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Java Certification hurting my chances of getting a job?

Benjamin Hundley
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Joined: Mar 06, 2006
Posts: 53
I just read this in Steve Yegge's blog titled "Ten Tips for a (Slightly) Less Aweful Resume" and I was curious to see if anyone here agreed. Would you say the following applies to a Java Certification? Is putting it on my resume hurting my chances of getting hired?

"Tip #6: Don't be a Certified Loser

Don't ever, ever use the word "certified" your resume. It's far and away one of the most prominent red flags in resume screening, bordering on a dead-giveaway round-file 86-that-bad-boy no-review-required situation, if you know what I mean. (If you don't know what I mean, well, you know the old saying about not knowing who the sucker is at the poker table.)

Certification is for the weak. It's something that flags you as a technician when you really want to be an engineer. If you want to be a television repairman, you can become certified in TV repair. If you want to work for Sony and design their next big-screen TV, then you clearly don't need a busy-working-adults course on how to repair the fugging things.

Same goes for tech certification. It means you had to take a course to learn something you could have read in a book. If you know something, just say you know it, and then be prepared to answer questions about it during your phone screens and/or interviews. If you feel compelled to add that you're certified in said skill, it's just broadcasting that you lack confidence in your own self-assessments, which doesn't help you in the slightest.

Seriously. Take all mentions of certifications off your tech resume. It's actively hurting your chances of getting an interview."

What do you think?

Doug Slattery
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Joined: Sep 15, 2007
Posts: 294
Originally posted by Benjamin Hundley:
I just read this in Steve Yegge's blog titled "Ten Tips for a (Slightly) Less Aweful Resume" and I was curious to see if anyone here agreed. Would you say the following applies to a Java Certification? Is putting it on my resume hurting my chances of getting hired?

Hi Benjamin,

Don't be discouraged by this. If you're new to the job market, the best ammo you have is your education (cert's included). If (like me), you have experience, cert's reinforce the experience you have on the job. Granted, there are bogus certificates available, which potential employers might consider irrelevant, but there are those cert's that are in the spotlight as well.

On the other hand, it's probably not advisable to have cert's on your resume that don't apply to the position (i.e. "introduction to management" for a web developer position).

For more info, do some sample resume searching on google.

As for me, I've been between jobs for 1.5 months now and have 3 potential employers lined up *and* had my cert's in my resume, some of which are more than 15 years old .

Tony Smith
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Joined: Jul 07, 2007
Posts: 229
It says at top of his page: "WARNING: These are my own *personal* opinions"

As far as I am concerned, he is just expressing he's opinion. How much it weighs is up to you to decide.

Think about it, if you have two resumes with exactly same experience. One is certified and another is not. Are you somehow going to prefer the non-certified one?
[ September 26, 2007: Message edited by: Tony Smith ]
Preeti Yarla
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Joined: Sep 08, 2007
Posts: 69
I am a beginner in java, am preparing for SCJP and hoping to work as a java programmer in the very near future.

I have a different perspective. By going through the path for SCJP and becoming one, I intend to tell my prospective employer that I have had a really strong foundation in java and that I am serious about it. Its my way to ask them to believe in me that I know java. And to develop efficient code I have to practice several small/medium projects. This certification may not directly get me a job but its one step towards that goal. And yes, of course SCJP is at technical level and not at design level. So it depends on what you want to be, programmer or a step above programmer.

Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14194

I absolutely disagree with Steve Yegge. Ofcourse certification is not for losers, and I am sure that a lot of people who are screening resum�s will see it as a good sign if you are Java certified. If you are looking for a job as a Java software developer, then an SCJP certificate is absolutely not hurting your chances to get an interview.

I agree with Preeti that an SCJP certificate shows that you are serious about your education and about getting a job as a Java software developer. It is evidence that you've invested time and effort into it. Suppose that you go to an interview and you say "I don't need a certification, I've learned it all from a book" then how is your prospective employer going to tell if you just read chapter 1 of the book, or if you really know what you're talking about?

Note, if you are SCJP certified, it doesn't automatically mean that you are a great software engineer - but it does say that you do know something about Java.

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Benjamin Hundley
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Joined: Mar 06, 2006
Posts: 53
I actually got my Java Programmer Certification back in March and got hired as a Java Programmer a few weeks later. Seeing as I had no prior professional experience I think that the certification was probably the only reason I was hired. I am actually in the middle of working on the Certification for Servlets and JSP's as well. I already have a Java job but I'm going for the certification anyway because I want to feel confident that I had a thorough understanding of the subject; and I felt like another cert to put on my resume wouldn't hurt either.

I learned Java in college but I still found studying for that certification to be very tough and I feel like I learned a lot. I'm very proud of the accomplishment. So the suggestion that I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into something that is scaring away employers was a little disheartening. Was just interested in what you guys might think of this suggestion.
Bridget Kennedy
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Joined: Nov 30, 2004
Posts: 84
See this thread for more discussion on the topic.

Personally, I think Steve Yegge's position is a bit harsh. Certifications should never stand alone when determining qualifications, but I don't see how they hurt. And you say yourself that you had to work hard and learn a lot to pass the SCJP. How can that be a bad thing?

The vast majority of opinions I've read/heard about the Java certifications are positive - especially from those who have experience with the process.
marc weber

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

My opinion is that his opinion is wrong.

"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer
Michael Raymond Jr.
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Joined: May 16, 2005
Posts: 178
Originally posted by Benjamin Hundley:

What do you think?


I think he probably does not have any certifications.

For me they've been helpful and required at two of my previous jobs. Anyone can put they have knowledge in xyz, but without credentials or experience to back what you put on your resume, you're not going to be taken seriously and accordingly will get fewer interview opportunities. Now the interesting part of that is that credentials/experience aren't always verified.

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Anil Kumar Saha
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Joined: Apr 07, 2004
Posts: 111
Certification is like tie-breaker. If two candidates with same profile and experience opt for an interview and make the same impact, the person with a piece of paper will get advantage.
But certification alone can not do anything. Experience is always the first thing employer will look for. In my opinion, people with more or less one year of experience should go for SCJP. It will always help.


Anil Kumar Saha
SCJP 1.4
Ulf Dittmer

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42053
Originally posted by Anil Kumar Saha:
Certification is like tie-breaker. If two candidates with same profile and experience opt for an interview and make the same impact, the person with a piece of paper will get advantage.

This is often said, but it's only true in theory. No two candidates ever make the same (or almost the same) impression. There are always other, and more important, factors to decide on.

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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Hi Benjamin,

I'm really not sure what Steve meant here. But I guess, certifications are neither for week nor for strong. Basically, if you are certified it means you are recognized. Whether you prepare for Sun certificaitions, Microsoft, IBM for that matter any certification would help you have a deeper knowledge on that particular subject. I personally experienced that. Before I started preparing for Sun, I thought I know lot of java. But I realized that I do not know anything in java until unless I started preparing for certification. After working on couple of months on that, now slowly confidence in built in me. So do not get confused or discouraged on what Steve meant. Continue with your effort and would always have a good results.

Well, relation between certification and job opportunities is still not convincing for me. Probably if we are certified, the number of calls we get for interviews would be certainly more, but ultimately our performance in the interview, on that particular day is really matters. I saw people who are really guru's in java failing in interviews, for various reasons like lack of experience, lack of concentration etc. So forget about the relation between certification and job, but it gives us an immense pleasure being called "Sun Certified", and I tell you what we will be obsessed with java once certified and I'm already feeling that. So keep rockin
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