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Coffee Chat Transcript Jan. 29, 2020: New Relic Fundamentals Certification Program Part Two



We had another informative coffee chat with our New Relic University colleagues @courtneyphillips and @philweber. This chat covered New Relic Fundamental Certification . Full transcript is below. Consider joining us next time!

Full schedule of coffee chat session are here: January & February Coffee Chats: NRU Certification

Elizabeth Beach 11:02 AM
Hi everyone! To kick things off, I know folks need to complete all three quizzes by February 14th if they want to earn the awesome socks :socks: from the Explorers Hub campaign, but is there a time limit otherwise? For example if I passed the first two sections but then life got busy is there a time frame I need to pass the third in in order to be certified?

Courtney Phillips 11:03 AM
Great question! As you mentioned, our new certification is broken up into three smaller portions, each with their own assessment, instead of one huge course with one huge test!
Each assessment is valid for one year after you’ve passed it.
We understand our users are busy, so we’ve designed our new certification in a manner that allows you complete a bit at a time.

Elizabeth Beach 11:05 AM
The certification course has a ton of great information in it but are their other resources folks might want to take a look at before they take the assessments?

Courtney Phillips 11:08 AM
So, first and foremost, it’s worth noting that everything you’ll be tested on in the certification assessments is discussed and explored in the NRU course leading up to these assessments, located here: New Relic Fundamentals Certification Program

The New Relic Fundamentals Certification program will help you build the foundation you need to become an expert on the New Relic Observability Platform.

Phil Weber 11:08 AM
Hello! @philweber is here ![:slightly_smiling_face:

Courtney Phillips 11:09 AM
But, that said, to get a full understanding of the platform it’s definitely important to actually work in the platform!
We highly recommend following along with tutorials and exploring in your own New Relic account.
Additionally, our wonderful team of NRU instructors have a wide variety of webcasts available here: Webcasts

Learn with New Relic University instructors in free 30 minute sessions on a variety of topics. Register to attend a scheduled webcast and learn from instructors in a live training session, or watch a pre-recorded webcast and work at your own pace.

The Explorer’s Hub forum has a great series of Best Practice Guides here:
Proven Practices: Best Practices Guides

Once you get set up in New Relic, we want you to make the most of it! These Best Practice Guides were written after working with thousands of customers, so they’re filled with great advice and actionable ideas.

And, in addition to the tutorials in the certification courses, our docs can help you get the products up and running in your own apps! New Relic Documentation

Phil Weber 11:11 AM
So, wait… I thought there was a Certified Performance Pro certification that was only one test

Courtney Phillips 11:11 AM
(also, hey @philweber!)

Phil Weber 11:12 AM
Now there are three tests? What’s up with that?? :wink:

Courtney Phillips 11:13 AM

Great question, @philweber! You’re right, we’ve broken this new certification into smaller, more easily-digestible portions. So instead of one big course series, then one big test, we actually have three smaller courses, each followed by a smaller test.

The structure looks like this:

  • Performance Monitoring Fundamentals Course

  • Performance Monitoring Fundamentals Assessment

  • APM Fundamentals + APM with Insights Courses

  • APM Fundamentals Assessment

  • Alerting Course

  • Alerting Assessment

We hope that this new format makes the certification more accessible to our busy users.

Phil Weber 11:15 AM
Cool. And what if I am an expert in a different product, like Infrastructure or Browser, instead of APM. Can I still be certified?
Shall I answer my own question? :slightly_smiling_face: The middle of the "exam sandwich" will cover other products in the future

Courtney Phillips 11:18 AM
Yes, that’s right. For those looking to be certified in other products besides APM, those certifications are in the pipeline and coming soon!
Good news is, the “bookends” of these additional certification will actually be the same as the APM certification, as they cover general New Relic skills. For instance, our soon-to-be-released Infrastructure certification will be structured like this:

  • Performance Monitoring Fundamentals Course

  • Performance Monitoring Fundamentals Assessment

  • Infrastructure Fundamentals

  • Infrastructure Fundamentals Assessment

  • Alerting Course

  • Alerting Assessment

Notice that only the middle two steps differ from the structure of the APM certification I mapped out above.
So, if you’ve passed the Performance Monitoring Fundamentals assessment, and the Alerting assessment from the APM certification within the past year, you won’t need to retake those portions when getting your Infrastructure certification.

