plenty of benefits to becoming a FileMaker certified professional, including:
- Improving your skills: Become a well-rounded developer. The FileMaker certification helps you hone your FileMaker skills so you can handle whatever the job may throw your way. According to software engineer and FileMaker pro, Jeff, “The test helped me feel comfortable tackling all projects that come my way and ensures that I am developing with today's standards and making appropriate decisions when developing for clients.”
- Earning more: Certified developers tend to earn more because they can demonstrate proven expertise. According to Kalos Consulting, “Being certified prior to hiring can make you a top contender for open positions. For top hiring Claris Platinum Partner companies, certification is strongly preferred. For companies that do not require certification prior to being hired, there is the expectation to become certified after a few months.”
- Boosting your organization: FileMaker certification makes your employer more credible. It allows them to use the FileMaker Certification logo on their website (and on your business card) and list themselves as a preferred provider on FileMaker’s website. And when something is good for your employer, it’s good for your career.
The problem with traditional FileMaker training
There are so many benefits to the FileMaker certification, but the biggest issue is that it’s notoriously difficult to study for this test.
The problem is that most FileMaker training courses teach you how to use and build FileMaker for day-to-day needs. But the FileMaker certification test doesn’t focus on that: it explores every aspect of the FileMaker platform. The certification test assesses your knowledge of FileMaker’s components and how they work together, not how to build things in FileMaker.
Claris provides an official PDF study guide that’s 22 pages long. In addition to its recommended reading and resources, you’ll have to read hundreds of pages of content to study for this test. According to database developer Carson, “It was like pulling an all-nighter back in college when you had to study for midterms. A lot of stress and very little sleep.”
While you’re certainly free to DIY a study plan to pass the test, you might need a little more help studying for the exam.
For the past 20 years, there hasn’t been any innovation in the world of FileMaker test prep. That’s why Productive Computing University rolled out comprehensive training options that cover all of the content you need—in one convenient place—to pass the FileMaker certification exam.
What’s the best way to study for the FileMaker certification?
You’re free to comb through PDFs and Claris white papers, but the best way to study for the FileMaker certification exam is with a course designed to make you test-ready.
Productive Computing takes the elements that will most likely be on the test and curates that information in a way that’s easier to study.
“It has been my dream to provide a comprehensive, purpose-built certification training course for FileMaker developers. After studying for the AWS exam, I realized how powerful it is to have specialized, online training and I felt that it was something missing in the FileMaker community,” says Productive Computing CEO Marc Larochelle.
That’s why we’ve created 3 courses to help you make the most of your study time. Combining these options will greatly increase your chance of passing the test—while saving you more time.
This is our main FileMaker exam course. It’s entirely video-based, including 19 hours of informative video content that gets you test-ready.
During the FileMaker Certification Preparation Course, you’ll learn information that’s most likely to be on the test. We take elements of the Claris study guide and curate them in a way that’s easy to understand and retain.
The upside of our approach is that all of our material is digestible and easy to remember. Instead of combing through PDFs for hours, you can simply watch a video to understand important concepts.
This brand-new course gives you access to 200 sample questions so you can better prepare for the FileMaker certification exam. While we don’t have copies of the actual exam questions (and we don’t try to copy them), we do base these questions on:
- The Claris-provided FileMaker study guide.
- Our experience in taking the exam.
This course includes a series of quizzes organized in the same knowledge domains as the FileMaker test itself. We’ve designed the course to be at a similar difficulty level to the real FileMaker exam, too.
Best of all, you can review the course and questions as many times as you need. The course also includes links to files, images, or documents with every answer so you can understand where the answer came from.
We recommend taking both the Preparation course and the Sample Questions course to get the best of both worlds. Combined, these courses will significantly increase your chances of passing the test.
But if you aren’t ready to commit to a paid course, don’t worry. Productive Computing University’s FileMaker Certification Preparation Overview mini-course is free. Check out this course to view sample lessons and better prepare for your FileMaker certification exam.
The bottom line
The FileMaker certification doesn’t have to keep you up at night. Enjoy the benefits of FileMaker certification without months of studying. Productive Computing University (PCU) is here to simplify how you study for the FileMaker exam.
Ready to hit the books?
Sign up now for the FileMaker Certification Preparation course, the FileMaker Certification Sample Questions course, or purchase the University Bundle to get both courses and access to all PCU courses.
If you are interested in additional FileMaker videos, training courses, or product news, please:
- Subscribe to our YouTube channel for FileMaker tips and tricks.
- Subscribe to our newsletter for industry and product updates.
- Check out more courses at Productive Computing University for in-depth training courses covering advanced FileMaker technologies such as API integrations, working with QuickBooks, FileMaker Charting, and much more.
- Have a look through our blog posts.