Click here to monitor SSC
SQLServerCentral is supported by Red Gate Software Ltd.
 
Log in  ::  Register  ::  Not logged in
 
 
 
        
Home       Members    Calendar    Who's On


Add to briefcase «««12345»»»

The MCM Program is dead. Long live the MCMs! Expand / Collapse
Author
Message
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 3:18 AM


SSCoach

SSCoachSSCoachSSCoachSSCoachSSCoachSSCoachSSCoachSSCoachSSCoachSSCoachSSCoach

Group: General Forum Members
Last Login: Today @ 7:32 PM
Points: 15,517, Visits: 27,895
carpainter69 (9/17/2013)
So I'm a little confused on what to do, there are good arguments for and against certs. I took a pay cut to get this job because I wanted the experience but I am not sure how much longer I can afford to stay. This is the only work experience I have in this field and I'm worried that it won't be enough. There was advice about saying what I have done, projects I've led and initiatives I've taken but will it be enough? Three years ago I was working in the body shop and I'd rather not go back.


I hear you and agree with you. The simple fact is, demonstrated knowledge and ability and work experience are currently the best measures. The certs can help a little, but only a little. The more you do, the more you can do. Start a blog. Start writing down everything you learn. Then point future employers to the blog. "This is some of the stuff I've been working on." I'd respect that way beyond any of the current Microsoft certifications.


----------------------------------------------------
"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." Theodore Roosevelt
The Scary DBA
Author of: SQL Server 2012 Query Performance Tuning
SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled
and
SQL Server Execution Plans

Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software
Post #1495821
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 9:12 AM
SSC Journeyman

SSC JourneymanSSC JourneymanSSC JourneymanSSC JourneymanSSC JourneymanSSC JourneymanSSC JourneymanSSC Journeyman

Group: General Forum Members
Last Login: Monday, December 16, 2013 10:42 AM
Points: 96, Visits: 434
carpainter69 (9/17/2013)
So I'm a little confused on what to do, there are good arguments for and against certs. I took a pay cut to get this job because I wanted the experience but I am not sure how much longer I can afford to stay. This is the only work experience I have in this field and I'm worried that it won't be enough. There was advice about saying what I have done, projects I've led and initiatives I've taken but will it be enough? Three years ago I was working in the body shop and I'd rather not go back.


If you don't have a 4 year degree, get that first. Out here in the Sacramento valley every job opening I've seen requires a 4 year degree. Some are 4 year or 5 years experience equivalent. That also means if you and another guy interview and you both have 5 years experience but he has a degree he'll get the job over you (all other things being equal).

A degree helps no matter which field you go in. Certs are very, very specific and really don't help much (IMO).

Also try to branch out in SQL at your current position. If they use reporting services, try to help build reports. If they use SSIS, try to get on some of those projects too. Basically try and get on the job experience in as many areas of SQL as possible. Try not to be pigeon holed into just doing stored procedures or something like that. Covering a lot of areas of SQL will help you land your second position because you won't be constrained by qualifications. You will be qualified for a lot more positions.

Lastly, IMO 3 years is enough experience to start looking for your second SQL opportunity. Personally I would enroll in night classes before you start looking, so even though you don't have a degree you can explain you're in school currently working on one. (BS in Computer Sci)


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My SQL Server Blog
Post #1495971
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 9:55 AM
SSC Rookie

SSC RookieSSC RookieSSC RookieSSC RookieSSC RookieSSC RookieSSC RookieSSC Rookie

Group: General Forum Members
Last Login: Friday, February 21, 2014 7:03 AM
Points: 25, Visits: 79
I concur with everything AmenJonathan is saying, but even an associates in CIS is better than nothing, or an associates in computer engineering. I work with a guy that's got an associates in computer engineering from a small school called Spencerian College here in Lexington, but he's the entry level help desk guy for us. I also know a guy that's in his early 30's that's an operations manager for a local large electronics manufacturing plant and he only has an associates in CIS, so it worked for him. He works with DB2 databases and Cisco networks. AmenJonathan is right about the ideal being a BS in CS. That's the gold standard if you want to program, but other degrees work, depending on your focus. But, I've heard California is unique in that there's so much competition there for jobs that it's a different environment and you have a lot of very bright folks there. Especially with Microsoft being just up the road in Redmond.

