Unlocking Ruby: My Experience with Silver and Gold Certification Exams

Unlocking Ruby: My Experience with Silver and Gold Certification Exams

Learning a programming language is like picking up a new instrument. There's rhythm, there are rules, and if you practice enough, you can make some beautiful scripts. Among the many programming languages I've tackled, Ruby has a special place. It's not just useful but also beautifully logical and straightforward. I've recently achieved two big milestones of any Ruby programmer: the Ruby Association Certified Ruby Programmer Silver and Gold version 3 exams. In this article, I'll take you through my adventures with these exams—the challenges I faced, the resources that helped me, and the strategies I used to pass. If you're new to programming or looking to get certified in Ruby, I hope my journey can light the way and show you what to expect and how to prepare for success.
Unlocking Ruby: My Experience with Silver and Gold Certification Exams

Introduction

Ruby certifications, offered by the Ruby Association, validate a programmer’s proficiency in Ruby programming. These certifications are distinguished into two main levels: Silver and Gold. The Silver certification tests basic Ruby skills and syntax, while the Gold certification is more advanced, testing knowledge of internal mechanisms and libraries.

Choosing the right certification

Understanding the levels: Silver vs Gold

The Silver Level certification is aimed at beginners and ensures that the programmer understands Ruby syntax and basic programming techniques. The Gold Level, on the other hand, is suitable for those who are already familiar with Ruby and want to dive deeper into its object-oriented design and libraries.

Evaluating Your Current Skill Level

Before deciding which exam to start with, assess your current knowledge and experience in Ruby:

  • If you are new to Ruby, start with the Silver certification.

  • If you have been working with Ruby daily, particularly with Ruby on Rails, and have a good understanding of the basic and intermediate concepts, consider taking the Gold certification.

Deciding Which Exam to Take First

It's advisable to take the Silver exam first if you are not confident about your advanced Ruby skills. This step-by-step approach helps build a stronger foundation and prepares you better for the Gold exam.

There is an important notice from the Ruby Association: 

Candidates must pass both silver and gold exams to be the Ruby Association Certified Ruby Programmer Gold. 

In other words, candidates must pass the Silver certification, before they can take the Gold one.

Preparation Strategies

Study Materials

  • The Ruby documentation ruby-doc.org provides comprehensive material and is a resource you should constantly refer to.

  • Online courses and tutorials:

    • Ruby Monk: Free, interactive tutorials to go from beginner to expert.

    • Viblo practice exams:

    • RubyEXamination: Free practice exam in Japanese.

  • A place where you can run Ruby code.

    • If you prefer using an online editor such as https://try.ruby-lang.org/, make sure the editor is using Ruby version 3.1.x

    • If you prefer using Ruby on your local machine, you can download it following the instructions here.

Exam details

Exam format

Both exams are computer-based and consist of multiple-choice questions (MCQs). There are a total of 50 questions. Candidates need to answer at least 38 questions correctly to pass the exams.

Silver Exam Specifics

Key topics covered

For the silver level, candidates will be tested on basic syntax, built-in libraries, and basic OOP.

Candidates can check the complete topic list on the exam registration page.

Sample questions

Q1: What is the final output of this command: 

p  a:1, v:2

Options:

  1. Syntax Error
  2. {:a=>1, :v=>2}
  3. {:a=>1}
    {:v=>2}
  4. {:v=>2}

 

Correct answer: 2

 

Q2: What is the return value of the following code:

a = [3,2,1,3,5]
a.delete(3)

Options:

  1. [2,1,3,5]
  2. [2,1,5]
  3. 3
  4. [3,2,1,5]

 

Correct answer: 3

 

Q3: Fill in (1)  all possible answers to make expected output:

a = [ 4, 5, 6 ]
b = [ 7, 8, 9 ]

______(1)______
p result
=> [[4,7], [5,8], [6,9]]

Options:

  1. result = a.zip b
  2. result = [a,b].transpose
  3. result = []
    
    a.each_with_index do |item, index|
      result << [item, b[index]]
    end
  4. result = a.map { |x| [x] } + b.map { |y| [y] }

 

Correct answer: 1, 2 and 3

 

Q4: You have a text file named "example.txt" containing multiple lines of text. Each line of the text file contains a single word. Your task is to write a Ruby script to append the string " - modified" to each word in the file and save the changes back to the same file.

