Career Coach update from October 2002

MCDBA certification versus an associate's in IT database administration; Which methods and firms offer the best chance at landing a new position?

October 17, 2002

2 Min Read
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Dear Career Coach:
I'm a laid-off IT person and I've been having a less than enjoyable job search. Which methods and firms offer the best chance at landing a new position?

Dear Seeker:

I asked Don MacVittie, an IT project manager for a major Midwest utility, and Jonathan Feldman, chief technical manager of the Chatham County government in Savannah, Ga., how they find hires.

Jonathan thinks and its ilk are "vastly over-rated" and recommends networking. "Milk your contacts," he says. "Have lunch. Talk to people even if they have no immediate openings. That's how I got my job."

Don says his department uses as its official application source and occasionally finds candidates there. He sometimes relies on employee referrals but says a lot of successful candidates come from internships. Finally, he hires as full-time employees contractors whose work is needed for the two or more years.A few tips: Don't focus on salary too early, research before the interview, and be flexible. The BrassRing site offers career search tips geared to IT pros ( Also, before you post your résumé online, check the job board's privacy policy (for what to look for, see

Dear Career Coach:

What are the merits of getting certified as an MCDBA (Microsoft Certified Database Administrator) versus getting an associate's in IT database administration? I have an MCSE and a year's experience supporting Microsoft Windows 95/98, but I use a wheelchair for mobility and desktop support requires more equipment-lugging than I expected. I am hoping that with database skills I can get a good entry-level position and work my way up.

I am about three-quarters away from getting my associate's at Bellevue Community College, and the MCDBA program I am looking at runs from October to March. Which will lead to a better-paying job?
Looking For Database Input

Dear Input:

Judging from my inbox, certifications are a hot subject. I posed your question to Tony Arendt, HR manager at Neohapsis, a Network Computing partner lab. He says that while the value of certifications has diminished over the past few years (see "Certification Equation" for more on this subject), both paths you mention are worth pursuing if you can manage it.Think about your long-term goals and talk to your college's career center and some of your professors to get a complete and accurate view of your career options. Also, because you use a wheelchair, check out "Extend a Helping Hand" for a rundown of your employment rights under the ADA.

Send your questions to [email protected]

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