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Is the MCDBA a worthwhile qualification?

Hi Folks,

Been thinkin' of getting certified for a while now, and just wondered if it's worth my while? Do you take this into consideration when hiring?

Thanks in advance...

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

It can't hurt, you'll prefer to have the company pay the education for you though, because otherwise you'll have to work even harder to get that money back.

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

You're likely to get the whole gamut of answers depending upon who you ask. If you asked on Slashdot, for instance, you would undoubtedly get countless replies by slashbots proclaiming that they'd toss your resume in the garbage if they saw a "contemptible" Microsoft certification on it (ergo that it is a net negative qualification). Of course many of the people who post those replies are basement dwelling unemployeds raging agains the Microsoft machine, and they have no influence on hiring. If you ask on some VB-specific boards, you might hear that it's the most important piece of paper you could hold (along with an MCSD, etc), superceding a BSc, and that surely it'll move you to the front of the queue.

From my own experience, including in the hiring selection process, it is definitely a positive for Microsoft shops, though it is one small element of the selection process. If I had two people who I liked equally otherwise, and one had 6 months of SQL/Windows experience, and the other was green with a MCDBA, I'd take the experience. If they were otherwise comparable but one had a year of experience, and the other had 6 months and an MCDBA, I'd take the MCDBA holder (because it's amazing how many people will go years doing things the wrong way -- an MCDBA represents the intiative basically to read the manuals with a good structured method of "proving" it).

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

My position is that the basic rule for certifications is that they help getting a position if you don't have much experience and they don't help if you have experience (but they don't hurt unless they are taken as evidence that you don't have experience).

It certainly possible that you'll learn something from the process even if you have experience. If you do have experience, you might not want to tell people you have the certification.

Get work to pay for it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I got my dream SQL Server dev job just recently without an MCDBA because I had experience. I am in agreement with others that it certainly won't hurt. I think I will wait until Yukon to go for it though as it will give me an opportunity to learn the next release.

If you are looking to get it for better job prospects, go for it with the study manuals. However, if you just want to mark it as an accomplishment of life and use it as a measure to learn more, check out some the great SQL Server books out there such as Guru's Guide to T-SQL and SQL Server Internals. Learn as much as you can from these books, then go to the practice exams and see where you are at.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Worthwhile?  That is difficult to say as the previous posters mentioned.  Here, as a consultant and job seeker, is what I have found.

Certifications will get you in the door.  They don't get you hired, but without them, you may not get an interview.  So, active job seeker, add +2.

If you are an employee, looking to better yourself.  Sadly, and this is probably a thread if not a book unto itself, most companies don't value their employees via what they know, but more by what they have done in their current job.  So, it is what you learn from that class that you don't know today that will be of value. Add +1 to +2, depending on what you get out of it.

If you are an employee and the company is willing to pay for it, the only cost to you is time. Rather than watching a rerun of Planet of the Apes, you can study.  Add +2 and a +1 modifier (free).

Now forgiving my sad attempt at humor, you need to decide where you fit in the schema of things (ugh! - did I really write that!?).  Then you can determine what value it adds to your situation.  Certs are definitely one of those cases where YMMV and vary a lot given your specific situation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I recently applied for a job at the FBI, and for technical people, they are looking for person's with engineering degrees, or else any degree with a Cisco CCNP cert. Similarly, the CIA looks at MS/Cisco certs favorably. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I don't know about worthwhile in hiring.  If you're working for or trying to get a job with Microsoft Certified Partner companies, then I think it can be a definite boost.  They keep their certified rating in part based on how many certified techs they have on staff. 

I think the greatest value the certs have is for personal enrichment.  If you go through the covered areas for a particular cert you will often find that they test you for skills you don't use or, at least, don't use on a daily basis.  In my case, I had to learn a lot about ActiveX controls and the built in VB Setup Wizard to pass the VB 6 exams.  And for the SQL Server exams, I really had to bone up on complex security and replication topics.  These are things that I'm glad I know now. 

I still have to look things up in these areas, but because I was required to really take to heart all areas of a product to pass the exams, I am able to look at using the tools I have at my disposable to their fullest when examining potential solutions for my customers. 

I recommend certs, doubly so if your employer pays for them.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

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