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Certifications like scwcd, xml...help get a JOB ?.

Raj Yelnare
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 21, 2002
Posts: 10
I have seen some messages on this forum how IT certifications have helped in Existing jobs for getting more benefits /bonus. But some how I have not seen individuals mentioning that the certification have helped them get a job particularly in the existing job market. Do certification's particularly like SCWCD, XML , OOPS.. help people getting a job ?
Tony Yan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 10, 2002
Posts: 170
Raj:
This is a question I have too. But I think nowadays cert. doesn't help as much as used to. But it certainly helps, to a lesser extent.


Tony Yan<br /> <br />IBM Certified Developer XML and Related Technology<br />Sun Certified Web Component Developer For J2EE Platform<br />Sun Certified Programmer For Java 2 Platform
Matthew Phillips
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 09, 2001
Posts: 2676
Certifications are a small part of a big picture. It may tip the scales in your favor when all other factors are relatively equal. There are very few hiring managers that will rate it as the most important factor in employment.


Matthew Phillips
Christophe Lee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 10, 2001
Posts: 142
Being certified definitely helped me get an interview. I am a senior at UofArizona and though they teach Java in the CSC and MIS departments, not many students are Java certified. Therefore, in my situation, it made a difference.
Further, he said most people at work were certified. So I think it definitely would not hurt. However, as more and more people become certified, it goes from becoming a bonus to a requirement.
Also, in my interviewing experience, not all companies know about Java certification. So companies are very polarized on this: either it is a requirement, or it doesn't do anything at all.
Mostly I think the companies that participate in the JCert initiative value the certifications.
That's been my experience with certification. I am SCJP2.
Oh yea, I eventually did get an offer from that interview and it was my only offer (but it was a good one!). So yes, being certified definitely helped me a lot in getting a job.
Chris
[ April 22, 2002: Message edited by: Christophe Lee ]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I shall once again weigh in on why I think certifications won't help get you a job. I'll try a different line of reasoning this time.
A typical project lasts 9-12 months. Compaies are hoping to hire you for 2-3 years minimum, ideally 4-5 or more. Chances are, you won't be doing the same type of work that whole time. You'll probably be involved with a whole host of technologies. If you're good, you'll have moved up form junior engineer and may take on more responsibility, perhaps even leading a small team after a few years. What does any of that have to do with your knowledge of XML, or Oracle, or anything else?
Personally, I'm skeptical of how much many certified people really do know, my experience says the tests train for the wrong thing. Also, very often you can find someone knowledgeable who's not certified. But let's assumed the certification does provide you additional technical knowledge...
If you hire a certified "expert" you may save yourself 2 months in technology rampup time of the new hire. So what? 2 months out of 3 years? A manger who hires that way is very short sighted. Instead, I would rather take the 2 month penalty, and hire the better person--smarter, better leadership skills, will fit in with the team, etc.
But wait, isn't that unrealistic? Isn't the average turnover time more like 12-18 months? Yes, it has been. But that's not a valid argument for 2 reasons. First, many people job hopped the last few years, looking fore more, more, more (salary, options, promotions, etc). I think we'll see less of this in a non overheated IT economy. Second, let's assume it will continue. So what? Who wants to be an average programmer? The best companies have lower turnover rates, and longer employment periods. They provide good environments for their employees and invest in the long term.
Those are the companies I want to work for.

--Mark
Todd Sanders
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 07, 2002
Posts: 33
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

Personally, I'm skeptical of how much many certified people really do know, my experience says the tests train for the wrong thing. Also, very often you can find someone knowledgeable who's not certified. But let's assumed the certification does provide you additional technical knowledge...
If you hire a certified "expert" you may save yourself 2 months in technology rampup time of the new hire. So what? 2 months out of 3 years? A manger who hires that way is very short sighted. Instead, I would rather take the 2 month penalty, and hire the better person--smarter, better leadership skills, will fit in with the team, etc.

We can not discount the possibilities that these "better persons" are also certified.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Todd Sanders:
We can not discount the possibilities that these "better persons" are also certified.

