2020.03.21CompTIA Server+ Beta (UPDATED)

CompTIA Server+ Certificate


COMPTIA asked me to take a survey for candidacy to take their new Server+ exam.

I thought it was weird, but... they asked. So I gave them a link to my LinkedIn page and a copy of my resume, filled out a survey, and sent it off. Maybe I'll end up with a tee shirt.

Would I like another certification? Of course! But I don't want to get my hopes up for anything here. Heck, I don't even know how I'd study if I'm selected.

At least there are more Pearson Vue exam places nearby than I could shake a stick at... no shortage of exam facilities.


From an email I received from CompTIA on March 2, 2020:

Congratulations, you’ve been selected by CompTIA to participate in the CompTIA Server+ Beta Exam! If you take and pass the CompTIA Server+ SK0-005 Beta exam, you will earn the new certification at no cost, plus CompTIA will pay you $200! Simply complete the beta exam by March 31, 2020.

Then the pandemic hit: public places have closed; restaurants are only available for take out; the stock market went into the toilet, and there's no toilet paper to be found because idiots keep buying it all.

The pandemic had reached the east and west coasts in advance of reaching Texas. On March 17th, Dallas County issued orders which placed an emphasis on "social distancing" — the notion that people need to stay apart so the virus could not spread as easily — including limiting gatherings to 10 people — even social gatherings on private property. With this order, followed by a state of emergency declaration from the governor of Texas, it became clear the testing facility would not be open, and likely would not reopen in time for me to take the exam. Time to find some guidance from CompTIA.

I visit the main help page on the CompTIA website, and it says, in very large font, that all vouchers for currently scheduled exams are now extended throgh the end of June. This would have addressed all of my concerns handily, but I knew the beta was on a deadline, so I chatted in.

Get this (names omitted):

Chat started on 19 Mar 2020, 06:03 PM (GMT+0)
(06:03:05) *** I joined the chat ***
(06:03:05) Me: I was scheduled to participate in the Server+ beta exam. The deadline for scheduling my test was March 31st. Has this deadline also been extended to June 30?
(06:03:18) *** CompTIA Customer Service joined the chat ***
(06:04:30) Customer Service: Good afternoon, I would be happy to assist you.
(06:04:56) Customer Service: Thanks for your interest and intention to take the Server+ SK1-005 beta exam. The beta exam cutoff date is March 31, 2020, and unfortunately, it's not possible to extend this date in order to maintain the exam development schedule. We apologize that not everyone scheduled to take the Server+ beta exam will be able to complete the exam, due to the impact of the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic.


(By the way, it's obvious to me that the customer service rep was copy/pasting a prepared statement. These people do what they're told. The shade I'm throwing here is meant for the Draconian fucksticks who made the shitburger she had to serve. And yes — I changed the font of the response so it could appear as cold and impersonal as it seemed as I received it.)

CompTIA could have approached this differently. Softer messaging would have helped. A lot. Perhaps because their messaging was as cold as it was, I got pissed off: Because CompTIA's guidance to beta testers was to study as though I was taking an actual exam (that's almost a quote), I'd spent $200 on CertMaster practice software (for the previous version of the Server+ exam) to study. I bought it figuring I'd use it to pass the course, and the $200 would cover the cost. Now I wanted that money back.

(06:06:24) Me: Not cool. The state of Texas is under a state of emergency and there's no way the testing center is going to remain open.
(06:06:50) Me: Also, I was counting on the $200 I was going to get paid to cover what I spent on the CertMaster for the exam!
(06:06:56) Me: will I be reimbursed?

More of that amazing bedside manner follows. Reading it in the voice of IG-11 from The Mandalorian might help:

(06:08:24) Customer Service: It's unfortunate that you and others scheduled to take the Server+ beta exam will not be able to complete the exam, due to the impact of the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic. We appreciate your intention to do so, and we'd like to offer you a complimentary voucher to take the new Server+ SK0-005 exam once it launches (in lieu of the $200 Amazon gift card stipend). Please confirm if you would like to receive a complimentary voucher for the new Server+ SK0-005 exam, and we'll track this ticket and follow up with you when the exam launches. The new Server+ SK0-005 exam is currently targeted to launch in July 2020, but this is subject to change.


Let's review. I was taking the exam in the first place because CompTIA asked me to. CompTIA promised a free voucher for taking the exam, plus $200 for passing. So replacing a free thing with another free thing and taking away the $200 thing doesn't seem like a good deal. Even my kid, when she was 4, could do THAT math.

I did pursue the issue of reimbursement, and am waiting on a response. I feel I gave it a good shot, anyway (again, names replaced):

[Customer Service Manager],

CompTIA approached me about taking the Server+ beta. It's not really in my wheelhouse, nor is it really on my training trajectory, but I consider the offer and I'm accepted. CompTIA explains that I should treat the beta as an actual exam, and that I should study for it as I normally would. So I bought the CertMaster course to accomplish that. (Why would I do that? Have you seen the marketing materials?) After the State of Texas makes a declaration about COVID-19, I see a post on the CompTIA help website that says that all exam dates have been pushed out until the end of June. I chat in to be sure, and basically get told to pound sand.

CompTIA asked me to take the beta. I agreed.
CompTIA asked me to study for it like a normal exam. I agreed.
Now I'm out money and time, and CompTIA has taken advantage of my goodwill.
Please make this right, and reimburse me for the expense of the CertMaster training. The Order Number is 719987.

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