Today I want to tell
you about how to prepare to take and pass an exam.
How to Prepare
to Pass a DB2 Certification Exam
the exam objectives.The website ibm.com/certify lists the
objectives for every IBM certification exam.Read these carefully as each question on the exam links directly back to
one or more of these objectives!(That’s
a huge hint!)
In the past 10 years, I’ve met many people who have taken and passed one or more DB2 certification exam. I like to chat with people, so I usually ask them to tell me if they see benefits to passing an exam. I also meet with many people who are reluctant to take an exam and must convince them of the benefits. I’ll put a few of my findings in this post, but I hope that I hear from people if they agree or disagree!
People who are reluctant to take a certification exam are usually reluctant due to fear. Fear of failure, fear of taking a test, fear of having others learn their scores, or fear of being judged or ranked. I totally understand these fears! The first thing I want to stress about certification exams is YOUR SCORE IS CONFIDENTIAL TO YOU. Sure the score is captured by a computer system and is sent to IBM to be stored in a DB2 database, but we are governed by very strict privacy laws that prevent any of this information to be given to anyone except for the candidate who is taking the exam.
This should give you a sense of comfort that you can take the exam without anyone knowing. So if you fail, feel free to try again! Use the score report to help you strengthen your knowledge in the areas where you didn’t do so well. If you do pass the exam, you must tell your managers, customers, clients, etc. Only you can brag about your certification!
Another thing that you should keep in mind is that each exam has a cutscore assigned to it. You can think of a cutscore as the mark you must reach to pass the exam. To come up with a cutscore, we have a team of experts take the exam and then rank each question in terms of difficulty, importance to the job role, and frequency that the task is performed. As an example, the cutscore for Exam 731 is 59%. Since there are 64 questions on the exam, you must answer 38 questions correctly to pass the exam. As a result of passing the exam, you will be sent a certificate stating that you are now IBM Certified. Your certificate will look the same whether you score 59% or 100%!
I also suggest that you don’t play the “score” game. I’ve heard conversations where people are bragging about their score or candidates who are pressuring themselves to score better than one of their co-workers. I can tell you that most of the people bragging about their score are embellishing slightly! It’s best to not discuss your score in the first place.
One of the biggest benefits of passing a certification exam is that it proves that you are very proactive at keeping your skills up to date. Anyone can say that they know about the latest features of a product, but by passing a certification exam, you have validation that you do indeed understand the latest features. Although DB2 certifications are very popular and still growing in numbers, the number of people who actually [i]have[/i] a certification is a fraction of the number of people who [i]could[/i] have a certification. If you are certified, consider yourself as part of a relatively small group!
A second benefit is that studying for a certification will expose you to areas of the product that you wouldn’t normally care about. Very few people have hands-on knowledge of EVERY feature in a product, so when studying for, and taking the exam, you will be exposed to more features than you normally use. Perhaps you’ll discover a feature that will really help your application or in the usage of the product.
One of the benefits that I mention to the developer in the Toronto Lab who create the DB2 product is that it will allow them to see the product as our customers use it. Not many of us in the Toronto Lab work as DBAs, so by passing the DBA exam, it exposes us to the tasks that DBAs must perform in their daily jobs. It seems to me that this will help IBM create better products! The same is true for those who are writing about the product, supporting it, testing it, or even selling it.
A team of us are trying to scientifically determine the actual benefits of being certified, but in the mean time, my team ran an informal survey asking what the benefits were. Here are some of the responses:
Certification adds credibility when addressing customers
Certification is a partner requirement
Certification gives my company a business advantage
Certification helps me pinpoint problems faster
Certification gives me confidence and respect
Certification gives me credibility with younger workers and my peers
Certification gives me leverage and job security
Certification led to my membership in a competency network
Certification gives me professional recognition
Certification helps me set up a training plan to keep my skills current
Certification is valued by management
Certification earned me better performance ratings
Certification helped me earn a promotion
Certification earned me management recognition
Certification gave me additional skills
Certification led to a raise
What do you think? Have you experienced any of these benefits? Are there other benefits that you experienced?
