DAMA Corner – July 2006

Published in TDAN.com July 2006

How Do We View Ourselves?

This question arises frequently at DAMA Chapter meetings and it invokes much discussion. If DAMA members are professionals within a profession, then what exactly is a profession?

Wikipedia defines a profession is as “an occupation that requires study and mastery of specialized knowledge and usually has a:

  • Professional organization
  • Ethical code
  • Process of certification or licensing
  • Continuing professional development requirement”

It goes on to say that “a member of a profession is a professional, and that a profession is always held by a person and it is generally that person’s way of generating income”.

If we examine what we do, we would find that by belonging to DAMA International or one of its chapters, DAMA members have access to the characteristics listed above. DAMA International is a professional organization with a certification program (Certified Data Management Professional – CDMP), and through the CDMP, an adherence to an ethical code, and a continuing education requirement to maintain the CDMP.

The Certified Data Management Professional

The CDMP was adopted by the DAMA International Board at its January 2004 Board Meeting as a strategy for moving data management toward maturity as well as defining the body of data-oriented knowledge. DAMA International and the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) have jointly constructed the Data Management Professional certification designation for the global data industry. The ICCP office administers the testing and recertification programs for the CDMP.

Flexibility is the key to professionals being able to move into different job roles within organizations throughout the world. This certification gives data professionals the opportunity to show professional growth that can enhance their personal and career goals. DAMA’s certification effort is being coordinated with the work being done on DAMA’s award winning model education curriculum and on the Body of Knowledge development.

Professional Examinations

The CDMP credential is a test based certification program using the DAMA / ICCP developed data-oriented exams (Data Management, Database Administration, and Data Warehousing) along the IT Core exam and other ICCP exams within the ICCP certification framework.

The CDMP requires three ICCP exams: IT Core, one specified data oriented exam, and one other exam. If you already passed one or more ICCP exams, these exams can be used toward a CDMP if considered current by ICCP standards, and the exams are listed within your CDMP area of specialization. For information on your status, contact the ICCP (office@iccp.org). If you wish to demonstrate expertise in exam specialty areas specifically, the ICCP will issue Expert (Proficiency) Certificates for each specialty exam passed at 70% or higher.

This credential is awarded to those individuals who qualify based on a combination of criteria including education, experience and test-based examination of professional level knowledge. This credential is offered at the Practitioner or Mastery level. For the CDMP Practitioner certification, all three ICCP exams must be passed at 50% or better. The CDMP Mastery certification is awarded to professionals who scored 70% or higher on all three exams. For further certification criteria, go to www.dama.org. or www.iccp.org/iccpnew/ccp.html.

Preparation for Taking Exams

There are various ways of learning the process of taking ICCP exams:

  • Sponsor ICCP Exam Review courses for your DAMA chapter membership
  • Refer to the exam subject outlines (at level 1 & 2) posted on http://www.iccp.org/iccpnew/outlines.html to become familiar with the subject coverage of each exam
  • Contact the ICCP for the CDMP Study Guide (office@iccp.org) which covers all the exams in the CDMP program and has sample exams/questions to study
  • Contact DAMA International for the Data Management Exam Study Guide, which covers the Data Management exam in detail and has sample questions to study.

The DAMA / ICCP jointly developed exams are also offered at the DAMA International Symposiums, and at other conferences such as the TDWI World Conferences (www.tdwi.org).

Taking CDMP Exams

ICCP Testing can be done anywhere in the world, with an approved ICCP Proctor to verify physical identity and supervise the delivery of the examination.

A DAMA Chapter can set up exam sessions during their chapter meetings. What is needed is a volunteer proctor from the chapter. A proctor is an individual authorized by ICCP to oversee the writing of an exam by an ICCP exam taker. This person must meet specific guidelines (http://www.iccp.org/iccpnew/testing.html) and be willing to supervise the exam taker. The ICCP reserves the right to reject proposed proctors. Contact office@iccp.org or phone 847.299.4227 or 800.843.8227 if you require assistance in determining an appropriate proctor.

The exams run off the USB drive of an individual’s laptop. Computer based testing allows for the immediate scoring after the exam is taken. An ICCP Performance Profile is then available for downloading, and it will also be sent by the ICCP to the individual.

What is New for the CDMP?

Besides the newly published study guides mentioned above, DAMA International and DAMA International Foundation have plans to develop Data Warehousing and DBA study guides. The Data Warehousing study guide will be coming out later in 2006, and the DBA study guide in 2007.

DAMA International and the ICCP are in the process of developing two new exams: the Business Intelligence / Decision Support Systems and Data & Information Quality exams.

The joint DAMA / ICCP exam development teams use the ICCP exam development methodology to develop exams for the CDMP. The teams examine in detail the tasks, knowledge and skills of data practitioners. They then define the knowledge areas or domains that each exam should contain to reflect the various roles of data professionals. This is done through the development of an exam outline that also contains the number of questions and the depth levels needed in each knowledge area.

The exam outlines are then reviewed by leading data industry experts who generously volunteer their time to ensure that the exams cover the appropriate topics. The experts’ comments are incorporated into the finalized outline. Team members then write multiple choice questions or items that cover the exam topics. When enough questions have been written, an item review is held where the team members review and create a beta exam.

The beta exams are offered to DAMA chapter members for free to take once the new exams are ready. If an examination participant finds their score respectable, then the exam score can be applied toward the CDMP for a discounted conversion fee. The exam development team uses item analysis statistics (psychometrics) when it meets after the beta exam period ends. The performance of each question is reviewed, and the test item revised as deemed necessary by quantitative data analysis.

Once this is done, the exam is then put into production. The ICCP Certification Councils then maintain the exams using performance statistics collected on each question. Overall, the exam development process can take upwards of 1000 hours of volunteer team members’ time for each exam.

CDMP Contact Information:

For Questions on the CDMP Certification Program contact DAMA International ICCP Directors at:
ICCP_Director@dama.org or ICCP_Liaison@dama.org

To Order the DAMA Data Management Examination Guide:
P.O. Box 5786
Bellevue, WA 98006-5786

The DAMA website is www.dama.org for further information and an application.

To Order the ICCP CDMP Study Guide or For Questions on CDMP Testing, Administration and Recertification:

ICCP Office:
847-299-4227 or 800-843-8227 (phone)
847-299-4280 (fax), or

The ICCP website is www.iccp.org for further information and an application.

This column was written by Patricia Cupoli, CCP, CDMP, CBIP
ICCP Liaison, DAMA International
VP Certification, DAMA International Foundation
Current President: ICCP Board
Past President: DAMA International, Chicago & Philadelphia/Delaware Valley Chapters

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DAMA International

DAMA International

DAMA, the Data Management Association International is a not-for-profit, vendor independent association of technical and business professionals dedicated to advancing the concepts and practices for data resource management and enterprise information. The primary purpose of DAMA International is to promote the understanding, development, and practice of managing data and information to support business strategies. DAMA International has chapters and members throughout the world.  Visit and become a member of DAMA by clicking here.

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