Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oracle 9i certification track is still worthwhile

As Oracle 9i database became desupported this year I started to have some doubts if I should go for 1z0-007 exam (Introduction to Oracle 9i SQL). I sent an email to Oracle to ask how desupporting of Oracle 9i will affect the certification path "Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate" which consist of 1z0-007 exam. Will this exam be also discontinued? Can I expect the new 10i or 11g exam in this track?

Oracle answers:

"Currently Oracle does not have any plans to retire the Oracle 9i certification track. When an OCP track retires, candidates pursuing the track are given at least 3 months time to complete their exams".

That's good to know.
Besides I guess that a lot of databases still uses 9i version and that's another reason why it's still worth to certify.

I hope this will help some lost soul who got to this page looking for clear answer.
Good luck with your exam :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Google AdSense Exclusion List

There are many websites which declare aversion to any kind of certification cheating, but on the other hand they publish AdSense content encouraging their readers to use illegal materials and services. And moreover they get a profit - dirty money from illegal business, payed by Google who gets it from the criminals.
This is ridiculous!

There is a first result of discussion started on filtering of Google AdSense. From now on if you are the author of any certification oriented site publishing AdSense and want to have your pages free of the braindump/gunman advertisements there is a possibility to purchase Google AdSense Exclusion List from CertGuard - the company which fights against those illegal sites. The annual subscription cost varies from 20 to 100 $, depending on the frequency of updates.

I think it's worth a shot if you want your site to be considered as credible by conscious readers and first of all, if you don't want to fuel dirty business.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fasten your belt

Which certs are better? These from vendor or those vendor-independent like CompTIA? Or should I go for something non-proctored like Brainbench? Is their cert credible or is it just a scrap-paper? Which is the best credential and which just a fake made for money? There were a lot of discussions about that and there will be on this blog.

But what if there existed something different? What if one could get vendor-independent certification for free and what is more important - gain the respect of the community. Why should the community respect it? Because they've developed the tests by their own! Smells a little bit like one of web 2.0 ideas. And it really works for those who are interested in Java related areas.

What I'm talking about is the JavaBlackBelt Certification Community founded few years ago by John Rizzo and Nicolas Brasseur. The point is not only in certification but also in the fact that everybody can contribute by creating her/his own questions. These are moderated also by the community. I wrote that the exams are for free but actually I lied. For most of them you have to pay with... the contribution points which you've earned by adding/commenting/moderating new test questions.

The exams are taken on-line so what about cheating? JavaBlackBelt answers to that question quite reasonably.

The site keeps your profile where your certification track is stored, divided to levels which are visualized as belts of various colours (like in some martial arts). To achieve the highest, black belt you have to pass around 20 tests.

I think this is a very interesting alternative for Sun certificates all the more JavaBlackBelt exams covers much wider set of Java related skills. There are even more extreme opinions.

Seems like it's true what they say in their logo - they not only certify the developers, they build them.

More interested? See the presentation:
JavaBlackBelt presentation at Javalobby
(those guys are quite funny, have a look at slide number 13 ;))

Friday, July 27, 2007

AdSense braindump/gunmen filter

Today's post will continue the braindump subject started two days ago. Yesterday I had small e-mail exchange with CertGuard CEO Robert Williams concerning the ethics of AdSense in the context of braindump or gunmen sites. It happened to me many times that browsing some good, valuable certification web-pages I've noticed Google AdSense ads of those sites.

Let's see an example. Below there is a screenshot with advertisements published on CertCities:

These ads are just next to the article about Certification Ethics (sic!). For those who still do not understand - when you click there you will be redirected to the website maintained by the criminals offering taking exams for people that have no knowledge of the testing materials. And moreover - CertCities will get some money for your click from these bad guys. Does this mean that CertCities is popularizing dirty business?

Actually I am not the only one who is surprised.

CertCities is one of the best site about certification. No doubt. This post is not meant to be an attack, it's just an example. I'm going to publish AdSense in the future as well so I will have to deal with the same problem.

As for now I see one solution. Google offers Competitive Ad Filter. It lets you create your own set of sites the ads of which you do not want to publish on your site. Unfortunately it is limited to 200 URLs, but I think it's still worth a shot.

One can get the list of braindump and gunmen sites from CertGuard organization if one will be recognized as legitimate. Please contact CertGuard in the matter of obtaining the filter list.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What is braindump?

While browsing the web for exam preparation help, the newbie can easily notice the word "braindump".
This post explains what's that, why it is evil and how to avoid it.

In general the term "brain dump" (braindump, brain-dump) is used for the situation when one person reports everything he or she knows about certain subject.

In the context of certification exams "braindump" means the act of memorizing the real exams questions and then writing them down in order to sell such sets of questions. This is done by people being payed especially for sitting the exams and remembering their content.

Braindump is the crime.
Braindump is cheating.
Using braindumps leads to the situation that everybody can get certified by just cramming for any exam with no having any understanding of the subject. More people passing the exams in this way, less valuable is the certification on the job market.

I want to buy preparation materials from X Company. How can I assure myself that they offer braindump-free, good piece of work?

There is an organization which maintain the list of cheating companies, it is called CertGuard . They provide the search tool. Just enter the URL address of X Company and check its credibility.

For more information explore CertGuard site dedicated to braindump dirty business.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

DBA Certifications Compared

Today I dug out few very interesting articles written by Howard Fosdick on DBAzine.com

One of them compares Oracle, DB2 and SQL Server certifications.

There are also few articles containing quite helpful tips about studying and passing the tests. Complete archive of Howard's posts on DBAzine can be found here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

MySQL will train and examine Oracle DBAs for free

In the middle of August MySQL will organize MySQL DBA Boot Camp which is one-day training "designed for senior-level Oracle DBAs to get quickly familiar with MySQL database concepts and best practices". Each participant will also get free exam voucher and free exam guide.

This opportunity is limited to 200 DBAs and lessons take place only in two US cities - too bad...
However "free, online version of these workshops will be made available later in August", they promise.