Keep on Learning
Are you going to IDUG in Tampa, Florida this year? The conference takes place May 10 - May 14 and if you are going, you have 4 weeks to prepare to pass the free exams that you can take while attending the conference.
Why get certified? It's getting harder to keep your skills up to date these days with everything changing so quickly and the huge volume of information that you are bombarded with every day. Certification exams are focused on a specific topics and cover a limited number of objectives that are related to the tasks performed in that job role. So when you are studying for the exam, you are studying only a subset of the content that is available for the product. This targeted studying can be a more achievable way to increase your skills as you'll do a piece of learning and then testing at a time.
To help you target your studying, we have a set of study guides that you can use to prepare to pass the exam.
Here are the books:
DB2 9 Fundamentals Exam 730
Roger Sanders' book: DB2 9 Fundamentals Certification Study Guide
DB2 9 DBA for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Exam 731
Roger Sanders' book: DB2 9 Database Administration Certification Study Guide
DB2 9.7 DBA for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Exam 541
This exam was updated to the V9.7 level, while the book is at the V9 level. This might cause you a slight problem on some of the questions but overall, you should still be able to pass the exam with this book. If you're concerned, you should examine the exam objectives to see what was added. You could also take the Exam Prep for Exam 541 course that will be taught by Roger Sanders on May 10 at the Conference.
DB2 9 Advanced DBA for UNIX, and Windows Exam 734
DB2 9 Advanced DBA Certification Study Guide by Roger Sanders and Dwaine Snow
DB2 9 for z/OS Database Administration Exam 732
DB2 9 for z/OS Database Administration Certification Study Guide by Susan Lawson and Dan Luksetich
These books will be for sale at the conference, but if you can, purchase the books before the conference so that you have time to read them and study to the degree that you need to.
If you aren't able to purchase the books outright, check amazon or other sites for used copies of the books. Also, libraries might have copies of the books. I know our skill's center library has many copies of these books... and they are VERY well used!
Check to see if your company has a subscription with Safari Books Online or Books 24x7. Both of these electronic book engines carry these books which will allow you to read the entire book or to search and read parts of the book as needed.
The publisher of the Certification Study Guides, MC Press, is working on getting the books available in Kindle format, so that could be an option for you as well.
If you are working with DB2 in your daily job, you may be ready to pass the exam with minimal studying. I suggest that you try an assessment exam to guage your readiness. You may also wish to answer the sample questions that are in the Certification Study Guides. If you are able to pass these questions correctly and easily, you may be ready to pass the exam.
If you want a little more help, consider taking the Exam Prep courses that take place on May 10 at the conference. You can prepare for Exam 541 or Exam 732.
For more information about getting certified, see my previous blog entry: Certification 101.
Have fun in Tampa! Get certified :)
Making it Big in SoftwareSadly I haven't spent time in Europe in the spring... but I hear it's nice! I've just been approved for IBM's Information on Demand (IOD) Conference that takes place in Rome this spring: May 19-21, so finally I'll get a chance to experience the loveliness of myself! I hope many of you are able to attend the conference as well.
My purpose at the conference is to sell books to attendees. We have a spot set up in a central location and have plans to showcase many of the books that have been recently published. For an idea of the books that you'll see there, see my previous blog entries:
I'll also be setting up book signings for a few of the authors:
Magnus Lindkvist, keynote speaker and facilitator
Author of Book: Everything We Know Is Wrong – The Trendspotter’s Handbook
Magnus is a trendspotter and futurologist based in Stockholm, Sweden, His mission is to help companies make sense (and money) out of future possibilities and inspire people into action. He founded his company Pattern Recognition AB in 2005 and have a mix of large conglomerates and nimble upstarts within finance, energy, media and IT on the client list. Furthermore, he was elected Sweden’s Business of Speaker of the Year in 2009.
