Microsoft Certifications (MCTS, MCPD)

I’ve pursued various Microsoft certifications over the years,starting with the MCP, and then acquiring an MCSE and MCDBA.

My motivation in pursuing these certifications was that theyserved as a destination of sorts, motivating me to learn productsand technologies to a breadth and depth that I wouldn’t haveotherwise.

The knowledge has proven very handy: Even when I serve in adevelopment/design role (especially when I serve adevelopment/design role) the information gained is critical inmaking appropriate decisions. When I serve leadership and advisoryroles, again I’m glad that I spent the time going through everyesoteric option and alternative, because the knowledge does help tohead off misdirected initiatives and wasted effort.

For those who think “Oh, but I know all of it anyways. I ama Linux super-guru and thus I can achieve anything on the Windowsplatform with ease“. I’ve heard this sort of boast before, andthe results weren’t pretty. Go to the Microsoftcertification site and take some assessment exams – you mightbe shocked. The platform is absolutely huge, and it is remarkablehow much of it doesn’t gain our attention or focus, yet it can helpus make better apps, and deploy better solutions.

If you’re a software developer and development manager, whydid you get administrative type certifications?” some mightask. Very good question, and the answer is found in the paragraphsabove – I dealt with the coding side all day every day, so I didn’tsee as much of an advantage focusing on an area that I know so well(basically it would have been hundreds of dollars for Microsoft toanoint what I’d proven amply in the field), while I (like mostdevelopment focused people) didn’t really pay enough heed to theplatform side of things. Now that I am often called upon forplatform consulting as well, it was a nice foundation to buildupon.

Nonetheless, now that Microsoft has revamped theircertifications, I’ve decided to upgrade to the MCTS: SQL Server2005 along with the MCPD. I had hopedto get the MCTS out of the way, but it looks like the exam isn’tavailable yet (despite a November 2005 timeline). Alas. Already ithas encouraged me to focus on esoteria of SQL Server 2005 thatwould have gone ignored.

And for those who protest “But I don’t have time! I’m a verybusy person!“: You could very well be running to stand still.It is an epic problem in this industry thattremendous effort is expended because people don’t spend enoughtime on the skills side of things, focusing all of their attentionon the application side.