BogdanB
Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
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Red Hat Security: Securing Containers and OpenShift [DO425:EX425] Feedback

I've completed the survey. Now the long story.

I'm an RHCA and this was a personal goal of mine. After getting RHCA I've convinced my boss to pay for RHLS since I had 50% discount.

Payment interface is different from the subscription, it is a pain to buy it in corporate environments, I had to get my bosses bosses boss to pay for it since he was the only one with a card. As you all know, the higher up the ladder you go the busy people are so it is pretty hard to get their time.

Very happy I got it, started to learn and prepare for ex425. Scheduled my first exam and failed, on one section of the exam it seemed I was poorly prepared. I've retrained, did the material again and failed again even tough I was sure I've completed all topics.

After the 2nd attempt I've asked the cert team to check the score and they reported it was correct. Even tough I didnt agreed with their evaluation I decided to give them credit and doubt  myself.

My ego didnt let me quit, I've paid the exam from my own pocket and failed again even tough I've completed every point in the exam and rebooted the machines to check.

The thing is that in all 3 attempts, one section of the exam (the low hanging fruit) did not score 100% no matter how I solved it. Tried the procedure from the manual, everything worked but the result says ~60%.

This time I had no doubt that there is nothing wrong with my skills. As you can see in the thread below there are lots of errors in the course.

https://learn.redhat.com/t5/Red-Hat-Learning-Subscription/DO425-Typos-errors-and-bugs/td-p/6170

Asked support here from fellow learners, encouraged by @JS_Learning  I've raised another ticket and this is still under investigation. After about 1 month after opening the ticket I didnt get any response. I said, ok, perhpaps they forgot to update me and asked for an update. Nothing, not even a "we are working on it". I understand the exam integrity must be protected but "we are still working on it" doesnt affect exam integrity.

I think after loosing 6 months with this exam ( first time the exam was cancelled due to neetwork errors and it took RH about 2 weeks to give me my retry) and 3 tries deserves at least answer. 

The thing is there are other people (some of them RHCA's, if that counts for something) which they said that 425 scoring is tough to explain even tough some of them passed and they have no reason encourage others to take this exam. 

While preparing for the 425 I've raised an ticket and complained about the start time of the lab with a screenshot in which it clear that the lab took almost ~45 minutes to start. If I do that lab 10 times I lose 7h of lab time. Support replied to me with a quote from the course stating that the lab starts normally in several minutes. I'm not a native english speaker but in my opinion 45 minutes is not several but ALOT of minutes.

I had luck with a Red Hater which responded on reddit and said that lab performance will improve with the new interface in the begging of may. I took 2 weeks break but this saved me a few lab hourse.

From what I've seen on other forums and even on this one, people are starting to move away from EX425 on version 3 and wait for a version 4, if there will be one. This is a bad thing because the DO425 is great in regards to what you learn.

In regards to support, according to RH COVID-19 response all exams validity has been extened to January 2021. Mine were not, I created a ticket and I'm still waiting. To their credit ,support, after the initial lag the support answered me that they are working with an internal team and I should have at the begging of next week.

Another issue with support is that they copy/paste the same response in the ticketing system several days in a row without making any real progress. This is signaled here in one topic I cannot find at this moment, has happened to me also and was also pointed out to me by a customer. This seems to be a current practice since has been signaled by people in different countries.

Since we're talking about feedback, I did my own investigation about the network issues with the kiosk exam. Even if everything is ok with the network when you scroll with the mouse wheel you get the network error. If you are software scrolling ( using the Firefox bar for example) then you DONT have the network error. 

I've posted the investigation here

https://learn.redhat.com/t5/Red-Hat-Learning-Subscription/About-network-issues-with-kiosk-exam/m-p/1...

and, at the suggestion of @cschunke , sent the same feedback to RH training team. Never got a response.

For me, RHLS is a great product, lots of really good material but has a really poor support. I really hope it improves.

Have a nice week end everyone.

19 Replies
gmoirod
Mission Specialist
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I also would like to report my experience with this EX425.

 

I passed it a first time on an exam site. I know i missed some things and i was not so surprised about my score : 171/300 (NO PASS).

