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Education Businesses IT

Are Certifications Worth the Time and Money? 296

Nerval's Lobster writes: Having one or more certifications sounds pretty sensible in today's world, doesn't it? Many jobs demand proof that you've mastered a particular technology. But is the argument for spending lots of time and money to earn a certification as ironclad as it seems? In a new column, developer David Bolton argues 'no.' Most certifications just prove you can pass tests, he argues, not mastery of a particular language or platform; and given the speed at which technology evolves, most are at risk of becoming quickly outdated. Plus they aren't the sole determiner of whether you can actually land a job: 'Recruiters sometimes have trouble determining a developer's degree of technical experience, and so insist upon certificates or tests to judge abilities. If you manage to get past them to the job interview, the interviewer (provided they're also a developer) can usually get a good feel for your actual programming ability and whether you'll fit well with the group.' Are certifications mostly a rip-off, or are some (especially the advanced ones) actually useful, as many people insist?
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Are Certifications Worth the Time and Money?

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  • rip-off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by X10 ( 186866 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @06:48PM (#50078527) Homepage

    I would never ever hire a programmer because of their certifications. I hire because of expertise, period. Certifications are a rip-off.

    • Re:rip-off (Score:5, Insightful)

      by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday July 09, 2015 @06:54PM (#50078585)

      The problem is how to judge expertise on a resume.

      So certifications get you past the HR filter.

      Only then do you get to talk to someone who (in theory) knows programming/whatever enough to evaluate your actual expertise.

      So, what is it worth to get past that first hurdle?

      • Re:rip-off (Score:5, Informative)

        by X10 ( 186866 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:09PM (#50078685) Homepage

        The problem is how to judge expertise on a resume.

        Not just resume. I talk to them. Ask them questions. Usually, I know if I'll hire them within ten minutes. If they have a passion for programming. I never regretted hiring a programmer.

        • by khasim ( 1285 )

          Not just resume. I talk to them. Ask them questions. Usually, I know if I'll hire them within ten minutes.

          That doesn't sound like it scales very well.

          The last time I had to deal with resumes I had hundreds. And that was from people in Seattle/Tacoma.

          Calling each of them would have taken weeks. Or months if there were any complications at work.

          • Re:rip-off (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Rasperin ( 1034758 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:29PM (#50078797)
            However to filter out on the fact they don't have a certificate (or degree) means to lose out on some of the better programmers.

            I've had a pretty bad experience using certificates as a filter. Instead I take the time to read through and see what technologies they may have worked with. There is no easy answer to "how to filter", with certs I've seen _a lot_ of bait and switch. So yeah, when going through a large stack of resumes, I first filter out who doesn't seem to have the majority of skills I'm looking for (and they are local), then that takes it down to 20-30. That is a much more manageable list. But I'm also more often looking at people with experience so my starting set tends to be smaller.
            • Re:rip-off (Score:5, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:44PM (#50078895)

              Certificates are _great_ for filtering. I've interviewed hundreds of people. The ones with certificates on their resume's never got past the first few minutes of a phone screen. Now it's even easier, they never get a call. I encourage everyone who isn't sure their skills are strong enough to get certifications and put them on their resume.

              • Re:rip-off (Score:4, Funny)

                by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Friday July 10, 2015 @05:50AM (#50080527) Homepage

                Certificates are _great_ for filtering. I've interviewed hundreds of people. The ones with certificates on their resume's never got past the first few minutes of a phone screen. Now it's even easier, they never get a call. I encourage everyone who isn't sure their skills are strong enough to get certifications and put them on their resume.

                you might be violating my patent on how to select qualified candidates. oh wait ... i didn't file it.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by khasim ( 1285 )

              However to filter out on the fact they don't have a certificate (or degree) means to lose out on some of the better programmers.

              Any time you use a filter you run the risk of missing a better candidate.

              Certificates are an easy filter because any qualified candidate can get them with minimal time/expense.

              Are you going to refuse to send in a resume for your dream job just because they require a certain certification to be considered? Or are you going to go to the testing facility and get that certification?

          • If you really want to find good developers, find the time.
      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        So, what is it worth to get past that first hurdle?

