Who is a Lead Developer?

An Appian Certified Lead Developer has between 1 and 3 years of delivering Appian projects with clients. They have a comprehensive understanding of how Appian can be used to digitize, optimize, and automate Business Process Management (BPM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) strategies. Lead Developers have a complete understanding of Appian’s platform architecture and effectively use it to design and implement end-to-end transformative solutions.

Appian Certified Lead Developers lead teams by providing guidance on the technical design requirements while following development and database best practices. They make solution architecture decisions based on operability, performance, scalability, maintainability, and usability. They also present options to the client, identifying and clearly communicating benefits and risks of each decision and solution.

Lead Developers have a holistic understanding of relational databases as well as hands-on experience implementing advanced Appian components and configurations. They have an academic understanding of extending Appian with additional authentication mechanisms, advanced user management, plug-in development, networking and more. They also monitor performance, enforce Appian user experience design guidance, develop and document best practices, and take preemptive measures to keep projects on track.

Lastly, Appian Certified Lead Developers are responsible for managing resources with a client’s internal team (i.e. database administrators, DevOps, quality assurance, etc.) throughout the project lifecycle. They are proficient in debugging and troubleshooting most issues that escalate from Associate or Senior Developers and proactively engage Appian’s expert resources when appropriate.

What Does the Certified Lead Developer Exam Cover?

The Lead Developer exam consists of 35 questions spanning a breadth of topics and skills determined by a global team of Appian practitioners. This is a list of key topics found within the exam to help you prepare. Note that this list is not exhaustive.

  • Platform Management
    • Implement advanced and comprehensive Appian applications to scale
    • Schedule, execute, and troubleshoot application deployments across environments
    • Recommend strategies based on knowledge of platform architecture
    • Monitor and troubleshoot platform-based issues
    • Implement user management, authentication, and authorization across the platform
  • Multiple-Application Best Practices
    • Evaluate and design applications for consistency and reusability
    • Design parallel development best practices across multiple teams
    • Understand platform enterprise architecture
    • Design time management standards across the platform
    • Implement all administration console settings
  • Advanced Relational Databases
    • Analyze and evaluate new and existing relational database schemas
    • Migrate data between various systems
    • Analyze, evaluate, and troubleshoot high-volume database structures
    • Implement advanced database features
  • Application Load and Concurrency
    • Monitor and troubleshoot all application-based issues
    • Design data management strategies
    • Perform and evaluate load testing
    • Evaluate and design optimistic and pessimistic locking mechanisms
  • Extending Appian
    • Design and troubleshoot advanced integrations
    • Program web advanced APIs to communicate external systems
    • Strategize advanced document generation
    • Differentiate between various authentication mechanisms
    • Evaluate existing plug-ins and recognize when to develop custom plug-ins
  • Project and Resource Management
    • Interpret client requirements and recommend technical design options
    • Coordinate and lead essential activities across multiple teams
    • Recommend the protocols and procedures involved in Appian governance

Taking the Test

The Appian Certified Lead Developer exam is available through our proctored testing platform. You will have 75 minutes to complete 35 questions. The price for the exam session is $200, payable when you schedule your exam. The cost of the exam is for each attempt, and does not include any exam retakes.

You may cancel or reschedule your exam for a small fee. Failing to arrive for the scheduled time, a “no-show,” results in the full price of the exam being collected regardless of the attempt status.

Certification fees are non-refundable, the fee covers grading and materials. Paying the certification fee does not guarantee awarding of the certification.

Have additional questions about the exam process? Check the Appian Certification Frequently Asked Questions page.

Need to Prepare?

The Appian Certified Lead Developer exam builds on the skills learned and developed as a Senior Developer. We do not currently have formal training to prepare you for this test, as it draws heavily on your experience as a delivery professional.

If you have not yet completed all of the Senior Developer courses, we suggest working through them as they are a good place to fill in any knowledge gaps you might have.  Additionally, review the Appian Developer Playbook and the Appian Knowledge Base for support articles about frequently-asked-topics.

Once you are ready, test your knowledge with the Lead Developer Practice Test

Have More Questions?

We’re here to help. If you have any questions about what to expect during the test, or Appian’s Certification Program in general, check our Frequently Asked Questions page! For a more detailed breakdown, you can also read our Policies and Procedures page.


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