As you probably know by now, a couple of weeks ago Embarcadero introduced a Certification program for Delphi. The official page is at:

There are two levels of certification, a basic level with an online exam and a master level with an online exam you have to take at a certified training center (my company included) just to make sure you are the persona taking the exam (and not your fried who's a Delphi guru). The goal is to answer a set of questions at two different levels and answer a good number of them correctly, so you can get an official certificate and the right to use an official "certified" logo on your site and CV. There are two study guides that should help you get an idea of the topics and see some sample questions... and a "free exam voucher" for those who own Delphi XE (but this expires in 2 days -- plus a month, I had a wrong deadline in mind!).

As I was directly involved for quite some time in the preparation, correction, and validation of the tests, I'll refrain from commenting on the questions themselves. Only consider that in the master test many questions are not directly tied to Delphi, but its environment (Windows API, XML, HTTP, and the like). So you need a good knowledge of programming in general, not only specifically Delphi.

You can read more on David I blog, Dr. Dobb's, and SD Times. (Nice to see magazines mention Delphi, by the way.) 

Why a Delphi Certification?

All this bring us to the key question Tim Anderson asked some time ago, What's the use of computing certifications ? I mostly agree with him, in saying that while some technical and specific knowledge (like those of a network or database administrator) is more suited for certifications, programming knowledge in general is very hard to test, unless you ask the developer to write some code and you evaluate its quality, a very difficult and subjective operation. 

So is Delphi certification useful? I think it is. Truly, a certified developer isn't necessarily better than one who didn't take the exam or failed it. However, it shows some basic knowledge of the product. Being part of global and public list (as Embarcadero has hinted they will do) is good for the developer find a job or some consulting work, as it helps companies looking for Delphi programmers (and there are many) find you. But having a significant numbers of Delphi developers also helps the Delphi community figure out there are still many others on the same boat. And it helps the overall perception of the product. Lots of companies claim they are giving up Delphi becasue they cannot find developers, the Certification program can help changing this perception.

So despite a few reasonable doubts, I think the Delphi Certification program is a good move in the right direction. And if you own Delphi XE, use the free exame bonus and spend an hour to take the test. You might even learn a couple of Delphi secret features while doing so. I did learn a few tricks (and found out a couple of wrong assumptions I had).

Needless to say, that if you are still using an older version of Delphi and are interested in learning all the new XE features, fast, my Delphi Handbooks Collection can be useful also for the exams (even if it is not directly aimed at those).