Good news everybody. October 1st is no longer the day that the MCM was prescribed to die. The Microsoft Certified Master is now on life support until December 31st, 2013. Which means that the Jan 1st (for any interested in New Years resolutions), the Advanced Certifications at Microsoft will have been terminated and any who possess the certification will instantly become myths, legends, and items of folklore. Ok so that last bit might be a bit of an exaggeration.
Here is a screen grab from the Advanced Certification Site here. I added the nice red boxes and underline for emphasis.
While this bodes well for those that had committed to training rotations, or who had committed to hours of study and only had the Lab Exam remaining, the program is still being terminated. Many are still unhappy. Many have moved on through the grief cycle. Polls have been taken, articles (here, here, and here) written and meetings held. In the end, Microsoft sort of acknowledged that they alienated a huge faction of their supporting community. Bumping the death date back to December 31st is a sign of that.
I am happy that a meeting was held after the community outcry. It is far better than nothing at all. I am also happy that the date has been bumped back. I was not happy with the initial announcement and the manner it was done. I am not yet satisfied that Microsoft will do anything to promote a Master level with their products. In fact, as others have said (and I am sure many more have silently supported), I am uncertain I could advocate an advanced certification for Microsoft again. I am uncertain that I could support an advanced certification for Microsoft from a 3rd party vendor.
If there is ever to be an advanced certification for Microsoft SQL Server, I will have to think long and hard about the value and worth of pursuing it. All of that said, I value learning and I reiterate something that Paul Randal wrote on his survey results post:
Although the MCM has been removed as the focus point for learning goals, learning still goes on, and people will still aspire to make themselves better SQL Server professionals.
Don’t give up learning – it’s always worth it.
If you have passed your Knowledge Exam, I say go for the lab exam. Test yourself and see if you can tame the beast. If for nothing else other than to measure yourself and provide a bit of a self-evaluation. Don’t hesitate and leave yourself wondering if you could have accomplished that goal.
I know one person that has been pondering if he should do it. He had been planning on attempting the MCM exams next year. Obviously the change from Microsoft has changed his plans and made him question the value of attempting. My advice to him was to take the exams, and especially now that the MCM is on Life Support.
It is far better to attempt the exams (for those that are still on the fence), than it is to live in regret and doubt. Worst case, you fail the exam and have a fair amount of introspect that will happen because of it. Best case is you will pass the exams, be an MCM for life, and still have a fair amount of introspect that will happen because of it.