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Point/Counterpoint-Certifications Expand / Collapse
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Posted Sunday, November 11, 2001 8:21 PM
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Your opinion on the certification debate.

http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/sjones/point_certification.asp


Brian Knight
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Post #1612
Posted Monday, November 12, 2001 2:03 AM
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I am currently trawling through the UK / International job market, hoping to find something in SQL Server.

I am finding that a LOT less than 1% of jobs advertised require MCP/MCSE and in three weeks have yet to see a requirement for an MCDBA.

It is all boiling down to experience and for all those DBA wannabee's out there, VB is generally an additional requirement. (A pure DBA role is a rare beast; development is strongly in demand.)

Duncan Clarke





Post #23771
Posted Monday, November 12, 2001 2:55 AM
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Hello,

I had no experience in DBA work, but was doing a joint DBA/MCSE certification. because of this, my future employer looked at me twice (instead of not at all). i also found that, because i had read a couple of Microsoft SQL books from cover to cover for my exams, i had a wholistic view of what SQL server was capable of. i now use that knowledge to implement different projects in the work place. I don't think experience covers everything. when you do certifications such as MCDBA/MCSE, you learn about in-depth stuff you can only pick up through the text book. an individual with a good amount of experience and a few text books below their belt, is truly a well-rounded work-horse!






Post #23772
Posted Monday, November 12, 2001 6:12 AM
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I have to agree more with lua point of view and with Steve. In our market (Jax), potential employees aren't even being considered for Sr. potitions unless they have a MCDBA. Personally, I learned quite a bit and it was a quite humbling experience to do my MCDBA.

An MCDBA certification is only effective though when combined with experience.

Brian Knight
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http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/bknight


Brian Knight
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Post #23775
Posted Monday, November 12, 2001 7:17 AM
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I'm currently working on my MCDBA. I agree with the other people posting that the designation,without experience, is not going to get you a job. I also agree that there is a lot in the exams that you'll never use and a lot that you'll use that's not in the exams.

What the exams do is expose you to a lot of different topics. I'm probably taking twice as long to prepare for the exams because I keep getting side tracked. I'll read about something and think 'that looks interesting', and then go off and find out more about a particular area.

I first became interested in databases in college, taking an elective. I had never considered working with them prior to that. If I had approached college the way some people approach the exams, I would have been trying to get my degree as quickly as possible,looking for the easiest electives and would not be working with databases now.

To wrap up my two cents: I think that to be a good DBA, you need to have an eclectic background. If you view the exams as a chance to be exposed to a lot of different topics, and use them as a learning experience(instead of just trying to pass them as quickly as possible), they can be very valuable.




Post #23776
Posted Monday, November 12, 2001 8:35 AM
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Greeting,

I find the counterpoint much more relateable and, in fact, indicitive of my current situation. I also have an MCSE and MCDBA and have thought about upgrading my MCDBA to keep up with the market. However, I have rethought my options and have concluded that the time spent, as Andrew metioned, would be well spent in other areas as I try and learn .Net. The biggest problem that a DBA faces is not learning the skills to administer backups and restores, but being able to be well versed enough to do high end DBA work such as managing VLDb or performance tuning poor running queries. Of all the items that MS covers in the exam, I have only reference one thing from it and even that was partially usable. In the tight labor market, companies aren't looking for certification to get them working properly, they are looking for someone who has the experience and skills that will take them there. A cert was useful during the IT boom where the job market was tight and so a cert bonified you to be able to perform the duties. Now adays, experienced managers are looking for experienced DBA's, many who have done lots of reading, participated in many newsgroups or by everyday work. In my humble opinion, a SQL Server MVP is worth much much more then a MCDBA and the only incentive for me to upgrade my MCDBA and keep it current is for personal growth. Until MS reworks their exams, certs will never be reflected of one's skills.




Post #23777
Posted Monday, November 12, 2001 8:39 AM
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While what all of you say makes sense and, yes, the path you describe would make for an excellent DBA. I am curious how this applies to the job market. Are potential employers specifically looking for the cert.?

Can one get a job as a DBA and then work towards certification?

Can extensive experience slow down the cert process, requiring 'unlearning' bad behaviour?

I recall, years ago, mentioning to a friend about reading an Oracle book once, Over the next several years I got a couple of Oracle job offers. This genuinely scared me. I do not have the skill set or knowledge to take on the job. But many people who make command decisions place a lot of confidence in intuition. Is this the general case? Do any of you have similar tales? This thread has peaked my curiousity.




Post #23778
Posted Monday, November 12, 2001 8:53 AM
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I have been doing database work for 10 years and SQL Server since the beginning and hold no certifications. I’m married with 3 kids, a full-time job, and have my own apps to take care of. With that said, I applied for a position with a new company. I was told that HR only accepted applications from “Certified” candidates. But if I went to Brainbench.com and took 2 tests ($20.00 each) and passed I would be considered. My experience played NO part in even getting an interview. I find this situation ludicrous!

But I decided to go a pay the money to take the tests. I took the first one, SQL 7 programming. Yes, it wasn’t even the latest SQL version they wanted. Half way through the test I was getting frustrated. The questions where not “real world” scenarios, the format was horrible, and some questions where to vague.

Though I passed with descent marks I refused to take the other exam. I may be too arrogant for my own good, but if my experience and accomplishments are not good enough for even an application acceptance then I don’t want to work there. I have no plan to become certified; even if I did want to I don’t have the time.

Certification isn’t a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be the only thing.

Rob




Post #23779
Posted Monday, November 12, 2001 9:21 AM
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quote:

While what all of you say makes sense and, yes, the path you describe would make for an excellent DBA. I am curious how this applies to the job market. Are potential employers specifically looking for the cert.?

Can one get a job as a DBA and then work towards certification?

Can extensive experience slow down the cert process, requiring 'unlearning' bad behaviour?

I recall, years ago, mentioning to a friend about reading an Oracle book once, Over the next several years I got a couple of Oracle job offers. This genuinely scared me. I do not have the skill set or knowledge to take on the job. But many people who make command decisions place a lot of confidence in intuition. Is this the general case? Do any of you have similar tales? This thread has peaked my curiousity.








Post #23780
Posted Monday, November 12, 2001 9:31 AM
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I have renewed my MCDBA cert and I am also MCSE but I have not been able to get a job because "..I have not worked with VLDB" or because "..my experience" 3 Years as DBA and 6 years as Developer(VB and Delphi) is NOT enough.
Milage may vary but good contacts and some luck is the key, at least for me.





* Noel
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