But then they are getting the positions because they are better, not because they are certified. :-)
--Mark
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61434
    
  67

Speaking as an arguably knowledgable Java developer who has no certifications, I've run into 3 types of companies (or hiring organizations):
1) Those that won't look at you if you are not certified. Not many; usually big (government contractor type) companies or contract agencies.
2) Those that could care less; majority.
3) And a few that actively sneer at them ("You wasted all that time studying for what?")
So I guess it's just a crap shoot.
A year or so ago when I was job seeking I thought that a Sun cert would help me at least get to the interview stage. I was blocked by the fact that you have to get through the progammer cert to take any of the others. And the fact that the programmer cert requires AWT knowledge is a brick wall for me.
Never used it, probably never will. (OK, I played with Swing for about 3 weeks in early 99). My entire Java career has been in the area of server daemons and web applications with Servlets and JSP. And I just can't seem to justify spending time studying AWT just to get a cert.
(I'd argue that AWT has no place on the core Java exam... but that'd probably fall on deaf ears).
My 2 cents,
bear


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Todd Sanders
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 07, 2002
Posts: 33
Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:

(I'd argue that AWT has no place on the core Java exam... but that'd probably fall on deaf ears).

It's not part of Java 1.4 certification!
Shura Balaganov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 22, 2002
Posts: 664
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

But then they are getting the positions because they are better, not because they are certified. :-)

They are getting positions because they have MORE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE OR CONTACTS, not because they are better or certified. :roll:
Well, hate to bring thid up, but it happened so that I had successfully completed numerous projects for a number of big companies in my area, and only have seen a hand full of people who been better than anyone on my teams (I was in consulting). The fact that I only have 1.5 years of Java experience prevents me to even compete on Java market (minimum entry is 2 years, and believe me, every good company has an Indian guru who knows Java inside-out and will test you well).
Disregard my 7 years of IT experience, Masters from one of the best math schools, Microsoft Certificate, etc. Apparently, I fall into 2 different categories: either too smart and overpaid (for duds like pharamaceutical companies) or underskilled (for companies who need Java people).
I've been unemployed for 7 months now.
I will ride this out, even if it means getting a job writing reports (you know, these great posotions where you need "expert knowledge of Excel and Crystal Reports")
I am getting my SCJP in a couple of weeks. People, if anyone needs very bright, people oriented developer with some architecture/project leadership experience in Philly-NJ-NY area, email me.
Good luck


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Shura Balaganov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 22, 2002
Posts: 664
Well, not exactly "unemplyed", I had some personal engagements, but job market is a Bear, and will be for months to come.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Shura Balaganov:
They are getting positions because they have MORE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE OR CONTACTS, not because they are better or certified.

Ok, fine, personally, I'd put either of those as more important than a certification, as well. In any case, it still goes to show that it's not the certification that helps.
--Mark
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61434
    
  67

but job market is a Bear

I resemble that remark!
Seriously,
It's not part of Java 1.4 certification! (AWT)

That's very interesting news. Guess I should have paid more attention to the "beta" announcement!
Now I guess I'll need to reassess whether I should go for it or not.
As I has said before, I haven't found that it'll tip the balance on most job prospects, but it's a personal challenge I might wish to take on, and it can't hurt on the job front. (Except maybe for those sneering-type places).
bear
SJ Adnams
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 28, 2001
Posts: 925
Bear,
In summary - you are an nincompoop.
The SCJP includes about 4 AWT questions so you don't need to know any AWT in order to pass. If you did your research you would know this, I am strictly server side too. (and as you know 1.4 has no AWT)
I don't want to work for company that sneers at my qualifications. They sneer at SCJP? OCP? MSCE? MSc? Bsc? MBA??? I hope not.
If you can't prove your knowledge in an 2 hour multiple choice environment, you have little hope in an interview situation.
Yes, exams make the difference. It doesn't matter if it's a vendor exam (i.e. Sun/Oracle/Microsoft) or a college degree, the candidate with the certs will beat you hands down in an interview situation.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61434
    
  67

In summary - you are an nincompoop.

I never doubted it.
I don't want to work for company that sneers at my qualifications. They sneer at SCJP? OCP? MSCE? MSc? Bsc? MBA??? I hope not.

