On December 14, 2022, NetSuite announced two new developer certifications – NetSuite Application Developer and NetSuite Web Services Developer – as successors of the SuiteCloud Developer II certification which will be retired on February 28, 2023. In this article, I’ll provide insights on what this means for you whether you’re already certified or planning to get certified.
Here’s my visual interpretation of the announcement:
- Effectively, the core content of the SuiteCloud Developer II is separated into two more-specialized certifications.
- SuiteCloud II certifications obtained before the retirement date of February 28, 2023, will remain valid and active, provided the user takes the annual quizzes as required.
- There is no requirement or recommendation for SuiteCloud Developer II holders to take the new certifications.
Evolution of NetSuite Certifications
The NetSuite platform is constantly evolving. Thus, it is not a surprise that the certification programs will change from time to time. Here’s a quick overview of the main changes in the past few years (mostly based on this summary document that I found while researching this article):
- March 2018: SuiteCloud Developer II certification was announced as a replacement for SuiteCloud Developer I, the main change being a replacement of the SuiteScript 1.0 section with a SuiteScript 2.0 section. Candidates had the first opportunity to take the new exam at the SuiteWorld 2018 pre-event training.
- August 2018: SuiteCloud Developer II became fully available.
- September 2018: A SuiteCloud Developer II “Delta” exam was introduced to allow holders of SuiteCloud Developer I certification to upgrade if desired.
- October 2018: The retirement date for SuiteCloud Developer I was announced as January 31, 2019.
- December 2019: Retirement of the SuiteCommerce for Developers certification was announced effective March 31, 2020, the reason being that the exam had not kept up with changes to the SuiteCommerce platform.
- February 2021: An updated version of the SuiteCloud Foundation exam was announced, effective April 1, 2021. The update was aimed at keeping the exam current with the latest release of the NetSuite ERP.
- December 2022: The Application Developer and Web Services Developer tracks were announced as successors of the SuiteCloud Developer II certification, effective February 28, 2023.
All You Need To Know About the New Developer Certifications
1. If you are already SuiteCloud Developer II certified, do you need to get the new certifications?
No. Unlike the change from SuiteScript Developer I to SuiteScript Developer II where the content changed materially, the new developer certifications essentially feature the same content, just separated into two certifications. Thus, if you are already SuiteCloud Developer II certified, your knowledge covers what is being tested in the two new certifications. Over time, this might change and we expect NetSuite to make appropriate announcements if that happens.
2. Will SuiteScript Developer II certifications remain valid after February 2023?
Yes. The new certifications do not make existing ones obsolete. SuiteScript Developer I and SuiteScript Developer II certifications obtained before the respective retirement dates will continue to be valid as long as the user passes the annual quizzes. What will happen on February 28, 2023, is that the SuiteScript Developer II exam will no longer be offered and new candidates seeking to get certified will have to register for one of the new exams. It is unclear if the SuiteCloud Developer II Delta exam will also be retired… Perhaps it will be adapted to serve as a bridge to the Application Developer certification.
If all you have is SuiteCloud Developer I, you probably want to shelve it at this point as it’s pretty outdated although still valid. Consider an upgrade.
3. Will the new exams be more difficult than the SuiteCloud Developer II exam?
There is currently no indication to this effect. In fact, as of the time of writing (January 12, 2023), sample tests have not yet been published for the new exams for us to assess. Nevertheless, given that the content is not changing, anyone who passed the Developer II exam should be able to pass the two new exams. There is a caveat though: Since NetSuite does not publish their pass mark or how they weigh different parts of the exam, there is a theoretical chance that someone who passed the Developer II was weak in one of the areas but passed anyway because their overall average was good enough. Taking two new exams, that candidate might not be successful in the one that is heavy on their area of weakness. This is theoretical and you likely won’t find out per #1 above.
4. Should I register for the Developer II certification while it is still available or take the two new exams?
It’s up to you. If you care about the economics and given that there’s no change in content, the Developer II certification makes sense while it lasts. However, if you care about the buzz and number of certifications, or you are trying to position yourself strategically for the future knowing that the new certifications will evolve with time, you can go for the new exams. Of course, if you’re reading this after February 2023, you no longer can take the Developer II exam.
5. Do I need to take both of the new developer certifications?
Not really. The certifications focus on different aspects. The Application Developer focuses on customization within the platform including SuiteScript 2.x whereas the Web Services Developer focuses on integration with external applications. If you want to specialize in either of these areas, take the corresponding exam. However, if you want to be a SuiteCloud Developer in the broad sense, you’ll go for both (or get the Developer II certification before the end of February 2023).
6. Is there going to be a (Full) SuiteCloud Developer certification?
The announcement mentions full SuiteCloud Developer certification and clarifies what that means. Here’s my interpretation: SuiteCloud Developer refers to a certification track, not an actual certification exam. Here’s a chart to help you understand.
|SuiteCloud Developer I (retired)||SuiteFoundation (?) + SuiteCloud Developer I|
|SuiteCloud Developer II (to be retired in February 2023)||SuiteFoundation + SuiteCloud Developer II|
|SuiteCloud Developer (active)||SuiteFoundation + Application Developer + Web Services Developer|
Taking a Step Back…
Getting NetSuite certified is an important step and milestone in one’s professional development. There is a lot of noise and misunderstanding out there about NetSuite certifications – How valuable are they? Which ones should I take? When? How difficult are the exams? Etcetera. That’s why we prepared a series dedicated to this topic. Check it out here so you can make informed decisions and not get carried away by the buzz. If you’re already certified, I invite you to participate in the NetSuite Insights’ Certification survey which has been running since January 2021. Your insights will help someone else!
While I appreciate NetSuite reviewing and revising its certification program, I am not sure splitting the developer certification into two is very helpful. As it stands, it will increase costs for candidates and likely produce more confusion in the community around designations. NetSuite is already a niche ecosystem and if one is a NetSuite developer, they should be grounded in both on-platform customizations and system integrations. With the new structure, developers can choose. That produces specialization which is not a bad thing. I wonder though if we’re moving in the direction of over-specialization. I have expressed concerns about the format and quality of exam questions. I would love to see NetSuite improve on these aspects rather than spin new exams and titles. But then, that’s me… I hope you’ve found something in this article valuable and helpful in coming to your own conclusions.