Information Quality Certified Professional (IQCP) is the new certification program from the IAIDQ. The application deadline for the next certification exam is October 25, 2011. For more information about IQCP certification, please refer to the following links:
- About the IQCP Program: http://iaidq.org/iqcp/iqcp.shtml
- Preparing for the Exam: http://iaidq.org/iqcp/exam-preparation.shtml
- Exam Dates, Fees, and Locations: http://iaidq.org/iqcp/exam-date-location.shtml
- IQCP Webinar by John Talburt: http://iaidq.org/webinars/2011-09-26.shtml
- IQCP Webinar by Christian Walenta: http://iaidq.org/webinars/2011-03-15.shtml
Taking the first IQCP exam
A Guest Post written by Gordon Hamilton
I can still remember how galvanized I was by the first email mentions of the IQCP certification and its inaugural examination. I’d been a member of the IAIDQ for the past year and I saw the first mailings in early February 2011. It’s funny but my memory of the sequence of events was that I filled out the application for the examination that first night, but going back through my emails I see that I attended several IAIDQ Webinars and followed quite a few discussions on LinkedIn before I finally applied and paid for the exam in mid-March (I still got the early bird discount).
Looking back now, I am wondering why I was so excited about the chance to become certified in data quality. I know that I had been considering the CBIP and CBAP, from TDWI and IIBA respectively, for more than a year, going so far as to purchase study materials and take some sample exams. Both the CBIP and CBAP designations fit where my career had been for 20+ years, but the subject areas were now tangential to my focus on information and data quality.
The IQCP certification fit exactly where I hoped my career trajectory was now taking me, so it really did galvanize me to action.
I had been a software and database developer for 20+ years when I caught a bad case of Deming-god worship while contracting at Microsoft in the early 2000s, and it only got worse as I started reading books by Olson, Redman, English, Loshin, John Morris, and Maydanchik on how data quality dovetailed with development methodologies of folks like Kimball and Inmon, which in turn dovetailed with the Lean Six Sigma methods. I was on the slippery slope to choosing data quality as a career because those gurus of Data Quality, and Quality in general, were explaining, and I was finally starting to understand, why data warehouse projects failed so often, and why the business was often underwhelmed by the information product.
I had 3+ months to study and the resource center on the IAIDQ website had a list of recommended books and articles. I finally had to live up to my moniker on Twitter of DQStudent. I already had many of the books recommended by IAIDQ at home but hadn’t read them all yet, so while I waited for Amazon and AbeBooks to send me the books I thought were crucial, I began reading Deming, English, and Loshin.
Of all the books that began arriving on my doorstep, the most memorable was Journey to Data Quality by Richard Wang et al.
That book created a powerful image in my head of the information product “manufactured” by every organization. That image of the “information product” made the suggestions by the data quality gurus much clearer. They were showing how to apply quality techniques to the manufacture of Business Intelligence. The image gave me a framework upon which to hang the other knowledge I was gathering about data quality, so it was easier to keep pushing through the books and articles because each new piece could fit somewhere in that manufacturing process.
I slept well the night before the exam, and gave myself plenty of time to make it to the Castle exam site that afternoon. I took along several books on data quality, but hardly glanced at them. Instead I grabbed a quick lunch and then a strong coffee to carry me through the 3 hour exam. At 50 questions per hour I was very conscious of how long each question was taking me and every 10 questions or so I would check to see if was going to run into time trouble. It was obvious after 20 questions that I had plenty of time so I began to get into a groove, finishing the exam 30 minutes early, leaving plenty of time to review any questionable answers.
I found the exam eminently fair with no tricky question constructions at all, so I didn’t seem to fall into the over-thinking trap that I sometimes do. Even better, the exam wasn’t the type that drilled deeper and deeper into my knowledge gaps when I missed a question. Even though I felt confident that I had passed, I’ve got to tell you that the 6 weeks that the IAIDQ took to determine the passing threshold on this inaugural exam and send out passing notifications were the longest 6 weeks I have spent for a long time. Now that the passing mark is established, they swear that the notifications will be sent out much faster.
I still feel a warm glow as I think back on achieving IQCP certification. I am proud to say that I am a data quality consultant and I have the certificate proving the depth and breadth of my knowledge.
Gordon Hamilton is a Data Quality, Data Warehouse, and IQCP certified professional, whose 30 years’ experience in the information business encompasses many industries, including government, legal, healthcare, insurance and financial.