This post is to provide some tips and references for anyone studying for the SnowPro certification. This one is dedicated to Alejandro Merchan who asked my thoughts on Twitter.
Why get certified?
First some quick thoughts on why to get certified. I often get asked if certifications are worth the money and effort. Usually the question is usually from someone hoping to get hired into a Data Engineer role without much experience. My answer varies a little based on the context of the question, but ultimately I do not know how helpful certifications will be for you. I do think it is a bit of evidence that you know a technology, but ultimately questions in job interviews will be about your experience hands on rather than a set of technology trivia questions.
So why did I take the SnowPro Core Certification Exam? As a consultant there is not a usually a thorough interview process to take on a project, so primarily I decided to get the certification to instill more confidence in those that may hire me. It serves as evidence that I have knowledge about Snowflake, though blog posts are helpful for that also. My secondary reason was to push me to learn things I had not already encountered in my work with Snowflake. For me it was helpful in exposing me to some nuances around Snowflake that were new to me.
What did I study?
Some of this is obvious but I want to be complete in what I found helpful. In general I utilized the documentation a lot and in each area I drilled deeper when things sounded important or were just things I was curious about.
I started with the basic exam guide and related free course. As I always do for exams, I considered which of the Domains I was least confident in and which would have the most questions. After enrolling and getting the study guide I followed quite a few links to overview videos and documentation pages.
Here are some of the useful sections of the documentation, which I ended up on because of the study guide course.
1. Snowflake editions matrix
2. Data Governance matrix
3. Data Loading
5. Grants and Privileges
6. GRANT syntax
7. Hands on Lab
8. Multi-Cluster Warehouses
9. Materialized Views
With the Snowflake online learning, I found the Level Up: First Concepts section really helpful. I didn’t complete every section but the Level Up Final Exam really helped me identify areas to go back and learn. The Level Up: Performance section is also worth a look.
In addition, when it was getting close to exam time I searched for “Snowflake certification free practice exams” and found some short, helpful practice questions. I wouldn’t rely on those too heavily, but I realized a few topics I needed to go back and study.
What you should study / practice?
Between the Level Up courses and the Getting Started guides, you will be off to a good start. You probably do not need to have a lot of hands on time with Snowflake to do well on the core exam, but I think walking through some labs and experimenting with your own data is worth some of your time.
Do not neglect understanding:
- Table types and benefits
- View types and benefits
- Semi-structured data
- Differences in Snowflake Editions
- GRANT syntax
- Roles and Users
- Multi-cluster warehouses and options
- SNOWFLAKE.ACCOUNT_USAGE views and INFORMATION_SCHEMA views
The links and bullet points here do not cover everything on the test and I am being careful not to give such specific tips that I break the rules. I recommend saving some screenshots and key facts somewhere so you can review them the day of the exam, but mostly try not to keep your learning too surface level since the questions do get a bit detailed. If you learn the fundamentals of Snowflake architecture and usage you will cover a lot of the material, but you should know many of the features and most common options in order to do well.