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Certifications

Robin Davies
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 26, 2003
Posts: 64
Hello People
What certifications do you think are essential for a developer to hold?
Taking into account that I have no experience, and only have knowledge upto MSc level in Software Engineering.
How hard are they to achieve?
With books etc, how much roughly would they cost?
Would the certifications help improve my employment prospects, as i have already completed Advanced Java Modules in my MSc?
Thanks for your advice.


BSc, MSc
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
If you search this forum for "certification" or "SCJP" you'll find many discussions on this topic.
Personally, I don't think you should waste your time getting any certifications.
--Mark
Michael Morett
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 06, 2001
Posts: 28
Agreed. Don't waste your time "getting" the certs, but do spend lots of time studying for them. The knowledge gained, I think, is very useful. It sounds counterintuitive and someone will say "why not just take the test since you studied for it and are ready to pass it". Personally, when I see SCJP on an email signature, I don't immediately think "wow, this person is good", but rather "this person studied for a few weeks." Then there are those like Craig McClanahan who sport no certs, but you *know* they know their stuff just by the way they express themselves.
james airey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 15, 2003
Posts: 41
I don't think you need certs. You need work experience.
I am assuming you are college leaving age (on basis of having MSc + no experience). If this is the case, you wouldn't be expected to hold professional certs.
First step is to get a job. The bigger companies will generally have graduate training programmes, and I would recommend going for 1 of those for a while.
Certs are a nice to have. Experience is a must have.
If you are in the process of applying for jobs, and want to keep yourself busy, by all means study. However I wouldn't defer getting a job in order to do so (especially as you have an MSc).
Alfred Neese
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 29, 2003
Posts: 27
I have mixed feelings about this topic. To be sure work experience is the most valuable thing you can have, as I tell every potential grad student who asks what to do. But if getting a job is as difficult as it is now, getting a cert is at least doing something. I perosnally would choose to hone my job-hunting skills in addition, but in my view getting certified is a positive.
I hold two certifications now and am going to go for a third this year. The knowledge value is significant, but the certification also helps define how much is necessary, and what. I'm not sure this is an unmixed blessing, but it helps. And as long as I'm going to put in the effort I may as well invest a couple hours and $150 to take the test and make it into a formal credential which I can add to my CV. Or so I believe.
Kevin Thompson
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 04, 2001
Posts: 237
On a topic like this - you really need full disclosure from the people giving you opinions. I would guess that the people telling you not to get certifications are the people who have not obtained a certification.
Instead of asking people here - look in the real "normal" so to speak world. The correct question is this ==>
Are there job postings out there on the internet or company web sites that absolutely REQUIRE any of the java certifications for their positions?
The answer is YES.
And as for my own full disclosure - yes I have a pile of certifications.
Kevin
SCJP
SCWCD
SCEA - Part I
IBM Certified Developer - XML
Robin Davies
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 26, 2003
Posts: 64
Thank you all for your input.
In your opinion do you think there are more positions available for microsoft developers or java developers. Does one route offer more money than the other? How long do you think it would take to acheive for example SCJP, as a pose to MCSD?
Thank you for your time.
Dmitry Melnik
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 18, 2003
Posts: 328
It takes 1 exam to become SCJP, and it takes 5 exams to become MCSD (but you will get MCP,and MCAD on the way there). Those certificates just belong to different weight categories. IMHO it's easier to get MCP on C# (takes just 1 exam) than SCJP, especially if you have a bit of experience.
Robin Davies
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 26, 2003
Posts: 64
What is the pass mark for the SCJP exam?
Prakash Dwivedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 28, 2002
Posts: 452
Originally posted by Robin Davies:
What is the pass mark for the SCJP exam?

61%, if i remember correctly.
Total questions 61, To pass u r required to anser 37 correctly. No negative marking.


Prakash Dwivedi (SCJP2, SCWCD, SCBCD)
"Failure is not when you fall down, Its only when you don't get up again"
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1297
get a job firs then get the certs while working


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
Sam Tilley
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 05, 2001
Posts: 160
Personally i would say that certs are definetly worth while, especially if you are in your position where you want your CV to stand out more than other similar candidates, because you can bet many others competing for the same job have them. I am always interested by the "cert-haters" approach that you can have experience or have a cert, like they are mutually exclusive and you cannot get one while also getting another!
Surely you can get experience and take a cert at the same time, many do, and you will probably impress your employer all the more. I would say that Michael's idea of studying for but not taking the exam would actually be counterproductive and fairly pointless as some of the exam stuff isn't that important to know for day-to-day work. I am sure that Craig McClanahan does know his stuff but if he also had certs would this be a advantage or disadvantage to him? I am guessing the former. But the way it is phrased makes it seem that if Craig had studied for certs he would'nt have the great experience (Michael i am not picking on you but this is a common assertion bandied about that makes no sense).
On a personal note i studied Java in a different role at work, and it was only when i passed the SCJP that i was allowed onto the development team. While i got a better score than the project leader who took it years before its obvious that i am nowhere near him in terms of ability but it showed i was keen and willing to learn and was serious about being a Java developer.
So i would say do them, obviously experience is more important and they shouldn't take precedence but if you can do both or if you are not employed then its worth it. Anything you can do to stand out is worth the effort.
Also the SCJP is OK, although it does help your knowledge i have found the developers is ten times better and much more interesting and in itself well-worth taking.


