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Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

(OP)
I gave some series of test questions to a friend who is a DBA at a major firm. He has around 12 yrs experience with SQL Server. I randomly gave him 50 questions and asked him to see how many he could get right. He said only 14 he got right. He told me that the questions are not representative of what they do in real life.

I finished the SQL Server 2008 Administration in Action the other night and it was a very good book. I noticed the test questions weren't anything like what i read in the book. I just found that odd since the book is very good.  He told me that book was for day to day real life work of a DBA and that the questions i had were just not real life work of a DBA.

He said many of them are obscure questions and some of the stuff is never ever used. He felt that these certifications are just making $$.  

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

Certifications are to show that you know how to use the product in the "real world".  If you are a good DBA you should be able to do well on the tests without studying.  A DBA with 12 years of experience but gets 14 of 50 questions right is a red flag to me (at least if the questions were from an actual Microsoft exam, not some third party book).

Generally the questions on the actual Microsoft exams are general purpose to do you know how to use product X to do action Y.

Denny
MVP
MCSA (2003) / MCDBA (SQL 2000)
MCTS (SQL 2005 / SQL 2005 BI / SQL 2008 DBA / SQL 2008 DBD / SQL 2008 BI / MWSS 3.0: Configuration / MOSS 2007: Configuration)
MCITP (SQL 2005 DBA / SQL 2008 DBA / SQL 2005 DBD / SQL 2008 DBD / SQL 2005 BI / SQL 2008 BI)

My Blog

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

I forgot to put...

Length of time doing a job doesn't mean that you know how to do that job well.  It just means that you've been able to get by without getting fired.  You'll notice a few certs under my name, so I've taken a few Microsoft exams in my day.

Denny
MVP
MCSA (2003) / MCDBA (SQL 2000)
MCTS (SQL 2005 / SQL 2005 BI / SQL 2008 DBA / SQL 2008 DBD / SQL 2008 BI / MWSS 3.0: Configuration / MOSS 2007: Configuration)
MCITP (SQL 2005 DBA / SQL 2008 DBA / SQL 2005 DBD / SQL 2008 DBD / SQL 2005 BI / SQL 2008 BI)

My Blog

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

(OP)
He is a good DBA. Many of his colleagues and i go to lunch together. He knows what he's doing. Even they said the exams cover too much of stuff you never use or do in the practical world. I don't see how anyone can get by for 12 yrs, it will eventually bite you if you don't know what you're doing. Maybe u can get away with it for a couple of years, but no way for 12 yrs, so i disagree with you.

One thing for certain, certs should only be pursued by experience people..even then...they might fail just as easily.

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

(OP)
In any event, he said if he were to pursue the cert, he would just go for the braindumps since he has real world experience.

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

Thanks for the feedback, as years of experience is more important than any cert any day.

I also agree just because one fails a cert doesn't mean they don't know what they're doing that's an arrogant statement.

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

Well, the cert is for the product, not the job.  Therefore it will test knowledge about the features of the product in question, even if some of those features are not widely used.  Just because you don't use those features at your particular company doesn't mean that nobody will use those features.

However, Microsoft has over the past couple of years been focusing on making the exams cover more real-world scenarios.  I've participated in a couple of studies with regards to their Server and Enterprise Administrator certifications where we've tried to categorize certain activities by how important they are to know/understand and how frequently they are performed.  I have also participated in exam development opportunities in the past and can assure you that there is a definite focus on real-world skills.  But there are some issues with this line of thinking too.

For example, if you ask people who understand Active Directory and how it is used, they would all say that it is extremely important that a candidate understand FSMO roles and how to view and transfer those roles.  They would also say that it is extremely important that a candidate understand concepts like upgrading the domain and forest functional levels, along with extending the AD schema.  But those same professionals would also tell you that these are activities that are rarely performed in the real world.  You usually set your FSMO roles and leave it forever.  You only upgrade functional levels when you're upgrading AD, and typically only extend the schema when installing an application (like Exchange) that leverages the application partition of AD.  An enterprise might see these activities once every couple of years, but they are still key to know and understand and so they can be included in the exam.

