Certification is useful?

I’ll be honest. I’ve never had much time for certification. Personally, I am blissfully uncertified with an exception: by virtue of authoring an IBM Smalltalk certification test, am considered certified (actually, there were two tests). Well, that’s not totally true: I am also an “IBM Senior Certified I/T Specialist”. Though this certification is a lot more involved than the typical “pass a test and you’re certified” approach to certification.

I’ve never found certification interesting. I’ve known some extremely talented software developers who miserably failed language certification tests; I’ve worked with a few “aces” who passed the test, but are about as smart as a sack of hammers when it comes to writing software. Whenever I look at a resume, I just gloss over certifications, because my experience tells me that they’re just not all that valuable and really tell me nothing about the individual.

It seems that, according to research reported in eWeek, others out there agree.

The Eclipse Training working group has been discussing such things which is why I bring it up. Does the Eclipse community need certification?

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4 Responses to Certification is useful?

  1. Andrei Loskutov says:

    Really smart people just do not have time for certification, because the project timeline does not allow him to go for a day and the managers are unwilling to let them free time for obviously unneeded work – anybody knows that they are smart even without a certificate :o)On the other side, if you are *new* in the business or your partners/customers do not know you, the real proof is just let you write a mock up or find bugs in the existing codebase (there are always bugs inside). If you are smart, you will find a bug in couple of minutes or at least explain why the codebase is crappy :o)I would say – I do not like an “Eclipse Senior certified” stuff. Trainings itself (Eclipse, Java, doesn’t matter) of course is always ok, as long as you will not go there *only* for a certificate.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wayne, certifications aren’t intended for hunting stars.IMHO certifications are very valuable either for platforms, for developers or for companies. For a platform, offering certifications and having people certified has its importance. Maybe it’s not very relevant, but it’s another measure of the platform health state. If a platform like Java has a lot of certified programmers, developers, whatever, it’s obvious that it’s a healthy platform (otherwise people won’t be paying for those certs).For a developer, it’s important, because it gives you a cert that states that you have some knowledge. That’s always a good thing for everybody. Certs aren’t about stars. There is no “this-programmer-is-an-absolute-crack” certification. Getting your example, when you read resumes from people certified, you cannot know if they are starts, but at least you know that they are *not lying* when they said that they have some knowledge about whatever technology. For knowing if they are starts, there are more interview phases.For companies they are also very important, mostly from the points above cited. If a company has many certified experts, at least the company can go with references to the clients (hey, maybe we couldn’t be starts, but at least we are not cheating you, we have people that know that technologies). Also, when hiring people, it’s always good to know that your employees have “at least” some knowledge and they are not cheaters.

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