Elastic Certified Engineer changes - August 2022

Elastic are making some changes to the Elastic Certified Engineer curriculum on 4th August 2022.

The main change is that the stack version being used for the certification is being changed from 7.13 to 8.1. I’m not aware of any major changes to APIs between these versions - at least in the context of the certification - so existing knowledge is fully transferable.

Runtime fields is the only new topic added to the curriculum. This is a fairly new feature that requires some Painless scripting. Runtime fields are like script fields but have some useful upgrades that allow you to do things scripted fields can’t, such as aggregations. I recently recorded a lesson on runtime fields for my Elasticsearch Engineer Essentials course, showing how they can be useful when you’re not certain what mappings you’ll need in an index but want to experiment with some queries. Very handy.

These requirements have been removed:

  • Using the data visualiser to upload data
  • Using nested documents
  • Configuring role-based access control

I can understand removing the data visualiser from the curriculum; it’s not a feature that’s useful very often. The other two, however, caused me to raise an eyebrow 🤨.

Parent/child relationships, and the associated join field type, were removed from the curriculum in the previous update. I had an inkling that nested documents would follow, even though they can be useful - even necessary - in some situations. They’re not without their issues (performance, more complex queries, hugh document counts), but I sense that Elastic really don’t suggest using them in the sort of use-cases they’re familiar with.

Removing RBAC configuration was a surprise, but this may have been driven by the security-related changes that landed in Elasticsearch 8. While security is now enabled by default, configuring it can still be a faff, so I’d have thought there’d be at least a fleeting reference to it in the curriculum. Maybe something simple like ensuring that a cluster is secured. It’s easier than ever to secure a cluster but there have been enough headlines about unsecured Elasticsearch clusters being exposed to the internet that you’d expect the basics to be front and centre.

I’ll still be covering these topics in my training course, as I consider them to be essential knowledge for anyone building against Elasticsearch, or managing a cluster.

I may re-take the exam early next year, to renew the two I have. The stack version used when I passed ECE was 5.x or 6.x, so it’ll be interesting to see if the style of questions has changed since then.

Keep learning. New material coming soon!

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