Your 2nd Chance End June 30

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I’ve mentioned the 2nd Chance Certification offer that Microsoft provides in the past.  And if you’ve tuned in at the PASS MN meetings, I’ve thrown the plug out there a few times.

2nd Chance offers test takers the opportunity to take a run at an exam with the chance to take it a 2nd time for free if the first attempt isn’t successful.  It’s a great offer that I’ve used quite a few times in the past.  My co-workers reading this probably think I should can it on this offer since I am always bringing it up.  Hello, obsessive compulsive me.

On top of that, right now you can also get an E-Learning Collection with the offer for just $35 more.  That’s a90% discount off the regular price.

So there must be a catch…

The offer expires on June 30th.  As in after next month it will no longer be available.  This offer has been available for quite some time, but don’t take it for granted and miss out on it.

But who cares about certifications?

Will being certified make you an expert in the subject area of the exam?  Not at all, but it does show that you’ve got the determination to spend time studying on the subject.  It also shows that you’re minimally qualified to work with the technology that the exam covers.

Along the same lines, certifications cover a lot of features and functionality on their topics.  Most employers don’t have the opportunity to allow people to use all of those features and functionality in their environments.  When I was working on some of SQL Server 2008 exams last summer, we often talked about how cool it would be to work at an employer that used all of the features of SQL Server 2008 in a single environment.

But unfortunately that environment doesn’t exist.  Or I haven’t found it yet…

Certifications, though, give you a reason to go out and find out about all those features that you don’t currently use, because they might be on the test.  Studying for certifications is one of the greatest benefits that getting certified will offer you.

Another thing to think about with certifications is that with today’s uncertain economic conditions, a certification could be that bit that helps you get in the door for an interview.  Or maybe it’ll be the extra effort that your boss sees you putting in that keeps you in the door.

As Brent mentioned a while back on his blog, certifications are the icing on the cake.

Why go for the 2nd chance?

You’re going to study, study, study, and study.  It takes time.  Time that you could do other things, like enjoying the summer or watching the new Star Trek movie.  Seriously, is anything left as canon anymore now that the timeline is fragged.  Each day only has 24 hours in it and you need to prioritize.  The 2nd chance offer lets you do that.

Suppose you planned to spend 40 hours studying and when life got in the way you only spent 20 hours studying.  Are you ready?  Should you re-schedule?

If you’ve been working with the technology for a few years and you may not need 40 hours to study.  You might already be ready and not know it.  Don’t reschedule.  Take the exam and see how you do.

If you pass, that’s probably another 40 hours of free time that you would have tried to study and a bucket full of stress and guilt between choosing between a certification and your kids, wife, family, etc.  And if you don’t pass, you know exactly where to study versus going back and hitting all areas of the test.  Which might mean you only need to spend 10 hours studying before the next try.  Meaning more free time and less stress and guilt.  A definite win-win situation.

So, are you willing to take your 2nd chance?