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OpenEDG Python
Institute Certifications

The Python Institute is committed to the development of an objective framework for skills assessment and competency validation and building an independent global standard in Python programming certification, which will allow programming specialists, software developers, and IT professionals from all over the world to assess and document their programming skills objectively, and to gain recognition for their expertise.

Open Education and Development Group (OpenEDG) together with Cisco Networking Academy – the leading global education program, and Pearson VUE – the leader in computer-based testing, have established collaboration for the delivery of learning and certification programs created for the Python programming language.

Leading Python Programming Curriculums

On the foundations of this cooperation, the OpenEDG Python Institute, Cisco Networking Academy, and Pearson VUE provide the leading Python programming curriculums and high-stakes, globally available, and industry-recognized Python programming testing and certification programs.

The Python Institute is committed to providing the IT community as well as the education and industry sectors with test and certification programs of the highest quality. We are proud to offer professional certifications designed to provide industry recognition of knowledge, skills and proficiency in Python programming.

Exam and Certification Development Standards

The OpenEDG Python Institute certification program was designed following a rigorous process of industry and market research to accurately determine the demand for specialized professionals in the given sectors: through Job Task Analyses (JTAs), Training Needs Analyses (TNAs), and Skills Gap Analyses (SGAs) aiming to identify the work requirements and skills sought by employers looking to hire Python programmers; and an intensive examination of the education system that lays out the foundation for the training and development of IT specialists, web developers, managers, and aspiring programmers.

Comprehensive Approach to Certification Development

Open Education and Development Group (OpenEDG), in its certification development process, adopts a meticulous, consultation-driven, and competency-oriented approach to test design, utilizing qualitative development frameworks, subject-centered design patterns, and psychometric modelling conducted in alignment with the prescriptive guidance for educational and psychological assessment practices put forth in:

  • Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, NCME)
  • European Test User Standards (EFPA, EAWOP)
  • European Test Review Model (EFPA, EAWOP)

Collaborative Approach to Addressing Workforce Challenges

The OpenEDG Python Institute works closely with Subject Matter Experts from the education sector (school districts, colleges, universities), the government sector (CTE Resource Centers, Departments of Education), and the business sector (industry representatives, IT professionals, programmers, hiring managers) to bridge the gaps between them, understand their needs, and address the most important workforce challenges of the 21st century.

The exam and certification development process is recognized and endorsed by Cisco, an OpenEDG strategic partner, and accredited by Pearson VUE, the global leader in computer-based testing, and the biggest provider of IT certification exams worldwide.


Exam Development Process

Standardized tests are used at all levels of education, in multiple assessment contexts, and for a variety of purposes. They can help teachers, educators, employers, and policymakers make decisions about students, other teachers, jobseekers, employees, or even programs and institutions. It is essential that standardized tests provide unbiased and accurate data, metrics, and information, and hence meet the highest professional, technical, and industry standards.

OpenEDG Python Institute certification exams are designed to measure proficiency in specific areas of knowledge, skills, abilities, and aptitude for performing specific tasks. At the same time, they should provide a fair, valid, reliable, credible, and secure source of information.

Stages of Exam Development

Market Research and Analysis

The foundation of the entire development process. Exams and certifications are designed and developed following a rigorous process of industry and market research involving Job Task Analyses (JTAs), Training Needs Analyses (TNAs), Skills Gap Analyses (SGAs), and a number of qualitative and quantitative studies carried out to identify the job descriptions and the actual skills toolkit sought by employers, and the skills taught at schools, in order to bridge the gap between the education and industry sectors, and make sure that certification holders are equipped with all the necessary means they need to pursue and advance careers in IT and programming.

Syllabus Development

This stage involves recruiting SMEs (subject matter experts) for the purposes of defining exam objectives, defining the target audience (job task analysis and evaluation of professional standards), preparing exam documentation, and carrying out the initial process of pre-constructing the exam structure and content. The SMEs coordinate with psychometricians who assist in the exam development and test validation processes. At OpenEDG Python Institute, we work closely with Python community experts and industry and education sector representatives to make sure our certification and exam standards address the actual needs of the market, and follow the principle “made by professionals, for professionals”.

