Python Certified


Last night, on a whim, I took a chance on myself and purchased a voucher for one exam plus a retake for the Python Certified Entry-Level Programmer (PCEP) exam.

The Journey

I hadn’t been studying, per se, but I had definitely been practicing Python. In my day job, I work as a help desk specialist but my role has deviated somewhat from the norm to involve maintenance of various coding projects. They’re mostly web-based things like an auction platform webapp and a few slack bots. I also manage the deployment scripts for our internal flavour of Ubuntu.

All this started out a few years ago when I wanted to fix a bug in our internal Auction platform. I was tired of bidding on old hardware and seeing that something IT maintains had a bunch of error messages when you would place bids or win an item! I had to solve the puzzle of the 500 error!

But for someone like me, who loves solving puzzles and tackling anything brand-new, once you start you just can’t stop. This auction platform is written in Python and I already knew Javascript (or at least could debug a bit of basic JS) so I ended up picking up Python pretty quickly.

Then I spun up some Slack bots a few months later. After that I created a script that would validate an Ubuntu user’s password, making sure that it followed our password policies as you couldn’t specify that during the user creation/deployment phase we had set up.

Before I knew it, I was rewriting the auction platform from scratch to fix a ton of performance issues. All of this brought me to last night, where I impulsively decided to purchase a PCEP exam voucher and took the exam immediately.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I purchased the voucher that included one retake. I figured that even if I bombed, at least I would have some feedback on what I needed to focus on and could study for another month before trying again.

The exam was certainly challenging. I’m glad I had 40 minutes for the 30 questions I needed to answer. Some of them were multiple choice, some of them involved trying to figure out what a piece of code would do (those were really tricky) and others involved taking pieces of a command and putting them in the correct order.

It was a nice experience, going through my first certification exam. I understand that an entry-level certification is certainly not going to open all the doors for me. I understand that it may not even help me get a foot in the door at another company. That’s not my goal here.

I have no intention to leave the company I’m currently working for. What I wanted was some solid feedback on my programming ability. I didn’t know where I stood when it came to my knowledge. Now I know and I have proof of this knowledge. I’m proud to have passed this exam. I also got a score I’m pretty proud of! Not perfect, but not barely passing either.


The goal to acquire certification/pass a certification body’s exam doesn’t have to be a career oriented one, even if the practice towards it comes from your career. It can simply be the sense of satisfaction and pride knowing that at least according to someone’s standard, you’re the shit.