Why to sit for a LabVIEW Certification? (Ode to CLA Summits)

For LabVIEW developers, there are a number of interesting certification programs out there. For obvious reasons, NI’s program is quite interesting as it’s the most prominent in the NI ecosystem, and some of the certifications (CLAD, CLD, CLA and CLED) are tailored to LabVIEW itself.

CLA Selfie (Photo: Richard Thomas)
CLA Selfie (Photo: Richard Thomas)

NI Certification?

NI says that their certifications allow you to “[d]emonstrate your skills to create applications with NI software and give customers, peers, and employers confidence in your abilities“. And seeing as the program is standardised globally, that even works on an international stage.

My personal opinion (as a potential employer) is that a CLD or CLA certificate might not tell much about the proficiency of its holder. What it does show, though, is a level of commitment and an interest in the NI ecosystem. Most people who sit for the CLD or CLA will have done some research about LabVIEW and software engineering in general while preparing for the certification exam.

Preparing will not only expose you to better programming practices. Browsing through the NI forums, maybe even joining in preparation groups, you will hopefully meet other, like-minded people and make new friends.

So I really think getting a certification is a good thing and can help communicate your LabVIEW passion to employers, clients or peers. 

My Top Reason for Pursuing CLA

To claim that getting my certifications has made me a better programmer would be the understatement of the year. It has completely transformed my whole career. Not because a piece of paper got me new customers – but because I was able to attend my first CLA Summit (Rome, 2015).

The summit was both a sobering and motivating experience for me. Before Rome, I thought I knew it all. Watching the presentations at the summit and hearing about the awesome things you can do with LabVIEW turned my world upside down and put me in the right place (“this journey has only just begun!”).

Meeting all the wonderful people was the real treat, though. The level of openness and helpfulness of the NI community took me completely by surprise. Today, many of my closest friends stem from this community, and we communicate every day. I’m very thankful to have them in my life – all due to a spur-of-the-moment decision to take some exams.

The CLA Summits

What is a CLA Summit, you ask? In NI’s own words:

Each year, National Instruments hosts the Certified LabVIEW Architect (CLA) Summit in the United States and Europe. The event brings together some of the world’s best NI LabVIEW programmers to discuss architectures, preview new features, and network with other CLAs and members of NI R&D.

NI Website

The CLA Summits are really the place to go to

  • learn about and discuss cutting-edge technologies with other CLAs, NI executives, and engineers
  • preview and influence the LabVIEW roadmap and unreleased product features
  • meet one on one with NI R&D developers

Other Events

If you’re wondering if it’s really necessary to go through all the troubles of sitting for exams when there are events like GDevCon, NI Week and NI Days etc., let me tell you this:

I truly love what we’ve created together, as a community, with GDevCon. It’s an independent conference which is open to all graphical developers, and it targets teams looking for pragmatic solutions to everyday problems of large-scale application development. GDevCon N.A. brings all that greatness over the pond to the US (tickets for the next event in October ’21 are still available!).

Going to NI Week is a blast and an adventure in itself, and the Community track offers great content, but travelling to the USA is rather expensive for us Europeans. I also enjoyed the NI Days in Munich in 2019, where I had the chance to meet both existing and potential customers from Germany and all over Europe.

But there is simply no replacement for a proper conference with real technical content owned, organised and run by NI themselves. It is paramount that NI continue to foster their community through events like these! And it’s not as if there was nothing in it for NI: What’s the price tag for having 200+ of the most proficient, possibly decision-influencing LabVIEW programmers in one room?

Blog posts about the summits

At HSE, we’ve written blog posts for each of the summits we attended. You might get an idea of the greatness of these LabVIEW events from both the photos and the description of the presentations. Here’s a list of links:

TL;DR:

Go sit for the certification exams. You will grow, you will have proof of what you’re capable of, and you will get to know like-minded people.

My colleague Manu documented his Journey to the CLD certification. His experiences might be helpful to you, and it’s a pretty good read, too.

If you’re proficient in the German language, have a look at the WUELUG (Würzburg LabVIEW User Group). We’re organising a bunch of preparation sessions, aiming to sit for the CLD exam in October this year (2021).

I hope to see you one day at one of the summits!


This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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