First of all, apparently attendance for this conference is tracking to be higher than last year's conference in Den Haag, Netherlands. This is excellent news especially given the fact that there are 12 days remaining before the conference begins. I've been told that it is quite normal for attendees of European conferences to sign up just before or the day the conference begins. So if you can make it, you won't be disappointed.
I will NOT be attending the conference, but I have set up a bookstore for you to browse and buy the latest book titles. The bookseller is Andreas Cwienk from Lehmanns.
I'm disappointed that I won't be able to hear guest speaker Frans Johansson speak:
Entrepreneur, Thought-Leader and Author of "The Medici Effect" The intersection of business and innovation
Johansson is an entrepreneur and thought-leader. He is also a
consultant and the managing director for a hedge fund. Frans previously
co-founded and managed two companies, a Boston-based software company
and a medical device company operating out of Baltimore, Maryland and
Raised in Sweden by
his African- American and Cherokee mother and Swedish father, Frans
earned an MBA at Harvard Business School and a BS in environmental
science at Brown University.
Frans is a
successful author and has written on a variety of topics, from business
management to healthcare to sport fishing to how to save our oceans.
His bestselling book, The Medici Effect, has been translated into 17 languages and was named One of the Ten Best Business Books of 2004 by Amazon.com.
will be signing copies of The Medici Effect on Thursday, 4 June during
the Coffee Break at 15.45 – 16.15 in the Marketplace
Don't you love all the low prices that you can find these days? If you
look around, you can find great deals on just about everything. For
instance....amazon.com has lowered their prices on IBM Press books that
are available for pre-order. There is no way of knowing how long these
prices will be offered, so if you want one of these books, please act
Author Neal Fishman
is leader of IBM Software Group's integration
forensics program, has spoken at conferences around the world, and is a
Practicing Member of the World Wide Institute of Software Architects.
This is one of the manuscripts that I had the pleasure of reading
I have a question for you.... before you buy something these days... do you do what I do and check for online feedback or referrals? If the feedback from someone with actual experience is positive, I am more likely to seriously consider buying the item myself.
If the feedback is overwhelmingly positive from many people, my buying decision gets easier. If the feedback is negative, it helps as well... but only if a clear description of the problem is described and multiple people have experienced the same problem / dissatisfaction.
So... will you be willing to provide feedback to others regarding the books that you've read? Let's face it, making a decision to buy a book isn't only made based on the price of the book, but also on whether it is worth your valuable time to read the book. We're all short on time, so we want to be sure that we aren't wasting our time by reading a book that won't help us.
Where can you post your feedback? For books, amazon.com is likely the most useful place. I'm in Canada, but still chose to read the feedback that is posted on amazon.com rather than one of the Canadian sites. Why? Simply because there tends to be much more feedback on amazon.com than anywhere else.
But, you can still provide feedback on any of the sites that take feedback. Even db2inbooks is a good site to post feedback.
What should you avoid? It won't help anyone if your feedback is negative, but you haven't actually read the book. Yes, it does happen. For instance, my first book had a negative comment made by a reader because of the title. I don't think the reader read a single word of the book, but decided to trash it based on the title alone. Is this fair? Absolutely not. I'm sure most people would disregard this type of feedback, but save yourself some time, if you didn't actually read the book, don't bother posting comments... positive or negative.
If you find errors in the book that aren't very serious but that should be corrected.... I suggest that you contact the author directly if you can. It is near impossible to produce an error-free book. Most of the authors who I work with make it easy for you to reach them. Check in the front of the book... you may find an email address. Also check on ChannelDB2.com as many of our authors are members and would be happy to hear from you.
If you'd rather not contact the author directly... you can always go directly to the publisher... or to me. I'll make sure your comments are sent to the author who can then make the corrections for future iterations of the book.
