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Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer

Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer

About the CLAD Exam:

The clad_exam_prep_guide_english.pdf states that "A CLAD demonstrates a broad and complete understanding of the core features and functionality available in the LabVIEW Full Development System and possesses the ability to apply that knowledge to develop, debug, and maintain small LabVIEW modules."  In other words, you should be able to to string LabVIEW functions together into meaningful LabVIEW code in accordance with LabVIEW best practices.  You are mostly book-learned, but can develop and maintain small VIs, updating them as necessary.

 

The test itself is a one-hour multiple-choice exam with a passing grade of 70% and is available at Pearson VUE testing centers or NI branch offices.  You'll get something to write on, and something to write with, in case you have to work out some problems.

 

NI Preparation Information:

The Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer (CLAD) Exam Preparation E-Kit is National Instrument's official CLAD exam prep kit.  You will find links to their exam prep guide, practice exams and other helpful items.

My Journey to become an NI Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer:

After quickly reviewing a sample CLAD test, in May of 2013 I walked into a test center, took the test and passed.  Simple, huh?  In truth, it was the culmination of about seven years of preparation - although I hadn't thought of it as such back then.  It was all about visiting the NI LabVIEW Forum at least once a day, even if I had no questions to ask.  Sometimes I just combed the forum looking for interesting topics.  If I didn't understand something, I wasn't afraid to ask questions.  I wasn't afraid to defend my position.  (And occasionally I was even right!)  Eventually I found that I was answering questions as well as asking them.  My next question to ask was to myself: "Why not try the CLAD test?"  So I glanced at a sample test, realized it felt more like a review than a test, walked into a test center, took the test and passed.

 

The reason behind my getting certified was to have something on my resume to compete with LabVIEW developers that had twice as much experience - or more - than I did.  Seven years of experience may seem like a lot, but it's not.

 

Since then, I had become a CLD.  With the CLAD, I showed that I knew basic LabVIEW concepts; with the CLD, I showed that, not only could I talk the talk, I could walk the walk.  (The CLA shows that you can talk the talk and walk the walk, all while chewing gum and juggling a few chainsaws.)

My Personal Recommendations to Candidates:

This section will be a bit different than the corresponding sections in the other certification nuggets because there are really no specific strategies to doing well on the test other than know how to do well on a multiple choice exam.  Instead, I will focus how to gather the LabVIEW knowledge necessary for you to pass the exam as well as discuss the path forward.  That being said:

 

  • Check out the CLAD kit for sure, but I cannot stress enough the importance of being a regular visitor to the NI LabVIEW forum.  The LabVIEW Gurus live there.  Ask questions.  Ask for clarification.  Fill up from the information fire hose.  If you're like me, it will only make you thirstier.
  • Follow the tutorials listed here (at the bottom, Looking for Free Training).
  • If you own a copy of LabVIEW or have LabVIEW installed at work, check to see if there is an active SSP.  Oftentimes your employer doesn't even realize that the license includes free online training and is very glad to let you make use of it.  Just make sure you get permission.  It is their license, not yours.  With the SSP you can take the online equivalents of the LabVIEW CORE classes (1,2 and 3) as well as a host of other courses.
  • Get the LabVIEW Home Bundle!  It's the LabVIEW FULL Development system - for $50!  You can't use it for commercial use, but heck.  FIFTY BUCKS!  Nothing like learning by doing.
  • Use the CLAD as a stepping stone to your CLD.  You got your CLAD to distinguish yourself from the crowd only to learn that having a CLAD is like being a second lieutenant in the army.  (Hint: The army is full of them.)  Study hard and get that CLD!  Become a senior officer!  Show the world - and yourself - that you are serious about LabVIEW!

Comments?

I hope you found this nugget to be useful.  I invite you to share your CLAD experiences: "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat," as it were.  To the candidates: Study hard.  Soak up the wealth of information from the NI LabVIEW forum.  Fear not the CLAD test.

Bill
CLD
(Mid-Level minion.)
My support system ensures that I don't look totally incompetent.
Proud to say that I've progressed beyond knowing just enough to be dangerous. I now know enough to know that I have no clue about anything at all.
Humble author of the CLAD Nugget.
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Re: Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer

About the Nuggeteer!

Bill Ko is a Certified LabVIEW Developer (CLD) who currently rents his talents to whoever will pay for them.  Likes the Rent-to-Own model better.

 

Bill has about twenty years of test experience with the last seven years in automated testing using LabVIEW with a sprinkling of TestStand thrown in for good measure.  He has worked in many different environments from little startups to big corporations, huge assemblies and high-volume production.

