Jul 08

after several years of meaning to, i finally sat the OMG Certified UML Professional fundamental (OM0-100) exam. Although the UML is now a large and gratuitously complex language, there is actually a dearth of material available for this exam, so i thought i’d jot down what i found useful.

A trusty copy of Fowler’s UML Distilled is always a good place to start with UML. However, for this exam, which tests fundamental knowledge of the UML language, rather than how to model OO concepts, it is not particularly useful I’m afraid. Instead, you’ll need:

The UML Reference Manual - a dictionary. This is to UML what the Oxford is to the English language. Hugely useful to disambiguate - and even occasionally clarify – the particular meaning of UML words and concepts. A reasonable number of questions in the exam test vocabulary (often by way of “which of the following statements is true of x“, where x might be a term such as ‘constraint’ or ‘namespace’, for example).

The UML User Guide - a grammar. Whereas Fowler brilliantly provides the 20% you need to know to model 80% of everything you’ll ever need to model; the User Guide presents the other 80%. ahem. that is, the official, more complete and more syntax focused coverage of the usage of the UML you’ll need to pass the exam. Hugely useful in describing, illustrating and coordinating the concepts presented in the Reference Manual. These books are certainly not cheap, however i justified the cost to myself in that these are the two primary reference sources needed for all three levels of the exam. Google will, of course, provide you with pdfs of these e.g. here and here; though i personally don’t find such usable as reference materials.

Finally, the entirely essential UML 2 Certification Guide, without which a pass is unlikely. Even though i have 10 or so years practical UML modelling experience, I wouldn’t have passed without this, and that’s because the exam simply doesn’t test modelling ability or knowledge of vernacular UML. It’s testing understanding of the grammar, syntax and core concepts of the language – the UML metamodel - as described by the UML Specification itself, not its everyday use. So, unless you want to wade through the version of the specification used in the exam, using only the awful coverage maps as your guide to what to focus on; you need this. Its translated from the German, certainly written by a German at least, as every once in a while the English used makes it unclear as to what is meant (that’s where the Reference Manual and User Guide are lifesavers). Over at SlideShare you’ll find a series of presentations that appear to be a summary of the certification guide pretty much verbatim:

OMG UML 1 : OMG UML 2 :  OMG UML 3 :  OMG UML 4 : OMG UML 5

As for the exam? Well, there is plenty of time, I was done in just under an hour and managed 78/80; though i admit to being hugely, hugely overprepared. apologies to everyone during the week prior to the exam, and especially my partner for waking her, and child, up at 5am in the morning during last minute cramming. Now for the Intermediate…

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