I'm in a handful of developer/coding groups on Slack and Facebook. I usually share my wins and lament my frustrations there. It's nice to connect with other people learning and progressing as programmers. Their advice and support has been invaluable in my journey.
Recently, I finished my Front End Libraries certification through freeCodeCamp. I shared my certification with one group in my excitement.
Someone responded asking me this exact question:
"Do these certifications hold any weight with employers?"
It wasn't a malicious question, rather a legitimate one. To be honest, I had never considered that before.
You see, I took on said certifications as a way to benchmark my own progress. The notion didn't cross my mind whether or not an employer would look at them favorably.
I spent the weekend mulling this over and these are my thoughts on the matter.
First off, any certification does not serve as a replacement for a college degree. You don't need a college degree to become a developer, but it never hurts to have one. I don't have one. I've chosen the much harder route of self education, as it has always fit me better anyway. I don't think I would do well in the college format of learning. I much prefer to dive deep into one thing, rather than spread my learning out across multiple subjects at once. I'm the type that circles backs and fills in the blanks when they become relevant to what I'm doing.
Despite that, these certifications represent something. Dedication, hard work, and perseverance, because to me they weren't easy. They put to test all the fundamentals that the lessons before them taught. They required me to plan and see the big picture. They even had Agile style user stories and unit testing to ensure that the project met requirements.
Those are things I have no doubt I would have to deal with on the job.
I put myself in a hiring manager's shoes, the best I could. If I saw that someone had taken the time to cement what they've learned and get a certification from a website, I would be impressed. Also, I would review the curriculum and ask them pointed questions about the projects and lessons during the interview.
A degree or certification of any kind is only as good as the effort you put into it. You can't just learn something and never use it. The Front End Libraries certification that I received challenged my React skills in ways I hadn't dealt with doing my own projects. I'll always have those apps as a reference point if I need to do something similar in the future.
If I had cheated or scummed my way through the certification, it would be obvious to anyone interviewing me. My projects are going on my portfolio and are up on my Github. I'm proud of them. That alone is more important than the "piece of paper" I got saying I did it.
These are my thoughts. What do you all think? Are any of you hiring managers that have seen these certifications on applicant's resumes? Do they hold any weight with you?
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