Is certification really valued

  • Do people think that certification is really valued.

    It would be much better if there was some form of experience component in it.

    I have seen too many people that have a MS certification and when the get into a work situation you find they have just crammed the exam.

    Simon Sabin

    Co-author of SQL Server 2000 XML Distilled

    Simon Sabin
    SQL Server MVP

  • There is another thread on this here somewhere. However it boils down to the hiring manager and the company.

    Some places prefer certification, some require and some just don't care. It can also in some case relate to the amount of pay you are offered.

    MS tried to revamp the tests to make it more difficult for a person to read a book and sit down to the test but ultimately it has not had the desired effect. They have even been rumored to be considering changing again but this time having a lab component added to the test to get a bit better value out of the certification.

    I hold both a CNA and MCP. I just haven't been back to finish the testing since I just barely missed the SQL 7 test which is more difficult than the 2K one from what I am told and they had a lot of just barely fails on that one.

    The one certification that I know is valued above all else with MS is the MCT which businesses love since they can have you train others, potentially saving the company money. Other than that it still boils down to where you go.

    "Don't roll your eyes at me. I will tape them in place." (Teacher on Boston Public)

  • We've just adopted the requirement that all developers attain MCAD within one year. We're pushing hard to transition to .Net and this is a good way to drive the learning. Will passing the test mean they know it all? Nope. But they'll have to learn some and that's not a bad thing for us. Hard part will be figuring out if and how to go a step beyond that.


  • The cert proves you have the wherewithall to actually go take the test and I know some companies are pro-certs just for that reason.

    I know from interviewing that there are quite a few out there carrying certs who have no real concept of the underlying technology. They braindumped a test or just crammed and forgot, with no real knowledge retention. It hurts those who were certified and know the subjects.

    Previously, when I and the manager I worked for were in charge of hiring new personnel for our group, we designed "labs" to test a person's knowledge. If they seemed technically proficient from the business interview, they got thrown into the lab. For a VB programmer, that meant actually writing code. For a SQL Server DBA, that meant looking at a case study and identifying requirements, discussing how he would go about designing a solution, what tables he would design, what security he would set up, etc.

    K. Brian Kelley

    Author: Start to Finish Guide to SQL Server Performance Monitoring

    K. Brian Kelley

  • Agree with most comments, my view is I have not enough time to do the real thing to cram for a test that will test things like producing web documents from the database (who has ever used this)!

    Simon Sabin

    Co-author of SQL Server 2000 XML Distilled

    Simon Sabin
    SQL Server MVP

  • My two cents is that the certs are not worth the paper they are written on. I've interviewed hundreds of "DBA's" that didn't deserve the name under any definition, yet had completed the Microsoft courses and aquired their certification. I've ended up mentoring more than a few.

    When these first came out, I participated, and held quite a few myself. Over the years of being exposed to others holding these same certifications, I became increasingly aware of the decline in skill of the people with certifications. It became a joke at several places I've been. And finally, I disassociated myself from that stigma. With the rise in pay for those certified individuals as it was a few years ago, it encouraged many people to, as they so eloquently put it, "cram" for the tests, and pass them with no real world knowledge. When they actually got into a position of responsibility, and it was crunch time, .....

    well, we dont have to guess what happened, do we?

    I agree with the lab setup.....real world tests for real world skills....ain't no wondering there.....eliminates the chaff from the grain real quick, and gives the company the ability to be comfortable about a tech's performance BEFORE it becomes critical.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not condemming the cert's completely. Its just hard to see something that started out so well, come to where it seems to be today. Its also hard to watch companies hire people based on the cert's, blindly trust in that paper, and get a bad taste in their mouth over it. How do you think they view the next person through the door carrying that piece of paper?

    OK, I'm off my soap box now.....

    If your not gonna help, Please move to the side, because if your not helping the situation, your hurting it....

  • I believe a certification could help you get a job and in fact I think the one I hold helped me start my career in the technology sector (I have a CNA).

    I have never administered a Novell network. I was hired to set up Windows NT networks and later transitioned to databases.