Then i trained seriously and i scheduled a retake (remotely this time).
This time :
- I did all the stages with lot of confidence

- For each stage, i checked that every stated criteria was succesful. When the method to check was given (for example deploy an app), i checked it. So i can tell that I met every requirements.

- Once the exam complete, i had time to re-check back requirements (in case a stage could break a precedent one, like a policy preventing to deploy an image from quay for ex). I can tell again that I met every requirements.

- I used all the exam time. It closed automatically and i was extremely confident about the result.

- 15-20 minutes later, I received the results !! 193/300 (NO PASS).

- I asked for details to understand what was wrong. I got a templated response :
"Red Hat Certification Central only reports total exam scores to candidates. For those exams that consist of more than one section, we only report section scores.
We do not report performance on nor discuss specific exam items."

Conclusions:

- I am unable to understand my faults.

- So it is not conceivable to retake again because i would do the exact same things (because it worked)....

- I would not recommend to pass this exam.

- And globally, I have serious doubts about the "no comment policy" cause no one can have a real chance to retake exams. This would make me think twice about this certification program.

Walid
Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
Flight Engineer
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I had a similar situation in the past with RHCE exam, I am experienced Linux engineer and was a Red Hat examiner, and the exam was trivial for me, have done it in earlier releases several times, in one exam, I got 0%, and I did double check my results, and there was no way I was 0% unless the examiner didn not validate my results or run gathering scripts correctly or something else. Red Hat answer was the "No comment policy and can not discuss exam" I belive this attiude should change

~ Walid - Red Hat Accelerator, DevOps Janitor
BogdanB
Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
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I understand why they dont want to discuss the exam. One thing why they make these exams great is that you need to actually understand what you are doing so for the retake you have to go and do an exam analysis (what did I do wrong, why would this happen etc).

What I dont understand is why there is no procedure for manual check for the exams. It should take probably 30 minute for someone to check that all exam requirements work as expected.

For example: if you have topic that says "user x create script x which does stuff a" someone should login and check if the script x does the stuff a. Not if the script is sh,ksh    and does stuff a in a certain way.  The examiner should check if the script x runs and does stuff a. Because if it does, the exam requirement is done 100%, no matter where the script is located.

In the last 2-3 years I've seen some exam issues here and on other forums, some of them confirmed by RH by granting a free retake to the user so it feels that the exams are rushed without proper prepartion in order to increase the  revenue.

While I do understand the bussines need for achieving targets I do not agree with the way they do it. They rushed alot of exams. I understand that the pandemic is affecting all of us but we should not use this as an excuse to lower the quality of our work. Last example the last exams made remotely. They pushed alot of exams without having enough examiners, so you need to book an exam 2 months in advance. Seriously ? 2 months ?

I had a partener wanted take a project with the public sector and one of the requirements was to have 2 certified engineeres for the technology it was selling. Ok I'll certify 2 engineers, they are already using the technology, they have RHLS, just need to brush up some skills. Guess what, first available slot was six weeks later.

Lets say you book 1 month in advance an exam, a new project comes up and your boss asks you to certify on a certain technology. Guess what, you have to wait for the first avaiable slot. If you are lucky, a few days but probably a few weeks.

Here they requested feedback and they got some. I'm waiting to see what has come of that feedback.

As you all probably know, RH acquired Stackrox so I think the next 425 will incorporate some of that. 

gmoirod
Mission Specialist
Mission Specialist
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Sorry but i disagree some of your thoughts.

 

...you need to actually understand what you are doing so for the retake you have to go and do an exam analysis...

I did that between my first attempt and my retake. I knew what i did wrong the first time.

why there is no procedure for manual check for the exams

There is some ("User x can see configmaps but not edit them", "ldap groups are synchronized and users y and z can login"). I checked all of them.

 

Agree on evertyhing else : too much demand and not enough slots.

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ricardodacosta
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@BogdanB wrote:

I understand why they dont want to discuss the exam.

You can talk to the certification team about your exam, talking about it in public may give others who have not passed it, insight as to what to expect in the exam, giving them an unfair advantage.

One thing why they make these exams great is that you need to actually understand what you are doing so for the retake you have to go and do an exam analysis (what did I do wrong, why would this happen etc).

What I dont understand is why there is no procedure for manual check for the exams. It should take probably 30 minute for someone to check that all exam requirements work as expected.

