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The Certification Debate


The Certification Debate

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Certification Debate

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jdmurray
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Certs are certainly used as a filter factor and are valuable for that. Having one doesn't necessarilly prove anything but lacking one can make a job search difficult.

Another value, though, is that gaining one provides a passing acquaintance with many possibillities you may not have encountered and thus make the next job a little easier since every work site is different. In depth knowledge, though, will always come mostly from experience - best defined as "what you get right after you need it."
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Certifications are worthless.

A) The cynical side of me says it's a profit center for companies and nothing more.

B) The cynical side of me also says HR is looking for a magic bullet. "Oooh, he's got certification in 3 seperate areas! Let's hire him!" Bleh.

The problem with certifications is what they've always been. A *very* few are genuine marks of excellence. Most, however, are simple resume gilding and those are simple cram-and-forget exercises. If an IT person's been in the business for years chances are they know what they're doing. Interviews by IT types (as opposed to an HR person with no IT experience) can help weed out the pretenders.

Having said all that I'm not anti-continuing education. Having the ability to take a class here and there on a particular technology *is* helpful. But certifications--not so much.
dma-669038
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Let us face it - certs have zero value with finding jobs. I have interviewed lots of candidates myself and find them actually doing poorly with certs compared to those without them (I think Grant Fritchey even did a survey with numbers on this). However, certs are a good way to evaluate how much you know - what areas you are unfamiliar with and what areas you are good at. Certs are not a cakewalk or totally easy as is believed though - that is just given how vast a product sql server really is. If you have not worked in a certain area it can be pretty tough to answer those questions. Certs are expensive - in terms of time needed to prepare, the actual test as well as books and material. But i keep up with them since it is the most basic way for me to tell myself that i know the product to some extent. It however continues to disappoint me that they have lost much credibility and lots of employers including my own couldn't care less or pay for them.
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From my experience certifications are fine if used as a learning tool but otherwise are completely worthless. For the Microsoft based certifications they tend to be based on what Microsoft wants you to learn not really on what you need to know in the real world.

Using certifications as a base to hire someone is a real mistake, it does not indicate has much you really know just that you can pass a multiple choice test.
TravisDBA
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As long as they can be braindumped they are worthless IMHO. They generate revenue for Microsoft, so they have a vested interest in keeping them around and changing the requirements all the time.. :-D

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"
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dma-669038 (6/18/2012)
Let us face it - certs have zero value with finding jobs. I have interviewed lots of candidates myself and find them actually doing poorly with certs compared to those without them (I think Grant Fritchey even did a survey with numbers on this). However, certs are a good way to evaluate how much you know - what areas you are unfamiliar with and what areas you are good at. Certs are not a cakewalk or totally easy as is believed though - that is just given how vast a product sql server really is. If you have not worked in a certain area it can be pretty tough to answer those questions. Certs are expensive - in terms of time needed to prepare, the actual test as well as books and material. But i keep up with them since it is the most basic way for me to tell myself that i know the product to some extent. It however continues to disappoint me that they have lost much credibility and lots of employers including my own couldn't care less or pay for them.


I disagree. If I'm in the position to chose between two that I judge equal then I will chose the one with a cert. However, a lot of factors are valued above certificates for me. Like: Personality, dependency/ reliability, knowledge and experience, history and references.

I do agree with the party that cert is not taken that easily, or well some are harder to study for now than for 5-10 years ago.
dma-669038
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Certs combined with work experience as Steve said are a good combo, but have not met that many people that way. Most people regard certs as a passport to 'knowing' or getting a job, and that is generally a poor premise. I have interviewed close to 100 people, around 30 percent had certs. My experience is that they ranked most lower than others who didn't have them. Certs only provide product overview btw, and as long as you can answer what a certain feature is meant to do, might mean they helped you in that regard. It is very possible to gain that kind of knowledge without certs too, hence what they are really worth in the job market other than give you some personal satisfaction is really very debatable.
TravisDBA
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Sounds a little paradoxical to me. You would choose the cert only if they were both EQUAL, but you would choose Personality, dependency/ reliability, knowledge and experience, history and references before choosing the cert. How would all of those other qualities ever come out to be equal between two candidates? Doesn't sound like you would ever get down to the cert.:-D

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"
jfogel
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I've worked with people who had certs in given areas and I was surprised that they could even turn on a computer. Experience first and "paper" second is the way to go if you ask me. When people try to walk in to a profession like IT by getting certs and having no experience and then expecting a salary and position of an experienced person is where it all goes wrong. Well, wrong for the company that would fall in to such a situation.

Cheers
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