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Crystal Reports Certification

Posted on 2010-09-01
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I have been working with Crystal Reports for over 2 years and am thinking about getting certified.  I found a couple of books - Crystal Reports 2008 Certification Questions and Answers: 1000 Plus Questions - Business Objects Certified Professional by Antonio Iroko and CRCP Crystal Reports Certified Professional All-in-One by Annette Harper.  Would these be sufficient in preparing for the exams or would it be better to enroll in instructor-led courses?

Alternatively I have thought about becoming more knowledgeable on the SQL side of things.  I like to approach things a bit systemically - I can understand the big picture better if I have a better grasp of all the details.

What are the pros and cons of the different tracks?  If you were looking for a contract worker to write some reports, which would look better on a resume?

I appreciate any and all advice from seasoned Crystal Reports pros!
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Question by:lcallah93
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by:mlmcc
mlmcc earned 250 total points
ID: 33579485
Personally, I don't have any of the certifications.  I am not sure how much difference they make.

If I were a hiring manager, the certifications would show someone took the time and effort to study and pass exams.  If you retain the knowledge and can put it to use then you are probably better than someone who doesn't have the certifications but I know many people with lots of letters behind there names but no practical experience.

Another consideration, I find it easier to write reports if I can flly understand the database.  A solid understanding of SQL will help in that regard.  Also, a good understanding will make it easier for you to build the datasets and know when and how to join tables to get the data you need.

Also an employee with 2 skill sets is many times more desireable since I can use them in 2 places.

mlmcc
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Kurt Reinhardt earned 250 total points
ID: 33583698
I hold the CRCP for Crystal Reports XI R2 and SAP Certified Application Associate - Crystal Reports 2008 (what the certification is now called), but the only reason I have them is because they're required when working for a partner company or if you intend to do consulting work. Other than that, there's really not much benefit to having them, especially since experience trumps certification.  I've yet to see companies take a hard line on hiring on certified Crystal Reports experts (unlike companies that insist on hiring only MCSEs, even if they don't have any experience).  That being said, the certification shouldn't hurt you.

Of course, the decision is up to you.  If you choose to pursue the certification, you can choose to take classes (either official or custom training), buy the books, etc... I've heard good things about Annette's book.  The problem you're going to run into are the tests themselves - they suck, to be blunt.  Here are some issues I found with my last test:

* It had a question about the proper name for a feature where the name doesn't exist in Crystal Reports or anywhere in the training guides (which I have, because I teach Crystal Reports).

* I was asked 4 variations of the same question.   Seriously...  This can hose you, since most people will go back and verify they answered them all the same.  If one's wrong, they're all wrong...

* There were multiple choice answer questions where it's really only important for you to know any one of the ways to do something, not every single way to do something.  Example:  Which 3 of these four answers will let you do X?  Why do you need to know all three ways when knowing one will get the job done? Does knowing that I can create a new formula by clicking a button or right-clicking make me more of an expert?  I had an interesting conversation with my boss the other day - we had a webex session going to review a report and everything she did was the opposite of what I would do (she clicked a button to create a formula and I right-click within the field explorer, for example).

* I was asked a question for which there were two possible answers out of the four, but only one was allowed.   I could be right, but still get it wrong.  That's really irritating...

The tests are frustrating, to say the least. A bunch of poorly written, poorly worded multiple choice questions..

Regarding SQL - I highly recommend it.  Having a solid understanding of SQL and how Crystal Reports interacts with the database is excellent. One of the biggest hurdles people face is not understanding when something is technically feasible in Crystal Reports, but could be better accomplished using more sophisticated methods like using SQL Commands, creating views or stored procedures to offload complex SQL or using SQL Expressions to streamline reports.

~Kurt
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Author Closing Comment

by:lcallah93
ID: 33585652
Thank you very much for your advice - it is MOST certainly appreciated!!  After reading both comments I am glad I posted the question and have decided to change my track from the CRCP to pursuing SQL instead.

Lisa
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