875 exams taken after 4 days! Very steady business. We offer DB2, WebSphere, Lotus, Tivoli and Rational exams, but clearly this is a DB2 crowd! We offer all the exams to help people become cross trained in all SWG products.
I had dinner with Roger Sanders last night. I first met Roger years ago just after he published his first book about DB2. I'm glad that I was able to work with him on the three Exam Study guides that he wrote for our Version 8 exams and I'm working very hard to get more book projects for Roger.
Roger tells me that he gets lots of reader feedback about his sample questions and how useful readers find it that he explains the reason an answer is correct. I'm sure that now that IBM charges $10 per take on the assessment exams, more people will choose to use Roger's books for his assessment questions as well as the content of the book.
One of the projects I got involved with in January was to set up a program for Russia to get more people trained and certified. I suggested that we translate Roger's Exam 700 Study Guide along with a few other materials. I am happy to say that Roger's book is now available in Russia and that Roger has been invited to run a crammer course to a select group. It is great how quickly we were able to make this initiative a reality! If we are successful in getting people certified at the entry level, we'll continue the program and focus on Exams 701 and 703.
I was also privileged to meet several people from Brazil this week. We talked at great lengths about the various ways we can increase certifications there as well. I fully believe that you can't just throw a test at someone and hope that they pass. You need to build a program around the test, similar to what we are doing in Russia: a book that people can read and keep to refer to over time, hands on experience, and if possible, training sessions. And then the exams. I am very hopeful that we will be able pull something together for Brazil and other countries as well.
I'm writing this entry on Friday morning at 9:00 am and we have a room filled with people who are currently taking an exam and another room full of people waiting to take their exams before heading home. It has been a very successful week and I look forward to working at next year's conference planned for Dallas in August 2006.