Example content of file "example.txt":

apple
banana
cherry

Expected output of file "example.txt":

apple - modified
banana - modified
cherry - modified

Options:

  1. File.open('example.txt', 'r+') do |file|
      lines = file.readlines
      lines.map! { |line| line.strip + " - modified\n" }
      file.puts lines
    end
  2. File.open('example.txt', 'r+') do |file|
      lines = file.readlines.map { |line| line.strip + " - modified\n" }
      file.rewind
      file.write(lines.join)
    end
  3. File.open('example.txt', 'a+') do |file|
      lines = file.readlines.map { |line| line.strip + " - modified" }
      file.write("\n" + lines.join("\n"))
    end
  4. File.open('example.txt', 'w+') do |file|
      original_content = file.read
      modified_content = original_content.lines.map { |line| line.strip + " - modified\n" }
      file.write(modified_content.join)
    end

 

Correct answer: 2

Option 1 attempts to modify the lines and write them back to the file within the same block. However, it does not properly clear the original content before writing the modified lines back, leading to a jumbled output.

Option 2 correctly reads the lines, modifies them, rewinds the file to the beginning, and writes the new content, effectively replacing the old content.

Opening the file in a+ mode allows for reading and appending but not for truncating the existing content. This method will result in the modified lines being added to the end of the file, rather than modifying the existing lines.

Option 4 opens the file in w+ mode, which truncates all the data before it can be read. This means the original_content will be empty and nothing will be modified or written back.

 

Gold Exam Specifics

Key topics covered

For the gold level, candidates will be asked deeper questions related to OOP, advanced syntax. Besides them, Metaprogramming & Singleton Class will also be in the exam scope.Candidates can check the complete topic list on the exam registration page

Sample questions

Q1: What is the output of the puts command below:

module Greeting
  def greet
    "Hello, "
  end
end

module InformalGreeting
  include Greeting

  def greet
    super + "friend!"
  end
end

class Person
  include Greeting
end

class Friend < Person
  include InformalGreeting
end

puts Friend.new.greet

 Options:

  1. "Hello, friend!" 
  2. "Hello, "
  3. NoMethodError
  4. "friend"

 

Correct answer: 1

 

Q2: What is the output of the puts command?

module VerboseGreeting
  def self.included(base)
    base.alias_method :original_greet, :greet
    base.define_method(:greet) do
      original_greet + "How are you today?"
    end
  end

  def greet
    "Good day, "
  end
end

class Person
  def greet
    "Hello, "
  end
end

class Employee < Person
  include VerboseGreeting
end

puts Employee.new.greet

 Options:

  1. Good day, How are you today?
  2. Hello, How are you today?
  3. Hello,
  4. NoMethodError

 

Correct answer: 1

When the VerboseGreeting module is included in the Employee class, the self.included hook is triggered. This hook first aliases the existing greet method from the VerboseGreeting module to original_greet. Subsequently, it defines a new greet method in Employee that calls original_greet and appends the string "How are you today?". Therefore, when Employee.new.greet is called, it executes the new greet method, which calls the aliased original_greet (returning "Good day, ") and then appends "How are you today?" to it.

