Atlassian is Updating Certifications

Jira Guys and Gals, I’ve been tracking a story for almost a year now. Unfortunately, I haven’t written about it as I was waiting for all the pieces to fall into place for it. But if you are an Atlassian Certified Professional or looking to become one, you will want to pay attention.  

Atlassian has been updating its Certifications to align with the recent decision to sunset its Server Product. This means that some certifications are going away, some are changing, and some new options are being added. So I figured now that we have the final details, I’ll go over the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Certifications That are going away

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

I will start with the bad news first. Some certifications are going away. I am not a fan of this decision, as I know how hard some are to get (I hold three in this category myself). But I have said my peace to Atlassian and will have to work through the changes just as everyone else will have to as well. So let’s look at these three Certifications and what your options are for them.

Atlassian Certified Confluence Administrator for Data Center and Server (ACP-CA)

To be clear, Atlassian has no plans to have Confluence Certifications moving forward. And this kind of makes sense. Confluence is rarely anyone’s primary job and is usually thought of as part of the Jira Admin’s tasks. So when combined with the fact that the Confluence Exam is notoriously hard – yeah, I can see the decision to de-prioritize this Exam. However, as this is part of the requirements for an Atlassian Certified Expert (formally Atlassian Certified Master), this one stung.  

However, all is not lost. After announcing its retirement, Atlassian announced that if you are currently up to date on your Certification, you should have already received the Confluence Space Administrator Pro Skills Badge, which still counts as your requirements for your ACE.  

Atlassian Certified in Jira Project Administration for Data Center and Server (ACP-JPA)

This one probably confuses me the most…okay, a lot. They are Removing this one in Combination with the Jira Software and Jira Service Desk Certifications. Instead, they are creating a new pair of Certifications: Managing Jira Projects for Data Center Certification and Managing Jira Projects for Cloud (ACP-610 and ACP-620, respectively). I mean, I get the Cloud Cert being new, but this seems like it should just be a name change for the On-Prem Cert. 

There is an Upgrade Pathway for this one, but it will depend on what other certifications you hold. Otherwise, it is expected that there will be a skills badge to upgrade you directly without having the other Cert. I will go into the upgrade paths when I go over the other certifications here in a moment. 

Atlassian Certified in Agile Development with Jira Software (ACP-JSW)

This is another one of my Certifications, and its retirement was also news to me. However, if you have this Cert, there is an upgrade path available. If you also hold the ACP-JPA mentioned above, you will automagically be granted the Managing Jira Projects for Data Center Certification. Alright, that makes sense. However, if you do not hold an ACP-JPA (like me), a Pro Skills badge is expected to be released that will allow you to convert your ACP-JSW to the new Certification. 

Atlassian Certified Jira Service Desk Administrator (ACP-JSD)

This is the change that honestly does not make sense to me. Like, at all. Retiring it makes a sort of sense – as, honestly, I have never been sure how valuable the ACP-JSW and ACP-JSD were. It felt like that if you could pass the ACP-JA, not much studying was required to go ahead and get these two. 

However, it’s the upgrade path that doesn’t make sense here. If you also hold an ACP-JPA, you will automatically be granted the Managing Jira Projects for Cloud. Yes, you heard that right. Cloud. Because … you had a Server Cert. What? I feel this should have given you the same Cert as the ACP-JSW. But I don’t make the rules. As with the ACP-JSW, it’s anticipated that if you do not hold the ACP-JPA, there will be a Pro Skills badge to allow you to convert your Certificate.

Atlassian Certified System Administrator (ACP-SA)

This is another place where I have to disagree with Atlassian. And not because I hold this Certification, nor is it because I love the SysAdmin side of things. They are retiring the Systems Administrator certification exactly when many companies are trying to build up and migrate Data Center Instances. I mean, I get the feeling that Atlassian wants to be a Cloud-Only company, but that’s not what reality is right now.  

Unfortunately, this Certification is just plain going away. No new Certification focused on Data Center. No upgrade path. Just a “So Long and thanks for all the fish!” Which I think hurts the most. 

So, what do I do now?

Well, if you hold one of the retiring certs, hold on. Atlassian will announce the Skills badge soon if you require one or otherwise have awarded it to you already (in the case of Confluence). Otherwise, Atlassian will auto-extend the Certificate to be good until 2 Feb 2024, so you won’t have to worry about renewing it before it retires. Otherwise, keep up your other Certifications, as any Atlassian Certification is still valuable to your career.

