Tuesday, June 15, 2010


My husband has set an aggressive plan (this is an understatement) for getting technical certifications and committed this plan to his two bosses in writing.  They both expressed to him that he maybe is overdoing it trying to obtain something like nine certifications in one calendar year. 

The cool thing is that my husband has his groove on with test-taking.  He can study for 5 evenings and pass any exam, including exams that I (my head is hanging in shame) failed after studying for a year and a half.  I can make a lot of excuses for my failure:  I was in my third trimester and had pregnancy brain (that thing that makes you stupid at the end of your pregnancy), I didn't study enough because I had a free redo (which I didn't take), the self-prep book was horrible (it was!), the questions on the test prep exams weren't close to the actual question format (very true), but the fact is the test was really unbelievably difficult.

My husband passed that same exam after not really studying much at all.  He said he took my advice:  be mentally prepared for brutal code samples for every question where they give you a scenario and then 4 sets of code samples, where only one or two is correct.  He passed.  He said he basically used common sense to see if the code samples did what the scenerio asked for and ruled out the obvious.  He does have a degree in programming from a school most of us would never get accepted into.  He also is a boy genius when it comes to things computer and several other things (he has a crazy elite vocabulary).  I am very impressed with him and totally agree he can pass any exam put in front of him.  I feel a little shown up, but mostly proud and happy for him.

I could (theoretically) pass the exam if I took it today or any of the other exams he is planning on taking with enough motivation and effort.  But the truth is that things like deserialization callback, COM interop, and crypography classes really bore me to tears.  I get obsessed with them because I hate failure, because they are things I know that a lot of other people never will, but I don't care about them.  I cared about them when I worked for a non-profit and felt in my heart I was doing the world good by creating efficiencies to help my company save money to use for the general good.  Now I find it annoying.

The thing that really gets me about the certifications is that once I learn the details, a new release is issued and the effort was effectively wasted.  I don't want a job doing programming, so I really don't want to bother with taking the exams.  

When I asked my husband what possessed him to put the goal to take 8 or 9 certification exams on his goal list for his performance evaluation, he looked me in the eye and said calmly and with absolute confidence, "I know I can pass them all.  I know I can do it.  I just need external pressure." (OK, these are not his exact words, but it was something to that effect.)  I looked him right back with the same Jedi confidence and told him I knew he could do it too.  I vowed I would support him on that, particularly since he supports me in never ever taking a certification exam again.  Lucky for him, I studied too much for two of the exams he wants to take, so I can help him study. 

After this conversation, we cuddled in front of a laptop and took a practice exam together.  That's nerd love, my favorite kind.

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