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The meaning of certification

Chong-Leng Goh
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 20, 2004
Posts: 7
I cannot help but wonder... what is the value of certification?
Gaining knowledge is probably one. But if we cannot make something out
of our knowledge... what good is certification to us?

Somewhere along the path of pursuiting for certifications, I realised
that if I don't do something out of the knowledge I gained, there is no meaning to any of the certifications that I have attained.


Jenson Goh<br />SCJP 1.4, SCJD, SCBCD, SCWCD 1.3, SCDJWS (Beta), SCEA, SCSA, SCNA
Ko Ko Naing
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 08, 2002
Posts: 3178
Respect among colleagues and confidence on jobs? :roll:


Co-author of SCMAD Exam Guide, Author of JMADPlus
SCJP1.2, CCNA, SCWCD1.4, SCBCD1.3, SCMAD1.0, SCJA1.0, SCJP6.0
Sathya Srinivasan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 29, 2002
Posts: 379
I normally try to take certifications for the following reasons.

1. To push myself to learn new technologies. To me, the most difficult thing for a Software Pro is to get over the inertia to learn new things. I think preparing for a Certification helps in this regard. This was the reason I wrote SCMAD and prepared for SCDJWS

2. To gauge my knowledge in a particular technology. Even though I have worked with Java for a long time, I find it mentally satisfying to get a benchmark. I wrote the SCJP and SCWCD for this reason.

3. To understand the nuances of a technology. I learn a lot of subtle, but important aspects of Java when I prepared for SCJP.


There are other arguable reasons, which I don't find personally to be valid reasons to write a certification.

1. Adding credentials to your resume. There are two aspects to this.

a. If you are an accomplished programmer, this is a very vague reason to go for a certification. Most people care for what you have done and how you have handled projects rather than how many letters you have gained.

b. If you are trying to switch to a new technology (say, from desktop/swing development to web development) and don't have enough projects to back your knowledge in web development, having a certification can be a good bargaining chip to convince your employer that you are fit for the new project.

2. For getting a promotion: I haven't heard too many cases where people give one a promotion just based on certifications, although I might be proven wrong. However, as mentioned above, a certification like SCEA can be used as a bargaining chip to convince people that you deserve a better position (like an architect from a developer), although in the end, your performance might count more than your certification.

Finally, getting a certification also can help improve your confidence in a technology and also to give a feel-good factor.

All said and done, a certification amounts to nothing if you don't do anything in practice with that technology. If you don't practice what you got certified for, you will tend to lose expertise in that area even if you scored 100%. Practice always helps.


Cheers, Sathya Srinivasan - SCJP 1.2, SCWCD 1.2, SCMAD 1.0
Co-Author of Whizlabs SCMAD Certification Exam Simulator and SCMAD Exam Guide Book
Chengwei Lee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 02, 2004
Posts: 884
I agree with Sathya.

For me, taking certifications forces the otherwise lazy me to study. Think I put in much more efforts in Java certifications than I did in my early University years

Besides, there're many aspects of the technology which I may not encounter in my work, so preparing for the certifications actually let me know more of the technology.


SCJP 1.4 * SCWCD 1.4 * SCBCD 1.3 * SCJA 1.0 * TOGAF 8
Paul Michael
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2001
Posts: 697
here's an insightful article from Eric Burke:

Does Java certification matter?


SCJP 1.2 (89%), SCWCD 1.3 (94%), IBM 486 (90%), SCJA Beta (96%), SCEA (91% / 77%), SCEA 5 P1 (77%), SCBCD 5 (85%)
Dushy Inguva
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 24, 2003
Posts: 264
And personally too. Being certified rocks !!!


SJCP, SCBCD, SJCD, SCDJWS, SCEA (Part I)
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1297
the meaning of a tertiary degree? master degree?


