The 70-433 will be my first Microsoft certification test. There are two main reasons why I've decided to take on this quest.
The first reason is to "fill in the cracks." Even on fundamental topics I've found myself saying "oh - I didn't know that" while taking a training class or studying a technical book. Having reviewed the material covered for the 70-433 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Database Development test, I fully expect to learn some things and get clear on others.
The second reason has to do with the economics of information: There are information costs to get accurate information about someone. I think having a certification lowers the information costs for future employers and business partners. Employers face some of the same dilemmas that a single person does while dating. A candidate wants to highlight strengths whether real or imaginary and diminish weaknesses. The information that's most readily available about a candidate isn't necessarily accurate. More information is needed to verify and clarify the reality. So what if one has 10 years of experience? Perhaps some of that time was merely wasted? In my view, I want to make it as easy as possible for others to do business with me - so I'll take on the costs of time, effort and funds to get certified - and I think that's worth something.
Joel Spolsky openly admits that he lifted the addage "smart and gets things done" on what to look for in a job candidate from Microsoft. However, he also added "not a jerk." So put that together and you get "smart, pleasant and gets things done." Notice that "certified" isn't on the list. However in Spolsky's book "Joel on Software" suggests that "smart" can be verified to some extent by looking for some kind of selective entrance - like an ivy-league school or elite military group. Certifications follow the same logic. So, no - the certification won't prove that I'm pleasant or that I get things done, but it does show that I'm smart enough to pass a pretty challenging test and that I'm versed in the knowledge covered by the test.
Joel on Software: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity
So I went out and got the official Microsoft Training Kit and am now plodding through with SQL Server 2008 installed on my laptop. Unfortunately, we're not on 2008 at work yet - but plan to soon.
MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-433): Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 Database Development
More posts will follow as I work my way to the completion of this challenging quest. Wish me luck.