I assume that other technologies have similar situations.  As it turns out, exam development is actually pretty complicated.  You have a great deal of material that can be covered and only a limited amount of questions that you can use to cover it, so in some cases it may seem like a compromise.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Server Administrator
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator
MCITP:Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2
Certified Quest vWorkspace Administrator

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

If his idea of getting certified is to simply grab the brain dumps then take the tests, its better if he doesn't take them rather than just cheating on the exams.  That just cheapens the hard work that those of us who have taken the exams and passed the tests the hard way.

Denny
MVP
MCSA (2003) / MCDBA (SQL 2000)
MCTS (SQL 2005 / SQL 2005 BI / SQL 2008 DBA / SQL 2008 DBD / SQL 2008 BI / MWSS 3.0: Configuration / MOSS 2007: Configuration)
MCITP (SQL 2005 DBA / SQL 2008 DBA / SQL 2005 DBD / SQL 2008 DBD / SQL 2005 BI / SQL 2008 BI)

My Blog

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

He's right, i work right along with some who have certs coming out their kazoo but i do not have anything but 10 years OJT and am running circles around them, they are book smart but not real world smart,

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

It has been said many times before, real world experience will trumps certification nearly every time.  Unfortunately, some people make the jump from that statement to saying "certification is a waste of time/money/effort" or that "people who have a lot of certifications are just trying to make up for their lack of experience with a piece of paper."  Neither is true, at least in the majority of cases.

Certification is valuable, but it does not hold equal value to all people and all businesses.  For example, if you want to be a Microsft/HP/Dell/whoever partner your company will be required to have a number of people on staff who hold certifications in that vendor's technology.  That partnership agreement could be worth millions of dollars in revenue to that company.  Consequently, employees who hold those certifications are more valuable to the company.

In all cases having the right certifications will make you more marketable.  It will never hurt you to have them.  Just don't make the mistake of thinking that they are the final word on employee value.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Server Administrator
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator
MCITP:Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2
Certified Quest vWorkspace Administrator

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

I have already given my feedback on this on another site.

You just have to remember that there are two ways of doing things.

There is the Microsoft way (knowing how to answer questions for exams) and then there is the Real World way where you can use other vendors products to make your life easier.

MCTS:Windows 7
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator
MCITP:Server Administrator
MCITP:Enterprise Desktop Administrator
MCTS:System Center Configuration Manager 2007
MCSE:Security 2003
CompTIA Security+

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

I find that certifying (the legit way) is a great way to really learn the product inside and out, beyond just what you use it for.

You can do a lot with these products, even if you just use AD, File/Print and DHCP.

However, your real world experience on your resume shows what you have done day in / day out, and employers should be paying more attention to that anyway.

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

I have 8 years of job and personal experience with Networks, hardware, and electronic manufacturing process- but not in an IT professional role- I'm working on a MCSE but realize a Comp TIA+ would be better- changing form the sales end to what I really want to do is technical. Former Mechanical moving to IT.. I could really use advice on how to proceed. I also realize Help desk is the way to start....

RE: Certification exams don't represent real on job experience

Start with the Comptia A+ and Network+.  Then once you get the hang of help desk look into the MSDST then the MCTS and MCITP certifications.

Denny
MVP
MCSA (2003) / MCDBA (SQL 2000)
MCTS (SQL 2005 / SQL 2005 BI / SQL 2008 DBA / SQL 2008 DBD / SQL 2008 BI / MWSS 3.0: Configuration / MOSS 2007: Configuration)
MCITP (SQL 2005 DBA / SQL 2008 DBA / SQL 2005 DBD / SQL 2008 DBD / SQL 2005 BI / SQL 2008 BI)

My Blog

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