        As compared to what? Not getting past the first hurdle because a dozen other applicants had certificates in the applications you are being hired to be an expert in? It doesn't matter if the HR drone is an idiot, you have still possibly missed out on an opportunity.

        And I have worked with companies that have horrible HR departments, but great software developer teams. So the general response of "good riddance since I don't want to work there anyway" doesn't always apply.

        I generally get relevant certificates i

      • by mlts ( 1038732 )

        This isn't programming, but in IT, I worked at places where they would have auditors randomly go around and demand the certificate ID and status of everyone working in the data center. If the CCIE/RHCE/MCSE lapsed and the auditor found out, the auditor would call security and the employee would be fired on the spot for "failure to maintain acceptable training and knowledge."

        • Then the rest do subpar work or are looking for another job.

          Moral in a company is very important more so then just someone's cert lasping.

        • Re:rip-off (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @11:35PM (#50079765) Journal

          Then they were better off for it. Any place that'll pull that kind of bullshit without regard for knowledge, skill, and work ethic (Hell, any place without regard for treating its workforce like human beings instead of numbers) isn't a healthy place to work anyway. I don't care if they're starting you a $250k; without any sense of job security, you go in each day and go to bed each night wondering if you'll have a job tomorrow.

          That's no way to live. Fuck that place.

      • A good manager won't rely on HR to filter technical skills. I use HR to screen hygiene and language skills and do all the paper work, but for team fit and technical I do that all myself. And in my experience, the more certs, the worst the candidate. IT is so fast moving that anyone with real skills is too busy doing to go off and do courses and exams.
    • Re:rip-off (Score:5, Insightful)

      by plover ( 150551 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @06:54PM (#50078587) Homepage Journal

      What about a college degree? At one level, a diploma is no more than a very expensive certification.

      • Re:rip-off (Score:4, Informative)

        by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:01PM (#50078645)

        At one level, a diploma is no more than a very expensive certification.

        My advice has been to get the cheapest and fastest degree you can (from a correctly accredited school). It doesn't matter what the degree is in. Once you've cleared that hurdle you can look at advanced degrees in subjects that may be more work-focused for you.

        You can spend $15K on a degree. You can spend $150K on a degree. Your pedigree will only matter in certain firms or with certain people.

        • The degree is largely a formality and there are a lot of companies that don't even care terribly much about GPA on top of that. Going to programming competitions and participating in other kinds of activities (anything related to mentoring or leadership is usually big) is far more valuable in the long run than the university from which the piece of paper you'll never look at again came from. Degrees, like certifications, are most an money extraction enterprise for those who offer them, so to paraphrase Twai
      • Re:rip-off (Score:4, Insightful)

        by X10 ( 186866 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:18PM (#50078745) Homepage

        What about a college degree? At one level, a diploma is no more than a very expensive certification.

        Nope. Getting a college degree, you actually learn something.

        • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:48PM (#50078913)

          Getting a college degree, you actually learn something.

          I've run into more than a few people who have made it through college quite uncontaminated by knowledge.

          • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

            Getting a college degree, you actually learn something.

            I've run into more than a few people who have made it through college quite uncontaminated by knowledge.

            I'd argue that there are even some college curricula that will leave their students less prepared for the real world than if they had just gone straight into the burger-flipper and barista jobs that are the only types of work they'll ever land outside academia. You can identify most of them by the presence of the word "studies" at the end.

        • Re:rip-off (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ranton ( 36917 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:39PM (#50079383)

          What about a college degree? At one level, a diploma is no more than a very expensive certification.

          Nope. Getting a college degree, you actually learn something.

          While I have taken certificate exams that were meaningless (they are useful in the consulting world), I have learned quite a lot getting some certifications. They often force me to dabble in areas of an application, language, etc. that I haven't had to work with on the job. Obviously I could have learned it without the certificate training (since I have always just prepared from books and self-practice), but getting the certificate is what actually motivated me to learn the material. I have had times where a problem came up and I knew a feature existed to solve it because of my exam prep (although its always possible I would have found the feature anyway).

