Meet the Gild, a free website with lots of technology-based certifications, for free, that are actually recognised by companies. If you’re really good, you can win prizes too!
At the core of Gild, there are over 30 core technology based tests on all the major programming languages as well as software and systems in top demand by major IT companies. Each certification is broken into 3 levels and takes between 20-60 minutes to complete. I’ll be honest and say most of them are quite challenging, even on the basic levels. I tried some last year and got mediocre results, but I spent a few hours again this morning and had improved greatly. Unfortunately, test scores take 3 days to be graded, but you’ll get an email when they’re done.
This is the really exciting bit that you can show to potential employers, where the results of your tests are shown. You can choose not to display individual results on the public transcript if they’re pretty bad. If you get above a certain score, you will receive a medal too. Unfortunately my British grammar school education only left me with a measly bronze in written English, but no matter. I took the advanced level while writing this article, and I’m fairly certain it pushed me higher! You can view my own public profile here, but promise not to laugh. You can even add a full CV, and use the URL as your professional web presence.
You even get achievements, where you can showcase your medals and such.
If you score a perfect 800 on the advanced PHP test, you’d be wise to apply immediately for some of the high level IT jobs that are listed on the site. Another great feature is the “pre-qualified” jobs section, which extrapolates jobs you’re suited to depending on your test results so far. Don’t be sad if you see the following though, you just need to specialise a little more!
If you’ve got talent, you can easily get some great prizes that are sponsored by major IT corporations. The competitions are understandably high level and focus on either on programming or abstract cryptography or logic puzzles – but they’re open for anyone to try. The prizes on offer are usually some kind of tech gadget like an iPad or camera, but I haven’t been good enough to win anything yet.
Even if you’re not a programming master, I think this is a great way to gauge your skills overall and leave you with something you can actually show an employer – even if you’re not heading for an IT specific job. For non-tech jobs and smaller companies, employers are often grateful if you can demonstrate some tech knowledge such as HTML and CSS to fix the company site. Even if you’re not looking for a job, taking tests is fun!
Let us know what you think of Gild and what test scores you managed to achieve!