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Certification Should Be Required


Certification Should Be Required

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the content posted at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/sjones/certificationshouldberequired.asp

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Dave Poole
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The idea of certification becoming the IT worlds equivalent of a doctor's license to practice medicine is an interesting one.

I think certification should be levels of certifications i.e. MCDBA grade one would be your bog standard DBA, Black Belt 8th Dan DBA could probably interpret a hex dump in Bengali between sips of coffee, whilst nursing a serious hangover. i.e. Not all MCDBA's are equal and the qualification should reflect that fact.

When I first went to college (at the tender age of 17). I found that each college promised that employers were clammering for graduates of their courses.

My experience showed that most employers had only a vague notion of what my eventual qualification entailed. I suspect that it is the same with IT certification. Unless you are working in a big IT shop where the recruiter has gone through the process themselves I don't think employer awareness is particularly high.

I think MEANINGFUL certification is worthwhile, but too be honest I have enough self confidence to know whether or not I can do the job. I see the current certification scheme as something to reassure an employer, or to be brutal, to boost the self confidence of the people who take these exams.

My 2 main gripes with certification are:-
1. IT products tend to be short lived.
2. Unless your company pays for it, training and certification are (in the UK) VERY expensive.

For example, 2 SQL courses would cost £3,000. If I fund that, I have to explain to my wife and kids why they can't have a summer holiday for the next 2 years.

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Jonr
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Here we go - good old British compromise.
I believe that both Steve and Andy are right. Why? Well, when it comes to the crunch, if it's you vs someone without the exam, you'll probably get the job, especially if you're a contractor and HR don't have a say. But it's true the point that you both make that these exams are NOT measuring real world skills. I've been a Sql Server DBA for 5 years now, yet the sample exam questions do not bare any relationship to what I do on a day-to-day basis. Now that's scarey, I may as well just take a Comp. Sci degree (which I've got) and mistakenly think that I can slip straight into a senior developer's job straight out of college (Wrong!) Microsoft, you guys have got to wake up, because good people out here on planet commercial development world are put off by your exams because they're not seated in the real what-employers-want world of hard-headed commercial IT. All you seem to be testing is the most esoteric areas of your products, which is of little use to anyone, especially employers, and has ZERO incentive for those of us who do the real world work. Like winning the competition for the mot obfuscated C, you're not gonna get a job, or any respect for what you know, off the back of it. Only once this fundamental flaw in the exam process, plus Steve's assertion that you should be examined on 1000+ questions is addresses will employers start to take the exams seriously again.

Jon Reade


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Andy Warren
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David, love your description of the 8th dan DBA. LOTS of truth to that. Thanks for the comments Jon!


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Steve Jones
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Most humble blue belt DBA Steve agrees as well. I really wish the exams would be redone becuase there is a HUGE potential for really testing people, proving knowledge, AND making $$. It'd be nice to have 8 levels of DBAs, and 3 or 4 specialties (DTS, ETL, warehousing, Analysis, MDX, etc.).

Oh well, maybe MS will wake up one day and do it.
Personally, I'm a self study guy. Training is too expensive, rather hit my boss up for PASS expenses . I think if you have enough experience, then you don't need that much study.

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What event would require certification or bonding for all IT employees? Like what would have to happen to get a law passed? This might be the question for the short term.

And while I might agree that certification is good and should be required in some circumstances I would say that it is unlikely to be required in all or even a majority of circumstances.

Many companies consider IT to be a cost center so one would have to show risk and liability and how certification or bonding would mitigate the cost. Not all applications are mission critical, after all!

An undercurrent here is that many technical types think their bosses are idiots. And Management often thinks technical types are not in touch (crazy) with business realities.

So if you are a technical boss type does that make you a potential crazy idiot?!



Samuel Vella
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So 10 years on.... has anything changed?

In the UK at least it still seems that, in the MS sphere at least, experience trumps certification
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