Mario Godinez, Eberhard Hechler, Klaus Koenig, Steve Lockwood, Martin Oberhofer, and Michael Schroeck
Authors of Book: The Art of Enterprise Information Architecture
Learn from this team of authors who are high ranked specialists in this field.
I might add a few other author signings... and wanted to add Sam Lightstone, but he is not able to attend this conference. His book Making it Big in Software will be available for purchase at the conference even though Sam will not be there.
Besides the books, you'll also be able to buy IBM-logo merchandise. A wide range of items are being made available for you to purchase.
And then of course the conference:
1) Susan Dykman will be administering Certification Exams at the event, free to attendees.
2) Expert speakers from Analysts, Industry, IBM , and customers will share ideas and experience on the value of combining information and analytics.
3) Join in on an industry round table to get the latest in strategy.
4) Browse the Expo Centre for a wide range of real-world solutions, the latest innovations, and demos.
5) Meet IBM executives, solution and industry experts one to one.
6) Take part in Hands-on and Usability Labs.
7) And my favourite... network! Meet people from a variety of backgrounds and amaze yourself at the amount you have in common by being part of IBM's IOD.
Do you need some ideas to justify attending the conference? Get some tips from the "Why Attend?" web page.
SIX more weeks! Lots of work to do... so let the countdown begin!
The extremely popular Assess & Save promotion is back again... and it starts today, April 1 and continues to June 1. Don't miss your opportunity to save while you earn a very well accepted certification.
According to Kate, people who took part last year saved $100 on each exam they took and passed. And, they passed. At least 90% of them passed the exam that they took.
How does Assess & Save work?
First take and pass an assessment exam. This will cost you $10 USD. On passing the assessment exam, you'll be sent a voucher to take the actual exam at 50% off the regular price.
To find more information, see the Voucher detail web page.
To study, see a few of my previous blog entries:
Good luck on your exams!
Enjoy the savings :)
Several years ago, Howard Fosdisk wrote a whitepaper about the Return on Investment of gettng certified. Since Howard is certified in both Oracle and DB2, he was able to do a price comparison between the two programs. I can no longer find the whitepaper on the internet, so you'll have to take my word for it that the conclusion was that it is much cheaper to get certified in DB2, but the benefits are equal to Oracle.
This week I read an interesting article in InfoWorld, Oracle hikes certification testing fees: "The cost of a MySQL Certified Associate exam is said to have more than doubled under the new pricing." Some of the proctored Oracle tests appear to be $195 per take in emerging countries. You can see the blog entry from Oracle's certification team for more details.
The IBM DB2 exams are typically $200 per take in the US and $100 in emerging countries.
For more discussion on the Benefits of Getting certifed... see my previous blog entries.
I've had a few people ask me about assessment exams lately, so I thought this would make a good blog entry.
My most viewed blog entry to date is
With this checklist, you can track your progress on following the steps required to earn a certification. One of those steps is called Assess. Studying can take a lot of time and energy, and certification exams are usually $200!...so how can you make the most of your time and money?
1) Take an assessment exam for $10 (USD) to find out if you are prepared and if not, where to focus your studying.
2) Use one of the published Certification Study Guides.
DB2 9 Fundamentals Certification Study Guide by Roger Sanders
DB2 9 Database Administration Certification Study Guide for Exam 731 by Roger Sanders
DB2 9 Database Administration Certification Study Guide for Exam 732 by Susan Lawson and Daniel Luksetich
DB2 9 Database Administration Upgrade Certification Study Guide for Exam 736 by Roger Sanders
DB2 9 Advanced Database Administration Certification Study Guide for Exam 734 by Roger Sanders and Dwaine Snow.
All five of these certification prep guides were written by members of the exam development team. That is, they created the questions for the certification exam that you are about to take! Also, each chapter of the book corresponds directly to a section on the exam. So, if you take the assessment exam and find out that you are week on a single topic, you simply need to read the chapter that corresponds to the topic where you need improvement. Lastly, the authors created a set of sample questions for the book that provides you with the correct answer to the question as well as an explanation as to why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect ones are not.
