It's not you; it's us

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item It's not you; it's us

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass
  • It is very shocking and saddening to me. πŸ™

    I was also planning to go for MCM/MCA but now I am bit suspicious for going even for MCSE.

    in my opinion also,Microsoft has never considered the persons having deep knowledge of their products.

    SQL Server DBA | MCSE SQL Server 2012/2014

  • They can take away the title but they can't take away your knowledge.

    You'll still be earning plenty of $$$$$ πŸ˜‰


    It takes a minimal capacity for rational thought to see that the corporate 'free press' is a structurally irrational and biased, and extremely violent, system of elite propaganda.
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    Society has varying and conflicting interests; what is called objectivity is the disguise of one of these interests - that of neutrality. But neutrality is a fiction in an unneutral world. There are victims, there are executioners, and there are bystanders... and the 'objectivity' of the bystander calls for inaction while other heads fall.
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  • Wow I am shocked (and a little angry). I did notice a change to the signature but had no idea that it was because the carpet had been yanked out of from under everyone's feet so-to-speak. Microsoft clearly has no respect for anyone (not that I would say they ever had much to start with) but this is publicly shoving it down everyone's throat.

    I've never bothered to get certified in anything, for the same reasons you've alluded to in your article. I've interviewed far too many people who have all the "glitter" but don't have a damn clue what to do when asked.

    For what its worth, this "lack of respect" exhibited by Microsoft company will never been duplicated/shown around the world by the so many people that look up to you, people who trust you without having ever met you, and from people who count on your to guide and mentor them in times of need. You are recognized around the world for what you've accomplished and your knowledge, despite what they have done, they can never take that away from you.

    ______________________________________________________________________________Never argue with an idiot; Theyll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience

  • Abu Dina (9/4/2013)

    They can take away the title but they can't take away your knowledge.

    You'll still be earning plenty of $$$$$ πŸ˜‰

    Abu, I don't think it's really about the money, so much as the utter lack of respect MS is showing people who put forth immense amounts of time, effort, and money to pursue and acheive the MCM. As Gail referred to it, the way MS handled the announcement was like a text message breakup, the note under the bosses door at 4pm on Friday that you're not coming back on Monday, it was disrespectful.

    Further, MS has now essentially tarnished, possibly beyond recovery, the "shine" of an MCM. Some people will take the cancellation as an indication that the exams had become "compromised" by the brain dumps that have plagued pretty much every other MS exam.

    Then there's the comments that were posted to the Connect item, which as Gail pointed out don't hold water. The "non-technical barriers" that were already crumbling, the adding of Prometric Certification centers who could offer the test, etc.

    I think what is bothering / hurting Gail and the other MCMs the most is how MS is treating them. MS is like (and forgive me for this allusion Gail) a drunk, abusive boyfriend right now, who has slapped around the MCMs like punching bags and yet is still expecting them to stick around. But, these aren't co-dependant people, these are highly intelligent, highly motivated people. MS is alienating the very people who would normally sing their praises...


  • Gail:

    Thanks for using my tweet! We'll have to see how this all plays out, eh?

    If anyone would like to read my thoughts on the topic, they are here[/url].


  • I read through the MCM thread here on SSC yesterday, following the story of people like Uwe who all but put their lives on hold for 12 to 18 months or more only to endure technical and administrative problems at testing centers, traveling all over the globe, sweating out the results and God knows what else to finally get that coveted MCM. I've got a lot of respect for those folks as I'm sure we all do.

    And, just like all of us, my heart broke for them when MS jerked the rug out from under them, as well as those folks who were nearing the finish line.

    Looking at Gail's link to 70-463, I thought, "Gee, I probably could take a whack at that and pass." Now keep in mind I hadn't even heard of data warehousing or SSIS prior to this year. I'm very good at testing. I know a lot of very capable people in their fields (my own father is own of them) who simply aren't that good at taking tests. There are people who test well, but haven't got a real-world clue. But it echoes Gail's point: How valuable is that exam, really?

    Given the state of most "certifications" that in some cases are little more than "you can pass if you can spell it," reading what was involved in the MCM made me think now here's an exam worth more than the paper it's printed on. For the MCM, not only do you have to have the book knowledge, but you have to perform under pressure in a live-fire lab. Again, a hearty hats off to all those who passed.

    In thinking about those "non-technical barriers to entry," I can understand MS wanting to make the MCM more accessible, but at some level maybe it needs to be higher standard. It's not a perfect analogy, but various elite military forces have very high barriers to entry, and on purpose. People at the elite level get the toughest assignments and they have demonstrated the requisite knowledge and drive to succeed when everyone else would throw up their hands. I would expect an MCM to handle situations with aplomb that would leave your average DBA quivering in a corner.

