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I.T. Certifications

لارا. on March 05, 2018

I am interested in advancing in .NET MVC, I started looking for certificates that I can take to empower my knowledge and skills, I came across se... [Read Full]
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I haven’t gotten any degree or certifications, nor do I want to.

First and foremost, I stopped high school because it was boring, and became a full time developer when I was 16, I’d always done development before that just not full time. I do online high school still (I’m in my 20’s), more as a formality, not that I want to. I don’t believe in schooling, they teach you useful skills but after grade 9 I was tapped out.

When I turned 18, I got my first full time development gig, $36k a year, 10x less than I wanted, but I had to make ends meet. Fast forward a year, I’m proudly earning over $45k per year (in my area, the average family only earns $50k between two married adults), married, have a child, and I’ve received offers of employement in the high five figure salary range (70k+), and been interviewed for 100k+ positions.

Let me tell you something I’ve learned: school is irrelevant in development, even if you’ve got a degree or certificate it means nothing to me, what matters more is the experience you have. Show me the non-textbook practical experience, and don’t give me a perfect answer you think I want to hear.

I now run my own business, and I’m a full time developer and I do what I love - the cost? Nothing, I never do over time, I work 7-3, and I’m never in a rush. I get to spend all night and weekend with my child and wife, and I’ve got my own place. My hobby is my job, and my job is a hobby. I work on what I built, and love every minute of it.

To summarize, certificates and degrees are not important, at least to me anyways.

 

Love it, at the end of the day can you do the work. That's all that matters. everything else is just fluff and improvement.

 

Thanks, man!! That is some inspiring post. But just to add my experience, where I am from anyone who has a lot of certificates and schooling would get ahead in the competition for gigs.

So people like me who detest the idea of certificates would have to prove that we are better than paper hunters. You would lose some contracts because of this but it would make you a better programmer. Because you would have to work hard and practically proof that your work is better!

Sometimes I am bothered by the lack of certificates and the contracts I lose. But most of the time it turns out that I am better of those contracts. In fact, they will drag you down. If you think about it, those people who see certificate and validate you as a good developer are not informed enough to use other methods. That means they are not worth your time anyway.

 

So far as software development goes, they are of limited value in the US job market. Most employers are interested in your college degree, not a certificate for passing tests.

There's also the issue of the certificate going stale rather quickly. For example, if you had earned a .NET certificate 5 years or so ago, a lot of what you learned to pass it would be outdated today.

Yet another issue is the cost of the certification and the lack of ROI. Having it probably won't increase your salary or land you a job (US market, may be different elsewhere). Oddly enough, companies are reluctant to pay for it because they are concerned you will leave if you get certified.

The positive side is that you will have to learn a lot of stuff to pass the tests, things you might not have been exposed to otherwise. You could do this on your own but having the motivation to pass a test helps some people learn more efficiently.

 
 
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Hey Sean!
Thank you so much for pointing this out, I really appreciate it.
I am a girl myself yet using phrases like "Hey guys" or "I have a question for you guys" comes to me and most people subconsciously, and we have to be more aware of it :)
P.S. I edited my post

 

Totally fine! It's a small experiment I'm trying. I appreciate you being so receptive to it! Thanks a lot.

 

It strongly depends of you location in the world. For exemple, in France, companies tends to love certificates and will prefer someone with one than someone really good at what he is doing. That aside, I strongly think that the game changer is the network. The more your network is of quality the more you get to have great opportunity.
On a personnal level, I think it depends of the certification. For exemple, if you are certified by IBM for their private tech, I should mean something. At least, that you are formed for their tech. For MVC? I do not see the need.

To be short:

  • I may avoided "general" certificate. MVC => everybody learn it at one point
  • Certificates for specific tech are worth (e.g. ABAP certificate or IBM Mainframe dev Certificate) because you have no or few way to learn these tech otherwise, and oppportunity follows that tendency.
 

Personally I do not believe that the certification part is important. What's more important is the knowledge behind the certificates. Certifications such as LPIC-1 and 2(linux) cover subjects you otherwise may have skipped. If you only 'google' the necessary information, you might miss the essentials. Especially in startup environments this can be potentially dangerous(we optimized product X for speed, but forgot all about maintainability/security is something that can happen then).
Of course LPIC is networking/server management and not programming, but I guess it works the same for programming ;)

 
  • I do not have any IT certificates other than ones to indicate I've completed courses on Coursera or DataCamp. I have 0 Microsoft certifications... and I'm a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP).
  • A certificate can help with career advancement if the companies you want to work for value them. For example, one of my mentors has his own company that is a Microsoft Partner. As such, they need to have x amount of people certified. So they have some value in certificates so that they can maintain their Microsoft Partner relationship.

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science & Engineering Technology - I went to college to get the paper so that I would be seen as belonging in the field. But, having that piece of paper isn't necessary nowadays. With the growth in coding bootcamps (and yes, there are legitimate ones!) and other alternative learning sources, it's easier to get into the field by showing what you can do - create a GitHub repo with samples to show your capabilities as you learn.

