LONDON – A second entry-level exam, addressing Cortex-M cores, microcontrollers and the Internet of Things, will be added early in 2013 to the ARM Accredited Engineer certification scheme recently rolled out by processor intellectual property licensor ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England).
The first, entry-level exam in a tiered system of accreditation is available globally and the test – administered by Prometric Inc. (Baltimore, Md.) – can be sat in any one of 6,000 test centers around the world, Paul Elbro, vice president and general manager of ARM Services, told EE Times.
The drive for the accreditation scheme came from Taiwan. Employers were finding lots of engineers were putting "ARM experience" on their CVs and Taiwanese employers wanted a way to benchmark that, said Elbro. He added that demand for certification is high in Asia-Pacific because companies often take on large numbers of engineers to address consumer electronics projects with very short time-to-market windows. Those companies can't afford to employ ARM-experienced engineers who then have to spend time re-familiarizing themselves with toolsets and architectures, Elbro said. The risk is that time lost bringing engineers up to speed results in a late product that makes no money. "There is no time to learn on the job," said Elbro.
ARM's response has been the tiered engineering accreditation scheme.
The first exam looks at the basics of the ARMv7 architecture and at Cortex-A and Cortex-R cores. It does not look at microcontrollers, the topic of the second entry-level exam.
To become ARM accredited engineers have to attend a test center with government supplied ID – such as a passport or driving license – and take a computerized test. There is a fee to take the exam that varies by country. It is £125 in the U.K. and $200 in the United States and $160 (US dollars) in Taiwan, according to the Prometric website.
Gaining the ARM Accredited Engineer (AAE) status is not necessary to work on ARM-based projects but it is expected to provide engineers and students with an advantage over their peers when seeking employment.
Elbro said that having introduced two entry-level qualifications 2013 would be a year of delivery and listening for feedback on the scheme to drive any changes. "To remain relevant and keep the scheme serving industry we do need to keep listening," said Elbro.
When the product life cycle is squeezed to this point, having experience indeed helps. Certification may be a way to prove your knowledge. Nonetheless, what more importance is how corporation layout their talent supply chain so that employees get motivation and the corporation will earn loyalty from its employee.