          If I compared the number of hours spent preparing for tests compared to the hours spent in college, I wouldn't be surprised if my various exam preps were a more efficient way to learn overall. The degrees are more financially valuable though by far; since they are essentially certificates that hold far more weight with employers.

        • What about a college degree? At one level, a diploma is no more than a very expensive certification.

          Nope. Getting a college degree, you actually learn something.

          Having been a hiring manager for many years in a past life I can tell you right now that your statement is pretty much BS. I've seen many college grads who didn't have any demonstrable knowledge at all. I've seen some that did of course, but getting a degree is no guarantee that a candidate really learned anything, or at least anything remotely useful.

        • Do you? I learnt something about Hypercard and Lotus123, the most I got out of Uni was a piece of paper that set me above some others while applying for the same jobs as me.
          Actually the best thing from uni was being exposed to really smart people. In real life a lot of people are dumb, so to be in a graduate level calculus class, way out of your depth gives you some perspective. A lot of non-uni people simply aren't aware of how smart some other people are.
      • Also true, however, in addition to technical know-how, most jobs require a certain amount of B.S. hoop jumping, patience, and general just getting along with the crowd. That's why the degree says "B.S." - it means you can put up with 4 years of it without telling the whole place to F- themselves.

    • Agreed. Certifications are evidence of a minimum amount of expertise, but that's all.

      You can get better evidence by talking to somebody.
    • The problem with certification is they are normally very particular to the tool being used.
      So you get a C#.net certification you don't get much skill that transfer to Java or Python or C++. The course is very set on trying to utilize the cool features that sets the product apart and less on using it to solve real problems.

      I have a 15 year old computer science degree and when I do programming I know how to research the answer in nearly any language thrown at me.
      Why? Because the college degree taught me how t

    • by Skapare ( 16644 )
      i would .... not hire the ones with certifications ... proof they waste time doing useless stuff.
  • It's a sales tool. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @06:50PM (#50078545) Homepage

    You are always selling yourself, your plans, and your ideas, no matter what business environment you are in - self-employed or corporate. Certifications can be a tool for that - and even a vital tool if you're dealing with HR drones that don't understand anything else.

    That being said, I have no formal certs and have done extremely well for myself - but I also have very good sales skills. It's the one thing I encourage to everyone that asks me for career advice - learn to sell. It doesn't matter what you do in life, but you will always be selling something (assuming your work is of any sort of significance).

    • ... even a vital tool if you're dealing with HR drones that don't understand anything else.

      You're applying for the wrong jobs.

    • As any salesman will tell you.

      Step 1) Find the person who can make the decision.
      Step 2) Go directly to them. Dont waist time on the people who can not buy.

      Works in finding a job, skip HR and locate the hiring manager. Call him or her, contact him or her via linked-in, etc. That is the person that will get you past the HR filters.

    • Certs can be used as a form of upkeep for veterans as well.

      I work in payroll, where laws and regulations change every single year. If you've been in the industry for 20 years, a good way to ensure you've kept up with the times is to pursue a cert and refresh your knowledge. This also tells the employer that your knowledge has recently been updated on the topic.

      Not all experience is good experience. People that have been in my industry for 20+ years without keeping up with the times like to store junk in

  • Trust (Score:5, Funny)

    by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @06:51PM (#50078555) Homepage Journal

    I'd only trust a certified certifications expert to answer that question.

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      I'd only trust a certified certifications expert to answer that question.

      How do you know you're getting someone with a genuine certified certification certificate? There are a lot of phony certification certificate mills out there, where anyone can just pay the fee and download one.

      My advice is to pay the fee, but be sure to check the certificate on the payment site.

    • I am not a certified certifications expert.

      However, I do have a certificate in Trust Building.

      Therefore, you can trust me.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @06:53PM (#50078569)
    they're your admission "ticket" to get the interview.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      if you have no experience or are from a 3rd world country, sure.

      if you have experience, certs are usually a waste of time. I would actually hire people who did NOT bother with certs.

