There was a time I considered staying in college, getting a masters or PhD and teaching others. I still might follow that path at some point since I enjoy speaking and teaching others how to better work with SQL Server. At some point, however, I became frustrated with the theoretical approaches many teachers had. Like many 20-something-old students I tended to subscribe to the mantra "those that can, do. Those that can't, teach."
I was reminded of that by this piece: Those Who Can Do, Those Who Can't, Get Ceritified. It compares IT workers to the computer systems they manage, and it points out that if all that's required is to pass a test, that's something a computer can do very well, perhaps even replacing those that can just answer questions in their daily work.
There's some truth to that. I always wonder about a person that has 3, 4, or more certifications; do they have actual skills with the product?. Have they actually used the knowledge from those certifications in their work? Is the certification the goal, or is it a way to learn skills and knowledge that can be applied at work? If it's the former and not the latter, then I'd say your efforts to advance your career through certification are poorly aimed.
However if the certification gives you structure and focus, if it allows you to improve the skills you have, and bolster the weak areas in your knowledge, it can be beneficial to your career. If you are taking that knowledge and using it in your daily work, or even in your spare time, then the certification is merely a stepping stone to something greater.
I don't think that people who are certified are somehow incompetent at their jobs, but they have to showcase more than just the certification for me to believe they are valuable employees.
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