Updating Certifications

When I first started my career, certifications were hot. I worked on the Netware CNE and Microsoft MCSE certs. Nearly 30 years ago these certifications were controversial as plenty of awardees weren’t competent at their jobs in the real world. However, marketing worked and employers wanted these certs, so they mattered.

Over the years I’ve worked on books for a few certifications and taken a number of tests. Partially as research and partially to test myself. I’ve personally found the certifications to be helpful because they focus my efforts in learning about a technology. I’ve found them to be maddening at times because the questions haven’t always felt very applicable to the world.

That being said, since I write many of the daily QotD questions, and regularly get complaints on my work, I appreciate how hard it is to write good questions that relate to the real world.

In any case, I never pursued the MCSA, MCDBA, or MCSD, and I’m somewhat glad I didn’t decide to start. Microsoft is retiring these broad, general certs as of June 30, 2020. If you are working on one of these, you have until then to pass exams. After that, you can’t earn one of these certs.

Microsoft isn’t abandoning certs, but moving to role based certs. These should be more granular in nature, focusing on the things you might do for a job. Of course, some of these are retiring on Apr 2, so it’s a bit of a mess right now.

The part that many people might not like about this is that these certs are all Azure based. I think that upsets some people, especially those that only deal with SQL Server on-premises. I think that’s fair, though I do think that most of the skills relate to both, after all, they do have a common code base. Azure doesn’t always mean PaaS, and the IaaS offerings with SQL Server are going to be what you get when you install the software on your own hardware.

I’m not going to advocate for or against certifications. Like any training or educational achievement, a lot of the value is based on what effort you expended and how you present your work. If you want to earn an older cert, you need to hurry. If you’re looking for a new one that helps you stand out from others, you have some options. If you’re interested in pursuing a certification, let us know today.

Steve Jones

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