      I run into folks from india all the time (bay area resident, fact of life here) and more often than not, they are filled with degrees and certs and lots of memorization. still, with all that 'stuff' the output from many indians is sub-par. they don't THINK, they just have amassed lots of DATA in their heads.

      sadly, those are t

  • As compared to experience DOING the things you are certified to do, I'd say no.
    As compared to a college degree, maybe, maybe not. I think it depends on the degree, the certification, and the job(s) you're going for.
    As compared to no experience, and no degree, I'd say yes.

    • As compared to no experience, and no degree, I'd say yes.

      I think it's an even stronger no. If the person wanted to learn say JavaScript, and they chose the most formal, most rigid and the least creative and inspiring way to learn it by working to get a certificate -- instead of building a project and putting it up out there, for instance -- shows what kind of developer they will be: someone who cares less for making good software and more for playing carefully within the system.

      I'd trust more someone who spent the time to train for a marathon than to get a certif

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For sysadmin / devops / network admin / desktop support and maybe a little into the infosec side, certs are probably a good idea.

    For programmers (etc), certs really don't make any sense.

    Like making copywriters hit the obstacle course for time before hiring them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @06:56PM (#50078605)

    I'll still look at a candidate, but I generally assume the person is covering incompetency in skill with a paid for affirmation.

  • HR/Recruiting Drones (Score:5, Interesting)

    by singularity ( 2031 ) * <{nowalmart} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday July 09, 2015 @06:56PM (#50078607) Homepage Journal

    Having gone through the hiring process a couple of times in the last couple of years, HR and recruiters are the biggest hinderance to companies hiring talented individuals. For a tech position, HR has become a gatekeeper to the hiring manager. Unfortunately they have no knowledge of the position or the technologies.

    Certificates get you past this gatekeeper. They are fairly useless otherwise, but since HR has wedged themselves between the candidate and the hiring manager, they become a bit of a necessary evil.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:01PM (#50078641)

    If you want a job anywhere near project management, you need the PMP certification. Do a job search for "project management" and check the first ten results. Every one of them will say PMP required or preferred.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      True on this. My wife has been studying for this for the last 3 months and takes the test in 2 weeks. PMP appears to be the gold standard for project management. Combine that with a ScrumMaster cert and you can get a job anywhere. Half the ScumMaster's I know couldn't pass the PMP and went Scrum since it was easier.

  • NO (Score:5, Informative)

    by b1ng0 ( 7449 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:06PM (#50078667)

    No. Now fuck off Dice.

  • Yes if you learn from them, absolutely.
    Yes if you are in IT
    Yes if you are a programmer, and choose a cert carefully (J2EE Architect, and you want to do that kind of thing).
    Yes if you can spend a weekend in the library and pass the test with no problem, and someone wants you to have it
    Yes if your employer will pay for it, and you can study at work

    No if you are a programmer (with some exceptions, see above).
    No if you don't understand the subject, even after getting the cert
    No if you take months and m
    • by khasim ( 1285 )

      Nicely phrased.

      How about a different scenario?

      Meet Billy. Billy wants to be a programmer. Billy has a high school diploma. Billy has no college degree. Billy has no certifications. Billy has no professional experience.

      What advice would you give Billy to get him his first programming job?

      • Meet Billy. Billy wants to be a programmer. Billy has a high school diploma. Billy has no college degree. Billy has no certifications. Billy has no professional experience. What advice would you give Billy to get him his first programming job?

        Good question.

        Assuming he actually knows how to program (that's the first thing......does he really know how?), then the key is to convey that information on a resume in a way that HR will understand.

        All the standard tips apply, keywords, formatting, etc. If he has open source projects, that would be great, instead of job experience, he should list projects he's worked on (if he hasn't worked on any projects, he doesn't know how to program, sorry).

        Again, the key is to find a way to convey to HR that

  • by grimmjeeper ( 2301232 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:08PM (#50078677) Homepage
    ...than a dice "insights" spam.
  • by Flyskippy1 ( 625890 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:12PM (#50078701) Homepage

    Having conducted probably 500 software developer interviews, I can tell you that seeing Certificates listed on a candidate's Resume is typically a red flag that indicates they will not be a good candidate. It doesn't mean they will absolutely be bad, just an indication that they probably aren't right for the sorts of positions I hire for. Kind of like seeing "Microsoft Office" listed prominently under their "Skills" section.

