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Thread: Certification Exams

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2002

    Certification Exams

    Hello Everyone. I have a question about Certification. Now from what i see Certifications don't really mean anything. I have a few friends who got all there certifications but still cant find a job. Now these friends of mine never once actually sat down to learn a computer, yet are more Certified than I am to get a job. My question is
    Are Certifications helping or hurting the IT field???
    Alright take it ease

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    It all depends on the type of certification. I can guarantee that if any of your friends had a CCIE or equivalent they wouldnt be having a hard time finding a job. But I can see how being microsoft certified wouldnt land you anything but a few hundred dollars less in your pocket.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2002


    You know, there was a time when the whole thing just overwhelmed me. I think that I found that experience is the key. If you have a little experience along with your Cert, it counts for much more. I don't remember getting any replies for jobs when I started passing any exams for NT 4.0, but had no experience. Also, I think the job market is pretty rough right now, especially for IT Professionals. There is much competition in the industry currently. Don't get me wrong; there are some Certs that could possibly be doing more harm than help by "diluting" the certification arena. Some of them seem to be worthless. The idea is that people will pay big money to be able to say that they are certified in this or that. This is a Capitalist society we live in - it's all about the Benjamins Baby!

    Take care.

  4. #4
    Ninja Code Monkey
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Washington State
    It all depends on how you use your certification.

    Getting certified out the ass while you don't have any valid computer experience MIGHT help you get your foot in the door. But there is NO guarantee that it will get you a job.

    If you are working for someone and use the certifications as part of your professional growth plan it might help you advance your career (again, no guarantee). Plus a combination of experience and certification looks good on the resume when working to get a new job.

    The funniest thing I hear is people in irc telling me how they are gonna have $60k a year jobs out of highschool because they took this cisco class or that m$ class and are getting their cert. The cert/classes don't guarantee you squat. If you learn your area well enough, and do your research on how to market yourself to companies, what the companies want, etc.....you might be able to land a spot interning or as a bottom end monkey boy.

    Companies want people with tech skills, people skills, business skills.....all of the skills that they can get to avoid having to spend the money on training their new hires in the basics.
    "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." - Erasmus
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  5. #5
    Senior Member SodaMoca5's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    Thumbs up A place for everything

    I have to agree 100% with Juridian. However would like to add just a little bit of my philosophy on things.

    Think of your marketability as three things, the three E's: Education, Experience, and Expertise.

    In today's market all three are very important for the best positions. Education is extremely useful. A high school education doesn't cound for much. An AA or AS helps quite a bit and bachelors helps a lot no matter what field. Of course a technical, scientific, or engineering bachelors counts for more in the IS/IT realm. My degree is in Mechanical Engineering. As a Network Security Officer I do nothing with ME, but the degree helped me land my first IT job when I wanted to shift careers out of ME and into Network Design and Engineering.

    Nothing beats experience. When looking to hire someone a proven track record is highly desireable. Even the best educated college graduate is going to take at least a years worth of OJT before they are truly productive. It doesn't mean they aren't accomplishing but it just takes time to learn the real world. One of the best "Engineers" I ever worked with had very little education, no certification, but was an excellent field engineer and had experience up the wahzoo. Couple Experience with education and you have a winning combination.

    Expertise is demonstrated through certifications (or publications, special training etc.), or at least it is supposed to be. Being certified (just like being educated) doesn't really prove anything in itself. A smart person with no common sense can get certified in everything and be able to do nothing. Certification is, IMO, the least required of the three but can be used to bolster either of the other two.

    Now here is the score card:

    1 E = Entry level at best, lots of competition. If you have to get only 1 get Experience
    2 E = Entry to Mid level, less competition, higher starting pay. Best Experience and either of the other E's (education I rate slightly higher than Expertise because it adds secondary skills like writing, speech etc.)
    3 E = Mid to High level, far less competition, higher starting pay, better job security, better mobility.

