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Results of Microsoft Certification Poll

In a recent poll at www.bradmcgehee.com, I asked website visitors if they had any Microsoft SQL Server certifications, and if so, which certification. I also asked how many people who weren’t certified wanted to become certified, and how many people who weren’t certified didn’t have any interest in certification. The results are below.

Just as a reminder, this was not a scientifically designed poll, so the results may not be representative of the total population of DBAs.

My first observation is how few DBAs have any form of SQL Server 2008 certification. Given than SQL Server 2008 has been out for about a year and a half, 2008 certification doesn’t seem to be very popular.

And as you might expect, SQL Server 2005 certifications exceed SQL Server 2008 certifications, which makes sense as 2005 has been out much longer. I also assume that many of the people with 2005 certification don’t see much of a need to upgrade their certification to 2008, as there is not a radical difference between the two releases.

The most surprising results to me were the number of people who said that they intend to get certified in 2010, and those who have no intentions of ever getting certified in SQL Server. By some coincidence, these numbers are almost the same.

The 22% of people who said they are planning to get certified seems to indicate that a lot of people are interested in SQL Server certification, and if they all go through with it, then the total number of 2008 certification numbers will go way up. What would be interesting to know is how many of these people who said that they would like to get certified really get certified. It is one thing to say you want to get certified, and another thing to actually go to all of the trouble to get certified. I would also assume that most of the people who chose this option are probably less experienced DBAs.

I am guessing that the 21% of the people who say that they never intend to get certified are probably more experienced DBAs who feel that certification is unnecessary as their experience speaks for itself. I agree that experience is much more important than certification, and if you are an experienced DBA, then certification is probably superfluous. On the other hand, getting re-certified in each new version of SQL Server is a great way to force yourself to learn the new version, no matter how experienced you are.

So what’s your opinion about Microsoft SQL Server certification? What are it’s benefits, what are it’s drawbacks, and what do you think of these poll results?


Posted by Glenn Berry on 23 April 2010

That is an interesting poll. I am always a little surprised and a little disappointed at the number of people who dismiss certification. Certification is not a substitute for knowledge and experience (and common sense), but it does prove a certain level of knowledge and in most cases, competence with the product. It also shows that you have the initiative to take the time and trouble to get certified. It can also be a good thing to set as one of your quarterly goals that is not too difficult to achieve.

To all the people who think they don't need to get certified because "their experience speaks for itself", I would say just schedule an exam and take it cold. If you pass, then that helps prove that you really do know what you are doing, and you can add that certification to your resume and never have to deal with it again.

You can never know too much as a DBA. Don't be one of those stereotypical DBAs, drinking coffee and watching Perfmon all day, getting stale in your skills...

Posted by Brad M. McGehee on 23 April 2010

I really like your comment, "You can never know too much as a DBA. Don't be one of those stereotypical DBAs, drinking coffee and watching Perfmon all day, getting stale in your skills..."

Posted by Hugo Shebbeare on 25 April 2010

Great work as always Brad!  Very cool, and helps to disprove that majority of DBAs apathetic attitude towards their own profession. Steve Jones has a great post on this too called 'There is No Excuse'.

Glenn, that's exactly one of the main reasons for my very first blog post was to stress the importance of certification:


Now if I wasn't in the process of Oracle DBA certification, for diversity, and to satisfy my current employers' request, I would be running in for the SQL 2008 exams by now. Hopefully I can get the two Oracle exams over with by the Autumn, then get up to speed with my favourite RDBMS :)

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