    In a similar vein, some years ago I held a certification in a non-computer field. Just to sit for the exam you were required to be employed in certain fields (generally health-care related) for a minimum length of time and/or have certain education requirements. Once you got it, you had to attain so many CEUs per year to keep it (and if memory serves, active employment in the discipline was counted toward the CEUs). I don't think that's an unreasonable model to begin applying to many MS certs - if anyone trusts them enough to bother after this debacle. Yes, I'm aware that could lead to some chicken-and-egg problems getting the certification, but those kind of things exist already in the IT world and they're not insurmountable. And just maybe it will restore some real respect and confidence in the cerifications and those who achieve them.

    One last time: For all those who've spent their time and treasure accomplishing the MCM or were in the process, our hearts go out to you. I don't deny MSL the right to change their certifications, but the way they did this was just plain stupid and disrespectful.

    Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.

  • Gah. I heard about this whole mess yesterday in the water cooler thread. It's a shame. From what I've seen of Gail and a few other MCM holders, they're amazing people; they know the product in and out, and they know the details down to the finest grains. The MCM certification, in my thoughts, served as absolute proof that its holder was one of the strongest users of SQL Server, and having the ability to survive the exam to get the certificate was an accomplishment in itself.

    Now that the certification is going away, well... The next-highest level of certification certainly doesn't possess that same level of significance. Personally, I was considering trying for MCM myself, perhaps a good few years down the line (definitely not a chance right now!). With the certification being gone, and having seen the "quality" of some of the lower certification bearers, I'm not sure I have the motivation to attempt getting certified anymore. It's quite a sad situation, and the means by which it was just dumped on the entire community without caring for the reprecussions is mildly disgusting.

    - πŸ˜€

  • Thanks Gail.

    Well written editorial. You covered some of the stuff I had neglected to mention in my write up.

    Jason...AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
    I have given a name to my pain...MCM SQL Server, MVP
    Posting Performance Based Questions - Gail Shaw[/url]
    Learn Extended Events

  • I don't have any skin in the game so I can't take this personally. However, the hit-and-run approach Microsoft took shows a severe lack of awareness. As if to announce this just before a long weekend would mean that by Tuesday people would have forgotten or been powerless to respond. As to looking for feedback from current MCMs for direction, why were these questions not put out before the cancellation of the program? Why do they assume they would get help from the very people they just angered? I don’t think MS thought this over well enough and since MS has indicated that this program was not a money maker and that is a factor in the cancellation perhaps they are looking more toward dumbing down the certification process across the board and will turn in to a cert mill. For all the dedication in every form an MCM holder has shown MS turned around and said they no longer care. One good turn deserves another and I don’t see why any current or studying to me MCM would give the learning arm the time of day in the future.


  • Thanks for the superb writeup Gail.

    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008
    Author - SQL Server T-SQL Recipes

    If you can't explain to another person how the code that you're copying from the internet works, then DON'T USE IT on a production system! After all, you will be the one supporting it!
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    Performance Problems
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  • Good job, Gail, and I'm sorry for you, the current MCMs, and those that are studying for the certification now. It's poor treatment, and a bumbling way of handling the short term decision to move in a new direction and the overall long term decision to provide certifications.

  • I've been in the IT field for more than a quarter of a century and I decided early on that I would not put any effort into certifications. My career has been going very well with each new position a significant increase from the previous in pay, benefits, and working environment.

    I'm sure having certifications must be better than not having them but I'm also sure that, in my case at least, certifications are not necessary to succeed. So I guess what I mean by "better" is that having certifications may open doors to interviews that some could not get without certifications and maybe even increase the chances for success but are in no way required for success.

    So if you want that slight extra chance for success and think it is worth all the extra effort and aggravation that goes along with it then certifications are for you. But if you feel that experience and continually looking for new opportunities for advancement are all that's needed then certifications will be a waste of time for you.

    In my case, that latter has proven to be true over a long and successful career. I'm sure there are also many examples of successful people who have chosen the former. So it would be interesting to know where the numbers point.

    Are there more success stories out there for people with certifications or people without certifications?


  • β€œWe want it to be an elite community, certainly. But some of the non-technical barriers to entry run the risk of making it elitist for non-technical reasons. Having a program that costs candidates nearly $20,000 creates a non-technical barrier to entry. Having a program that is English-only and only offered in the USA creates a non-technical barrier to entry.”

    Well this is a pretty compelling snippet. At the same time, Gail offers that some of these barriers are falling, but I'm not able to find any details on that, anybody know what the actual details are? I am concerned that the chief task in attaining the MCM is costs, and I'm not a fan of people buying certs. Whats the bottom line, if Microsoft continued the MCM for current versions, or the MCSM, besides the knowledge, what does the average Joe have to do, including travel? Whats the bottom line here?

  • Thanks Gail, great article!

    As for you & the rest of the MCMs, you have achieved a recognized excellence (if that made sense). Going forward, the recognition for this achievement will not diminish. With this window of opportunity closing, the rest of us will be challenged to find a new way to distinguish ourselves.

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