    The problem comes in that Experience is the hardest to get initially. So my recommendation is go for Education (AS or AA at least) then get some minor certs to get you where you can get experience. Going the Experience only route is a longer, more difficult, and less financially rewarding method. You will wind up getting paid less than some young punk with a BS degree while probably knowing ten times as much. The engineer I talked about earlier was almost 20 years older than me and was payed 10K per year more. Fair? no way, he taught me a lot of what I needed to know so his experience helped me gain mine. Instead of being my co-worker he deserved to be my boss (more than my actual 3 E boss did) but he went the 1 E route and I have 3 E's.

    Hope this helps.
    \"We are pressing through the sphincter of assholiness\"

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Having recently come out of job search mode in the IT industry I have an observation. I believe cert/experience for most tech positions are most important. Certs are still of use, but I would say more specialized you are the better. The general type certs will keep your resume from going immediately into the bin of no return, but it will not get you a phone call for an interview. What I have seen is contracts looking for more exact matches for the task they are trying to fill. Can the applicant do “this” task on “that” platform while interoperating with “the other” system. Some of the criteria in job listings are asking for extremely specific skills.

    The combination of cert & experience is what will get you the phone call. A lot of job listings I have seen ask for some sort of degree but usually will waive the degree requirement for experience and certification in the specified area. Where the degree will be more of a requirement is if you are going for some sort of team lead or management type of position.
    Take a look at an IT job site like Dice.com and see what companies are looking for. There are still decent jobs out there but not for people with a general cert you can get from a boot camp in a couple weeks or the address of a brain dump site with no experience to back it up.

    Like it or not certification still says that at some point in time this person was able to answer a certain percentage of questions about a product the vendor thinks constitutes comprehension. If a person retains that knowledge and is able to apply it to real world environment is where experience comes into play. Take a person with a veritable alphabet behind their name – this could mean a person that can pass a test. Now add real world experience in the areas they are certified in, this makes the person look like they understand the product and are able to incorporate that knowledge into the workplace. This translates to a “possible” call from the HR person.

    Some certs are more valuable than others. The security field is hot at the moment – everyone needs to have their resources secure. Database management is also another area where there is a great need.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2002

    Thumbs up Certification

    I couldn't have said it better myself brackenwood!

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    there is a duality in aspect with certifications and jobs. i think everyone is aware that certifications don't really mean anything with regard to performance levels. granted it is a token of evidence, but there's always a large range of exception on both sides of the fence.

    swaying from the previous statements: in several instances, there is a valid reason for having a certification AFTER you are employed; and it is valued by the employer with regard to sla's moreso than it is to you with regard to salary, job benefits, or job security [but it is reflective].

    the above may not make sense - but let's consider a company that provides security monitoring over a sun enterprise. in order to provide it's clients with a level of expectation, they have committed (in contract) to maintaining a 50% employment with certified system administrators, and a minimum monitoring staff of 6. this means two things, if they are currently facing issues with meeting this requirement:
    1. they are more likely to hire a pre-certified new-hire over someone without the cert (regardless of experience).
    2. if you get certified, having already been working for the company, then they _should_ provide some time of reward (regardless of who paid for the certification training).

    on the flip-side, if they already have abundant employees that have this certification, then:
    1. unless you are willing to work for what a person without the certification will work for, you are of no immediate use to them (as you illustrate excessive wage costs)
    2. getting certified does not help the company to comply with contracts, it is up to the company if they should reward you or not (regardless of who pays for certification training).

    as opposed to what is thought and generally practiced in other types of environments, in the contractual arena, it's typical to put yourself in a better situation by "fitting the bill" <pun intended> and promoting from within. (ie. get a job uncertified while the company is heavy, wait for them to loose weight, get certified for free, and get a raise or bonus).

    if you currently don't hold "the" certification (whatever it may be), research for companies that provide a certification compliance for it - they will usually advertise this or offer it through a sales contact.

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