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1D0-541: CIW Database Design Specialist [message #643528] Fri, 09 October 2015 14:59 Go to previous message
matthewmorris68
Messages: 258
Registered: May 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Senior Member

Several years ago, I responded to a thread in this forum asking about the utility of the CIW Database Design Specialist certification and its associated exam, 1D0-541. I provided my thoughts from some limited research and preparation I had done for the exam at the time (mid 2012). I had a study guide started for 1D0-541 and I thought that I might complete the guide and take the exam shortly. As it turns out... measured in terms of the age of the universe, it was just an eyeblink. Measured in human terms, three-plus years might not qualify for the adverb 'shortly'.

That aside. I took the exam this morning and the study guide is completed. OK -- its almost completed. I still have to add in my post-exam updates for a handful of questions that highlighted areas I need to elaborate on. I should publish the guide this weekend.

I can now provide a more informed opinion about the exam. I won't go into huge detail as I intend to write a couple of articles about it -- one about 1D0-541 in isolation and a second that compares it with Oracle's new Database Foundations exam (1Z0-006) that has a similar set of topics.

The Good: I like the topics covered by the exam -- especially for database newbies. Not too long ago I had an assistant working for me as a (very) junior developer. His grasp of design theory, ERDs, etc. was practically nonexistent (despite having just graduated with an MIS degree that should have covered it). Had he understood the concepts covered by this exam, he probably would not currently be my ex-assistant. Beyond the section on relational algebra, which I could have done without, most of what is covered by this exam is reasonably practical. I like the topics covered more than I do the ones on 1Z0-006. 1Z0-006 has quite a few ivory-tower 'who-gives-a-flip' topics that have no use in the real world. I like the study guide I wrote for 1D0-541 better than the one I wrote for 1Z0-006 because I think it offers a better Cliff's Notes overview of the database design process.

The Bad: The test is too simple. Before taking the 1Z0-006 exam in July, I was afraid that it was going to be a walk in the park. As it turns out, the Oracle exam designers were able to write reasonably challenging questions even though the topics were fairly basic. By contrast, way too many of the 1D0-541 questions were simply 'gimmies'. The test was only 50 questions, with a 90 minute time limit, no exhibits, and a good quarter of the test had a single-sentence question with four 1-word answers. The means test takers have all the time in the world to spend.


So what do I recommend? Anyone who has read many of my forum posts or my articles knows I seldom recommend any specific course of action beyond do your own research and do what makes sense for you. In my opinion, vast majority of the information covered by the 1D0-541 topics is very useful if you are a database developer. I've been one for 17 years. If I didn't know this stuff -- I would be a very bad developer. Whether the test would be a good choice for any given individual (other than my ex-assistant), I cannot say.



--moderator update: corrected typo in title, to make sure it is searchable (which is necessary - a useful article, thankyou)

[Updated on: Sat, 10 October 2015 01:39] by Moderator

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