For reference and guidance beyond the exam, I suggest the following: DB2 9 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows: DBA Guide, Reference, and Exam Prep (6th Edition)
by George Baklarz and Paul Zikopoulos
All six of these books... and many more, can be read and searched electronically. Safari Online and Books 24x7 are two popular electronic book engines where these books are available. Why would you want to read a book electronically? You might not want to read an entire book electronically, but if you are browsing books to find out which one you should buy in print, searching and reading parts of the book electronically makes sense and may help you make the best choice on your purchase.
Also, if you are mostly prepared for the exam, but just want to do a bit of review before taking the exam, you might consider doing the review electronically. At the very least, I'd suggest reading the summary for each chapter, answering the sample questions that are found in the book, and reading the description for the answers. This can be done quite easily electronically.
Safari Books Online is a great electronic book engine and right now, you can receive a free 15-day trial. With Safari Books Online, you can search for a particular keyword, read the entire book cover to cover, or simply ensure that this is the book you need before you buy the printed version. Hurry! This offer has been held over until the end of 2009.
Books 24x7 is another great electronic book engine. IBMers world-wide can access books via this engine, free of charge. You can reach the site through many internal home pages. Many other companies and schools also have subscriptions to Books 24x7. Check with your company to see if you have a free subscription.
Be prepared for your exam... and good luck!
I'm sorry that I missed the fact that there IS a fee for the Crammer courses. Please see the CORRECT information below. I'm sorry for any confusion I may have caused. Thanks to Bryan for pointing out my mistake in this matter.
IDUG Pre-Conference Educational Seminars
The 2010 Pre-Conference Educational Seminars are:
IDUG's annual North American conference is taking place in Tampa Florida this year. May 10 - 14, 2010. Have you been able to get funding to attend the conference yet? If not, maybe this information will help you.
The educational opportunities available at the conference will help make you smarter! And if you're smarter about your job, you'll be more effective, make fewer mistakes and be a real asset to your employer! Right?
Take a look at the conference schedule that is now available online. With this tool, it is now easier for you to build your conference curriculum by allowing you to search by program or project to find sessions specific to your area of expertise.
Here is a sample of the sessions you’ll find this May in Tampa:
D06 (DB2 for LUW): "DB2 Security – Ammo From the Trenches", Rebecca Bond, Author of "Understanding DB2 9 Security"
B10 (DB2 for z/OS): "Package Versioning for High Availability", John Maenpaa, Health Care Service Corporation
C08 (DB2 for LUW): "Successfully Managing the DB2 LUW Workload Manager", Scott Hayes, Gold Consultant, DBI Software
C09 (DB2 for LUW): "DB2 pureScale: Why It's So Much Better than Oracle RAC", Paul Zikopoulos, IBM Corporation
S03 (Cross-platform): "The Vision of Integrated Data Management - Past, Present and Future of Tooling", Curt Cotner, IBM Fellow, IBM Corporation
New this year at IDUG, you will also find a full-offering of hands-on labs. Available all four days of the conference, the labs include individual work-stations that allow you to explore new DB2 features and try out products without the hassle of obtaining and setting up software. This year’s hands-on labs include:
DB2 Lab 1: DB2 for LUW - All About DB2 9.7
DB2 Lab 2: DB2 for z/OS - Getting Started with DB2 for z/OS pureXML
DB2 Lab 3: DB2 for LUW - DB2 9.7 Performance Metrics and Monitoring
DB2 Lab 4: DB2 for z/OS - Develop High-Performance Java Applications on z/OS Using IBM pureQuery
DB2 Lab 5: DB2 for LUW - Workload Management
DB2 Certification Exams:
Do you have your current certifications yet? The exams are available free of charge to attendees of the conference (3 exams per attendee). This is a HUGE savings of $200 PER EXAM!
Make sure you are ready to pass the exam by taking a crammer course on May 10 for last-minute preparation for the exam. These full day seminars require an additional fee.