    • Kind of like seeing "Microsoft Office" listed prominently under their "Skills" section.

      Tell us, how close are you to the hiring process? I ask because I applied to a company for an IT security analyst position a few months back, and I spent 45 minutes talking to some HR person about my skills in MS office before they would even let me schedule a talk with a hiring manager. Including asking if I would consider myself an expert in MS Word! So if you are getting tired of seeing "Microsoft office" as a skill on developers resume I would recommend you get HR out of the god damn way and start look

  • If you are an engeener in service providing company your certification level is essential for HR of this company. Be it Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Citrix, VMware or whatever - the company providing services (like implementation) usually needs to have certified employers to reach certain partner level (like Gold, Platinium and what-the-fuck-they-had-invented-recently). It is just a business for these companies to sell certifications for their products.

    Is it important to have certifications? Well just look at the policies FOR EMPLOYERS that the vendors in your area of interest are providing.

  • I'm a PE in electrical engineering and I've been out of work since December 2013.

    You tell me if it was worth the time and money.

    • Re:You tell me. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:10PM (#50079273)

      Not to judge, but as someone with a PE that does a lot of hiring of PEs, maybe you should take a close look at why you are having trouble. There are a number of things that can pose challenges, including location at one extreme and personality at another. It might help to go to IEEE meetings and try to get some help networking, reviewing your resume, and identifying what your specific challenges are, and how to work around them.

      • Location is one factor. Since I'm divorced and share custody of two kids, I can't move.

        I go to a lot of meetings, meetups, networking events, do a lot of volunteering, ran the local engineering chapter for a couple of years, and I've got enough friends that I'm reasonably sure that it's not my personality. I mean, I can't judge it for myself and it's really the common thread of failure in my life, but from what I can see it's nothing overtly shitty about the way I deal with other people.

        I mean, I teach yo

  • If you need someone to babysit you through reading a few overheads and taking a trivial "exam" each day, then yes, certificates are worth the investment.

    But if you need that kind of hand holding to learn something, you're not worth hiring. I always shuffled certificate-braggers to the *bottom* of the resume pile as a result.

    • I put mine in as I busted my butt off with no brain dumps. I have mostly desktop and some gpo and ad experience to back me up. The new Windows Server 2012 exams are A BITCH. You need to know architect level detail and the ins and outs of every powershell cmd, dns settings, gpo types which thete are over 2 dozen and you need to know every one memorized, subneting. If you do not have months of lab work in a vm network you won't pass even if you are experienced. Are you saying you wouldn't even talk to me if i

      • by msobkow ( 48369 )

        Seeing as I've only ever been involved in hiring programmers, yes, your certificates would land you at the bottom of the pile. Cisco configuration and Windows administration are irrelevant to what I used to have a say in hiring people for.

        The fact that you claim you "need" certification to do Windows administration just proves what a lazy-assed, non-Googling, non-self-teaching fuck you are. There isn't a god damned thing about Windows administration that "requires" certification if you're willing to do

  • Early in your career, yes.

    8-10 years in, your experience should be your certification.

    (do well and try to move to different projects for a wide variety of experience, do interesting side projects or contribute to open source)

  • It depends... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...on the job. A colleague of mine with 30+ years of experience was recently turned down for a job because he didn't have a 4-year University certification. Many of the Program Management jobs I've seen require a PMP certification. Same with some IT jobs who want a CCNE or something along those lines.

    Certifications are like grade points. They are precisely as important as the interviewer thinks they are. And that's it.

  • ... Google-fu and recognizing the right info is way more important than memorizing it. Find a way to certify that skill and we might be talking.

    If power or the net goes out, I can't work on anything anyway. Code and databases rock, but they don't run on papyrus.

  • by Drakonblayde ( 871676 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:57PM (#50079219)

    The problem with certifications is that brain dumps are a big business.

    Alot of folks believe that Certifications will enhance their chances of getting a job.

    Hence, they brain dump the exam and pass.

    For the folks who actually take the time and learn the material the certification is testing for, and pass the exam honestly, the certification process is a boon.

    Unfortunately, we live in an on-demand society, so interviewers often see many more of the former than the latter.

