Earlier this week, I asked this question on Twitter. I wanted to understand why people got certificates and what value they derived from them.
While certificates aren't as prevalent in the web development discipline, they're much more widely adopted in other tech fields, like IT, Security, and Project Management (among others). Known certificate-issuing bodies include GIAC, CompTIA, ITIL, Scrum Alliance, Scrum.org, PMI, and vendors like Oracle, Cisco, Microsoft, and AWS.
The consensus among participants was that it depends. Here are some of the reasons why respondents got a certificate:
- They needed it to get promoted
- Their employer needed a certain number of people to possess a specific certificate
- It was required to get (or keep) a job
- They wanted a challenge
- They wanted to break into a new role/industry
- They wanted to prove to prospective employers that they possessed the requisite knowledge for the role
- They wanted to learn something new
What I'd like to know is if they had any preconceptions about a cert (or studying for a cert) beforehand. What are the expectations associated with certs? Do we consider they have educational value, the way some look at degrees? Is it different? I leave these questions for you all to answer. :)
I'll answer first.
I just passed the Professional Scrum Master exam and am now PSM I certified. I chose to go with this cert over the CSM (Certified Scrum Master) for a few reasons: the exam was much more rigorous, it was much cheaper, and did not require additional courses to qualify. I could self-study.
My engineering team already adopts Agile practices, but we don't practice Scrum. We do some "Scrum-like" things, like work in sprints, have daily standups, and retrospectives, but we do not have Scrum Teams and self-organized Development Teams; our process is still waterfall. I wanted to better acquaint myself with Scrum terminology and understand how we work in the hopes of adopting the Scrum framework in the future.
I got a lot out of studying for the cert. I created a short curriculum and read books, watched lots of videos, took free courses and quizzes. I began to understand the foundational concepts of the framework, and my goal is to get better at understanding the practical applications of Scrum. In summary, the study process was valuable; the cert itself just shows that I have foundational knowledge. It was a good investment of my time.
Do you have any certs? Which ones? How have they helped you, if at all?
I'm Stephanie, a Content Strategist and Technical PM. Visit developersguidetocontent.com to learn more about my work!