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Sometimes Failure Is An Option

Wouldn’t it be nice if failure was an option?  You could go along in life, screw it all up and then do a little shake and get a do-over.  Well, it seems when it comes to Microsoft certification exams, they are offering just that.

Microsoft Learning has announced that the Second Shot exam program is back in action.  Between now and May 31, 2013, with every regular-priced exam, you can take a second attempt at the exam for no extra cost.  The Second Shot covers all of the following exams:

  • MCSA: Windows Server 2012
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2008
  • MCSA: SQL Server 2012
  • MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure
  • MCSE: Server Infrastructure
  • MCSE: Private Cloud
  • MCSE: Data Platform
  • MCSE: Business Intelligence
  • MCSD: Web Apps
  • MCSD: Windows Apps

    Why Get Certified?

    Of course, if you aren’t interested in getting certified, you may not see this as being a big deal.  But I would counter with, why aren’t you interested in getting certified?  I can understand if you don’t want to learn anything new, enjoy where you are, and have no interest in growing your career.  But let’s be honest, you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you thought like that.

    Will being certified make you an expert in the subject area of the exam?  Not at all, but it does show that you’ve got the determination to spend time studying on the subject.  It also shows that you’re minimally qualified to work with the technology that the exam covers.

    The technology covered in every exam is broad.  They cover a lot of features and functionality on their topics.  Most employers don’t have the opportunity to allow people to use all of those features and functionality in their environments.  Back when I was working on some of SQL Server 2008 exams, we often talked about how cool it would be to work at an employer that used all of the features of SQL Server 2008 in a single environment.  But unfortunately that environment doesn’t exist.  Or I haven’t found it yet…

    Certifications, though, give you a reason to go out and find out about all those features that you don’t currently use, because it might be on the test.  Studying for certifications is one of the greatest benefits that getting certified will offer you.  As a friend of mine says, if you only know what a hammer is, every problem looks like a nail.  Your studying for the exam is going to introduce you to screw drivers, pliers, and other tools that you might not need today but which might solve tomorrow’s problems.

    As Brent Ozar (Blog | @BrentO) mentioned a while back on his blog, certifications are the icing on the cake.

    Why go for the Second Shot?

    Here’s the dirty little secret about the Second Shot and studying.  Most likely, you’re going to study, study, study, and study.  It takes time.  Time that you could do other things, like enjoying the the outdoors or time with your family.  Each day only has 24 hours in it and you need to prioritize.  The Second Shot offers you a way to balance studying with the rest of your life a little better.

    Suppose you planned to spend 40 hours studying and when life got in the way you only spent 20 hours studying.  Are you ready?  Should you re-schedule?  Are you like many of us looking at the exams and a little fearful of going in and failing. 

    If you’ve been working with the technology for a few years and you may not need 40 hours to study.  You might already be ready and not know it.  Don’t reschedule.  Take the exam and see how you do.

    If you pass, that’s probably another 40 hours of free time that you would have tried to study and a bucket full of stress and guilt between choosing between a certification and your kids, wife, family, etc.  And if you don’t pass, you know exactly where to study versus going back and hitting all areas of the test.  Which might mean you only need to spend 10 hours studying before the next try.  Meaning more free time and less stress and guilt.  A definite win-win situation.

    So, are you willing to take your Second Shot?

    Follow me on Twitter at StrateSQL.

    Original article: Sometimes Failure Is An Option

    ©2012 Strate SQL. All Rights Reserved.

    Related posts:

    1. Your 2nd Chance End June 30
    2. Minnesota SQL Server Study Group (July)
    3. MCM Live Blog – Week December 27


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