    I'm on the interview panel for my team. And I see an awful lot of paper tigers. Given that I also have an alphabet soup of certs, I know the skill levels those exams test for, and I tailor my interview questions to things that they should be able to answer, as well as any other technology they put on their resume. If it's on the resume, the candidate should be able to speak to it

    Within 5 questions, I can almost always determine the persons actual skill level and whether or not they dumped the exam. And unfortunately, there are *alot*. To add to that, there are also some recruiters who actually encourage the candidates to add certain keywords to their resumes. I actually got one guy to admit during the interview that he'd just added it, after I started asking questions on it.

    We have gotten a few folks with a good amount of certs that actually knew their stuff. We even hired a few of them. The ones we didn't hire, I knew we weren't going to be able to pay them what they'd be looking for, so they turned down the job.

    In my opinion though, it's worth it to wade through the dross and take the time to make sure you get the right person. If you're careless in your hiring practices, you'll just be right back on the merry-go-round

    • > The problem with certifications is that brain dumps are a big business.

      That was a real issue, about 15 years ago.

      There was a huge scandal, I think the company was Troy Tech. They had actual questions, and actual answers.

      The industry went ballistic. Law suits were filed. And steps were taken to prevent that happening again.

      Yes, there are companies out there that promise to sell you the real Q&A, but they don't. The are probably selling you the Q&A from 15 years ago.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:33PM (#50079369)

    Maybe we should get rid of *all* formal credentials? Get rid of all licenses, and degrees, along with certs.

    A drivers license does not prove you know how to drive. A teaching credential does not prove you are a competent teacher. Does a college degree prove you even know how to read?

    And so on, right down the line.

    Or, maybe a more intelligent way to look at is: a credential is what it is. It prove you know enough about something to pass the test. No test is ever perfect.

    Tech credentials leave a lot to be desired. But, from my experience they are far superior to interview test questions. I have had interview tests from interviewers who were dead wrong. I have had interviewers ask questions that were insane. Besides, what if the interviewing does not like you? Maybe the interviewer does not like your race, gender, nationality, or age - in that case you would be sure to fail. At least certs have a certain objectivity.

    • Maybe we should get rid of *all* formal credentials? Get rid of all licenses, and degrees, along with certs.

      A drivers license does not prove you know how to drive. A teaching credential does not prove you are a competent teacher. Does a college degree prove you even know how to read?

      And so on, right down the line.

      Or, maybe a more intelligent way to look at is: a credential is what it is. It prove you know enough about something to pass the test. No test is ever perfect.

      Tech credentials leave a lot to be desired. But, from my experience they are far superior to interview test questions. I have had interview tests from interviewers who were dead wrong. I have had interviewers ask questions that were insane. Besides, what if the interviewing does not like you? Maybe the interviewer does not like your race, gender, nationality, or age - in that case you would be sure to fail. At least certs have a certain objectivity.

      A drivers license, or even the drivers test, doesn't prove that you are a good driver. But it does prove that you know the rules of the road, something that most wouldn't study unless they were forced to. I'd rather have people driving knowing the rules of the road even if they aren't the best of drivers.

      • > A drivers license, or even the drivers test, doesn't prove that you are a good driver. But it does prove that you know the rules of the road, something that most wouldn't study unless they were forced to. I'd rather have people driving knowing the rules of the road even if they aren't the best of drivers.

        Exactly, it is a minimal amount of assurance that somebody has some idea of what they doing.

        Same is true of tech certifications, if you have a Network+, chances are you have some idea of what an IP add

  • "Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!"

  • by Dega704 ( 1454673 ) on Friday July 10, 2015 @12:19AM (#50079873)

    Looks like someone decided we were overdue for the annual certifications debate. This question will still be popping up ten years from now and they will not be going away any time soon, simply because there is no cut and dry yes or no answer. It all depends on the person, the cert, the situation, and your perspective.