 

If having certificates motivates you, knowledge is never too much.
As everything depends on our market, there are companies that value them, and others do not.
But don't forgot that every company values what do you know.
If do you think is important, go for it!

 

I wouldn't go for a certificate. To me they are just a way for the guys that came up with the certification to make money, specially the Agile related ones.

I would rather focus on courses if you want to learn something new. To this day I haven't come across a job posting where a specific certification is a requirement to apply. (I've seen far more requiring a Master's degree).

If you want to advance your career in a more academic way, I would suggest to get a degree in CS, specially if you don't have one. Some people consider them a waste of time, but I think there are basic, abstract, and important concepts that you need to learn in order to be a really good developer. These topics will never be covered by just developing web apps.

 

Certification in general is good as "filler" on a resume as a substitute for experience, and might help get you past the initial screening process.

Certification is not a good substitute for actual experience. So if you are deciding between taking an entry level job in your field (gaining experience) and holding off on a job and focusing on collecting some certifications instead, take the job. Every time.

If you're stuck in an entry level job and your employer is willing to pay for certifications as some kind of ersatz job advancement -- take advantage of it. You might learn something, and it can't hurt.

If you want to transition from one job (say helpdesk) to another (say networking, or security) then pursuing a certification on your own time is a good indicator to your current or future employer that you have an interest and might be a good hire in the different role.

If you're deciding between a 4-year degree and some kind of sequence of advanced certifications -- do the degree. A bachelors degree, even in an unrelated field, carries far more weight with HR departments than a bunch of obscure IT certifications.

Often this is a chicken-and-egg problem -- you can't get a job without experience, and you can't get experience without a job. Sometimes certification can help get over this hurdle.

If you are mid-career and already employed at or near the top of your range, certification is unlikely to be a gateway to advancing your career. However, pursuing personal interests and "having something to show for it" might be worth it. Especially if your employer will fund it...

If you have significant experience with a unique system -- For example, a specific medical record system or manufacturing control system -- getting certified by that vendor in that product may open doors for future contract work. Note that this would not apply to horizontal certifications like Microsoft or Cisco -- while those certifications have their own uses, they are generally too broad. I am talking about the company who needs an expert with XYZ system to keep on retainer -- these people can command a comfortable hourly rate.

Finally, if you work for, or hope to work for, one of the consultancies that hire you out for short term contracts -- one where they have to sell you over and over again to potential clients -- then having an exhaustive list of certifications might be helpful or even required.

 

The easiest way to determine the value of a given certification:

  • Use google to do a site search "site:website.com" on job listing sites with a certification name in your query
  • Attend networking events, connect on linkedin, and see what others are certified in (who have already landed jobs you want)

Some certifications do open up new opportunities like Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) has more value then Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). CISSP is definitely worth the time when you paired with a genuine interest to excel in the InfoSec field, but that is in part due to 0% unemployment in the CyberSecurity.

There's no one answer fits all. Some certificates provide value to you but not as much to your resume. That doesn't mean they can't get you a job. You could ace an interview with the knowledge you learned in such a course.

Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual has a good section on creating a learning plan that may contain the best advice. Plan what you want to learn and how that will further your goals. Don't chase certificates because of their token value unless they further your learning plan and career goals.

 

I hold several - 19 or so. None of which I got by choice. My degree is from an online university, and their curriculum uses certificates heavily. One of them I was asked to be certified by my employer.

Here’s my take:
Certs can help get you a job in IT, but aren’t very useful in development.

The only thing the CIW has updated in their certification materials is the copyright date. The certs specifically mentioned Adobe flash as the gold standard, html tables for layout, and Netscape Navigator. Shudder.

I should note my university removed the CIW completely from their curriculum since I left.

The A+ family of certs can help get a entry level position in support or helpdesk, but don’t hold any weight in Dev.

What certs do show is your ability to follow through, as they are self paced study.

Despite all my rage, I am employed because of those certs. When I had about 12 of them, I applied for a job in tech support with the stated goal in the interview to become a developer. My certs and my moxie landed that job, was promoted a year after that, and in September will celebrate my third year as a dev.

And because I did them, when the business needed someone certified by a business partner, I was selected because studying for cert exams was my jam in college, so they do open opportunities.

 

The only certifications that immediately come to mind that may increase market value are Cisco certifications. That's for computer networking rather than software dev. Otherwise I don't put much stock in certs.

 

Another in the corporate IT world would be certification in one of the major CRM or ERP applications like SalesForce, Oracle NetSuite or SAP. These aren't technically programming either but certification can lead to commanding big money for those who are willing to travel frequently and have a way of convincing clients to hand over a lot of cash.

 

Personally, I don't think they really have much value. I would do the Microsoft certifications so that it would help my employer retain a gold certification with Microsoft, but aside from that, not much.

Having said that, maybe other types of IT certifications carry more weight.

 

I.T. certificates only benefits certification centers and certificate authorities. If you don't have any dev experience whatsoever it might help you to show your employer that you have a potential. Otherwise it dosn't really worth.

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