    I believe experience is better than a certification and think that labs as part of an interview is a good way to discover some of the experience a potential employee has.

    I am not currently planning to get any other certifications as I don't think they are very helpful and my time can be better spent learning things I'll use in my job rather than learning things I would only need to pass a test.

    Robert W. Marda

    SQL Programmer

    The world’s leading capital markets contact database and software platform.

    Robert W. Marda
    Billing and OSS Specialist - SQL Programmer
    MCL Systems

  • So we already know about industries certifications. So now how about the degree say like Master of IT degree. How we compare this with the certs since I believe it's not an easy to dump 120 credit point in quick time.

  • Now degress are different as the person should have spent a good amount of time in labs. With a Masters they should also have a good deal of hands on to do a proper thesis. But now a degree such a BS in whatever is just that, BS (Book Sense, not the other thought ). However, even these folks should have and understanding and concept of what they are doing without need for assistance all the time. And depending on their level of degree, retained knowledge (lab test), and relative experience they generally make good canidates for all levels of work.

    But note, there are those schools and teachers who don't care what they learn but just that they pay for the tuition. So be carefull to check the schools background of excellence.

    "Don't roll your eyes at me. I will tape them in place." (Teacher on Boston Public)

  • Doing a bit of side tracking! Where can one buy a hardcopy of SQL 2000 manual, like the 6.5 Programmers reference (name maybe wrong).

    I find the official book references do not cover the topics in enough depth. Printing from BOL is is really a bit boring.

  • To the best of my knowledge MS quit producing those books and no SQL 2000 Manual version of BOL is available.

    "Don't roll your eyes at me. I will tape them in place." (Teacher on Boston Public)

  • For My Money Give Me Experience

    Based on the groups I have worked in, out of the three primary skill assessments used to hire new employees: Certs, Degrees, and Experience. Experience is definitely the front runner, followed distantly by a degree, and leaving a certification fighting with the Charmin for which is more absorbant. Case in point, at work I am a member of a 4 man DBA/Web team. Out of the 4 of us 2 have a degree. Out of those 2 only one has a technical degree. Of those of without technical degrees we all have 4+ years experience in the IT field(mostly from military backgrounds). Mr. Degree(BS in CS working on Masters) has about 6 months experience. The only technical accomplishment that our boss has been able to get the degree holder to perform is that of configuring Real player to watch movie trailers from the Net.(obviously not requested by anyone in managment). Give me experience and On the Job trained individuals over someone fresh from college with only a degree in hand any day.

  • Someone goes to a class to learn about hammers. At the end of the class, the person knows all about the hammers. You use a straight claw for this, a curved claw for that, etc.

    A kid comes along who has built a tree house 20 feet above the ground. He's used the only hammer he ever owned with both hands, at weird angles, hanging from one arm and one leg.

    Who would you hire to build your house?


    Steve Miller

  • Based on the level of some masters degrees with respect to Information Systems, I don't value this degree very highly, either. It really depends on the school. Certainly the degree says a person is supposed to have the book knowledge, but when stuff breaks down and everything hits the fan (and it will) will that person have the wherewithall to handle the situation?

    If you hire somebody with degrees and certs but no work experience for a senior position I think you're taking a BIG risk. However, if you have a guy who's carrying none of the nice pieces of paper but you can verify his work experience and he's solid, the risk is very low.

    K. Brian Kelley

    Author: Start to Finish Guide to SQL Server Performance Monitoring

    K. Brian Kelley

  • Most people that I have run into who do the screening of technical candidates treat certificates like they do degrees: It's nice to see them, but they know a certain level of experience is as good or better.

    I was just recently offered a contract SQL Developer position with Microsoft. I hold no certifications, but I have 10 years experience in databases, the last few of which were specifically in SQL Server. I went through a technical interview where I got grilled by 3 different guys about SQL scenarios and how I would approach them. Apparently I passed and my total lack of certification was not an issue for the company who makes the certificates.

    Note: Don't interpret that to mean that MS doesn't care about its own certificates, but rather that even they know that experience can surpass paperwork.

    That said, however, if you don't have the experience, the certificate process can help you get started.

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