The InterSystems IRIS® data platform makes it easier to build high-performance, machine learning-enabled applications that connect data and application silos. It provides high performance database management, interoperability, and analytics capabilities. The InterSystems IRIS Core Solutions Developer Specialist exam is the comprehensive certification exam that developers working on IRIS can take to validate their skillsets.

Who should take this exam?

This exam is for software engineers who want to build applications using ObjectScript and InterSystems IRIS technologies. Though six months of on-the-job experience with IRIS is recommended, any experienced software engineer with a good knowledge of SQL and object oriented programming can attempt this exam and can succeed if they spend enough time to understand the ObjectScript language.

Where to start?

The InterSystems IRIS for Health Development and the ObjectScript reference documentation pages are the best place to start. At the bottom of the page is a button to “Download All PDFs” and I highly recommend using this option as I found it easier to refer the contents from a PDF document rather than navigating web pages.

How to prepare?

Professionals taking this exam are expected to be already familiar with object-oriented programming, SQL, data access in IRIS, ObjectScript, and InterSystems IRIS technologies.

InterSystems recommends completing a classroom course Developing with InterSystems Objects and SQL and / or an online course Building a Server-Side Application with InterSystems.

There are 13 practice questions available which provide a good example of the actual questions in the exam and are therefore highly recommended preparation activity. However apart from these there are no mock tests or exams that one can take.

The best way to prepare from my own experience is to download a free community edition of InterSystems IRIS from the InterSystems Developer Community page and work on practical exercises by doing some hands-on coding on the platform.

Another option is to create and access IRIS test instance in the cloud. Once signed in into InsterSystems learning portal, there is an option to “Launch a Lab”. This will create an instance of Intersystems IRIS in the cloud that can be used for developing and testing IRIS applications. Once created, it will take a few minutes for the instance to be up and running.

What’s the exam about?

The Exam Topics and Content contains a table of all topics and content that exam covers. For the purposes of this certification, it is not necessary to read more.

I found that the actual exam questions were designed to test one’s practical experience with IRIS as much as the theoretical knowledge. IRIS and ObjectScript have a number of unique features that separate them from popular frameworks and programming languages. These are tested in the exam, but disguised inside questions, and will most likely be missed by unsuspecting non-IRIS developers.

What’s the exam format?

The exam has 62 questions that need to be completed in 2 hours, which translates to just under 2 minutes per question. The passing score is 66%, or 41 correct answers. During the exam, the ObjectScript reference is available as a PDF document. The results are available instantly after the completion of the exam.

What to expect On Exam Day?

I took the test from the comfort of my home, but there were a few strict prerequisites to be met. Only one monitor can be used during the exam, no headphones are allowed (only external microphone and speakers), and an external web camera is a must as there is an examiner on the other side who needs to have a clear view of the desk and the person taking the exam, at all times.

There are also 3 software requirements:

I highly recommend downloading the latest versions and testing them. Last thing one wants to see is Zoom refusing to work without an update when the test is supposed to start.

In conclusion, this is a challenging exam that expects the person to be experienced with IRIS and ObjectScript. Once certified, you can be sure that a developer is, in fact, an IRIS Core Solutions Developer Specialist.