Certified Mail: Jan. 2003
DBA vs. programmer; thumbs down on the new look; one-page résumés.
It seems that database experts and programmers seem to be the best bet
lately in terms of employment. I’ve been out of work for nearly a year
and haven’t found anything in the Washington, D.C. area. This is due primarily
to the “top-secret clearance” requirement of contractors in this area
and the lack of in-house positions at many private companies.
Which skill would be most worthwhile: database or programming—and, which
should I pursue (Oracle, C++, etc.)?
—Michael Audet, MCSE, MCSA
Sorry, I’ve no idea which skill is most worthwhile. I’d guess it
has to do with your abilities in those areas—both will add more skills
to your résumé, but which one is more interesting to you?
Network administration is much different than programming, and I suspect
database administration will also seem different to you. It depends
on your experience level, knowledge and passion. What will it be like
after you receive training? Let’s face it, one or two weeks of education
in either area won’t make you an expert or even entry-level. Have you
looked into program training or talked to professionals who work in
these areas? I have seen many database admins and programmers out of
It’s a long journey, and I don’t have the answers for you; but I
wish you luck in finding the right path.
I appreciated Dian Schaffhauser’s “Editor’s Desk” November column, “Real
World” on classroom training. Being in IT only five years as a result
of a career change, I wish I’d had an instructor like Michael Rodgers.
Once I got into the field, I was bombarded by concepts, hardware and attitudes
I wasn’t prepared for. I strongly believe, especially in IT, the classroom/lab
time concept is old-fashioned and often a sub-par experience for students.
If I ever taught, I would do it in a style akin to the way Rodgers does—extending
the classroom into the real world. It’s inspiring to hear that someone
is actually doing it.
—H. Alban, MCSE
New York, New York
I’m the community service coordinator for the Network Users Group of
Anchorage (NUGA). NUGA is a non-profit organization comprised of IT professionals
and students that meet once a month to discuss new topics in the IT industry,
swap stories and plan community service events. Our group’s goal is to
offer support, continuing education and training.
We promote and sponsor service projects for the community as a way of
providing hands-on training for our members. We also offer training sessions
to group members and the public. Many of our members are working toward
certification, and our club has held study groups for cert tests. These
classes are designed to provide an insight into the IT world and provide
a basic level of training.
—Jeremiah Prater, MCSE, MCSA, A+
I’m writing to comment on the
magazine’s change of appearance. I don’t like it; I thought it was
an ad insert—you know, the special advertising section that almost looks
like the main section of a magazine. It does look more polished—sophisticated,
maybe—compared to previous cartoon-like covers. Still, the old cover was
quite recognizable in its own right. The other issue: Why make “Microsoft”
bigger now? I thought the magazine was for MCPs.
—Kyung Son, MCSE
Thanks for your feedback, Kyung. “Microsoft” was emphasized in the
title to highlight the fact that we cover Windows networking. The magazine,
of course, is still for MCPs, but we thought that the previous emphasis
on the "Certified" portion of the name didn’t properly convey our focus,
which is more about using Windows network operating systems than about
the certification process.
—Keith Ward, senior editor
I have a minor correction regarding Bill Boswell’s article in the November
Leap of Faith.” It mentions that Windows .NET will support “four-node
active-active clusters and Datacenter Server supports eight-node clusters.”
Actually, Microsoft changed its tune for RC1, and it now will support
eight-node clusters for both Enterprise Server and Datacenter Server.
I know this, as I have an eight-node cluster running in my test lab.
—Michael P. Baker, MCSE
File System Fantasies
Me Certifiable” column on storage systems makes me think of the implications
if Storage+ becomes a reality. Microsoft would have a proprietary file
storage system, which would bend standards toward Redmond. And because
Microsoft is all about bending the standards (do we dare replay how Internet
Explorer defeated Netscape?), this would only be another iteration of
that position. Microsoft would use Storage+ to push people toward IIS,
as Microsoft wouldn’t release the APIs to open-source software in order
to make Apache work. Microsoft would employ a lot of the same tactics
as Apple. And with most of corporate America on Microsoft platforms, it
would use this leverage to get CIOs to turn off their Linux boxes.