If you really like reviewing books... and think that you are good at it.... did you know that you may qualify to get free books from the publisher? In some cases we ask people to review the book before it publishes and ask reviewers to provide a comment that may be included on the cover of the book. If this interests you, let me know.
Share your opinion... everyone will appreciate it :)
Are you overwhelmed by the amount of technical information that is available for DB2? I don't blame you if you are! IBM produces many different types of training resources to suit individual preferences for learning.
The DB2 Skills Kit from developerWorks is a good place to begin your quest to learn more about DB2. Skill kits are FREE and make it easy to learn introductory concepts and usage procedures with demonstrations, step-by-step tutorials, technical articles, webcasts, podcasts, and presentations. No need to search for information: The DB2 Skills Kit has what you need in one kit: how to install, configure, and administer IBM® DB2®.
Increase your knowledge and skills whether you are a database administrator or application developer. This kit is aimed at IT professionals that have a basic understanding of database principles and design that are looking for “just in time DB2 skills.” Topics covered include: Overview, installation, configuration, database creation, and administration.
One thing that I didn't mention in my previous blog is that this conference is FREE. You have nothing to lose except the experience of this wonderful new technology.
Cool things that I've noticed so far.... the "booth presentations" are short and very well done. You can chat with an expert... and when you do, check out their super-cool avatar! You can also go to the Chat Zone to chat with others who are "attending" this conference.
One of my favourite topics to blog about is ILO = Instructor Led Online Training. Why? I think largely because I believe that this kind of training fits into modern life so perfectly. With the world focusing on "green" options, is there anything more green than attending a class to upgrade your skills while staying at home? With the financial pressures that the world is currently under, everyone needs to do their part to reduce costs, but keeping skills up to date remains CRITICAL. ILO provides the same excellent transfer of skills that you've come to expect in classroom training, but it eliminates the most expensive part of taking a class: traveling.
ILO also keeps getting better. This time with new scheduling options:
* ILO Select provides targeted information in a packed lecture of three hours or less, at a much lower price than full training courses.
* ILO Flex Time offerings enable you to experience the full scope of ILO from anywhere in the world over several days so that you can balance both work and education.
These two new ILO options give you the ability to enhance your skills when and where it is convenient for you.
And lastly, more ILO classes are being added all the time. See the list of featured classes below, but make sure you check the ILO website to keep current on the latest courses that are available.
* 3E060 - (FREE) Basics of the Data Studio Environment- ILO Select * 3N120 - SQL Workshop - ILO Flex Time * 3N610 - Advanced DB2 SAP for Administrators - ILO Flex Time * 3S490 - HADR High Availability Disaster Recovery Implementation - ILO Select * 3S410 - Introduction to Data Sharing - ILO Select * 3S301 - Managing Informix DS Using the SQL Admin API and Scheduler - ILO Select * 3L242 - DB2 9 for LUW Multiple Partition DBA Workshop - Classic ILO * 3E120 - SQL Workshop - Classic ILO * 3L201 - DB2 9 Database Administration Workshop for Linux - Classic ILO * 3L211 - DB2 9 Database Administration Workshop for UNIX - Classic ILO * 3L231 - DB2 9 Database Administration Workshop for Windows - Classic ILO
In this course, learn about the features of the Informix SQL Administration Application Programming Interface (API). Learn how to write SQL statements to perform a variety of system administration tasks, and will see different ways in which the Administration API can be used. Also learn about the Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) Scheduler and how to create tasks to be performed at regular times or intervals. You will also learn how to create sensors to gather system information into tables over time. Examples will be presented on how tasks and sensors can be used.View this course in other countries
Note: This is an Instructor Led On Line course. Please do not make travel arrangements for this course. Your system should have a microphone and speakers for interfacing with the instructor and other students. After you receive confirmation that you are enrolled, you will be sent further instructions to access audio, video and remote labs.
This course is eligible for the IBM Education Advantage Program.
