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It’s About the Journey, Not the Exam Expand / Collapse
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Posted Sunday, December 22, 2013 9:10 PM
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item It’s About the Journey, Not the Exam

Andy
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Post #1525400
Posted Sunday, December 22, 2013 10:40 PM


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I agree. The journey is much more important.

That's where SQLServerCentral comes in and I again have to thank you founders for bringing it into existance. Although the knowledge is great if you do in fact use a cert as a study driver, it will never replace the real life problems people pose here every day.

Of course, for me, the greatest satisfaction is to take something I've learned and "pass it forward" by teaching others what I've learned and then watch as they teach someone else.



--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

"Change is inevitable. Change for the better is not." -- 04 August 2013
(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1525407
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 1:19 AM


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(I am in the UK.)

In 1999 I decided that I was either going to get myself certified (MSCS or something like that at the time) or get myself a Masters degree through distance learning (please note that some are hard work and some are a self-printed certificate - I advise researching this one).

There were two reasons to do this; firstly the desire to learn (which I strongly feel is a prerequisite for any option as anything worthwhile will take effort) and secondly to highlight on my CV that I am a candidate worth considering.

At the time I was working with a manager who was hiring and, therefore, trawling through a huge number of CVs and conducting a large number of interviews. Many of the candidates appeared to be graduating having done the equivalent certification to what I was considering. Unfortunately, most of them were struggling to answer basic software development questions. Clearly they had been learning how to pass the tests as opposed to learning the course syllabus. They were from institutes from different countries so it appeared to be a global trend (no xenophobia here, move along). There was also a trend beginning in "fake" university degrees.

I think either option is a worthwhile endeavour as long as you ensure that the learning experience is valid. This will give you both an advancement in your knowledge as well as a piece of paper to wave underneath someone's nose. If your learning journey doesn't provide the latter then if you are happy with the journey then that is OK, however, if you get the certificate from somewhere good1 then the journey will have been worthwhile too.

Whatever you choose, make it worth the effort as no or little effort usually offers no or little reward.

1 Use your own definition of good here!!!


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Post #1525430
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 5:32 AM


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Gary Varga (12/23/2013)
At the time I was working with a manager who was hiring and, therefore, trawling through a huge number of CVs and conducting a large number of interviews. Many of the candidates appeared to be graduating having done the equivalent certification to what I was considering. Unfortunately, most of them were struggling to answer basic software development questions. Clearly they had been learning how to pass the tests as opposed to learning the course syllabus. They were from institutes from different countries so it appeared to be a global trend (no xenophobia here, move along). There was also a trend beginning in "fake" university degrees.


Being one of the folks that pre-examines resumes and conducts interviews for many of the companies that I worked for (and some that I have not), I also noticed both of those trends. I also noticed it in many of the people that were already working at a company. It's a real shame for the industry that there are so many posers and fakers that have cheated the system.

It's definitely not a new trend and seems to have gotten much worse over time. For example, I've recently completed interviews on 3 different "DBAs", each with more than 10 years of experience on their resumes and all claimed expertise in "tuning queries". None of the 3 could tell me what a clustered index was, never mind the differences between CIs and NCIs, and none of them could tell me how to do a native backup nor how to get the current date and time.

I won't get into how many supposed developers I've interviewed in the last 2 years and how completely ignorant they were of not only T-SQL but of their own trade, in general. Only 1 "met expections" and she was fantastic. She had no certs, either. I sometimes think that people without certs work harder at learning.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

"Change is inevitable. Change for the better is not." -- 04 August 2013
(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1525486
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 5:34 AM
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Way back in the days of yore, I decided to get my A+/Network+ certs strictly for "foot in the door" purposes. The school I went to had a practice exam with a guarantee that if you achieved a certain score but failed the actual exam, they would pay for your re-test. Took the practice exam several times and managed to achieve the score I needed.

When I finished one of the actual exams I thought to myself, "Where were all the hard questions?" The practice exam was WAY tougher than the actual and I learned a lot more there.

Like a lot of folks, I've been ambivalent at best about certs. I attended SQL Saturday in DC a few weeks ago and it seemed I learned a whole lot more there, even though the sessions can only present so much content at best (off-topic a bit: The highlight of the day was attending a session on execution plans where we read off excerpts from Grant's book on the subject - with Grant sitting in the second row ).

Still and all, I kind of like the idea working toward a specific exam just for the learning value in that area. Something to think about.


