UML Certification Offered to Worldwide Devs

Devs looking to get a leg-up in modeling for XML and web services might consider participating in a first-of-its-kind worldwide certification program for UML launched by the Object Management Group (OMG) and the UML Technology Institute (UTI). IDN spoke to the OMG exec running the program to find out why devs are knocking down the door to take the test, and what it means for the future.

Tags: UML, Certification, Lee, Modeling, Certification Program, Beta, Developers,

Developers looking to get a leg-up in modeling for XML and web services might consider participating in a first-of-its-kind worldwide certification program for UML launched by the Object Management Group (OMG) and the UML Technology Institute (UTI).

Under the certification program, developers are tested for their knowledge of the UML 2.0 specification. Tests, and certificates are available at three (3) levels: Fundamental, Intermediate and Advanced.

Some devs may question the need to be UML-certified, in view of the fact that the UML 2.0 spec was just approved earlier this summer (URL) and that demand for such skills may be slack. Any perception of slack demand is wrong, however, according to OMG's Clive Lee, program manager for the certification.

"I'm managing the beta process right now, and we've been heavily oversubscribed," Lee told IDN. "Because OMG isn't out there running big ads, we don't get the publicity or hype you'd see for some technologies that are commercially driven, but what we have is an undercurrent of interest which just continues to grow, and I'm frankly quite amazed," Lee said.

While Lee wouldn't share numbers with IDN, he did describe the worldwide nature of the interest. In just one day last week, Lee said, the certification program received applications from devs in the U.S., Brazil, Netherlands, Ireland, India, Argentina, Belgium Germany, the U.K., Kazakhstan, Norway, Denmark, Slovenia, Switzerland, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Luxembourg, Peru, France, Sweden, Italy, South Africa, Hong Kong, Canada, Spain and Malaysia.

Inside UML Certification
The genesis of the OMG/UTI program, Lee told IDN, came out of the perceived need to certify a vendor-neutral level of UML knowledge.

"There's a critical difference between what we're doing at OMG and what's available now from the modeling vendors like Rational/IBM and others," Lee explained. "With these certification [tests], we're not testing a specific modeling approach or even a person's ability to model -- we're testing the candidate's knowledge of UML. We see UML as a lingua franca that can be used irrespective of what modeling techniques or products a developer is using. So, we're trying to be vanilla, and that's a critical difference "

Lee went on to explain OMG's UML Certification Program's benefits to developers' careers:

"Irrespective of what modeling technique you're using, if you have an OMG certification behind you, you're saying you have this level of knowledge. It's designed to be a recognition of that [UML knowledge], an underpinning onto which you can layer other skills or expertise, such as modeling, or experience with other tools, and your experience with this or that project," Lee told IDN. "Then, taken together, you now begin to give the hiring manager an idea of what you've done."

The OMG/UTI tests mirror the contents of the UML 2.0 specification. Topics for questions follow (the corresponding section of the UML spec that applies follows each topic in parenthesis):
Root modeling concepts of UML diagrams (Sec 1.2)
Namespaces (Sec 1.3)
Multiplicities (Sec 1.4)
Expressions (Sec 1.5)
Constraints (Sec 1.6)
Instances (and Object Diagrams) (Sec 1.7)
Classifiers (includes Generalization) (Sec 1.8)
Features (Sec 1.9)
Operations (Sec 1.10)
Classes (Sec 1.11)
Data types (Sec 1.12)
Packages (and Package Diagrams) (Sec 1.13)
Other core modeling concepts

For more on the scope of the tests, go to OMG's Coverage Map.

For devs concerned that they may not be able to pass a test on UML 2.0 details, given the fact it is so recent, Lee has some calming insights. "First, you must remember that 80 percent of UML 2.0 is contained in [UML] 1.5, which has been out there a while. So, developers worried about passing a UML 2.0 test should keep that in mind."

And, because the OMG/UTI tests are in a beta phase through the end of September, all devs looking to take the test must apply online to Lee and his staff, including a short description of their background, UML and modeling qualification/experiences.

What about experienced Java/J2EE or ASP/.NET developers who haven't used modeling, let alone UML? Lee says, "They could apply, but I would simply tell them if they had hopes of passing, they should review the Coverage Map and UML 2.0 spec documents." Both are available from the OMG's UML Certification website.

More UML Cert Testing Details
Here are the dates for the beta phase of the UML Certification tests:

  • OMG-Certified UML Professional Fundamental August 11 - September 7, 2003
  • OMG-Certified UML Professional Intermediate August 25 - September 14, 2003
  • OMG-Certified UML Professional Advanced September 8 - September 21, 2003

There is a fee of $80 per beta test. As an incentive, beta testers will receive a 60 percent discount off the regular exam fee (of $200). For beta test applications and further information on OMG's UML Certification Program, visit .

OMG is targeting "live" UML Certification testing for all three levels to begin near the end of 2003, Lee said.