BEA 8.1 Certified Administrator, IBM Certified Solution Developer For XML 1.1 and Related Technologies, SCJP, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCDJWS, SCJD, SCEA,
Oracle Certified Master Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect
Amy Caruso
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 23, 2004
Posts: 14
I am curious about how many of you passing the SUN tests full-time employed?
Alan Wanwierd
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 30, 2004
Posts: 624
From my personal viewpoint I find certifications a are a great way to focus learning. Its true that experience is the best teacher, but most projects tend to involve just a tiny fraction of the technologies they use. Studying for certifications can make you aware of other possible approaches and give you a wider understanding. In the IT industry these days, failure to stay aware of technology and up to speed with current techniques and products is unfortunately a sure way to end up unemployable. Certifications give a good framework for structuring this 'extra-curricular' study, and demonstrating commitment to self-improvement.

..also as someone without an IT degree (B.A. Music & Politics) My certifications are the only formal qualifications I have to back up my experiences. This was VITAL when dealing not with employers (who do look more at experience), but with Depertment of Immigration here in Australia who ignored years of experience and employer references and demanded to see bits of paper to PROVE I was an IT professional! (bloody bureacracy!).

..on a less altruistic and wholesome note once I complete my ICED certification I am up for a $1k Bonus and it helps demonstrate my commitment to my career (which wont do any harm when it comes to salary review due in a few weeks!)..

...and after all - if you employer pays for the exams... whats to lose?.. Certifications are certainly not going to do you any harm!
peter cooke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 16, 2004
Posts: 314
I was a very angry very senior Unix Admin with a degree in software/Hardware engineering. Being certified made me happy by moving me out of the 7X24 support arena into using what I learned in college.

I am much happier now that I can do better than working 24 hours a day and hoping that something does not happen that will get me yelled at.


CIAO Peter M. Cooke
Roger Chung-Wee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 1683
I am curious about how many of you passing the SUN tests full-time employed?

My job plus travelling takes about 12 hours each weekday, so it's been a struggle to find the time and energy to study for the exams. Starting round about end-June 2002, SCJP took me 10 months, SCWCD six months and SCBCD seven months. I finished the last exam on 1 June this year, and I'm now studying for SCDJWS.

I can tell you that I'm damned proud to have those certificates as I had to work hard for them. Curiously, I think that I am the only person in my department who has any Java programing certificates (although I believe that there are a few who have the SCEA), despite there being about 120 other Java developers. If my department is typical of others, then only a tiny minority of the world's 4,000,000* Java developers possess any Java certificates.

* According to Sun


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.3, SCBCD 1.3
Ko Ko Naing
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 08, 2002
Posts: 3178
Originally posted by peter cooke:
SCBCD for J2EE1.3, SCWCD for J2EE 1.2 , SCJP for java 2


I think there is no such certification like SCWCD for J2EE 1.2... Shouldn't it be SCWCD for J2EE 1.3? Just my 2 cents...
karolos ignatiadis
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 15, 2003
Posts: 25
My story is very long and I have asked myself the same question a million times, that is, whether certification helps at all.

All I can say here is that after completing the SCWCD certification (a month ago) I was offered a job to organise and teach Java (and possibly XML) seminars in a local University. There is also the prospect of finding a second job doing some programming with Java.

Hope this helps.

---------------------------------------------------

Karolos E Ignatiadis

SCJP1.4, SCWCD, OCA(preparing for PL/SQL), IBM XML(preparing)
Roger Chung-Wee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 1683
I rather doubt whether a certification in itself get you a job, but you may need all the help in getting an interview in the first place. It is possible that your certification helped to get you the interview, then you had the opportunity to sell yourself.
k.p. thottam
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 06, 2004
Posts: 4
As the architect for the J2EE wing of my consulting group out of Toronto , I have built my team with Sun , IBM and Oracle certified professionals . While offering our group's professional services these certifications have helped our group win out sourcing contracts . The same is true for our .Net practice , and on the infrastructure side some of the bids requires certified professionals even to be considered . So atleast in Canada certifications matter .


K.P.Thottam (KPT)<br />SCJP,SCWCD,SCEA,MCP
peter cooke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 16, 2004
Posts: 314
yes I know there was no SCJP for 1.2.

I kept having interviewers ask me if I was certified for 1.2 or 1.4

In the end I just ended up putting on my signature.
peter cooke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 16, 2004
Posts: 314
Sorry It's late and my mind is fried out.
You are right it should have been web component developer for J2EE 1.3
 
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