Depending on your location, and job availability (the demand) vs the number of available programmers (the supply), it may be either harder or easier to get a job with no degree and less experience. Try talking to some of the hiring managers, or at least to HR, at places you'd like to work in your area and find out what they require or would like to see in a potential candidate. Ask them what you can do to improve your chances at a job with them. Make sure you bring an updated well-written resume. They will most likely be happy to at least talk to you and it's a form of networking that might get you in the door. If they see that you're driven and focused and have a goal in mind, that's a positive, and they'll remember your name - yet another way to make your application/resume stand out. Talking to people is free and it's a form of career counseling that might help you in the long run.

Like Grant side, it's an extremely good idea to work on other stuff after hours. Stay after work for a few hours and work on other projects like building WPF or even Win Forms applications or web applications. That link to the career lab I sent earlier talked about trending stuff like MVC, Web API, big data, Erlang, etc. and how that's good stuff to learn - and not many of your degreed competition may have experience there. Books are helpful, or you can even go through Pluralsight courses/videos to help step you through some things. See what your employer will pay for to help you improve and indirectly benefit them. My employer pays for a monthly $50 Pluralsight membership and one of the very eye-opening courses I've taken (okay, I'm still working on it) is the HTML5 Line of Business Apps with Bootstrap, MVC4 and Web API. Wow, good stuff that I haven't worked with previously and it shows you some detail about how to write a clean, modern web app. I also went through the web api course from Jon Flanders titled Introduction to the .NET Web API. The thing that's a bonus with Pluralsight is that they typically don't just show you how to connect a grid or dropdown to a data source. They go through how to use Fiddler and even through in some Visual Studio tips along the way. BTW, according to Stephen Walther's ASP.NET 3.5 book, more developers are now using C# over VB.NET. You may consider switching, especially if local employers use that predominately. I know I've personally seen very little VB.NET jobs in this area.

Another option for you might be to take on a support (help desk, technical support or other?) or IT role first while you're working on that degree. That might help pay you a little better for the time being and get some additional experience. I worked technical support before I had any degree, but it was a coop role. That might be another option for you at some schools. If you can get another programming job that's even better to help get direct experience. But that was my experience at Lexmark without a computer degree - it's definitely a longer and harder process to get better positions with better pay. I knew some guys there that worked software maintenance roles first. We also had test team guys with programming experience there too, so it's a "lesser" position where you can get in the door and hopefully work your way up. Good luck...
Post #1495997
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 10:54 AM


Ten Centuries

Ten CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen Centuries

Group: General Forum Members
Last Login: Today @ 6:14 PM
Points: 1,266, Visits: 2,731
A certification made the difference in getting me my first SQL Server job. It was with the state, which values what they can justify on paper more than what a candidate is capable of. But without the cert, I wouldn't have been considered (based on conversations with my then boss).

The opinions expressed here are absolutely valid and truthful, but they are only the opinions of a slice of the industry. While the SQL Server community is vast, not every hiring manager or HR person is actually plugged into it. Those "not in the know" may not potentially understand the worth (or worthlessness) of a certification and may value it highly. Similar to what Amen said, if two candidates are equal in experience but one has the cert (or degree), it's more easily justified to hire the certified applicant.

I have a degree in Computer Science. I also have the MCTS certs in database administration for SQL Server 2005 and 2008 (very basic, one book/one test). I learned something new each time I studied for them, although I've never used the Service Broker or message queuing in my real life experience (just one example). I underlined "studied" because that what I did. Treat the preparation for the test as the opportunity to expand your knowledge and tailor your learning to your ability to retain what you learned.

If you decide to pursue a degree or a more specific technical certification, you'll obviously need to gauge the time spent vs the "ROI" (Amen and I have discussed this at length). A 2 or 4 year degree potentially would take more time than obtaining a certification.

You'll never stop learning, regardless if it's done "formally" or "informally".