Exam Design and Development

The most important stage, in which the exam contents are created. It involves simultaneous cooperation of certification program managers, stakeholders, psychometricians, SMEs, test publishers, and developers who work together in order to create the framework for an exam, its structure, item format, delivery mode and format, scoring, as well as designing the actual exam items. The Exam Design and Development stage consists of six phases:

  • Structure development: defining test specifications (the blueprint) such as number of sections, number of items, exam length, type of questions, scoring model, graphics or exhibits, presentation order, reporting groups, etc.
  • Item Development: item writing, screening, technical reviews – defining the stems, correct answers and distractors; defining requirements for exhibits and graphics; technical proofs;
  • Exhibit Development: constructing media, simulations, and graphics that supplement the exam items; exhibit implementation;
  • Proofreading: language editing, second technical proof and scanning for typos; copyediting;
  • Item selection and implementation: selecting the items that will be included in the item pool; creating source files and implementing them in the local Exam Testing System for internal review;
  • Live Pool Deployment and first internal review – the exam is assembled and deployed in the testing environment. The first internal review of the exam is carried out in the simulated testing environment; the exam is launched and tested by the SMEs; instant corrections and amendments are made where necessary. The main purpose of this review is to locate and eliminate errors before releasing the exam for pilot testing (SMT).

Small Market Trial (SMT)

The Pilot Testing stage when the exam is administered among the beta testers and focus groups. Test candidates are also asked to mark exam items that may be misinterpreted, have poor wording, or have either no or more than the expected correct answers.

Final Review and Evaluation

An insight is made into the performance of individual exam items, and the exam in its entirety, which includes looking into such aspects as: diagnosing potential issues with item difficulty levels, diagnosing the correlation between exam items, identifying possible scoring and answer key issues, determining the assumed estimates of pass rates and time allocated for the exam. The final (amended/updated) exam version (the assembly of operational item pools and final specifications) is the resulting product of this stage, and is now ready for publishing.

Exam Publishing

The stage when the exam has been designed, tested, evaluated, and updated by the outcome of the Evaluation stage, and is now ready for release. The exam is labelled with a series code, and becomes available worldwide through OpenEDG Testing Service (TestNow™) as well as the global network of reputable testing centers. This stage requires close cooperation between the product manager and the exam publisher in order for the process to be effective, timely, and successful.

Exam Maintenance

Exam design and development is a continuous process, so the Exam Maintenance stage takes place once the exam is live and test candidates begin to take it. At this stage, the exam’s performance is monitored and analyzed to ensure that it meets the goals and assumptions set forth in the Market Research, Market Analysis, and Syllabus Development Stages. The data collected allows for the carrying out of post-publishing analyses and the updating of exams, which means the exam contents are revisited, and the whole exam design process starts over.

During this process, the candidate experience and exam reputation are analyzed in order to make necessary changes to improve the testing experience and strengthen credibility and recognition of the certification program. Exam update frequency: once every two years after first publishing or after a specified number of test candidates has taken the exam; whichever happens first.

Evaluation Process

The OpenEDG Python Institute performs validation of its exams in alignment with the prescriptive guidance regarding educational and psychological assessment practices put forth in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, NCME), as well as the European Test User Standards and the European Test Review Model (EFPA, EAWOP).

The evaluation process consists of a thorough review of all available evidence gathered during the design, development, and implementation of the testing program, and involves an iterative collaboration between the test publisher, subject matter experts, and psychometricians. Further, data gathered from a field test of live respondents is comprehensively reviewed. Consequently, validation of the assessment and testing practices is carried out in a manner consistent with applicable industry best practices, ethical standards, and prominent research literature.

This iterative process of collaboration between the publisher, subject matter experts, and psychometricians, as well as comparison of the evidence to applicable standards provides the basis for the findings and recommendations.

Item Response Theory (IRT): Verifying Unidimensionality

In comparison to traditional fixed-form exams, the Python Institute tests utilize a “random-random” sampling procedure to randomly sample one of a number of versions of each of the items from the item test bank. As such, no fixed-form versions of the exams exist, which assists in preventing cheating and piracy.

Item-level analyses are conducted under the guiding framework of Item Response Theory (IRT). In comparison to classical test theory (CTT), IRT is considered as the standard, if not preferred, method for conducting psychometric evaluations of new and established measures. At a high level, IRT is based on the premise that only two elements are responsible for a person’s response on any given item: the person’s ability (or abilities), and the characteristics of the item.

Python Institute Exams Using Unidimensional IRT Model

Development and validation of the Python Institute exams entail the use of a unidimensional IRT model based on the premise that correlations among responses to test questions can be explained by a single underlying trait (i.e. Python proficiency/ability). While traits/abilities like Python proficiency are complex and represent many different constituent skills and facts that are combined in specific ways, the claim of unidimensionality is that these components work together to manifest a coherent whole. Although the tests are structured around four to six topical sections, this is done to provide adequate domain sampling rather than to measure different traits.

While individuals may have strengths and weaknesses with respect to the topical sections on a unidimensional test, any systematic relationship among those topical sections should be explained by the effect of the single latent trait or ability (Python proficiency) upon the examinees’ item responses. In alignment with the literature standard, unidimensionality is evaluated (and confirmed) through the use of a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) model and review of goodness of fit statistics (RMSEA, CFI, TLI).

