I am a fan of database certifications, and people who know me, know that. I do feel it is important for a DBA to be certified, and in the same time, I agree, just a certification doesn’t
make you an exceptional DBA. If you are one of the DBAs that doesn’t want to get certified, may I ask you a question, would you let an uncertified accountant do your company’s or your
personal tax return? Would you go to an uncertified massage therapist, or an uncertified chiropractor? I can go on and on…

Why would DBA certification be any different? Why would someone hire you if you are not certified, and all the other candidates are? How can you stand out from the crowd?

“I should get certified, but…” I hear this all the time. If you read my previous blog post
3 Words To Eliminate From The DBA Vocabulary, you know I am NOT a big fan of the word SHOULD. Let me rephrase the above statement, to one that empowers: “I could get certified, if I choose to, if certification becomes a priority”.

Why don’t you choose to get certified, what is holding you back? Talking to other DBAs, I noticed a pattern that emerged. The main reasons that people don’t get certified, are the 3 roadblocks discussed in this post.

Any roadblock can be removed, with conscious effort. Let’s identify the 3 main roadblocks that are keeping you away from certification, let’s take them down, and build a successful road to getting certified!

Roadblock #1

I DON’T HAVE TIME

Time is the only thing that is equal for everybody, every single day. There are only 24h, or 1440 minutes in every single day. Where could you find 30 minutes a day to study and prepare,
if you really wanted to, if getting certified was one of your top priorities?

Solution #1

1. My favorite one is N.E.T. (No Extra Time). This acronym was created by Tony Robbins, and I use it all the time, for reading books, study for certification, relaxing. Let me explain, you could study for your certification while doing something else, such as commuting, driving, working out. Just think about it, how many hours or minutes do we spend commuting each day? How about each week, or each month? It sure adds up. (30 minutes/day = 150 minutes/week = 2.5h/week)
2. Say NO to mindless internet browsing, Facebook updates and other social media sites. How much time do you spend each day on these sites? You could study for your certification instead.
If these sites are so important to you, then make sure you visit them after studying.
3. Say NO to television or video games, and use that time to study.
4. Wake up 20-30 minutes earlier each day, or go to bed 20-30 minutes later, depending if you are a morning or an evening person.
5. Use part of your lunch hour break to study.

For my last certification, I found the time to study while commuting, I woke up 20 minutes earlier, and set aside 20-30 minutes in the evening 3 nights/week.

What are you going to do? Where are you going to find time?

Roadblock #2

IT IS TOO HARD AND IT TAKES TOO MUCH TIME

It is true, if you believe it is hard, it is for you, because that is your reality. Start believing in yourself, that you can do this, it is not out of reach. You don’t know how hard or easy it is, until you try it.

How long does it really take to prepare for a certification exam?
From my experience, it could take between 40-60 hours of preparation, to pass the exam. How long does it really takes? You do the math: You study for 4 hours every day, it takes you 10-15 days. You study for 4 hours a week, it takes you 10 – 15 weeks.

Solution #2

1. Create a plan. Most gurus say to set a date in the future and work backwards, to determine how much you need to study everyday, to accomplish that set date. I’ll tell you a secret, this
doesn’t work for me. You see, I could only set aside 30-40 min/day 4 times/week, which would give me 2h of study time a week. if getting certified takes 60 hours, that means, I need 30 weeks to get certified. Setting a date earlier than 6 months, would only set me up for failure.
2. Get resources, such as books, simulation tests
3. Use chunking to break down certification into smaller units. Review the study book, and take it one chapter at a time.
4. Organize the information into charts, flash cards, mind maps. I used mind maps, and loved it.
5. Just Do It!

Roadblock #3

I HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO

I agree with you. You could be watching Netflix right now, re-runs of Breaking Bad, or Making a Murderer series.
If having a certification would mean you have the advantage over the other 10 candidates for the same job opening, do you still choose Netflix?
If getting certified would mean other companies pick your company to service their databases, because you are certified, do you still choose Netflix as a better thing to do?

Solution #3

1. Find the answer to the question, WHY do you need or want to get certified? The answer doesn’t have to be life changing, it could be as simple as, I don’t want to be the only DBA at work
that is not certified. I want to shine, and be unique, and have a certification. Maybe getting certified is mandatory for your job. in this case, it is pretty easy, your WHY is to keep your job.
2. Once you know your why, prioritize your daily task in the order of importance, and make certification a priority, a must!
3. Just Do it! If you find yourself thinking about studying or watching TV, just take out the book and study!

Don’t try to find roadblocks, just get certified!

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