Seriously, did something I say make you think I agreed with the sneering? I just said that I had come across this attitude. Not someplace I'd want to work either!
The SCJP includes about 4 AWT questions so you don't need to know any AWT in order to pass. If you did your research you would know this, I am strictly server side too. (and as you know 1.4 has no AWT)

Before this thread, I actually hadn't known a lot of this. I did do research, but I never got a sense for the amount of AWT covered in the exam. And, things being rather tight at the moment, I didn't want to drop the exam fee only to be stymied by the intricacies of GridBagLayout!
So as I said, given that info, and the newly discoverd fact that the 1.4 exam will not require AWT at all, I am re-assessing prepping for the exam.
So Simon, what is your perception of the utility of the programmer certification? Going back to the original question, do you think is it useful in the job market? (Even if not, as I has stated, I'd like to get the cert as a personal challenge).
thanks,
bear
[ April 24, 2002: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]
Christophe Lee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 10, 2001
Posts: 142
I'd have to agree with Simon.
In my case, having a certification helped directly to land me an interview. While I can't promise all recruiters will look at the certifications this way, I can assure you that studying for the certification required a lot of memorization and passing the test itself is not as trivial as some might think (especially those who haven't done so).
Studying for the certification can only help you. For example, I have not really done much with Threads (yea, I'm a newbie, still in school). But I had to understand and be able to read Thread code to pass the exam. In my interview, the recruiter asked me a Thread question and I was able to answer it perfectly. He later told me I was the only one able to do so (again, I'm in college, so most of you guys probably can do it easily). So I don't think it would hurt.
As for those who sneer at certifications; I think that would probably be the exception rather than the rule. Most people who either look favorably on it or are indifferent. I just don't see the point of sneering at people who take initiative.
Plus, it's only $150, so we're not talking about a huge life-changing thing here. In my opinion, just go out and get it....get as many as you can, but don't brag about it and don't mention it except on your resume.
If you are personable, have some experience, are a good fit, then the certifications can round you out as a technically capable candidate. Plus, it makes the recruiter less wary of accountability to upper management when justifying your hiring.
So it's something to round you out, but it won't make or break you.
Ashik Uzzaman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 05, 2001
Posts: 2370

My personal experience is positive after passig scwcd... ...chnaged my job from a trainer to a programmer in a better organization.


Ashik Uzzaman
Senior Member of Technical Staff, Salesforce.com, San Francisco, CA, USA.
SJ Adnams
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 28, 2001
Posts: 925
Unless someone actually performs a statistical analysis of CV's submitted and if they got to interview stage, then the only information you can expect is hearsay... So here's my opinion.
I have been looking for work from 1st week of feb up until a week ago (yes I have a job now - I start monday ). Lets leave 'how to get a job' out of the discussion and concentrate on certification.
I had 3 interviews that clearly (to me) held more responsibility than I am capable of.
I had many technical questions that I would not have answered well if I had not studied for the certs.
I had comments from technical interviewers along the lines of 'architect cert? don't you have to do a thesis or something for that?', and, 'did you pay for them yourself? your keen!'.
More importantly in the interview with HR at the place where I got the job offer; She asked me what my reaction was when I found out I was to be made redundant from my last job. I said that I realised I would need to brush up on my technical skills and got certified ( She was most impressed).
So I think certification does these things:
1) On your CV alongside the academic stuff to hopefully get yourself to the top of the pile of CVs.
2) All the study you put in is still there when you get grilled in the technical interview.
3) HR love it that you put effort into self development.
I must stress that a cert will not GET you a job, I've had a load of interviews where I felt I was the ideal candidate and made no mistakes, yet things didn't progress. I applied for around 50-60 jobs (posted on jobserve.com), had 8 interviews in total, had 2 second interviews, got 1 offer.
In summary you will be playing 'the numbers game', maybe without certs I would have only got 5 interviews and still be waiting for an offer?
Rather than ask 'why should I do the cert?', ask yourself 'why shouldn't I do the cert?'. What are you afraid of? failure??
Mark Fletcher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 08, 2001
Posts: 897
It also depends on the job market. Right now places like the UK and US are in recession, so native workers with certification are finding it difficult to get work. Workers from overseas are going to find it difficult as well.
But at the end of the day if you persevere, with certification you should be able to get the job you want.
Mark


Mark Fletcher - http://www.markfletcher.org/blog
I had some Java certs, but they're too old now...
 
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