The exams are graded using automation, and the automation checks for a final state. If your work matches the expected state, then you get a 1, if not, a 0. The logs reflect that, and your state is stored. When you open a ticket querying this, we can check the logs for your exam and advise accordingly. But we won't reveal what exactly you got wrong - it's against the policy.

For example: if you have topic that says "user x create script x which does stuff a" someone should login and check if the script x does the stuff a. Not if the script is sh,ksh    and does stuff a in a certain way.  The examiner should check if the script x runs and does stuff a. Because if it does, the exam requirement is done 100%, no matter where the script is located.

If an exam question asks you to create a script which is to be found at /usr/local/lib called foo.sh, which returns "Hello, world." when executed, then we will:

- test to see if /usr/local/lib/foo.sh exists

- test to see if /usr/local/lib/foo.sh is executable

- test to see if the expected string is returned on execution

The reason for these tests is for logging purposes. If you create your file as /usr/local/lib/foo.bash then you did not satisfy the objective even though your script may return "Hello, world.". Similarly, if your script returns "Hello, World." then you did not satisfy the objective. We know what went wrong because of logging and should you query your exam results, we will look at the logs and respond accordingly. 

In the last 2-3 years I've seen some exam issues here and on other forums, some of them confirmed by RH by granting a free retake to the user so it feels that the exams are rushed without proper prepartion in order to increase the  revenue.

The exams are tested before release. We test across all modalities and don't take remote exams for granted. Developers make mistakes sometimes, and we will own our mistakes when we make them by issuing you with a retake. I've done extensive exam testing with the remote exams, and we check for those 1's and 0's before releasing. And when we get 0's in the testing phase, we certainly inspect the logs. But mistakes happen and it's important that you let us know if you think that we have made a mistake. This way we can fix it for you, and others.

While I do understand the bussines need for achieving targets I do not agree with the way they do it. They rushed alot of exams. I understand that the pandemic is affecting all of us but we should not use this as an excuse to lower the quality of our work. Last example the last exams made remotely. They pushed alot of exams without having enough examiners, so you need to book an exam 2 months in advance. Seriously ? 2 months ?

I had a partener wanted take a project with the public sector and one of the requirements was to have 2 certified engineeres for the technology it was selling. Ok I'll certify 2 engineers, they are already using the technology, they have RHLS, just need to brush up some skills. Guess what, first available slot was six weeks later.

These exams certainly are popular and additional resources were recently added to make more slots available. Keep checking, and check regularly as a slot may have opened up for you.

Lets say you book 1 month in advance an exam, a new project comes up and your boss asks you to certify on a certain technology. Guess what, you have to wait for the first avaiable slot. If you are lucky, a few days but probably a few weeks.

Here they requested feedback and they got some. I'm waiting to see what has come of that feedback.

As you all probably know, RH acquired Stackrox so I think the next 425 will incorporate some of that. 

 

I hope that my response helps, please reach out to me if you have more questions. You can reply here or via email at rdacosta at redhat dot com


 

BogdanB
Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
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I'm not sure if you read the all topic but anyway. I'll put some bullet points for easy following.

1. Scripts are written by humas, humans make mistakes. See the forum for examples, they are more the enough, even for the 425 course. Many people provided example and, in some cases solutions. Not many of those were incorporated in the current courses/labs.

2. I think we are on the same page with the script topic, you just took the explanation a bit further.

3. I'm sure you test the exams but sometimes something gets under the radar. What I want to point out is that there is no procedure for that. First time I took the 425 exam it was cancelled because the kioks kept disconneting from the exam environment. The proctor confirmed the issue with the site admin but it took RH 3 week to grant me the retake. Add that to the time required to get a slot. Really nice, no ? To be fair, the extension provided by RH because the pandemic situation helped me to catch up.

4. Exams should have been released for remote in smaller batches as the resources became available. Waiting 1 month for a free slot I dont think it's acceptable. This is my opinion, others may have theirs.

5. I saved this for last because this is where RH failed me bigtime. I'll try to keep it short. I failed ex425 3 times.

 1st time wasnt prepared, my bad. 2nd time I did everything perfectly but I decided to give credit to RH when they said I did not passed. 3rd I payed the exam from my own pocket because I was sure I'm not going to fail again and did everyting perfectly again and failed. Why I dont trust the scripts ? Because the most easy thing to solve from the exam I did it like the manual says and I still didnt got 100%.  If you have access to exam logs, have a look and tell me that the most easy topic on each exam is not solved in 99,99%. The other 0.01 is a typo or something else not the misunderstanding of the concept.

