Logically Speaking April 2023: All About Python
April 27, 2023

The Complete Path to Python Certification

William McNeice, Python Institute

William McNeice
Head of Content and
Board Member,
OpenEDG Python Institute


What’s all this noise about Python?

At the time of publication of this article, Python ranked number one in the TIOBE index of the most popular programming languages in the world. As you read this article, Python is more than likely still number one. If you want to make a living as a programmer, not only do you need to know Python, but you also need to prove it. And one of the best ways to prove it is by getting a certification.

What is certification and why is it important?

At heart, the idea of certification is quite simple: a certification tells people who don’t know you that you are able to do the things you say that you can do. That doesn’t mean that people without certification cannot do those things — it simply means that the people with the certification can.

Who uses Python?

The short answer: almost everybody.

Python is used almost everywhere on Earth, and not only on Earth — the James Webb Space Telescope operates at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers (932,000 miles) from Earth thanks largely to Python. Closer to home, Python is used in game development, app development, data science, automation, and AI. In the world of marine biology, scientists use Python to communicate with whales and dolphins. In nuclear physics, Python is used at every stage in the research of nuclear fusion, the holy grail of unlimited energy.

What is the OpenEDG Python Institute?

The OpenEDG Python Institute is an independent, non-profit project venture set up, run, and managed by the Open Education and Development Group (OpenEDG) to promote the Python programming language, train a new generation of Python programmers, and support professional careers in programming in Python and related technologies.

The OpenEDG Python Institute works closely with schools, colleges, and universities, as well as companies, organizations, and institutions to help them fulfill their needs, goals, and commitments regarding the Python language.

What certifications does the Python Institute offer?

The three certifications offered by OpenEDG Python Institute
                    The three certifications offered by OpenEDG Python Institute

The OpenEDG Python Institute offers a wide selection of general-track and specific-track certifications. The general track is made up of three certifications:

  1. PCEP™ – Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer certification, for beginners
  2. PCAP™ – Certified Associate in Python Programming certification, for intermediate-level Python programmers
  3. PCPP1™ – Certified Professional in Python Programming 1 certification, for advanced programmers

Once you have reached the advanced level, you can then choose to specialize—the OpenEDG Python Institute offers the PCAD™ – Certified Associate in Data Analytics with Python certification and the PCAT™ – Certified Associate in Testing with Python certification, with more specialized tracks on the way.

Who should take the OpenEDG Python Institute certified exams?

These certified exams are ideal for people who either want to start their careers in Python programming, or who are looking to expand their professional horizons and perhaps earn a promotion. Python, being one of the most popular programming languages in the world and one of the easiest to learn, is an ideal language not only for beginners, but for anybody who needs even a basic knowledge of programming.

According to Oliver France, Senior Forensics Data Analyst at PwC Australia, certification has been essential to the progress he has achieved in his career. "If you are working as a Data Analyst and want to open your career to Data Science,” he says, “the Certified Associate in Python Programming certification is a must!"

If you are applying for a new job, you should know that employers often use certification as a screening tool. They use these certifications to reduce the number of potential candidates they invite to interview. When a single job posting can receive hundreds, or even thousands, of applications, employers only have seconds to browse each resume, and they need some way to reduce that vast number to something more manageable. They often do that by rejecting applicants who do not already possess the right certification.

Andrew Smith, Senior Lecturer at The Open University, believes that the right certification can be directly linked to a candidate’s employability, citing in particular the benefits of the OpenEDG Python Institute certifications in the job market. “At the OU, we have seen how the employability of OpenEDG's Python certification has underpinned the popularity of our linked micro credential, it is the value that PCAP and PCEP offer that makes the difference.”

Preparing for Python Institute certified exams with Logical Operations:

We are pleased to announce our partnership with Logical Operations, a courseware publisher who offers courses that will help prepare students for OpenEDG Python Institute exams.

These certifications include Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer (exam PCEP-30-0x), Certified Associate in Python Programming (exam PCAP-31-0x), and Certified Professional in Python Programming 1 (PCPP-32-10x).

To assist you in your preparation for the Python Institute certification of your choice, Logical Operations offers two courses: Introduction to Programming with Python® and Advanced Programming Techniques with Python®.

What sets Logical Operations’ courseware apart from the rest?

For 40 years, Logical Operations has supported technical training providers by providing course materials designed for instructor-led events. Millions of students have been trained on topics ranging from Basics of Computer Keyboarding to Advanced Internetworking and everything in between. With over 3,500 active training providers utilizing Logical Operations’ authored courseware, the CHOICE materials are student tested and instructor proven.

