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.
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!
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
Joined: Jun 08, 2002
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...
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.
SCJP1.4, SCWCD, OCA(preparing for PL/SQL), IBM XML(preparing)
Joined: Sep 29, 2002
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.
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
Joined: Mar 16, 2004
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.
Joined: Mar 16, 2004
Sorry It's late and my mind is fried out. You are right it should have been web component developer for J2EE 1.3