Regarding talking to the exam team. Encouraged by one of your colleague I created a ticket for them in those 30 days. Last communication from them was  in october and said "I will reply to you in the next 24h" . I sent 3 emails asking about the status of my ticket, never heard back. 

If someone would have looked at my solutions and said "dude, you're stupid, you didnt get that right" I would just moved on. But I checked and tripled checked on the 3rd try every subject on the exam, everything worked as requested. EVERYTHING. This time I trust myself because I do have some experience in this field so I cannot.

I've passed and failed other RH exams for this one but I never felt like this one were I did 100% and didnt pass.

 

ricardodacosta
Moderator
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@BogdanB wrote:

I'm not sure if you read the all topic but anyway. I'll put some bullet points for easy following.

I'm sorry if I missed anything,  any omissions was not delibate but I can't speak about schedules and the difficulty around finding an available slot. 

1. Scripts are written by humas, humans make mistakes. See the forum for examples, they are more the enough, even for the 425 course. Many people provided example and, in some cases solutions. Not many of those were incorporated in the current courses/labs.

I've acknowledged the mistakes that developers sometimes make :-) But please tag me in the relevant posts so that I can follow up.

2. I think we are on the same page with the script topic, you just took the explanation a bit further.

3. I'm sure you test the exams but sometimes something gets under the radar. What I want to point out is that there is no procedure for that. First time I took the 425 exam it was cancelled because the kioks kept disconneting from the exam environment. The proctor confirmed the issue with the site admin but it took RH 3 week to grant me the retake. Add that to the time required to get a slot. Really nice, no ? To be fair, the extension provided by RH because the pandemic situation helped me to catch up.

There very much is a procedure if you feel that we've made a mistake. Open a ticket at https://rhtapps.redhat.com/comments/  and someone will be assigned to it.

4. Exams should have been released for remote in smaller batches as the resources became available. Waiting 1 month for a free slot I dont think it's acceptable. This is my opinion, others may have theirs.

5. I saved this for last because this is where RH failed me bigtime. I'll try to keep it short. I failed ex425 3 times.

 1st time wasnt prepared, my bad. 2nd time I did everything perfectly but I decided to give credit to RH when they said I did not passed. 3rd I payed the exam from my own pocket because I was sure I'm not going to fail again and did everyting perfectly again and failed. Why I dont trust the scripts ? Because the most easy thing to solve from the exam I did it like the manual says and I still didnt got 100%.  If you have access to exam logs, have a look and tell me that the most easy topic on each exam is not solved in 99,99%. The other 0.01 is a typo or something else not the misunderstanding of the concept.

I want to help you, and I'd very much like for you to drop me an email with your ticket number, and when you took the exam and I will follow up for you.

Regarding talking to the exam team. Encouraged by one of your colleague I created a ticket for them in those 30 days. Last communication from them was  in october and said "I will reply to you in the next 24h" . I sent 3 emails asking about the status of my ticket, never heard back. 

If someone would have looked at my solutions and said "dude, you're stupid, you didnt get that right" I would just moved on. But I checked and tripled checked on the 3rd try every subject on the exam, everything worked as requested. EVERYTHING. This time I trust myself because I do have some experience in this field so I cannot.

My goal is to follow up with this sentiment and get back to you.

I've passed and failed other RH exams for this one but I never felt like this one were I did 100% and didnt pass.

 


 

gmoirod
Mission Specialist
Mission Specialist
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I want to help you, and I'd very much like for you to drop me an email with your ticket number, and when you took the exam and I will follow up for you.

 

@ricardodacostaBe sure i will send you an email with my already treated ticket and details about my retake.
I am in same case...

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EX425 now has online exam option, if I'm not mistaken. It should be a lot easier to schedule it now.

I've passed it, and I personally know at least 2 people who have passed this exam (the same version of it). I wish everyone good luck on your next exam.

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ricardodacosta
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It is indeed available as a remote exam - congrats on passing it! *high five*

 

 

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