Sam Tilley SCJP, SCWCD
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Originally posted by Billy Tsai:
get a job firs then get the certs while working

Hi Billy,
How you have grown? I am happy for you. Is there any reconciliation between you and your parents yet?
Regards,
MCao
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Originally posted by Robin Davies:
Hello People
What certifications do you think are essential for a developer to hold?
Taking into account that I have no experience, and only have knowledge upto MSc level in Software Engineering.
How hard are they to achieve?
With books etc, how much roughly would they cost?
Would the certifications help improve my employment prospects, as i have already completed Advanced Java Modules in my MSc?
Thanks for your advice.

Hi Robin,
If you graduated from top level school, you would not have asked this question. Companies will pick top level school or school notoriously produced quality engineers first and the candidates then responsible to back up his/her education with intelligent responds to land a job.
Certain companies like to hire cert people will say so in the job requirements. You should not worry spend additional money when you should not have to.
My company don't give a damn because the executives want to save a buck or two.
Regards,
MCao
[ January 03, 2004: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
ayman Ab
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 20, 2001
Posts: 14
In my opinion , certification doesn't mean that you accomplished something big. You do the certification just to be like other people who did these kind of certification. You study one study guide and you can easily pass each sun's exams. I finished SCJP,SCJD,SCWCD and SCBCD because almost everybody has them.
[ December 31, 2003: Message edited by: Ayman AbouQamar ]
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1297
i plan to study and sit the exams to get the Intershop certified Enfinity Multisite developer and administrator certifications, because my company will be paying for them also providing the full official training like in next month. Currently we r using that platform/framework for an ECommerce project.
Intershop Certified Professional
Jeff Fisher
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 14, 2002
Posts: 18
I've been quite stunned for some time reading the various discussions about the value of certification in this forum. It appears that many people don't understand the potential value of certification. The "potential" could become real if more people (especially hiring managers) would buy into the concept.
It may come as a surprise to many of you that it's still possible to make a living as a COBOL programmer. That's what I do now. I have no degree in Computer Science or I.T. (I majored in EE), but I took a COBOL programming course at a community college in the late 90's when concern about the Y2K problem was running high. I got a COBOL programming job at a consulting company that had what they called a "Resource Development Program" (RDP). I was hired at low pay as someone who had no experience but who DID have some knowledge of COBOL that I was able to demonstate by taking a test. In order to become a mainframe developer, COBOL is just the tip of the iceberg, and I had to learn the rest (JCL, ISPF, CA7, CICS, DB2, and so on) while on the job. As I learned the employer was able to offload simple coding assignments to me, thus freeing the more experienced developers to do higher-level design work. It turned out to be a win-win scenario for everyone involved. I turned out to be a fairly decent programmer and I now have a much bigger paycheck. I took a temporary pay cut when I decided to become a programmer, but the risk was worth it.
Many others in the RDP program were also successful, but those who either did not have the talent or the desire to become programmers dropped out with little harm to anyone.
That's the whole idea behind certification: to give a talented beginner a way to get his or her "foot in the door." A person with desire but no experience can buy a computer and learn at home (or take a course or whatever), get certified to show that they at least have SOME knowledge even if they are not yet ready to be a lead software architect, get hired at less pay than an experienced developer, and learn on the job while providing value to the employer doing low-level tasks. People who are lucky enough to get this kind of opportunity (as opposed to being completely barred from the profession) can get more pay and more responsibility as their increasing skills warrant. Win-win. It's been proven to work.
If the Sun exams are too easy, then make them harder! I believe they are doing that right now with the SCWCD exam. All people should have opportunities, not just those who went to prestigious universities.
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
The problem is technology certs are vendor centric. It helps to solve the problem of self-study people and there are quite a lot of them in software industry. Any established company recognizes CPA, EIT, CQE, etc., they are sponsor or approved by government bodies. If you have something like that along with your degree(s), then it mean you are expert in your field. Some require candidates to have certain years in the field before apply for the exam.
Regards,
MCao
 
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