 

Q3: What is the output of the code?

def dynamic_modifier(*args, **kwargs)
  first = args.shift
  last = args.pop
  middle_count = args.size
  new_kwargs = kwargs.transform_values { |v| v * 2 }

  puts "First item: #{first}"
  puts "Last item: #{last}"
  puts "Remaining items count: #{middle_count}"
  puts "New keyword values: #{new_kwargs}"
end

dynamic_modifier(10, 20, 30, 40, rate: 5, speed: 10)

 Options:

  1. First item: 10
    Last item: 40
    Remaining items count: 2
    New keyword values: {:rate=>10, :speed=>20}
  2. First item: 10
    Last item: 30
    Remaining items count: 1
    New keyword values: {:rate=> 10, :speed=> 20}
  3. First item: 10
    Last item: 40
    Remaining items count: 1
    New keyword values: {:rate=> 10, :speed=> 20}
  4. First item: 20
    Last item: 40
    Remaining items count: 2
    New keyword values: {:rate=> 5, :speed=> 10}

 

Correct answer: 1

 

Q4: What is the output of the code?

info = "The first contact: 123-456-78902. The second one: 322-553-5544. Please call soon."
info.match(/(\d{3})-(\d{3})-(\d{4})/).to_s

 Options:

  1. "7890”
  2. "123"
  3. "123-456-7890"
  4. "322-553-5544"

 

Correct answer: 3

If a match is found, match.to_s returns the entire matched string, which in this case is "123-456-7890". This is because match.to_s converts the first match object to a string, representing the full sequence captured by the regex.

 

Q5: What is the output of the code?

module School
  CLASS_SIZE = 30

  class Classroom
    def self.class_size
      CLASS_SIZE
    end
  end
end

module Training
  CLASS_SIZE = 20

  class Course
    include School

    def self.class_size
      CLASS_SIZE
    end
  end
end

puts School::Classroom.class_size
puts Training::Course.class_size

Options:

  1. 30
    30
  2. 30
    20
  3. 20
    20
  4. 20
    30

 

Correct answer: 2

School::Classroom.class_size resolves the CLASS_SIZE within the nearest enclosing scope that defines it, which is within the School module. Therefore, it correctly outputs 30.

Training::Course.class_size might seem tricky because Course includes the School module, but Ruby's constant lookup starts in the lexically nearest scope. Since the Training module itself defines a CLASS_SIZE, that value (20) is used before Ruby looks into the included School module. Therefore, it outputs 20.

 

On the Day of the Exam

Last-Minute Preparation Tips

Review the main concepts and try to relax. Make sure you know the exam location and what you need to bring with you (ID card, Appointment Confirmation mail).

 

You may need to prepare a bank card with your signature signed. The supervisor will check that along with your ID card.

What to Expect Physically and Mentally

Be prepared for a few hours at the computer. Take deep breaths, stay hydrated, and keep calm.

Candidates will go through the security check every time they go to the exam room. They need to let all their accessories in the locker, outside the exam room.

Once the candidates click to start the exam, it can not be paused until the time is over. You may need to resolve all your excretory issues before entering the exam room.

The supervisor will go to the exam room to check around every 10 minutes. Just keep doing the exam and ignore them.

Time Management During the Exam

You have about 1.8 minutes to answer each question. Don’t spend too much time on questions you find difficult. Mark them and come back later if you have time.

Challenges Faced

Tricky Questions and How to Handle Them

The question you met in the exam may be trickier than what you have met in practice exams. If a question seems ambiguous, break it down and eliminate the most unlikely answers first.

Stress Management and Mental Blocks

Take short breaks if allowed, and practice deep breathing exercises to maintain your composure.

Post-Exam Reflections

Evaluation of Performance

Reflect on what went well and what didn’t, to better prepare for future certifications.

Quickly remember questions you answer incorrectly and note them right away. You can search for it when you get back home.

Receiving the Results

Certification results are typically available 1 week post-exam. Whatever the outcome, understand that this is a learning process.

Conclusion

The journey to Ruby certification is a challenging yet rewarding one. With the right preparation and mindset, you can excel at both the Silver and Gold exams. Use this guide as a roadmap to your own success. Happy coding!

 

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