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Upgrading Your Career

By Steve Jones,

Many SQL Server professionals don't feel certifications are very valuable. That's not surprising given how some of the examinations are run and the ease with which people that don't really understand SQL Server attain the certifications without any experience. If you feel differently and do want a certification, watch this video from Brent Ozar, PLF that might help you prepare.

I think that certifications can help you, if you position them correctly in your professional marketing. I think certifications 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. I don't think a certification means you deserve a pay raise, but it does show that you are working on your career. There are plenty of other ways to do this, but working on your knowledge and passing an exam definitely show some effort on your part.

This week Argenis Fernandez was awarded the MCM in SQL Server, quite an accomplishment. Unlike the other exams, this certification requires a practical exam, actually working on SQL Server for 6 hours to solve a number of scenarios put to you. It's a tough exam, one that really requires years of practical experience with SQL Server. If you think you're close, there's a training program opening up to help you get ready.

Perhaps you don't care about a certification, perhaps you want to get ready for SQL Server 2012, or learn more about SSIS. There are a few pre-conference sessions coming before the SQL Rally in May, and more coming to  SQL Saturdays as well, giving you the chance to improve your skills at a relatively low cost, or even free in some cases.

You are responsible for your own career. If you want to improve it, have more opportunities, and advance into the job that interests you, it's worth the investment you can make, whether in time, money, or both.

Steve Jones

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