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Upgrading Your Career Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 12:07 PM


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TravisDBA (2/13/2012)
Perhaps, but in the US it isn't large companies that have all the MCMs.


They have most of them though. Of the 47 current MCAs and MCMs in SQL Server in the US and Canada that are listed on their public directory site, 33 of them are with Microsoft alone.


Most of those occurred before this was a public program, or when it was a $30k+ cost.

Of the ones that have been certified since the price and structure changed, it is well split between different statuses and structures of employment.







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Post #1251433
Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 12:10 PM


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tony.turner (2/12/2012)
Wake me up again once it becomes viable for people in their personal capacity; I could just become interested if I am still young enough


I live in the 3rd world and I intend to pay for the cert out of my own pocket (well, when I finish the current studies). It's doable, not easy and will require sacrifices, but it's far from impossible.



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Post #1251436
Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 1:45 PM


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James Stover (2/12/2012)
[quote]codebyo (2/12/2012)


But the MCM...meh. What's in it for me? I'd love to hear some thoughts on it.


When I got my MCM (makes it sound like I'm so old, hahaha) it cost around $20-$25k plus three weeks of your time, which can be pretty darned expensive for consultants. I was working for Quest Software at the time, and I signed an agreement that said if I left within X months, I'd have to repay the costs entirely out of my own pocket. I'll be the first to tell you that I was nowhere near rich - I was living paycheck to paycheck just like everybody else.

Within a month of getting the MCM, I had new consulting clients that were literally asking, "How much money will it take to get you onsite?" I quit Quest and paid them back for the MCM personally, out of my savings, and made it all back within a few weeks.

Another good example - in my rotation, another DBA paid for it completely out of his own pocket. He was totally frustrated with his day job as a DBA, and he wanted a better opportunity. Shortly after getting his MCM, Microsoft hired him. When he tired of that a few months later, he went to work for a private company making *killer* money and got an ownership percentage of the company.

The MCM opens doors - it's as simple as that. You still have to walk through 'em, but the MCM just makes it easier to gain entry. Most clients don't know what the MCM is, but they understand when you say, "There's only about a dozen of us consultants in the US who have this certification." It doesn't get you gigs, but it gets you a better rate and better clients. Since getting my MCM, I've been able to quit my job, start a company, and keep my friends ridiculously busy. Would all of this have happened without my blog, too? Probably not - but the MCM helps much more with companies than my blog helps.



Post #1251501
Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 3:37 PM
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Thank you Brent for the feedback. I find your opinion valuable because of your standing in the SQL community and also because you have put the certification to practical use. I think I need to reconsider my position on the MCM. I'm a pragmatic type and I need to know there are rewards for putting in so much time, effort and money (real rewards, not imaginary MS marketing rewards).

So...when are you doing the MCA



James Stover, McDBA
Post #1251585
Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 3:40 PM


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Ha! Thanks, sir.

I can't see myself doing the MCA anytime soon. I'm not sure if I could pass it, but I'm quite sure I don't deserve to pass it. I don't do enough ground-up architecture work to feel like I could defend that certification personally. I have tremendous respect for guys like Christian Bolton who've earned that cert the hard way.



Post #1251586
Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 4:47 PM
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Brent Ozar (2/13/2012)
Ha! Thanks, sir.

I can't see myself doing the MCA anytime soon. I'm not sure if I could pass it, but I'm quite sure I don't deserve to pass it. I don't do enough ground-up architecture work to feel like I could defend that certification personally. I have tremendous respect for guys like Christian Bolton who've earned that cert the hard way.


Or...maybe the MCA will open up a few magic architecture doors.

Guys like Christian make me think of Dr. Manhattan (from The Watchmen): superpowered and omnipresent. It's the only explanation



James Stover, McDBA
Post #1251608
Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 6:55 PM


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Mike Palecek (2/13/2012)
I have always held that having certifications in general do not mean anything, however NOT having the certifications means a whole lot.


Everyone that I hire has to pass the same interview. Well, not entirely true. I'm actually a bit tougher on people who have certs because they're "certified to know something".

I've told the story before but I don't trust certs or degrees. I only trust what I find out during the interview(s). My old boss hired a Java Lead Developer based just on his resume and his pedigree of having a PHD in Mathematics. The position required some knowledge of numbering systems and conversions. I was asked to interview the guy (I didn't know they already hired him) and he couldn't even do the simple conversion of 1416 to X10 never mind any boolean math (simple AND/OR math). My recommendation was "No Hire" and when I found out he'd already been hired, I predicted that he'd last about 90 days before he quit because he wouldn't be able to keep up.

