Tips for Taking the Matillion Associate Certification Exam

By Jeremy Bennet (Consultant BI Engineer) and Riona Shiels (Consultant BI Engineer)

In this article myself and my colleague Riona both reflect on our recent experiences of taking the Matillion Associate Certification Exam, which was launched in early 2022. As a new team member at Crimson Macaw, I came to Matillion as a complete newbie having not used or seen Matillion before. On the other hand, Riona has been using the product for over four years in her role as Consultant BI (Business Intelligence) Engineer.

We struggled to find information about the types of questions in the exam and how hard they would be! Hopefully, this blog will provide some guidance to those thinking about getting their Matillion certification and how to go about it.

Matillion Certificate

If you want to have a go with Matillion you will need to setup a Matillion ETL instance using a cloud provider to host your instance and a database to connect to.

Matillion Associate Certificate

The exam is not too long. To be completed in 60 minutes it entails 35 questions with a pass mark of 28 (80%). The exam is multiple choice questions and available only via an online proctored service. Although the exam does cover some advanced topics, it also encompasses many of the basic foundations and interface aspects of using the tool. It is also the only certification available for Matillion at the moment and designed as the entry point for newcomers.

Get Practising

When I took the exam there were not any third-party practise questions or courses to help me prepare. Not knowing what to expect was a little daunting. Those that have completed other certifications (especially the AWS (Amazon Web Services) ones) will be familiar with the range of practise questions available, either for free, or via training providers such as A-cloud Guru, Tutorials Dojo and Whizlabs.

Despite this, I went about setting up a trial account through which I completed the free course ‘Building a Data Warehouse using Matillion’ via the Matillion Academy. I watched the course through and made some notes (whilst I was resolving some technical issues with my Matillion account), then repeated the course, building all the components using my trial Matillion ETL instance.

Matillion Course

Additionally, Matillion provides multiple styles to complete the course, such as ‘Watch It’, ‘Print It’ and even ‘Try It’, in which the videos are interactive and allow you to drag and drop just like in Matillion. Although this is not the complete Matillion experience you would gain from having a trial account, it is a brilliant substitute for those who may not be able to get the trial account or have exceeded their 14 days free.

Matillion Course Modes

Exam Preparation

Here we share some personal tips on how we each prepared for the exam (links to the resources are at the bottom of the blog)

 NewbieExperienced User
CourseI used the course extensively to familiarise myself with the product and learn how to use it by following along. I also took notes as I went by filling in a pre-populated list of all the exam content features and used this later for revision and last-minute cramming before the exam!With four plus years of experience using Matillion, the course went over a lot of material I was already familiar with.

At Crimson, we have standard practices within Matillion to process data. However, as the course continued, it introduced components I do not often come across and different components you can use for the same thing.

The course covered exam-specific content, for example, the coloured output connectors of various components and the official phraseology of the various features.
DocumentationI supplemented the course with the online documentation as I went along taking extra notes.

Any uncovered features or topics after the course that had not been mentioned was covered off by checking the documentation.
It was the documentation that helped me best in the exam. I followed the exam guide, read up on each section listed and made notes.

The Matillion documentation is concise and easy to understand, which helped me to absorb the information and answer questions correctly.

Additionally, Matillion provides examples at the end of the component's documentation and plenty of visual aids throughout all its documentation. These examples and visual aids provide a better understanding, even for Matillion newbies.
Additional ResourcesI would also advise seeking out practise exam questions and using these to signpost you to the documentation to cover off information you did not already know. I was aware of the lack of additional resources from when Jeremy had completed the course and exam. Therefore, when I finished the Matillion course and my notes, I spent a few days reading over everything I had written to prepare.
SummaryAs a Matillion newbie I felt that I needed to take a thorough approach, using the course and documentation extensively.The documentation was more suited to my style of learning. However, this is only because of my experience with Matillion. Nonetheless, I would not completely write off the course as an experienced user because you will still pick up things you might not already know. I would also highly recommend the course if you were not using the latest version of Matillion, as you may not get exposed to the newest features and components.

Our Thoughts on the Exam

So, what level of detailed understanding do you need? You should know the Transformation and Orchestration components in some detail, it is not good enough to simply know what they do. In some cases, you will need to recall the component property name used for a particular configuration or understand situations that might return errors. For example, in the Excel Query Component, what is the property used to select the return columns of a query? Answer: Data Selection.

Excel Query Component

The good news is that amongst the more advanced questions we found plenty of easier, bankable questions. Example question types include:

  • What component would be used to …
  • What property (of a component) is used to…
  • What is a similar component to x
  • What feature of Matillion ETL can be used to…
  • Which of the following is not true…

Resources

Get familiar with the exam specification and format via the Matillion certification. Make sure to view the pop-out ‘View more details’ box that provides a detailed breakdown of all the components and product features that are part of the exam. There is also an exam FAQs document here.

Exam Content

Exam Content Detailed

The Matillion Academy is an essential resource with various free courses to help you get familiar with the product. Matillion also have a YouTube channel which I used to learn about specific product features.

For covering off any other components in the exam content the official documentation is thorough https://documentation.matillion.com/docs

Some practise questions are now available on Udemy. No doubt others will emerge over time so look out for new sources.

We hope this is of use to anyone looking to take seeking certification in Matillion. Good luck!

Want to know more about how we use Matilllion? Check out more of our vlogs here.