Elizabeth Beach 11:20 AM
Besides Infrastructure, what other product Certifications should folks expect to see in the future?

Courtney Phillips 11:21 AM
Well, we’re currently working on completing the Infrastructure certification, to be released soon. After that, we’ll determine which product-specific certification to work on next. We hope to eventually cover the wide variety of products New Relic offers!

Jorge Barajas 11:22 AM
That’s sound good!

Courtney Phillips 11:22 AM
Yeah, we’re excited!

Phil Weber 11:23 AM
So, any questions from the community?
If not, I will have to tell a joke!

My colleague told me not to tell beef jokes…
It is a medium that is rarely well-done

Phil Weber 11:25 AM
I tell dad jokes, and I don’t even have children! I am a faux pa

Courtney Phillips 11:26 AM
Okay, you got me with that one! :joy:

Elizabeth Beach 11:26 AM
Are there any questions on the certification that folks seem to be struggling with and maybe need some extra study?

Courtney Phillips 11:28 AM
Oh, that’s an interesting one. So, I guess I’d like to begin my mentioning that we keep a close eye on users’ performance on the assessments. If we see a downright abnormal number of people getting specific questions wrong, we take a moment to review the question to ensure it’s clear and accurate. We’re always working to improve our certification. :slightly_smiling_face:
However, that said, the APM-specific portion of certification seems to be the toughest, based on the data we have thus far.

Phil Weber 11:29 AM
APM is a very feature-rich product. There is a lot of functionality to know about

Courtney Phillips 11:29 AM
But, good news is, there are plenty of resources to study up for this! @philweber, would you like to tell the audience more?

Phil Weber 11:29 AM
Show of hands: Who uses Labels to organize their applications?

Courtney Phillips 11:29 AM

Phil Weber 11:29 AM
Just @courtneyphillips :slightly_smiling_face:

Courtney Phillips 11:30 AM
What can I say, I love it when things are organized.

Phil Weber 11:30 AM
That is a very powerful but seldom-used feature, and there are questions about it on the exam
For example, if you have 100 applications reporting to your account, maybe you only want to see Production apps (as opposed to Dev or Staging)…
…or only apps that belong to your team. You can assign Labels to each application, then filter the applications list to see only the ones you care about
You can also use Labels to target alert conditions, so you can have alert conditions automatically apply to applications as you deploy them

Courtney Phillips 11:32 AM
But @philweber , how do these labels differ from Categories?

Phil Weber 11:33 AM
A Label includes a Category and a Value
For example, you might create a Category called Environment
Within that category you might have Values of Dev, Staging, and Production
Environment:Production would be a Label

Courtney Phillips 11:35 AM
Interesting, it sounds like it may be a good idea to play around with Categories and Labels in one’s own account to study up for the certification, then! Any other helpful exercises you would recommend? (edited)

Phil Weber 11:36 AM
Another cool feature to learn about is the REST API
Anytime you find yourself thinking, “I wish I could automate this repetitive task, so I don’t have to do so much clicking in the UI”, that is a prime candidate for using the API

Courtney Phillips 11:37 AM
Oh wow, so you can automate some of the actions you would otherwise do manually?

Phil Weber 11:37 AM
The REST API allows you to query New Relic data, so you can use it elsewhere. For example, you can get a list of open alert incidents to display on a dashboard
You can also turn off alert conditions during maintenance windows, so you don’t get unnecessary notifications
And you can use the REST API to tell New Relic when you deploy a new version of your application
Allowing you to visualize how performance has changed as a result of the deployment
If you are not already using the API, that would be a good thing to learn about :slightly_smiling_face:

Courtney Phillips 11:40 AM
Yeah, it really sounds like you can save a lot of time using the REST API. Any particular resources you recommend for learning more?

