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Delighted to join the ranks of those who have passed Alteryx Designer Core Certification 😁
It was harder than I expected but I think I was ready for it after about 18 months' use, I didn't have to prepare specifically for it. Full respect to anyone who succeeds in passing this from scratch with a couple of weeks' study.
The exam makes you realise how deep a piece of software it is and how easy it is to miss configuration options even on tools I use daily!
Just looked at the Advanced Certification and it looks tough - I'm pretty certain I would need to study for that regardless. I still haven't gotten my head around macros yet. 🤔
As you inferred, the core exam is very picky and requires you to know almost every option available on the basic tools. I only passed on my second attempt. The Advanced isn't any better. You still need to know the ins and outs of all the basic tools, plus they add in Spatial, Reporting, Predictive, macros, etc. You have to create 4 workflows, so time is a factor as well. Going through the prep guide in detail is definitely recommended.
Congrats, best of luck progressing to the next level! I've been a user for approximately the same period of time (17-18 mo), though I only have 6 workflows under my belt as a designer. I agree that the exam is challenging and requires specific, detailed knowledge to succeed. The scores on my attempts so far have been 62, 64, and 78. The points I lose are almost entirely practical application problems as I'm not proficient in designing workflows on the fly.