I read an article on CertMag.com today by Brian Summerfield about Recertification that I thought was very timely for the DB2 certification program.
Brian mentions that in today's fast paced world, professional education is no longer seen as an event, but rather a process. The need to learn is constant throughout a person's career: the trick is to find the learning method that works for you and a way to prove to yourself and possibly others that you are continually building your skills.
Two of the DB2 9 certification exams are now available (Exams 730 and 731) which gives you an opportunity to build / prove your skills for this significant new product release. Employees at IBM are encouraged to set learning goals each year and by setting the goal of achieving the lastest level of certification is an excellent way to both set the goal and prove that it has been reached.
As for learning styles.... IBM offers many choices for you so that you can find the method that works best for you.
* Tutorials - you can follow the tutorials that we've created to prepare people for certication. Each tutorial is roughly an hour in length and is dedicated to a specific topic area that is covered on the exam. Multiple tutorials are available for each of the tests. Most people read the tutorials electronically, but they can be printed so you can read them while you are away from your computer.
* Classroom education - many people prefer to be in a dedicated class that is interactive in terms of dialog with the instructor, meeting and working with people with similar skills from other companies, completing lab exercises, and of course, being away from your usual work environment. IBM has a number of classes available in multiple cities across the world.
* Retail books - books can be used in conjunction with any other method of learning and allows you to pace learning to your schedule... read at lunch, on the bus or train, between job tasks, in bed before you go to sleep.... whatever works for you. Some of the books contain sample questions that are similar to the certification exam questions, allowing you to self-test your knowledge before attempting the actual test.
* Hands on Learning - this is likely the most common way of learning.... trial and error in a safe environment. This method is so common that it doesn't feel like you're learning at all. You can download DB2 9 to try the newest functions. The product documentation and online help may be sufficient for you to bridge the gap from what you know now to where you will be with DB2 9.
Now is a great time to set the goal to recertify on DB2 9!