Certification: Once you've earned one... what next?
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4 blog entries centered around why and how to get certified in DB2. So, once you've earned your certification, what's next? The latest Certification Magazine answers this very question. I encourage you to read the article: I'm Certified, Now What? by Lynn Lawton.
Share the News
The fact that you passed a certification is NOT broadcast to the world. This is something that you should do yourself. Tell your management, update your profiles on facebook, linkedin, plaxo, etc, add details to your email signature line, add details to your business cards. In short, tell everyone in the biz that you have put the initiative in to study, learn, and pass a certification exam and you should be very proud of your accomplishments.
Put it to Use
You must have learned something during your learning journey... and hopefully what you learned will help you become more efficient or effective at your job. Or perhaps you learned about a new feature or way of doing your job that will have far reaching effects. Practice what you learned. In addition, did the certification that you earned simply a stepping stone to more advanced topics? Check through the roadmaps to see if there are deeper achievements waiting for you. For example, if you've earned a DBA Certification, consider trying for the Advanced DBA Certification. Build on what you have just learned.
Expand your Network
With your added knowledge, are you now qualified to answer questions on forums or in newsgroups? Are you now able to write articles? Join professional groups? I would suggest that you look at PlanetDB2.com, ChannelDB2.com, groups on LinkedIN, Facebook fan pages, etc. Wherever product experts gather, you should see if you are able to join and contribute.
Display the Accomplishment
Print your certificate... give one copy to your boss and frame another to display in your office. Be proud of your accomplishment and brag about it. If you are in a consulting role, perhaps this certification will open up new opportunities for you and the certificate can be presented to your clients.
Consider a Job Search or Raise Request
It won't hurt to ask.... is it time for a raise or a job change? A new certification might be the stepping stone to something better.
Teaching is a great way to strengthen your knowledge about any topic. Now that you are certified, can you encourage and help others achieve the same goal? Can the need for certification become a department or company wide goal and future achievement? Wouldn't you prefer to work with people who at least know what you do? Think of the synergy that can come from working with equally educated team members.
Achieving a certification is a great accomplishment, but in no way does it mean that you know everything that there is to know. You must put what you learned into practice, recommend better ways of doing things, and continue to learn. One mistake that I saw people making a few years ago is that they didn't think that they needed to re certify when a new product level was released. This is an incorrect assumption. If the vendor thought that it was worth updating an exam (usually at significant cost) then it is worth you retaking the exam to be sure that you are aware of the latest features of the latest products.
Do you have any other suggestions for what people should do once they've received their certification? If so, let me know!