New Certifications

However, it’s not all bad news. If you have not heard, Atlassian has a trio of New Certificates, primarily focused on Jira Cloud, that will help you earn your way to an Atlassian Certified Expert standing. They are:

  1. Atlassian Certified Jira Cloud Administrator
  2. Atlassian Certified in Managing Jira Projects for Cloud
  3. Atlassian Certified in Managing Jira Projects for Data Center

I haven’t taken these myself yet, but I have colleagues who have, and they seem to feel that if you have Decent Cloud Experience and the corresponding Server/DC Cert, you won’t have to study too hard to earn them. 

Atlassian Certified Master – er – Expert

Atlassian also is changing the Atlassian Certified Master Standing. First, and most noticeable, is they have updated it to be called an Atlassian Certified Expert. I like this change. First, it gets rid of “Master” – and all the historical baggage the term contains. And second, and more fun, is now I get to say that I’m an ACE. I am still waiting on Atlassian to send me my wings though.

However, with the massive changes coming to Certifications, there are many changes to the requirements to attain this standing. So let’s look at them.

Path A

First, what Atlassian calls “Path A” starts with your base Atlassian Certified Jira Admin Certification. It doesn’t matter which one you hold – Data Center or Cloud – just so long as you have one.

Then you will need to have one of the following.

  • ACP-MJCP Atlassian Certified in Managing Jira Projects for Cloud
  • ACP-MJDP Atlassian Certified in Managing Jira Projects for Data Center
  • AC-JPA Atlassian Certified Jira Project Administrator for Data Center and Server
  • ACP-JSW Atlassian Certified in Agile Development with Jira Software

So far, that is two. So you will need two of the following to bring you up to four total Certifications. (or Badges…looking at you Confluence!)

  • EITHER: ACP-JSD Atlassian Certified Jira Service Desk Administrator OR ACP-MJSP Atlassian Certified Jira Service Project Manager for Cloud
  • EITHER: ACP-CA Atlassian Certified Confluence Administrator for Data Center and Server OR APB-CSA Confluence Space Administration Pro Skills Badge
  • ACP-SA Atlassian Certified System Administrator

This path is the method that I currently hold my status. However, to maintain it long-term, I will have to convert my ACP-JSW to an ACP-MJDP and find a replacement for my ACP-SA Certification. This brings me to what Atlassian calls “Path B.”

Path B

Path B starts by holding BOTH the Cloud and Data Center version of your Atlassian Certified Jira Admin Certification. With these two Certifications out of the way, you will need two more Credentials to hold your status. You can satisfy them by:

Holding one of these Certifications:

  • ACP-MJCP Atlassian Certified in Managing Jira Projects for Cloud
  • ACP-MJDP Atlassian Certified in Managing Jira Projects for Data Center
  • AC-JPA Atlassian Certified Jira Project Administrator for Data Center and Server
  • ACP-JSW Atlassian Certified in Agile Development with Jira Software

Additionally, you will also need to hold one of these Certifications or badges.

  • EITHER: ACP-CA Atlassian Certified Confluence Administrator for Data Center and Server OR APB-CSA Confluence Space Administration Pro Skills Badge
  • EITHER: ACP-JSD Atlassian Certified Jira Service Desk Administrator OR ACP-MJSP Atlassian Certified Jira Service Project Manager for Cloud
  • ACP-SA Atlassian Certified System Administrator

This Combination will also give you a total of Four Certifications/badges for your Expert standing. As I mentioned, I think this will guarantee my standing after Feb of 2024 (failing more changes). If you are currently an ACE, I would start looking now and strategizing what changes you need to make to guarantee your standing.  

So what do you think?

As I said, I’m not the biggest fan. I have built my career on my knowledge, using these Certifications to back that up. So, messing with these Certs also directly affects my career and job prospects. But, now that we know the details, I can plan to navigate these changes, which makes me feel a lot better about the situation.  

How many of your certifications are affected? Do you have a plan? Please share it with me in the comments! You can find my social media links on my Linktree, where I post updates, things I find funny, and the latest posts. Be sure to like and comment on the post on your social platform of choice to let the Algorithms know this is the kind of content it needs to be shared. You can also sign up below to get the latest posts from the Jira Guy delivered directly to your Inbox. It is the fastest way to get new updates from me! But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your Jira Issues today?”

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