I work in marketing and have not written a professional code for years. However the changing marketing landscape has forced me to get back to what i was running from: Technical certifications.

So, how can someone without a technical bone in his head pass the Atlassian Certifications? Gather around folks, here are the wise words from the PixarJ ackalope.

1. Go through the course contents

A detailed look at the course contents is essential. This will give you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses. Also, Atlassian has very good documentation for each of the major topics, and going through it is essential. You may not understand every aspect in the beginning, but you will pick up towards the end.

You will also get a lot of in-depth knowledge (and have some Aha! moments) after going through the entire Atlassian documentation thoroughly. It not only boosts confidence but, it also helps build the experience you already have along with the best practices you follow to have a much streamlined implementation approach towards future projects.

2. Take Atlassian university courses

For many certifications Atlassian University provides a detailed video and mock partial test. Go through them, multiple times if possible. They will not only tell you what to focus on, but also how to evaluate the options and look out for exam trickery. It's also fun to watch your test score go higher each time.

3. Be inquisitive

Atlassian it seems, rewards inquisitiveness. Next time you click a button in JIRA, think in terms of workflows and transitions. Next time you want to find that old tickets that you worked on, run a query. Want to learn about blogs in confluence? Write a couple and share. This will help you think in terms of the software.

4. Understand best practices

Often there are many possible ways to solve a single problem; that doesn't mean all of them are good solutions. Atlassian certifications don't just focus on how to solve a problem, but the right way to solve a problem according to best practice. The best practices are usually things that make the most business sense. This is reflected in the certification tests, where you may have to choose which of the technically-correct options is actually best practice. 

For example: if a wants to update a single page in a sensitive space once, do not make the user a space admin. A space admin will be able to edit the page, but  it will create more problems than it solves. Similarly, if a user is required to just upload one image in a ticket he should not have access to, do not make that person project Admin, even though that solves the immediate issue. (Note: If you thought making the user a space/project admin works, you have found a weak area: best practices).

5. Explore everything in a test instance

This is the most important part: Get system admin privileges in a dummy instance, and make it your sandbox. Create unnecessarily complex things find ways to fix it. Finally Review the questions in Atlassian university and test them out on this instance. 

This seems unnecessary but will help you understand the nitty-gritty of the product. Also once you move through the same menu multiple times, you will remember it like the back of your hand. And the next time Atlassian throws you a curve ball, you will smash it out of the park (Or hit a six, score a goal, smash a winner... Choose your own sports metaphor)

How much time do i need.

For non technical inquisitive users, i would say it would take about 60-80 hours. So do study about one hour a day for about 3 months. Or one month and give it 3 hours a day. Or a week and give it 10 hours a day. If you have just one day left, do not use time machine to study more. (You have a time machine, there is so much more you can do). 

The way the Atlassian certifications are designed, you also learn a lot while taking the tests. For example use case based questions are very useful to add to the list of best practices that you may already be following. 

Hopefully it helps. Do share your thoughts.