A lot of electronic ink has been spilled over our recent (and sudden) announcement that we are retiring the highest-level certifications here at Microsoft. At the same time, I'll be teaching a one-day class at the SQL Saturday event in Cambridge, UK on certifications. Are certifications worth the effort anymore, and should you attend the pre-con session?
Yes, and yes. I've gotten lots of certifications from Microsoft, Oracle, Sun, even Novell. I even took a class when I worked at NASA on circuitry connections - we still fixed computers back then by soldering and wiring (I'm old, don't make that face). Why did I take all these certifications? Well, in some cases it was to further my career - an employer put a "Must have an MCSE" on the job requirement. But most of the time a job requirement wasn't the reason . I believe to truly excel at your career you have to constantly learn and apply new information.
Certification certainly isn't required to learn - far from it. I've always been a self-motivated learner, but having the pressure of a timeline, a structured set of goals to hit, and an exam can be very powerful. I don't like to fail. So I studied, practiced, and learned, practiced tests, and memorized information. Did the certification make me a better professional? Absolutely. Is certification the only reason and method I used to study? Not by a long shot.
Now that I'm here at Microsoft, I have to learn metric ton-loads of new tech each week. It's overwhelming at times, so you have to learn to develop a process to quickly learn and apply new information - and that's why I put this pre-con together. I'll share with you the way I learn, and you'll get the benefit of others that I've learned from here at Microsoft on their learning styles and methods.
This is a workshop-style pre-conference session to learn not only how to get a Microsoft certification in SQL Server, but how to create your own study plans for any technical discipline, using SQL Server technical information to learn during the session. The certification information is very useful - but we'll do so much more. It's not a sit-down-and-listen session - you'll be doing lots of work, developing your own plans, and even moving around a bit. You'll learn the certifications that exist for SQL Server, from the simplest through the highest certification levels (including creating your own "MCSM" program), the resources you have for studying for them, such as books, links, videos and online courses. Using a hands-on workshop process, you'll walk through these materials and get training on both test-taking and technical topics that will prepare you to take your certifications to the level you're looking for. We'll focus on the process of learning, using technical topics dealing with SQL Server with real-world application of what you learn. You'll learn to prepare for a certification, along with invaluable technical details of the SQL Server platform.
So if you're fortunate enough to be able to travel to the UK and the beautiful city of Cambridge, join the session. You'll learn one of the most important skills there is - learning to learn.