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Erik Lundevall Zara
Erik Lundevall Zara

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Certifications - worth it or waste?

In many areas of the IT industry, there are a lot of certifications to obtain. Various tools, platforms, ways of working - there are certifications for many things. There are many companies whose core business is to deliver training to people who want to certify themselves in different areas.

Is it worth the effort and time for those who take these certifications? Is it valuable for companies using the services of these persons, or employing them?

In some areas outside of IT, I do think certifications are valuable.
If I want to renovate our bathroom, I would certainly only use a company with a "wet room" certification to perform the work. It would not be my only criteria to choose a company for this work, but it would be one factor.

However, if I would be in the position to interview someone regarding a job at my employer, for example, it would not be a mandatory requirement. There are other factors I would consider more important.

Yet, I do have five certifications with AWS (Associate, Specialty and Professional ones) and my employer works currently 100% with AWS. We are encouraged to get certified also. One reason for this that AWS has requirements on the companies that are AWS partners how many individuals are AWS certified and what type of certifications they have, depending on areas and partner levels.

For me, I think documented experience trumps certifications. In the IT space, being certified may potentially help if you do not have documented experience before, as a way to geet the foot in the door somewhere. But then the meaning of a certificate is a bit different than in other areas. Certified then means that you may have some expertise in a specific area, but it may not necessarily be practical experience. It is more a certificate of study than anything else.

For me, a certification is more something that I would do if my employer would want me to, for the most part.

What about you, what do you think about certifications?

Discussion (6)

nait_samuel profile image

Well, I don't know for other countries but in France, basically more certifications = more clients.

My boss paid me a full DevOps certifications on Paris for me to have the label and be able to tell to our clients "Yeah, we are qualified to setup devops practices on your project !" (Even if, well, you know ...).

So yeah, it's kinda of business related more than knowledge related for me. :/

alohci profile image
Nicholas Stimpson

Certification must be tough. For it to be valuable, many must try and fail, to weed them out those who can not merely to achieve a minimum capability but to actually be significantly above average in that field. Only then does it really make sense to pay much attention to it when recruiting. How many certificates in the IT industry are like that?

mpermar profile image
Martín Pérez

20 years ago I was one of the first Java certified programmers in Spain. It got me a job straight away. Literally I could probably have taken any job where Java was a requirement. Companies would hire me just for the certification itself, although I was no special programmer at all.

I think things have changed in these 20 years but that concept of novelty is still probably valid in many areas. I do always recommend people that ask for job seeking advice, try to differentiate yourself from other job applications. Certifications are a way to do that. There are many other ways too.

siddharth2016 profile image
Siddharth Chandra

I think, one should not do certification just for the sake of it. Learn something and if, from wherever you are learning, they are providing you with a certificate, accept it as a pre-accomplishment before getting the real job !

nnowwakk profile image

For the employer or recruiter, your actual skills and knowledge mean a lot more than a piece of paper that says you can do something. Having a certificate is a nice bonus but that alone won't get you hired.

But on the other hand, it's pretty much the exact opposite for the customer. As you said, for a bathroom renovation you want the company to have "proof" that they know what they are doing. I'd say it's the same in any sector when the customer is comparing companies for their next project. The certificate doesn't guarantee that the person is an expert but it brings some kind of a peace of mind to the customer. "We have 8 AWS certified developers ready to work" sounds a lot more convincing than "we have 8 developers who've used AWS before".

In general I'd say that the certificate is worth if it's a "real" and meaningful certificate. The ones that you can get for completing a tutorial on udemy etc most likely won't bring any extra value to anyone.

eriklz profile image
Erik Lundevall Zara Author

It depends I think - if the company who has developers "who have used AWS before" has real previous customer cases in areas that are relevant to the new customer, that is going to be valued higher.

But without good customer references in the area that is relevant, certifications may certainly provide an extra bonus.