Item Response Theory (IRT):
Model Overview

At a basic level, IRT models estimate mathematical equations in order to model the relationship between an examinee’s probability of correctly responding to an item and their ability level. The basic unit of an IRT model is the Item Characteristic Curve (ICC), which estimates the probability of a given response based on a person’s level of latent ability, wherein the shape and location of the curve is determined by the item characteristics estimated by the model parameters. While there are a variety of different forms an IRT model can take, IRT models of the form utilized for our test evaluations assume the probability of a given response is a function of the person’s ability (theta θ), the difficulty of the item (b), and the discrimination of the item (a).

Generalized Partial Credit Model

Evaluation of the exams is conducted utilizing a specific form of IRT model referred to as the generalized partial credit model (GPCM), which allows for a mixture of dichotomous items (where a response is either completely right or wrong) and polytomous items (where examinees can receive partial credit for a partially-correct response). The GPCM model incorporates the following four parameters:

  • Difficulty parameter for partial credit threshold (b1)
  • Difficulty parameter for full credit threshold (b2)
  • Discrimination parameter (a) – describes how well the item differentiates ability
  • Person-level ability parameter (θ) – standardized measure of examinee ability level

Item Response Theory (IRT):
Model Overview

The information provided by an item and a test can be evaluated in an IRT model by using the Item Information Function – IIF or I(θ). The information for an item is essentially an index of how precise or accurate the item is over the range of ability levels (θ). If an item is very precise and accurate for individuals of a given ability level, then the item is very informative regarding that ability level. The Item Information Function plot basically provides a visual representation of this, such that the highest point on the IIF curve corresponds to the ability level for which the item is most informative.

In addition, the peakedness of the IIF plots is also useful in that items with steep, narrow, peaked IIF curves denote that the item is highly informative over a specific range of ability. In contrast, shallow, less-peaked IIF curves denote items where a lesser amount of information is spread out over a wider range of ability levels.

While the Item Information Function (IIF) represents the range of ability levels that each individual item is most informative over, the Test Information Function (TIF) represents the range of ability levels that the test as a whole is most informative over, and over which it functions most effectively. Just as the Item Information Function is related to how precise a given individual item is at different ability levels, the Test Information Function is related to how precise the test is across different ability levels.

This overall accuracy and precision is indexed through the inverse of the Standard Error of θ, which simply quantifies the expected error for any estimate along the range of ability levels (θ). In practical terms, when the TIF curve is concentrated over a belowaverage ability level (θ < 0), the test is most effective and provides estimates with lowest standard error for individuals with lower ability levels. When the TIF is concentrated (peaked) over higher ability levels (θ > 0), this indicates the test as a whole is most effective at evaluating above-average ability levels.

We make sure that the TIF plot is always reviewed to verify that our tests are effective in relation to the desired range of ability levels.


Why get certified by
OpenEDG Python Institute

Whether you are a student, IT professional, or an employer – the OpenEDG Python Institute certification will add value to your personal branding, existing achievements, and a portfolio of programming projects.

Boost your knowledge base, improve work-related performance, and increase your professional trust with the Python Institute’s General-Purpose Programming path certifications such as PCEP™, PCAP™, and PCPP™, as well as with the specialization tracks in Python for Testing (PCAT™) and Python for Data Analysis (PCAD™). and you can easily see that we don’t mince words.

Increased confidence


Greater job satisfaction


Increased quality and value of work contributions


Increased respect from peers


Ability to perform a new task or fill a new role


The value of certification

According to the Value of Certification Statement 2020 by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, certification holders take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Recognition by peers and respect of colleagues
  • Improved opportunities for employability and advancement
  • Greater confidence in their professional competence
  • Increased professional trust from employers or the public
  • Increased autonomy in the workplace
  • Better compensation and career longevity

In the same document, the Institute enumerates the following benefits for employers:

  • Qualified individuals for employment or advancement
  • Recertification requirements for continued or enhanced competence
  • Commitment to public safety and/or consumer protection
  • Reduced risk of errors, accidents and/or legal liability
  • Reduced employee turnover and increased job satisfaction
  • Justification for potential compensation differential

Certification benefits for students

Higher grade point average (GPA) in certified high school students (4.0 scale)


Certified Students


Non-Certified Students

Higher graduation rates in certified high school students


Certified Students


Non-Certified Students

The world of Python is large and difficult to navigate. Sign up for the Python Essentials 1 course where the information and knowledge has been carefully selected for you so that you can advance from scratch at the fastest possible pace.

