I was reading John Nack's blog the other day and discovered the Adobe ACE program (Adobe Certified Expert) which is where you go to a testing center and take a multiple choice exam about a specific Adobe product. If you pass you get to call yourself an "Adobe ACE" in that product, including using the Adobe name (and logo?) to promote yourself. This theoretically shows people you know what you're talking about and gives you a little more credibility in dinner party arguments over software. :-) I immediately thought about taking the Lightroom exam, figuring I could probably pass it without too much trouble.
I can see a certification like this being important for a lot of people trying to get entry level jobs in the content creation world. Let's say you're graduating from school and you use Photoshop all the time and you want to get a job in the graphic arts industry. For $150 you could take this test, put the Adobe name on your resume, and hope that makes you stand out above the crowd a little bit. I don't know much about the graphic arts industry but that sounds plausible. I assume that anyone with more experience would already have a portfolio or a reputation and this wouldn't be very useful though.
But I'm not looking for a job as a graphic designer. The main reason I would want to do it would be to lend myself credibility for consulting/contract jobs as well as teaching/lecturing/training opportunities. So I started looking into it, with the eye towards taking the test in the next week or two.
First off, the exam costs $150 and there's no refund if you don't pass, so there's some incentive to not just go into it cold. You get to say you're an official "Adobe Certified Expert". But then it's up to you.
What's really missing is some form of registry for Adobe ACEs. I got really excited when I saw a link to the "Adobe Certified Expert Community". I thought this would be the place to see the community of ACEs, find one in your area, look at profiles, figure out who to hire. But no, that's not what it is. It seems like Adobe would want to push this huge collection of people who are passionate about their products. Having something like that would be good for both Adobe and the people who are free evangelists for their products.
So if Adobe is leaving the marketing to the ACEs themselves, let's see how that's working out. If you google "Adobe Lightroom ACE" the first four hits are Adobe's own links to the test. The next link is a blog entry from 2008 from a guy saying he passed. The next links are for test prep materials. What's missing is people advertising their services and mentioning their ACE certification. A search for "Adobe Lightroom ACE near San Jose" turns up nobody advertising their services as an Adobe ACE.
So, where's the evidence that anyone has actually ever taken this exam? Why isn't Adobe pushing this? Has anyone ever tried to use this certification to get a job?
And most importantly, should I pay $150 for this?