Phil Weber 11:40 AM
Well, as you suggested earlier, the best way to learn about a feature is to actually use it
That is really our goal with certification: To make customers aware of valuable features they may not be using, so they can get the most value out of New Relic

Courtney Phillips 11:42 AM

Phil Weber 11:42 AM
Also, I am sure there are some courses at New Relic University that cover the API

Courtney Phillips 11:43 AM
You’re right! We have a whole course on APIs in general: New Relic APIs
Learn how to use a variety of New Relic APIs, including the GraphQL API, the Insights Insert API, and the APM Agent API.
And, of course, the certification course contains tutorials and lessons for all API-related content on the assessment!
Which, for anyone not already aware, you can find everything you need to know about the certification here: New Relic Fundamentals Certification Program
The New Relic Fundamentals Certification program will help you build the foundation you need to become an expert on the New Relic Observability Platform.

*Elizabeth Beach 11:45 AM
I think we have time for one or two more questions, if anyone has one they’ve been holding on to :slightly_smiling_face:

Courtney Phillips 11:45 AM
Yes, @philweber and I are all ears! :ear:

Phil Weber 11:46 AM
…which makes it really difficult to sit down!

Dani Katzman 11:46 AM

Courtney Phillips 11:47 AM
Hey Dani Katzman!

Dani Katzman 11:47 AM
If I took the previous certification and it’s still valid is there a reason (besides the socks) to take the new course? And yes i do want the socks please

Phil Weber 11:48 AM
Haha :socks:
Well, the old one will expire within 2 years, so you will likely want the new one before then
and the new one goes into much more depth than the previous exam

Courtney Phillips 11:49 AM
Additionally, the new course covers much more material than the previous one. So, even if you’re already certified, it’s a great resource to learn even more.

Dani Katzman 11:49 AM
But my old one will expire after the new one if i took it today,
ok so i will have a look at it.

Phil Weber 11:49 AM
Yes. Again, our goal is to help customers get the most value out of the platform
The new certification covers much more of the platform than the previous one, which focused only on APM and Alerts

Dani Katzman 11:50 AM
One question i did have about the APM, is there a way to setup an app before it actually starts transmitting?

Phil Weber 11:51 AM
The New Relic back-end automatically creates a new application ID the first time it receives data from an particular language agent with a particular license key and application name

Dani Katzman 11:51 AM
In my ci\cd i want to be able to mark the deployment and insert the app id from the start and not have to deploy first and then go back to my deploy script to get the app id

Phil Weber 11:52 AM
You could create a dummy application with the same name, using the same language as the target application.
The first time it sends data, APM will create an ID for it

Dani Katzman 11:53 AM
That i know, but I would prefer to also be able to create an ID myself

Phil Weber 11:53 AM
But that’s a hack. I don’t know of any other way to get an app ID

Dani Katzman 11:54 AM
SO maybe I"ll have to suggest it somehow, maybe i can hack it via the api, I’ll have to take a look at that. Thank you.

Phil Weber 11:54 AM
BTW, I will mention the New Relic Explorer’s Hub here: New Relic Explorers Hub
Get help using New Relic products and discuss application performance in our Community Forum
Someone else asked that very question in the community a few months ago
Our product managers monitor the forums for feature ideas
So that would be an excellent feature to suggest

Dani Katzman 11:56 AM
OK I’ll try to find that post.
Thank you

Phil Weber 11:56 AM
OK, I think we’re about out of time…
Thank you everyone for being here!

Elizabeth Beach 11:57 AM
Thanks @courtneyphillips and @philweber for all of your insights!

Phil Weber 11:57 AM
We will look for you in the technical community, and at NRU!