Z04: DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows - DBA Certification (541) Preparation Course
Date: May 10, 2010 09:00 AM – 04:30 PM
This training is designed to introduce the student to the concepts a test candidate must know in order to take and pass the DB2 9.7 DBA for Linux, UNIX and Windows certification exam (Exam 541). The material for this course is aligned with the 541 exam objectives.
Z01: DB2 9 for z/OS DBA Certification Crammer Course
Register now to qualify for discounts on your conference fees:
Early Bird Discount: Register on or before March 26, 2010 and save $150 on your full-conference registration.
IDUG Mentor Program: Need to get thrifty with your training dollars this year? Through this incomparable loyalty reward program, IDUG members who have attended five or more IDUG conferences in the past ten years have the opportunity to bring a first-time attendee from the same company for an unprecedented 80% discount!
Visit IDUG.org/na to learn more about IDUG 2010 North America.
Do you need more help justifying your attendance at this confernece? See IDUG.org/na for further tips.
One thing I neglected to mention in my blog posting yesterday about the value of Certification is the Take it Again program that is active again this year.
Earning IBM Professional Certification is a smart career move. But many of us are nervous when taking the certification exam. Our “
By the way, I've been invited to be guest on Episode #12 of The DB2Night Show coming up this 12 February 2010 at 10am CST. Our theme for this show is "The Wild Wonderful World of DB2 Information Resources". Claim your free seat in our virtual studio audience by registering at http://www.DB2NightShow.com. I hope you can join Scott Hayes and I!
The conclusion of an intensive IDC study and in Linda Musthaler's article "Is certification valuable, or not? We have the definitive answer" is YES certifications are important! Companies need high-functioning teams that are able to transform and grow the business like never before. These teams consist of highly skilled professionals who have current and relevant knowledge. Certifications are designed to encourage people to keep learning and then to validate their skills.
The results of the IDC study in the November 2009 report by Cushing Anderson called "Impact of Training on Network Administration: Certification Leads to Operational Productivity" shows "a direct relationship between higher levels of certification and improved performance -- when team skills improve, organizational performance increases proportionally."
Although the report doesn't specifically mention database or DB2 certifications, I would say that the same holds true. I've personally seen the performance of a team improving as a result of the entire team earning DB2 certifications. The DB2 program grew 29% in the past year and is expected to grow this year as well. Are you on board?
To help you navigate through this certification program, I've created the following entries:
1) Certification 101 that links to articles about the benefits, where to start, how to prepare, and what to do once you've passed.
2) Certification Checklist where you learn to use a checklist within developerWorks that leads you through the entire certification process.
Don't be left behind! Jump onto the Certification bandwagon so you can begin seeing the improvements in your skills and the skills of your teams.
PS. Don't forget that earning a certification benefits you personally as well. It can differentiate you from others, but will also give you the confidence that you do have the skills that you need to do your job!!
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! I hope you have a safe and beautiful holiday with those who you love!
For those of us who are not in the US, this is typically a quiet week. If you are looking for something to do if you are experiencing a few quiet days, here are some suggestions:
Replay of Raul Chong's DB2 9.7 Technical Update: Ignore the message that the session is over... as there is a replay button on the page as well. There were many people who joined the session live... so if you missed it, by all means take advantage of the replay!
Replay of the DB2 NighShow episodes. Join Scott Hayes and his guests for a variety of topics. All sessions are recorded and more are planned. Enjoy!
IOD at Your Desk... Yes, you can replay many of the sessions that took place at IOD in Vegas at the end of October, including the Malcolm Gladwell session.
Continue or Begin your Certification Journey. Use the checklist that I created or read more about the process of getting certified.
Join or catch up with one of our communities, including PlanetDB2, ChannelDB2, (DB2 in Books), and My DeveloperWorks (see the list of available books... but there are many opportunities to learn on this site!!)
Read one of my favourite blog entries: Trying to Get Fired?
Thanks for reading!!