Sadly, I was correct.

With the possible exception of MCM and MCA (and only because they have to pass practical exams as well as written), I just don't trust certs or degrees to mean that a person can actually do the job.


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Post #1251623
Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 6:56 PM
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MCM, MCITP, MCTS... All three levels of certification needs time, money and surely "show that you have some knowledge about a product, even if it's something you memorized for the exam. They show you're motivated to learn about this particular technology, and interested enough in your career to do so" like Steve said.

I work in a small place that do not have the budget to have a DBadmin and push me the job to learn database and SQL language over my normal job. Belive me: it is not easy for every one. I am trying to pass my MCTS, and I can't get more than 60% on the "prepare kit simulation".

I agree with Mike "Not having them: You cannot even be bothered to take a silly exam and pass? Especially when the next three candidates have them". I might be hard for some people but if you are that good, it should not be that hard to pass the exam. If you have the power, use it, lucky you!
Post #1251624
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2012 9:57 AM


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tilew-948340 (2/13/2012)
MCM, MCITP, MCTS... All three levels of certification needs time, money and surely "show that you have some knowledge about a product, even if it's something you memorized for the exam. They show you're motivated to learn about this particular technology, and interested enough in your career to do so" like Steve said.

I work in a small place that do not have the budget to have a DBadmin and push me the job to learn database and SQL language over my normal job. Belive me: it is not easy for every one. I am trying to pass my MCTS, and I can't get more than 60% on the "prepare kit simulation".

I agree with Mike "Not having them: You cannot even be bothered to take a silly exam and pass? Especially when the next three candidates have them". I might be hard for some people but if you are that good, it should not be that hard to pass the exam. If you have the power, use it, lucky you!
\

These certifications are "hollow" IMHO as long as actual braindumps are available on them on the Internet, and they are, even the MCM. To use an analogy, it's kind of like dealing with someone who has counterfeit currency. What you think someone has in their pocket is not actually what they have, and you, (or your company) gets ripped off as a result..


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Post #1252020
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2012 5:17 PM
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TravisDBA (2/14/2012)
tilew-948340 (2/13/2012)
MCM, MCITP, MCTS... All three levels of certification needs time, money and surely "show that you have some knowledge about a product, even if it's something you memorized for the exam. They show you're motivated to learn about this particular technology, and interested enough in your career to do so" like Steve said.

I work in a small place that do not have the budget to have a DBadmin and push me the job to learn database and SQL language over my normal job. Belive me: it is not easy for every one. I am trying to pass my MCTS, and I can't get more than 60% on the "prepare kit simulation".

I agree with Mike "Not having them: You cannot even be bothered to take a silly exam and pass? Especially when the next three candidates have them". I might be hard for some people but if you are that good, it should not be that hard to pass the exam. If you have the power, use it, lucky you!
\

These certifications are "hollow" IMHO as long as actual braindumps are available on them on the Internet, and they are, even the MCM. To use an analogy, it's kind of like dealing with someone who has counterfeit currency. What you think someone has in their pocket is not actually what they have, and you, (or your company) gets ripped off as a result..


Well...maybe. I want to agree but there are reasons not to. Brent Ozar shared his opinion & experience with the MCM. Because of his reputation in the SQL community I can't just dismiss it based on my personal bias (against certification). I am casting certs in a different light. I'm going to give in to the MS marketing machine and see it as a path to achievement: each certification level builds on the last until you reach the top tier (i.e. MCA). Kind of like a PhD for SQL And each level is more difficult that the previous one. Not just in knowledge but also in attainment. You don't just waltz into a Prometric test facility, pay $200 and walk out an MCM or MCA. You sweat bullets and spend gobs of time and a fair amount of cash to get there.

But saying that, you definitely need experience to back up those certs. I certainly wouldn't put a 25 year-old MBA "nugget" (thanks BSG) in a high-level executive role. That experiment (generally) failed with the likes of pets.com and the legendary sock puppet. Likewise, if you have 1/2 a dozen certs and no experience to back it up, you are essentially a paper soldier.

So, perhaps a more positive way of seeing certs is as a complement to a level of knowledge and experience you already have. A validation, if you will. That's my newly-formed humble opinion.



James Stover, McDBA
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