Audience This is an intermediate course for Informix Dynamic Server System and Database Administrators.
PrerequisitesYou should have: IBM Informix Dynamic Server System Administration (IX810) or (IX811), or 6 months experience with IDS system administration.
Skills taught * Distinguish between the task and admin functions * Write SQL commands to perform administration tasks * Create and schedule administrative tasks * Create and schedule sensors to collect system information * Analyze the information collected by sensors
When at the IOD Conference, I had the pleasure of meeting two people who are experts in the mashup area: Bobbi Cochrane and Ginny Ghezzo. On both occasions we randomly met while eating breakfast... and ended up talking about mashups with all the people sitting at the table.
Bobbi gave me a card that introduced the IBM Mashup Center which is an enterprise mashup platform to unlock data, remix content, and unleash productivity. Give it a try on greenhouse.lotus.com.
Also at the conference I met the publishers from Wiley who publish the Dummies series of books. They mentioned that they are interested in new titles including one on mashups. That brings me to mashup experts in Haifa: Ohad Greenshpan and Aya Soffer who have written several articles on the topic... and may make excellent authors of a book.
The IBM Database Magazine that came out today introduced me to the Mashup Camp which looks very interesting. The website calls it The Unconference for the Uncomputer. This issue also has a link to the a podcast of Curt Cotner speaking about mashups.
I didn't attend Maria's sessions, but had the pleasure of sitting with Maria while she did a book signing! I very much enjoyed my time with Maria and could tell by the comments from the people who did attend the session and came to buy a book, they they were captivated by Maria's ideas.
I now have a copy of the book and intend to read it. Take a look for it. It should be on amazon.com very soon, but you can also get it direct from the publisher racombooks.com.
What's in the book? Here is the information from the publisher:
As a business person, you probably have more data and more kinds of data available than ever before. But has it helped? Sometimes, maybe. But, for many executives more data has just added more fuel to feed the fire of their love/hate relationship with it. You love it when it gives you good information about which markets to pursue or how to compete more effectively. But you hate it when you can’t get sales figures in time or worse still, when they don’t reflect "reality."
This book was written for the executive who wants to understand the lifeblood of his/her company, wants to be able to make better decisions, and knows that managing information is the best way to protect and grow a business. This book is designed to help you as a business leader think about the use of data and its impact on your daily operation. In 2 sections and 12 chapters it provides practical guidance to balance the use of hard facts and your professional instincts; how to identify and focus on the numbers that matter for your organization; how to overcome the obstacles to getting a complete view of your customer; how to meet risk and security standards; 12 steps to effective business performance management; and how to grow a data culture and make it work for you.
Newly minted MBAs are known for saying, “Just give me your number.” Savvy managers know that it’s not that simple. They also know that it’s not that difficult. Managing Your Business Data provides the wise counsel that every executive can use to manage his or her organization’s data more productively.
I haven't personally seen a Chumby yet... but like Kate, would love to have one! YOU can get one though... for FREE! IBM will send you a chumby device - currently valued at $179.95 - when you:
* Enroll in an eligible class between August 8 and December 9, 2008. (Eligible classes are listed here.)
* Attend the eligible class by December 12, 2008.
* Furnish the priority code 6N8AR39E when you enroll online or when you call 1-800-IBM-TEACH (1-800-426-8322) to enroll via phone.
* This promotion cannot be combined with other IBM discounts on the eligible classes, or with any other IBM education offerings, including the IBM Education Pack - online account.
* Upon completing the class, you will receive an e-mail directing you to an online form used to gather your shipping information. Complete the form and your chumby device will be shipped to you within 6 to 12 weeks.
This IBM® Redpaper provides information about exploiting client load balancing and fail over capabilities across a DB2® data sharing group or a subset of the group members. The information provided will help network specialists and data base administrators in appropriately configuring data sharing groups as TCP/IP servers.
