Getting certified is one of best things you can do to enhance your career as Middleware Administrator. The benefits are enormous: You will stand out in job market, you can justify that raise/promotion you are asking for, you will have elevated credibility in the industry and above all, you will receive a sense of accomplishment. I have gone through this process and I can tell you it is completely worth it. Listen, the time to act is NOW, not two months from now.
Thinking about preparing for the IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment V8.5.5 System Administration can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Not with me on your side giving you valuable tips I learnt during my certification. Follow the seven tips below and you will be on your way to become IBM certified. These tips have worked for me and they will surely work for you.
1. Have a burning desire to get IBM certified
This is the absolute starting point. Most people ‘think’ about getting certified but they never even get started. The reason is their desire is not strong enough. Understand that getting certified is NOT a ‘nice to have’ or ‘wish’ or ‘want’. It is a MUST. Imagine yourself getting certified and all the good things it will bring to your life. Affirm yourself that getting certified will greatly brighten your career. Take a notebook and write ‘I am a top notch IBM Certified WebSphere Administrator’ several times. This is how you induce desire. Once you have the burning desire, rest will automatically follow.
2. Schedule your test
That’s right. I want you to first schedule your test. This is the surest way to plant the urgency in your mind. Give it reasonable time frame. If you are a seasoned WebSphere Administrator (at least 3 to 4 years of experience including some experience with WAS 8.X), I will recommend 7 days. That’s right. Others can go for 2 to 3 weeks time frame. To schedule your test, visit https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/ibm/Pages/landing.aspx. The exam fee is $200.
3. Study the Objectives inside out
Most people just glance the objectives, they just look at the section heading (Example: ‘Architecture’) and start reading about Architecture from the IBM Infocenter or Redbooks. Don’t do that mistake. You will end up studying either lot more or lot less than what is actually required to pass the exam. The main reason is, sometimes the material for ‘Architecture’ will be found in an another section of Infocenter (Example: Workload management). Read each objective very carefully. Take a print out of the objectives from IBM website and keep referring to it as you prepare.
4. Come up with a schedule for the preparation
It greatly helps if you define a time slot for each section. For example
Architecture: 1 day
Installation,Configuration and Maintenance: 1 day
Security: 2 days
Clustering and Workload Management, Administrative Tools: 1day
Leave 1 day for final revision.
Keep referring to your schedule as making progress. Sometimes you may have to adjust the schedule on the go and that’s Okay.
5. Concepts, Concepts, Concepts
Note that the exam is to test your knowledge and experience on the product (i.e) how well you know the product. It is NOT important to know each and every flag of a command. For example, do you even know that there is a flag named -startingport in the addNode command? ( I did not ). However, you are supposed to know the command to federate a Node to a cell is addNode and that running addNode will create the Node Agent process and automatically start it. Focus on the concepts and high level items. As another example you need to know that the tool that comes with WAS to monitor performance using the WAS Admin Console is ‘Tivoli Performance Viewer’. You don’t need to know exactly now to navigate within the Admin Console to get to TPV. Get it ? I’ve also found helpful to actually write and draw the stuff you learn while preparing. Writing will help memorize things in a more effective way than just reading.
6. Leave out tough/unfamiliar topics if you are running out of time
You don’t need to master every topic under every section of the objectives. If you are running out of time, and if you are NOT familiar with certain topics, you can safely ignore them. You can try to glance them if you have some time. For example, I’m not a big fan of WebSphere Batch Applications. So, I just barely glanced few items on this subject and moved on. Note that you can leave out may be 2 or maximum 3 topics total (not from each section).
7. Take the exam and nail it
It’s show time. Leave the day before the exam for complete revision of all the topics. Get enough sleep (at least 7 hours) before the exam day. Show up on time for the exam. While you are waiting at the front desk, imagine yourself giving the exam confidently and dominantly. During the exam, if you find a question particularly hard, mark it and come back to it later. For some questions, you can use the ‘elimination’ method i.e determine the ‘wrong’ answers to arrive at the correct answer. I think one can finish the exam in about an hour.
There you have it. Getting IBM certified can be your ticket to a better job,promotion or a raise. While it may seem daunting in the beginning, preparing is really easy, if you have the burning desire and commitment to get certified. It is critical to keep yourself motivated while preparing. Scheduling the exam first and giving a ‘smaller’ lead time will greatly help. You don’t have to master each and every topic . I have done this myself and I’m 100% sure that you can also do it. Remember, time to act is NOW. If you wait for the ‘perfect’ time, you can never get anything done. Be enthusiastic, keep your eyes on the prize and with some genuine effort, you can become a respected IBM Certified WebSphere Administrator in no time.
Live with zeal.