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  1. #1
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    Question Unanswered: Where Can I Take Certifications

    Hello everybody. Back in August I graduated from Empire State College with a Bachelor's Degree of Science. Concentration IT. I am now a systems administrator for a real estate company in the Buffalo, NY area.

    I have been learning a lot the past 5 months of the job in the IT world. I want to further my expertise and take a few certifications to become even more qualified. I wanted to ask where I can take certifications such as the MCSA: Windows Server 2008 and other ones of that nature?

    Is there a ladder I need to climb to get to that certification? Or do I just pick and choose which certifications I'd like to obtain? I really do not have a lot of knowledge regarding certs seeing that I am a new grad. Any advice in the right direction would be great. Hearing from anybody's personal experiences would be great as well. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Hi, a good starting point is the Microsoft web site - read the roadmap - https://www.microsoft.com/learning/e...-overview.aspx
    ---------------------------------
    www.sqlserver-dba.com
    www.dba-db2.com

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the link Jack. I will indeed look into this.

  4. #4
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    Yeah I took the 70-461 MS exam and failed miserably twice. It was a rough exam, but if you can get that and I believe one more you can get your Database MCSA. I'm more of a BA / Software PM so I don't want to deep dive all that much, but for a SQL developer it might be nice to have especially if you are a principal.

  5. #5
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    Unless your employer is going to give you something for being certified, you might not want to bother. There has been an ongoing problem with "certification mills", which train people well enough to take the test, but those people without much experience tend to forget a lot of what they crammed during the course. Most people in a hiring position (at least the people evaluating the technical ability of a person, and not just checking off boxes on an HR form) will see a certification as only one small part of a person's history. The overall picture you will want to give to a prospective employer would be an honest representation of your experience. Test taking skills are usually not part of anyone's job description.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCrowley View Post
    Unless your employer is going to give you something for being certified....
    I agree with much of what MCrowley has to say. However for someone just out of school, as this person is, I think it would show me some initiative as well as help get him or her past the first round of HR elimination.

    Now for senior people who continue to stack up certifications, I always ask myself first, how does this person have the time and second if he truly has a record of delivering, what is he/she trying to prove with some piece of paper?

    They used to have websites that had the exact questions and answers used on those tests. I do not know if they still exist. I had to get certified once a long time ago to help my employer maintain some M$ partner status. Otherwise I would not do it again.

    My mom always told me I was certifiable, but I think she was talking about something else.
    “If one brings so much courage to this world the world has to kill them or break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” Earnest Hemingway, A Farewell To Arms.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCrowley View Post
    Unless your employer is going to give you something for being certified, you might not want to bother. There has been an ongoing problem with "certification mills", which train people well enough to take the test, but those people without much experience tend to forget a lot of what they crammed during the course. Most people in a hiring position (at least the people evaluating the technical ability of a person, and not just checking off boxes on an HR form) will see a certification as only one small part of a person's history. The overall picture you will want to give to a prospective employer would be an honest representation of your experience. Test taking skills are usually not part of anyone's job description.
    I don't see how you could fake that exam at least 461 and 433 (both SQL dev certifications). They are hard exams to pass, I scored a 480 and 550. I heard the Oracle and MySQL certifications are much easier, but I never use either of those DBMS, so forget it.

  8. #8
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    This Dilbert cartoon sums up what happened to a lot of the certification mill products.

  9. #9
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    That is amazing!

    I used to work for a place that had a girl who "dumped" the MCSE NT and 2000 exams and they put her on the servers for back ups and AD build out. That didn't go to well. Prior to that she was an Admin Assistant.

    In fact I remember they were going to give her ownership over the Unix production boxes too, thankfully that never happened.

  10. #10
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    I'm a newly graduate with a Bachelor's of Science, concentration information technology, with 5 months of IT experience on the job. My director resigned over a month ago which is almost comical because I think he was forced out. Regardless of this major change I now run a company with about 7 different offices, around 150 workstations, full on system admin. The training by my original director was really good though and he taught me fast and well. So things have been going actually smoothly.