I think Auntie’s right about one thing, though. There’s a growing number
of CIOs that are getting fed up with Microsoft moving the OS market every
two years. The only way Microsoft is going to slow down and make its products
better—rather than switching products as soon as the paint on the old
product dries—is for a great number of people to stop fueling the Redmond
—Rick A. Butler, MCSE+I
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The advancements presented by a SQL Server-based file system, replication
and so on, are certainly great in number and technological advantage,
but we’ve already developed our fundamental services around the existing
file systems. Microsoft has waited so long, we’ve outgrown the vision
of the project. From a developer’s standpoint, being able to access all
information on the computer via one all-encompassing set of APIs would
be great but not worth the trouble. Ultimately, the features of such a
migration wouldn’t validate the overhead. Sorry, Redmond. You’re a day
late and a dollar short on this one.
—Matthew Byrdwell, MCSE, MCSA, CCNA
Back to the Box
I read “Domain
Controller Lockdown,” in November’s “Security Advisor.” My question:
Once you’ve applied a Group Policy Object to a domain controller, is there
a way (for troubleshooting purposes) to uninstall a custom template so
that you’re basically back to an “out of the box” configuration?
—David Berry, MCP, CNE
While there’s no magic “undo” for security templates, you can return
a box to installation settings on most items. The Setup Security template
(in winnt\security\templates) represents the security settings on a
machine right after installation. You can use Security Configuration
and Analysis to import and apply it. However, you should note that because
there are so many registry settings, registry permissions and file and
folder permissions, you might not get a squeaky clean, original setting.
The template is not an “undo,” it’s a “do.” It applies those original
settings; it doesn’t undo things that are outside its parameters.
Reinventing the Résumé
I disagree with Greg
in November’s “Professionally Speaking” about chopping a two-page resumé
down to a cute one-pager. I’ve interviewed many folks in IT and find it
refreshing to find someone who submits a detailed resumé. I like to know
all of the special projects the candidate did while working for a specific
employer. I want to see if his or her experience relates to the position,
before I call the candidate to set up an interview.
My résumé is four pages long, and I’ve never heard a complaint from any
HR or IT department. It’s important that the first page has a good summary
of skills and certifications and the concluding pages go on from there.
The goal is to get your resumé to the IT department, where they’ll understand
its contents and appreciate its detail.
—Michael Zakharoff, MCSE
Thanks for your comments, Michael. The point of the résumé exercise
wasn’t to chop it down to one page. I don’t see any particular problem
with a résumé that extends to a couple of pages. The main issue I saw
with the submitted résumé is that it described the roles performed instead
of what results were actually achieved in these roles. As it was, there
were so few accomplishments listed in the original résumé that I had
to invent some to illustrate my point. Therefore, if there were more
accomplishments to list, then the completed résumé would likely have
extended over a few pages.
Recently, I was interviewed by a consulting company and had a bad experience.
They asked me “baby” questions such as, do I know how to set up a PDC,
BDC, static IP address and DHCP. Why would they ask me such simple questions?
Because I didn’t specify this in my résumé, they assumed I didn’t have
the knowledge? It made me angry, because a company that doesn’t know what
an MCSE does shouldn’t be looking for one. This knowledge is basic of
an MCSE. Should I specify these simple things in my résumé?
—Juan Pagán, MCSE, Net+, CCNA
Ciales, Puerto Rico
If I were you, Juan, I wouldn’t get too carried away. Without seeing
your résumé, I can’t comment directly on it other than to say that there
was enough included to get you the interview. As to being asked “baby”
questions, I don’t see a problem with it. We often work with people
at different levels of ability, so it’s important to explain key concepts
clearly and concisely. If you show the interviewer that you think certain
topics are beneath you, then you run the risk of seeming egotistical
and perhaps not willing to perform routine tasks. Maybe you thought
that the interviewers were a bunch of turkeys at this company, but I
would caution you about feeling anger toward the types of questions
you were asked.