One of the underlying principles in Logical Operations’ CHOICE instructional approach is that their courseware is built for student success. The material promotes that goal in several ways: 

  • Within topics, hands-on activities (those that use hardware or software) are written with two levels of scaffolding. The numbered step is a general target for what the student will accomplish in that part of the activity. Then, the lettered sub-steps provide detailed, click-by-click instructions to ensure the student can complete the task.  
  • Hands-on Mastery Builders at the lesson level are deliberately more open-ended and less scaffolded, to allow for more student challenge. In this case, a Solution file is provided as a student self-check tool. 
  • For “minds-on” style material throughout the course, (quizzes, guided discussions, case studies, and so on), sample answers are provided for the student in a Solutions section at the back of the Student Manual. 

The support built into the CHOICE courseware along with their training partners’ expert guidance are a winning combination for ensuring that students master each learning objective in the course.

So, what now?

If you are a student wanting to get Python certified and you’re ready, then you can purchase an OpenEDG Python Institute certified exam voucher here.

If you are a training provider and you’d like to purchase the Python certification courseware prep, visit the Logical Operations store here.

Curriculum Corner 

Zen and the Art of Certification Mapping

​​Jason Nufryk, Logical Operations

Jason Nufryk
Instructional Designer
​​​​Logical Operations

Many Logical Operations courses align with examinations offered by industry-leading certification bodies—everything from ITIL®, to CertNexus®, to Project Management Institute®, and more. But the exam specifications may be designed to evaluate competencies—not as a road map for instructional delivery.

So, how do we take a third-party certification and turn it into courseware that aligns with our CHOICE instructional model? We start by evaluating the who, what, and why of the certification:

  • Who does the certification evaluate? What are the candidates’ backgrounds, experience levels, and professional goals?
  • What does the certification validate? Is it a specific skill, or knowledge about a process or technology?
  • Why is this certification valuable? What need does it fill? How do businesses and/or individuals benefit?

These answers give us a mandate for our courseware.

Our next step is to consult the exam specification (known as a blueprint, objectives, or outline) provided by the certification body. This guides us throughout courseware development and provides needed detail—particularly the “what” of the exam. Exam specifications vary widely across certification bodies, but they usually include:

  • Prerequisites. These tell us what information the student needs and to what degree or level.
  • Domains. These are the high-level groupings that structure the material covered by the exam questions. A “weight” determines the percentage of exam items that will be drawn from that domain. There’s not always a one-to-one correlation between domains and CHOICE elements, but often we create one or two Lessons that correspond to a single domain. Rarely does a single Lesson correspond to multiple domains.
  • Objectives. These are crucial to creating courseware. They define what specific knowledge, skill, or ability the candidate must demonstrate to pass the exam. Typically, we translate these into one or more Topics in the CHOICE model, and as a result, the objectives often influence how we approach Activities. We also use the learning level specified for each objective to determine how to treat the subject matter—are candidates expected to just demonstrate simple comprehension, or do they need practical scenarios?
  • Detail. In most exam specifications, bullet-level items illustrate in detail what material may appear on the exam. Individual bullets are usually suggestions or examples and may not appear on every exam, but LO courseware will cover them all to some degree. For example, first-level bullet items often become one or more Knowledge Blocks (KBs), whereas lower-level bullets might become individual entries in a table, list, or paragraph.

We weave all these factors together in our course outlines. But remember that the exam specification exists to drive the exam items and scoring; it’s not an instructional plan. So, our CHOICE offering may change the sequence and grouping. For example, if a domain has five objectives, four might be in one lesson, and the fifth in some other lesson. It might make more sense for students to learn that material at a different time, or that material might fit better in a different instructional context.

Even when courseware is not explicitly developed to map to a certification exam, there are still opportunities for the courseware to provide the knowledge and skills needed to prepare students for one or more exams. For example, Logical Operations’ recent partnership with the OpenEDG Python Institute demonstrates that our Python-focused courses are a great resource on the path to certification in three programs: PCEP™ – Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer (PCEP-30-02), PCAP™ – Certified Associate in Python Programming (PCAP-31-03), and PCPP1™ – Certified Professional in Python Programming 1 (PCPP-32-101).

We make the connections between the course and exam for you in a convenient mapping document that is available through the CHOICE platform.

Designing CHOICE courseware both to map to a certification exam and to be instructionally valid is sometimes more art than science. Our ultimate goals are to support the instructor in effective delivery, and the students in success both at the exam and at their jobs.


Video: OpenEDG Python Institute and Logical Operations Partnership

Python and Logical Operations Video

In this video, William McNeice from OpenEDG Python Institute explains the Python certifications offered by the Python Institute and Logical Operations. Whether you want to start your career in Python programming or expand your professional horizons, these certifications can be directly linked to employability.


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