    We are paying a company in one of our suites to manage our servers at 30,000k a year. I have full access to the servers and use them to install plugins for a real estate program we use. I was asking about certifications because I want to further my expertise and help save the company money. I navigate the servers and manage the (active directory, print, file, SQL servers) .If I took over the management of those servers I feel it's only a few extra hours of maintenance a week. The former director in combination with my education has helped me have my head above water.

    I will add. As a person, the company has treated me very well compared to other jobs I have been. Privately owned business and not micro managed at all. So keep this in mind as well.

    Is a master's degree worth pursuing? I don't have really any student debts so I am open to going back to school. What do you guys think?
    Last edited by LaC0saNostra; 02-03-15 at 22:26.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by VLOOKUP View Post
    I don't see how you could fake that exam at least 461 and 433 (both SQL dev certifications). .
    Simple memorization. Braindumps.com in the early 00s would have the exact questions and answers used on the exam. So what I lot of people at the company I used to work for that asked us to take the tests to maintain M$ partner status would do, would be to sign up for a 1 month membership, drill the practice tests for about an hour every day, and a reasonably smart person could kick out a 2 to 4 of those exams a month. So, yes I have no respect for the certification process. The absolute worst DBA I ever worked with was a MCDBA and a MCSD and some other certification. Pretty much I spent a quarter of my time cleaning up the messes she caused.
    “If one brings so much courage to this world the world has to kill them or break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” Earnest Hemingway, A Farewell To Arms.

  12. #12
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    Instead of going for a certification, you may want to look into just regular training. There are a number of outfits that will happily sell you a course or three. Google around a bit, and find a trainer with a local office (or any that offer sessions on the web, if you prefer. I'm just old fashioned that way). Go over some of the agendas of the courses to see what you might get out of them. As a bonus, a lot of the courses offer labs that take you through step by step on some of the things you will need to do on day one (things like backups, creating users, etc.).

  13. #13
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    I've had too many experiences like what Thrasymachus describes... People who are either inept or completely ignorant get certified via a crash course or worse yet by memorizing enough of a brain dump to pass the test, then get into a position of responsibility that they are woefully unprepared to handle... Then I have to spend inordinate amounts of time to support those people and the users that they cripple, taking me off task from other work.

    It is unfortunate, but I've come to see most certifications as red flags that indicate HR taking the "easy answer" and hiring someone based purely on certifications has set us up for another massive failure. Out of a pool of thirty people hired over a five year span by a client, two were really qualified and worth keeping. The client had a reputation for paying well and being a pleasant place to work, so they attracted a lot of people who were both unqualified and unethical.

    Certifications ought to be a good thing and a benefit to both the holder of the certificate and the employer of certified employees. Right now, I perceive certifications as an expensive risk with nearly zero payback. I've worked hard to build my skills and my reputation within the SQL Server community, and both are well known in the circles where I work...

    If your company values the certificates, then by all means consider getting them. They may serve a short term need, and having a certificate won't really hurt you professionally.

    If you want to advance your career, then I'd consider getting involved in the SQL Server community. Visit http://sqlpass.org/PASSChapters.aspx to find a local or virtual user group. Visit https://www.sqlsaturday.com/ to find SQL Saturday events that you can attend (either nearby or ones that are easy for you to reach). These will allow you to meet SQL Server professionals that can give you lots of insight into choices that are appropriate for your area and your level of experience. The SQL Server community are the most willing to share and help you of any professional group that I've ever seen or heard of, and will also become the foundation of your professional network which is the single most valuable thing outside of your own head that you'll have during your career.

    If you don't have a Linked-In account, stop reading right now and go get one at https://www.linkedin.com/ before you do another thing. Linked-In is kind of like Facebook, but for professionals. Linked-In allows you to build your professional image, and to associate with others who can (and usually will) help you advance your career. I'm quite serious, this is a stop reading now and go sign up kind of thing!

    If you're looking for places to learn, I STRONGLY recommend http://www.pluralsight.com/ which offers both the best selection and the best value that I've seen in online training.

    I have a few thousand other ideas that will help you, but this is already a "big bite" for you to swallow right now. Feel free to come back and engage in further discussion after you digest these ideas!

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

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