 

Bill has worked for Watkins Johnson, JDS Uniphase, and Lockheed Martin, and has contracted with Philips Respironics and Wabtec.

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Re: Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer

I've been hesitant to take the CLAD because I've read that it really doesn't mean much, and should not be taken if you don't intend to take the CLD. In my current position, I never work in a team (on software) or make very large applications, so I'm not sure my experience would prepare me for the CLD.



CLA // LabVIEW 2016 // BALUG // Unofficial Forum Rules and Guidelines
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Re: Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer


@Gregory wrote:

I've been hesitant to take the CLAD because I've read that it really doesn't mean much, and should not be taken if you don't intend to take the CLD. In my current position, I never work in a team (on software) or make very large applications, so I'm not sure my experience would prepare me for the CLD.


While it's true that it is a stepping stone to the CLD, it can also be used as a measuring stick to see how much you really know about LabVIEW.  I actually think it could benefit you greatly because it will really make you start thinking "LabVIEW" if you haven't already.  It's cheap and it's a short test.  It could be a wise investment.

 

Plus, many places I've interviewed for give you a few questions right out of the practice exams to gauge your experience level.  If you show that you're a CLAD, they may waive that test.  In fact, some LabVIEW houses have been known to take a CLAD and train them up the a CLD - and pay for the test!

Bill
CLD
(Mid-Level minion.)
My support system ensures that I don't look totally incompetent.
Proud to say that I've progressed beyond knowing just enough to be dangerous. I now know enough to know that I have no clue about anything at all.
Humble author of the CLAD Nugget.
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Re: Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer

Thanks for the nugget billko. I finally signed up for the CLAD last week and had much the same experience as you, looked over a couple practice tests and it felt like a review. I'm starting to look at the CLD now but I'm not sure my company will want to fork over $299 for it Smiley Sad



CLA // LabVIEW 2016 // BALUG // Unofficial Forum Rules and Guidelines
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Re: Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer


@Gregory wrote:

Thanks for the nugget billko. I finally signed up for the CLAD last week and had much the same experience as you, looked over a couple practice tests and it felt like a review. I'm starting to look at the CLD now but I'm not sure my company will want to fork over $299 for it Smiley Sad


Depends on how serious they are about LabVIEW.  Studying for it alone will take you several levels higher in your coding skills.  Even if you feel you can already pass the test!

 

Maybe you can pitch the educational part of it.  Hey, that's a thought... maybe you can call it job-related education and have the company reimburse you for it?  Worse comes to worst, maybe you can write it off on your taxes as a work-related expense?

Bill
CLD
(Mid-Level minion.)
My support system ensures that I don't look totally incompetent.
Proud to say that I've progressed beyond knowing just enough to be dangerous. I now know enough to know that I have no clue about anything at all.
Humble author of the CLAD Nugget.
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Re: Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer

I agree that it would be educational (and the CLAD was paid for as an educational expense). The company has been very gracious to let me use the SSP to take Core 3, Advanced Architectures, and Object Oriented Programming in down time. I think another certification exam within a couple of months of the first might be a hard sell though Smiley Happy



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Re: Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer


@Gregory wrote:

I agree that it would be educational (and the CLAD was paid for as an educational expense). The company has been very gracious to let me use the SSP to take Core 3, Advanced Architectures, and Object Oriented Programming in down time. I think another certification exam within a couple of months of the first might be a hard sell though Smiley Happy


That's great!  Not many people know about the online training you get as part of the SSP.  Smiley Happy

Bill
CLD
(Mid-Level minion.)
My support system ensures that I don't look totally incompetent.
Proud to say that I've progressed beyond knowing just enough to be dangerous. I now know enough to know that I have no clue about anything at all.
Humble author of the CLAD Nugget.
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Re: Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer

Update:

The LabVIEW Home Bundle license has since been updated to include a personal version of the application builder!  While the license only allows you to build applications for yourself, it makes it even more vluable as a teaching aid because you can now take a project all the way from start to finish.  You can find out first hand just how difficult it is to keep all your paths straight when making an executable out of your development code and only suffer the slippage of your personal project timeline in doing so.

 

Users who bought it under the previous license agreement will have their licenses upgraded, too!

Bill
CLD
(Mid-Level minion.)
My support system ensures that I don't look totally incompetent.
Proud to say that I've progressed beyond knowing just enough to be dangerous. I now know enough to know that I have no clue about anything at all.
Humble author of the CLAD Nugget.
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Re: Certification Nugget: CLAD - Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer

Bill,

 

Thanks for the interesting read. It's great to know about the home bundle. The image shows 2014 - do you know if this is the version included? (as a follow-up question, if a new version was bundled, do you know if people would be able to download with the same key or need to buy again?)

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