____________
Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.
Post #1525487
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 5:51 AM
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I'm very new to the world of SQL and BI and I'm certainly interested in getting some form of qualification under my belt. The situation at my place of work at the moment is extremely uncertain, but there is a training budget that my boss is keen to use. The problem I have is that I don't know which qualification or training would be best to do. There's a lot of courses out there but I don't know how which are the best ones to do at an entry level. They all seem to lead to Microsoft certification, but the word from the boss is that I could do some kind of nationally recognised certification such as an HNC\D or NVQ (I'm in the UK) and the company may well pay. Could anybody give me some advice please?


On two occasions I have been asked, "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
—Charles Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher
Post #1525497
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 6:31 AM


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BWFC (12/23/2013)
I'm very new to the world of SQL and BI and I'm certainly interested in getting some form of qualification under my belt. The situation at my place of work at the moment is extremely uncertain, but there is a training budget that my boss is keen to use. The problem I have is that I don't know which qualification or training would be best to do. There's a lot of courses out there but I don't know how which are the best ones to do at an entry level. They all seem to lead to Microsoft certification, but the word from the boss is that I could do some kind of nationally recognised certification such as an HNC\D or NVQ (I'm in the UK) and the company may well pay. Could anybody give me some advice please?


I am from the UK too so have a good understanding of where you are coming from. I did an HND in the 90s so understand that qualification type as well.

Bearing in mind that your situation may be a little bit precarious then, personally, I would be more tempted to go down the route of MS certification. You can do an exam at a time and each one will be of immediate value on your CV (a half completed HND less so). But the big caveat is that to make it worth your while then you will be best focusing on the exams which you will both learn something AND be able to apply it thereby it providing value to both you and your employer. I guess the editorial title says it all!!!


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Post #1525519
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 6:56 AM
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Gary Varga (12/23/2013)
BWFC (12/23/2013)
I'm very new to the world of SQL and BI and I'm certainly interested in getting some form of qualification under my belt. The situation at my place of work at the moment is extremely uncertain, but there is a training budget that my boss is keen to use. The problem I have is that I don't know which qualification or training would be best to do. There's a lot of courses out there but I don't know how which are the best ones to do at an entry level. They all seem to lead to Microsoft certification, but the word from the boss is that I could do some kind of nationally recognised certification such as an HNC\D or NVQ (I'm in the UK) and the company may well pay. Could anybody give me some advice please?


I am from the UK too so have a good understanding of where you are coming from. I did an HND in the 90s so understand that qualification type as well.

Bearing in mind that your situation may be a little bit precarious then, personally, I would be more tempted to go down the route of MS certification. You can do an exam at a time and each one will be of immediate value on your CV (a half completed HND less so). But the big caveat is that to make it worth your while then you will be best focusing on the exams which you will both learn something AND be able to apply it thereby it providing value to both you and your employer. I guess the editorial title says it all!!!


Thanks Gary. I had a feeling that was going to be the case. It wasn't that the boss had said I shouldn't go for the MS certs, just that I should look at other options. The difficulty is finding the right exam. We're pretty much pure BI, in that we do very little database administration and maintenance, we just(!) query what somebody else has provided. When I looked in to the MS certs it seems that there's a lot of stuff that, for want of a better phrase, I don't need to know right now. That's not to say having the exam on my CV won't improve things, but I could find myself in the situation where I have the knowledge but not the opportunity to use it. That said, if the worst does happen, having the qualification will be better than not. I'm becoming aware though, of how experience can count as much, if not more, than paper qualifications in many cases. I'm definitely in the position of knowing enough to know how little I know!



On two occasions I have been asked, "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
—Charles Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher
Post #1525523
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 7:30 AM
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Rather than worrying about exams and certifications, I have been going after knowledge and training through Coursera.com. There are several universities providing free online state-of-the-art courses in a variety of subjects that would appeal to technologists of all flavors.
Post #1525536
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 8:37 AM
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eric.notheisen (12/23/2013)
Rather than worrying about exams and certifications, I have been going after knowledge and training through Coursera.com. There are several universities providing free online state-of-the-art courses in a variety of subjects that would appeal to technologists of all flavors.


Coursera certainly has some helpful offerings (I've taken a couple courses there myself on statistics and programming), there's not much that really relates to the day-to-day operational side of being a DBA.

You certanly can't beat the price at Coursera, however!


____________
Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.
Post #1525570
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