Get hands-on skills and useful knowledge that you may struggle to find elsewhere, become PCEP™ certified to validate your expertise, and show your teachers, instructors, and potential employers that you are serious about your education and career.

According to the 2018-2019 Florida CAPE Academy Performance Report, industry certification enhances academic performance, resulting in an increased grade point average (GPA) and much higher graduation rates among high school students.

Regardless of where you stand, Python Institute’s certification shows that you’re committed to continuous development and it equips you with a skills toolset and qualifications that you can add to your resume to stand out to hiring managers. If you’re looking to get your foot in the door with Python and land a junior-level job in software development, PCEP™ certification will enhance your professional profile and set you apart from your competitors and other job-seekers.

Percentage of hiring managers stated that candidates with IT certifications are more likely to be selected for job interviews


Percentage of certified employees said that they have greater determination to succeed professionally


Percentage of certified employees stated that they have a greater work autonomy and independence


Percentage of candidates received a salary or wage increase after earning a certification


Percentage of candidates who hoped to advance or be promoted had received promotions


Certification benefits for employees

There are many reasons for professionals, even the most established ones, to become certified by the Python Institute. The IT industry is, and always has been, in a state of rapid change. What is relevant today may not be relevant tomorrow. Python is a constantly evolving language, and it’s important to be up to date on the latest developments at all times.

PCAP™ and PCPP1™ certifications allow you to demonstrate that not only are you up to date, but that you can competently deal with Python-related issues. Python Institute’s certification enables you to keep your skills up to date, and to show others that your skills are up to date.

Furthermore, with the Python Institute, you gain access to a large network of Python professionals, a valuable resource for solving programming challenges, and for developing innovative solutions.

PCAT™ and PCAD™ certifications are a great way to demonstrate your expertise in a more specific and specialized field. They show your employers that you are serious about your work, and employers recognize this. They are more likely to promote a certified employee over an uncertified one, as well as offer them more interesting projects, and more challenging, prestigious roles within the organization.

Certification plays a vital role in the process of hiring, and is often perceived as a great tool for selection and screening purposes. IT executives and IT managers attach a significant importance to your certification portfolio, which helps to put your resume on the top of the pile and increase your chances of getting the job you want. According to the 2021 Value of IT Certification Report by Pearson VUE, as many as 66% of hiring managers said that candidates who hold any IT certification are more likely to be selected for job interviews. Having a certificate makes your position on the labor market much stronger. Whenever your resume suggests that you have certain skills, or that you know programming languages, you will most certainly need to prove it. But even if you are given a chance to do this during an interview, you will still need to get invited to it first.


of decision makers said that the estimated ROI of certified employees is $10,000 of added value or more

Information technology is becoming more complex and sophisticated by the day. Your employees need to be up to date and competent in many areas, from data analysis, to software development, to database security, or server maintenance. The OpenEDG Python Institute’s certifications validate that they are. They also prove that your employees are committed to your company, and to their own career development.

Certified professionals bring huge value to an organization, and more and more companies are noticing this and are willing to support training as well as certification courses and exams for their employees in order to help them boost their career growth and take a measurable advantage of the skills they gain. Certification ensures that employees have the knowledge and skills to work fast and at high levels. Faster, high-quality workers translates into lower operational costs, thus saving money for the company.

Certification benefits for employers

Python Institute’s certification not only provides a recognized benchmark of skills and knowledge which can be well incorporated into a company skills framework, but it also ensures that teams working on various IT projects are trained to consistent and expected levels of the desired skills.

Studies and analyses show that certification benefits companies in such a way that those individuals who are certified demonstrate higher productivity and better perform their work to the desired standards.

Furthermore, it helps minimize downtime – after all, certified specialists have the proper skills to handle issues and solve many complex problems the moment they arise. All this significantly reduces the costs a company has to bear and, at the same time, results in greater customer satisfaction and a better brand image. (source: Global Knowledge 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report)

Moreover, certification brings efficiency and accuracy to a company. Certified professionals earn more for an organization and add to its good reputation. So a company that invests in its workers’ development will always be ahead of those that do not.

It is, therefore, in the best interests of a company and its HR managers to help their workers pursue certification programs, as certified employees directly translate into streamlined production processes and best practices in an organization.

Percentage of decision makers worldwide said that certified team members provide added value above and beyond the cost of certification


Percentage of IT managers said that employees with IT certifications produce higher quality work


Percentage of certified employees have a greater ability to guide, mentor and support their co-workers


Percentage of IT managers believe that IT-credentialed staff are significantly better connected with industry professionals and resources


Percentage of IT managers said that IT certifications significantly or very significantly impact employee innovativeness