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sacramento SQL Server users group - http://sac.sqlpass.org
Follow me on Twitter - @SQLDCH
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yeah, well...The Dude abides.
Post #1496023
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 11:15 AM
Forum Newbie

Forum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum NewbieForum Newbie

Group: General Forum Members
Last Login: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 9:42 AM
Points: 6, Visits: 43
I take every opportunity to branch out, all the way to the point where I now answer to 3 different departments!

From the advice given I think I will pursue certs until I reach the point I am not learning anything from them (I currently am learning a lot), while taking classes to get a BS, then I will blog about the whole thing. My life is about to get busy!

Thanks for all the great advice.
Post #1496034
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 12:45 PM


Ten Centuries

Ten CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen Centuries

Group: General Forum Members
Last Login: Thursday, March 6, 2014 1:05 PM
Points: 1,334, Visits: 3,068
SQLDCH (9/18/2013)
I also have the MCTS certs in database administration for SQL Server 2005 and 2008 (very basic, one book/one test). I learned something new each time I studied for them, although I've never used the Service Broker or message queuing in my real life experience (just one example). I underlined "studied" because that what I did.



Just curious, in the course of your "studying" for these certification tests did you ever once access a online braindump?


"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1496077
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 5:24 PM


SSCrazy Eights

SSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy Eights

Group: General Forum Members
Last Login: Today @ 10:00 AM
Points: 8,551, Visits: 9,043
Grant Fritchey (9/18/2013)
carpainter69 (9/17/2013)
So I'm a little confused on what to do, there are good arguments for and against certs. .... There was advice about saying what I have done, projects I've led and initiatives I've taken but will it be enough? ...

I hear you and agree with you. The simple fact is, demonstrated knowledge and ability and work experience are currently the best measures. The certs can help a little, but only a little. The more you do, the more you can do. Start a blog. Start writing down everything you learn. Then point future employers to the blog. "This is some of the stuff I've been working on." I'd respect that way beyond any of the current Microsoft certifications.

That's great advice, carpainter. follow what Grant says, and you will do well. The thing that counts - in fact the ONLY thing that counts with competent recruiting managers is TRACK RECORD.


Tom
Post #1496170
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 5:26 PM


SSCrazy Eights

SSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy EightsSSCrazy Eights

Group: General Forum Members
Last Login: Today @ 10:00 AM
Points: 8,551, Visits: 9,043
amenjonathan (9/18/2013)
Certs are very, very specific and really don't help much (IMO).

Not very much? If they help at all, the recruiter is probably an idiot (unless the cert is MCM or MCA or MCSM).


Tom
Post #1496172
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 9:26 PM


SSChasing Mays

SSChasing MaysSSChasing MaysSSChasing MaysSSChasing MaysSSChasing MaysSSChasing MaysSSChasing MaysSSChasing Mays

Group: General Forum Members
Last Login: Today @ 4:35 PM
Points: 615, Visits: 2,047
amenjonathan (9/18/2013)
A degree helps no matter which field you go in. Certs are very, very specific and really don't help much (IMO).


If my job is dependent on my having a degree (or certs) versus experience I'm going to look at a different company, quickly.

I have heard of many electricians that would not be hired because they didn't have experience with 480V doing a house contract work that would never be above 220V. I.e. they don't care and don't need to know.

That is like hiring a production DBA to also do dev work or vice-verse.




----------------
Jim P.

A little bit of this and a little byte of that can cause bloatware.
Post #1496204
Posted Thursday, September 19, 2013 11:42 AM


Ten Centuries

Ten CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen CenturiesTen Centuries

Group: General Forum Members
Last Login: Thursday, March 6, 2014 1:05 PM
Points: 1,334, Visits: 3,068
There is merit to what you say, but the hard cold reality today is most HR departments require the piece(s) of paper (college degrees, etc.) for technical positions. You don't get in the door without it. That's just the way it is. No exceptions. Particularly so in the government sector of any kind, but also in the private sector as well..

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1496523
« Prev Topic | Next Topic »

Add to briefcase «««12345»»»

Permissions Expand / Collapse