I have decided to pursue the new-ish Microsoft SQL Server Certifications this year as one of my goals. The certifications are the ones’ which most people refer to as the 2012 certifications but which have not been labeled as such intentionally. I believe that this is the case since they don’t necessarily want to roll out a new test each time a new version of the software comes out but is not a major release (see: 2008 R2) and also because they don’t want to put themselves into the position of focusing on mainly the new features of a particular release.
I was a bit on the fence about going for the certifications as I am not certain that I like the idea of a certification only being valid for a certain period of time – in this case, three years. I get that often times the knowledge that you had when you took a certification is not only questionable memory and skill wise, but also from a technology standpoint, when you look back three or more years later. However, it still seems a bit off to me that you theoretically won’t be able to put it down on your resume or CV after a certain period of time. Heck, if I really wanted to pimp a MCDBA certification ten years later, why not? (I don’t have one, nor would I continue to list it this far removed from that technology platform).
In the end, there were a few factors that pushed me in the direction to “write” these exams. I am a bit sadistic and enjoy taking the tests as a way of gauging whether I really know mostly what I’m talking about. It helps me to maintain some semblance of an understanding on the portions of the product stack which I don’t often use professionally. I believe that they have some (small) value on resumes as another point of interest. And, perhaps most importantly, they help out with the Microsoft Partner program and the company which I am working for has need for a few of its’ employees to get the new certifications to retain the benefits of the program.
After the decision was made to go for at least one of the certifications I had another choice: Take all of the tests individually as though I had not earned any 2008 certifications, or take the upgrade path for the MCSA and MCSE data platform certifications. Oddly enough, this took me some time to come to a decision. Doing the upgrade method would have saved me from taking two tests (one for the MCSA and one for the MCSE), which is a good amount of money, but it would have meant needing to focus on that much more for each of the tests. In the end, I decided to go through and take the normal certification tests – using the certification pack for the MCSA that is available now which saves about 15% and gives you a second shot for each of the exams. Also, there is some talk of a reward for each of the tests through my work… so more tests might be better in that direction as well.
So, this year I’ll be taking at least three of them since that is what I paid for up front. Hopefully they will provide me with some form of satisfaction or benefit. And, hopefully the public won’t mind reading about them now and again…