    Personally? I still have them and I'm currently studying for others. I'm not even job searching right now; I'm perfectly happy where I'm at. Certifications simply give me a template of what I need to study for the skills I want to learn, and give me goals/benchmarks to aim for. They're like achievements in a game, only more tangible. The vanity of having another cert to post on my Linkedin profile adds more incentive to push myself further. I'm not worried about the material becoming outdated because most of them expire; and if I haven't pushed myself to the next level up by the time they do, it means I'm dragging my ass. I plan on getting CCNP before my CCNA expires, for instance.

    The "certs just prove you can pass tests" argument doesn't really apply in my case, because I suck at tests. I suck at academics in general. I barely made it through high school because I am all but incapable of learning things 'theoretically'. So why bother with the certs, you ask? Because I cannot pass an exam unless I actually know the material. Plenty of guys with less than half of my experience could probably finish the exams I am working on in a fraction of the time, but it wouldn't mean as much in their case.

    Lastly, certifications do help open doors, especially for those who get stuck in the catch-22 hell that is trying to get experience when everyone expects you to pop out of a cabbage patch with at least 5 years of it under your belt. I'm sure certifications are very easy to disparage from the perspective of someone who is FAR removed from such a scenario with decades of experience and countless connections. I suppose the better discussion would be: How valuable are certifications compared to degrees?

  • Most certs do indeed prove only that you can answer multiple choice questions. However, there are certs that truly matter, but not from skills perspective (although that helps).

    CCIE is a good example, since it requires the lab part (I know some folks actually try to do the lab part by rota, with several attempts, but it's still rare). Some others might be the architect-level certs from Microsoft or Oracle. CISSP is a bit in the gray area, it's not a vendor-specific cert, but many customers actually apprecia

  • Yes, but only for the people selling them, especially if you have to pay for a yearly renewall.
  • Get certs... they're not time consuming.

    Oh, wait... You actually study for those? Most people don't. There's braindumps for that.

    Any company who tries to judge my skill by my certs will turn me off the very instant I notice the behavior. Certs are there to get your company partner status. Nothing more.

    It may be different in the states, but in my country, there aren't even many companies large enough to warrant even using the technology some of these cert tests are asking about. So that leaves you learning f

  • In my experience the big three are ones that demonstrate that you not only "know your stuff", but can actually apply it - and they are well thought of in the relevant areas of industry.

    In no particular order:-

    • LPI
    • Red Hat
    • Cisco

    All are fairly cheap if you only sit the examinations (less than a weeks wages for the entry level positions they qualify people for)

    There may be others (that are good value and in high-demand) - I just can't think of any off-hand.

  • Trust me, I'm a certified doctor of philosophy.

  • The question is not whether certs are worth the time and money (I tend to believe that they're not) but if you're putting them on your resume, who is actually going to check...

    Another answer for are they worth the time and money - most definitely for the certification centres.

  • by LaurenCates ( 3410445 ) on Friday July 10, 2015 @07:59AM (#50080793)

    I have a few certifications myself (Agile, CEH, DoD Acquisition...strangely, I don't have a PMP, but I've seriously considered it), and while I could tell you that those are bare-minimum and not worth nearly as much as I paid for them, I'm not going to say they don't have their uses.

    Some companies, particularly ones aligned with the Government, DO require them rather strictly. It's not fair, and frankly, I think a lot of those bare-minimum ones shouldn't be considered worthwhile as "resume" material because they're so basic (they're really like saying you went to high school when you're presenting yourself as the holder of a Bachelor's Degree...the implication of learning the basics is pretty much built-in).

    That said, there are intangible things that they do offer, like networking or getting you out of the office for a week or two, maybe teaching you something new or something you didn't consider before. If the cert isn't something that you were necessarily inclined to do in the first place, it may give you a new perspective on how to deal with people (as stated, I considered taking the PMP because I'm not a strong communicator when it comes to management; spending time around more "managerial" types may actually help me).

    That also said, a lot of these companies know for a fact that it's a bare-minimum requirement, so organizations like PMI, DAU and EC-Council that have a foot in the door with the Government have curricula that basically writes them a blank check. It's obscene, in some respects, since a lot of the learning should really be on-the-job training as part of orientation to the internal culture of a place. I get the idea of an across-the-board minimum standard, and that's fine, but it shouldn't be used as a substitute for internal training.

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