We show how to use the functions of DB2 sysplex workload balancing functions, supported by DB2 Connect™ Server and the IBM DB2 Driver for JDBC and SQLJ, in conjunction with the functions of TCP/IP Sysplex Distributor, configured with Dynamic Virtual IP address (Dynamic VIPA or DVIPA) and automatic VIPA takeover, to provide superior load distribution and fail-over capability for transactions and connections across the members of a data sharing group. The two functions work together to ensure the highest availability possible for remote applications accessing a DB2 location in a sysplex.
Thanks to Sabine Kaschta for providing this information to share with you!
I have a lot of books on my desk.... I mean a lot! On days that are slow, like today (everyone is on vacation but me!??) I read a chapter or two in one or more of these books. Recently I've been going through "The Myths of Innovation" by Scott Berkun and have been telling everyone I know how much I'm enjoying this book!
Scott briefly tells the stories of many key inventors / innovators through time stressing the points that none of these came as a-ha moments... but rather took lots of determination and yikes... failure! Most if not all key inventions were thought up by multiple people over time and the "winner" is a result of many coinciding factors: timing, funding, reproduction, and competition.
For all you creative thinkers out there, you'll see lists of negative responses that you've likely heard over your lifetime. Scott put together a list of "idea killers" and "idea helpers" on his blog that you might want to check out.
I hope you take a look at this book and if you do read it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I am....
I've recently "met" Justin Gordon who is now working on writing a book for Addison-Wesley. Justin sent me this information about a workshop he is running this coming Friday and I thought I'd send it along for anyone who may be interested .
Test Driven Development (TDD) Workshop
When: July 25th, 2008 10AM to 3PMWhere: Chicago Innovation Center – 71 Wacker – Room 6612Web Conference details: DetailsWho Should Attend: GBS developers or other IBMersHow Much: FreePresenters: Justin Gordon & Donald BellRSVP: Not required, but RSVP is recommended a download will be required for labs exercises
Description:A comprehensive suite of unit tests is the single most important artifact created in a software project because it reduces bugs, facilitates adding new developers, and enables refactoring and performance tuning with confidence. Test-driven development (TDD) is the best way to build a test suite. Justin will discuss this assertion and address practical issues encountered on test-driven projects, including: How to get team members to adopt TDD on a project; how to implement TDD on a project with large amounts of existing untested legacy code, tooling, design patterns to facilitate TDD, including mock objects, dependency location, and the Dependent Object Framework. These techniques solve the difficult technical problems of isolating code to be tested and setting up required persistent data. For example, have you ever worked on a large enterprise software project (one that heavily uses a database) and wanted to add JUnit tests? And did you quickly realize that it’s easier said than done? Why is that? Want to learn a better way? Justin created the open source project "Dependent Object Framework" (DOF) to solve just this problem.
The discussion will cover the same material that Justin is presenting at Dr. Dobbs Architecture and Design World on July 24 and previously presented at Dr. Dobbs SD West in Santa Clara this past March. The lecture and exercises will work as follows:1. Justin will explain the concepts in the slides2. To illustrate the concepts, Justin will be doing a “pair-programming” session with Donald and the audience. Members of the audience will be able to run some of the JUnit tests along with Justin.3. The audience will have an opportunity after the led discussion to add some additional JUnit tests for the exercises, getting tips from Justin and Donald on both JUnit, TDD, and use of Rational Team Concert. Download Workshop MaterialsMaterials should be downloaded before. Check website after July 22nd
Agenda (all times central time)10:30 to 12:00 – Introduction to Test Driven Development (motivation, basic techniques)12:00 to 12:30 – Break (Optional)12:30 to 2:00 – Advanced TDD – TDD with dependencies and the Dependent Object Framework (DOF) 2:00 to 3:00 – Lab Exercises with assistance from Justin and Donald (chance to add JUnit tests to the ones that Justin and Donald setup earlier)
Note: Lunch is not provided, feel free to bring your own lunch.