At Okta, we are all committed to our customers’ and partners’ success, from start to finish. Our Education Services team lives and breathes this, investing in new programs to support IT professionals and leaders on their path to success. As part of the ongoing effort, we recently introduced our Okta certification program. Now, we are excited to have Kpayah Tamba join the team to take Okta certifications to the next level. Kpayah spent the first 11 years of his career at Citrix where he ran the certification and exam development business, and he later launched AppDynamics’ first certification program.
We sat down with Kpayah to learn more about his background, his philosophy on why certification matters, and his plans for Okta certification programs.
Tell us about your background
My professional background is quite interesting when you consider what I do, but then again, many Electrical Engineers could probably say the same – it seems many of us work in different fields.
There aren’t any formal degree programs for exam development and certification program management, and even if there were, I probably wouldn’t have enrolled in such programs, since I only became familiar with this ‘secret world’ after I attained a BS in Electronics Engineering Technology.
After college, my first job was in IT; and within six months, I switched careers and joined Citrix as an Associate Exam Developer. I was fascinated by the opportunities to learn about new technologies and to work with subject matter experts, exam development experts and psychometricians to measure market-relevant job skills related to the use of those technologies.
What is your philosophy on certification?
Certification is personal; however, the perceived value of a certification is entrenched in the brand it represents, the business needs it addresses, as well as, how well it serves the public at large. A good certification is associated with a properly designed exam or set of assessment instruments that measure exactly what they are intended to measure on a consistent basis. And, this is what we do here at Okta today--we design certifications intended to address evolving business needs.
Tell us about the Okta certification program
Okta currently has a three-tier certification program, designed for a range of audiences and experience.
The Okta Certified Professional (OCP) certification is the entry point into the Okta certification program. The OCP certification is ideal for individuals with experience completing day-to-day operational tasks to support users of the Okta service.
Then there is the Okta Certified Administrator (OCA) certification which is one tier above the OCP. In order to attain the OCA certification, an individual must attain and hold an unexpired OCP certification and then take and pass the Okta Administrator Exam. This is ideal for individuals who are proficient at managing and troubleshooting the Okta service.
Last, but not least, is the Okta Certified Consultant (OCC) certification. This certification is the most relevant for implementation personnel who work for Okta or partner organizations and are proficient at implementing the service in a variety of configurations.
What is unique about Okta’s certification exams?
Okta certification exams are designed and developed by exam development professionals, psychometricians and Okta subject matter experts who have vast experiences across different industries and geographies. We partner with vendors who are leaders in test development and test security. Our partnership with Caveon, a global leader in test security, is a clear example. Okta certification exams are designed and developed using Caveon’s suite of secure technologies, including Caveon's DOMC item type; this helps ensure that those who achieve Okta certifications do so based on merit.
Our certification exams are built on key principles: validity, reliability, fairness and repeatability. We strive to ensure we remain focused on the evaluation of skills that are relevant to the success of our customers and the IT profession. Our certification programs are designed with business needs in mind.
Why would you encourage an Okta customer to get certified?
Okta certification is the best way for customers to validate the skills of their staff against a globally vetted and proven benchmark, accelerate time to hire skilled Okta talent and maximize their use of Okta technologies.
Because certification is personal, it is worth noting a few of the direct benefits of certification to an IT professional. Attaining an Okta certification is one of the best ways for an IT professional to validate his or her expertise with Okta, gain the credibility he or she deserves, and demonstrate his or her dedication to being current on Okta technologies. An Okta certification can help an IT professional standout from the pack, land an interview, or even get a salary raise.
Why did you choose Okta?
The truth is the free food, but I will go with something else since my boss might read this blog post.
Joking aside, I have a passion for what I do, and so when I evaluate an opportunity, I carefully consider the strategic importance of my role and role of my team, the health of the company, and overall, how the company does business and how my world view aligns with its core values and practices.
Okta thinks big and smart. Our leadership has a clear vision. Our people are smart. I couldn’t have asked for a better team. I was intrigued from the onset by the warmth and sense of respect during the interview process. Everyone I spoke with during my interview was passionate and energized about their work. Choosing Okta was a no-brainer.
I am excited to help build a world-class certification program that our customers and partners can trust. I am looking forward to certifying the next generation of Okta evangelists.