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Possible career path. Advice?

 
roy russo
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Hi folks! I'm new here as a member, used to just lurk.
Now, as we all know the job market for programmers is dwindling here in the U.S. with the depressed economy and offshore outsourcing to diff parts of the world. The only way *I* can see that I can stay in IT and still reap the benefits of good compensation is to move up the chain of command, to perhaps a job that cannot be outsourced in the short-run. It is either move up in the hierarchy or sit and cry, as I see it. I prefer to move up.
I'm a Team Lead at a small tech company with 4 programmers under me. Aside from the usual bug fixing and patching we all do, I architect and design anything from our database structures to new software designs. Even though I have "some" experience with architecting systems, I would like to move up the chain of command in to a project manager or architect role. So my question is: Is it worth seeking Sun Certs to buttress my experience?
I'm willing to hear comments from any of you that have managed to move up and may have any advice on how I can diversify my skillset and make myself more attractive to my next employer.
 
Don Stadler
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The Sun Certified Enterprise Architect cert might help with moving into an architecture position, as might the SCBCD. I can't see how Sun certs would help moving into a PM role. A SCRUM certification might help with that.
 
Marc Peabody
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Ask your company this question. Find out if they see certification as valuable, and if so, which one(s) in particular.
 
roy russo
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Thanks for your replies, fellas.
I really can't ask people at my job as it is an extremely small workplace with little to no hope of ever growing, and in turn, little to no hope of *me* ever growing within it.
I think I will go the Sun Cert route, but wasn't sure if they were highly respected within the industry or if they meant anything at all to potential employers.
 
Mark Herschberg
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As Don noted, there is no PM cert from Sun. There is SCRUM, but personally, I find management certs pretty useless. We don't really understand exactly how project management works, how the hell can we measure who does it well with a test?!?!
As for the SCEA,it's one of the biggest misnomers. You can build systems just because you took a test? Show me the company that hires those people so I can short it. The SCEA is more about knowing which technology to use.
As you get to higher level work, it's more open ended. The mechanics are less well understood. We can't easily predict management/leadership ability let alone with a paper test. Most successful companies I know hire at that level based on track record.
--Mark
 
roy russo
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Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
As you get to higher level work, it's more open ended. The mechanics are less well understood. We can't easily predict management/leadership ability let alone with a paper test. Most successful companies I know hire at that level based on track record.

So is it even worth being a SCEA? Even though most companies weigh experience over paper certs, would it not be an important differentiator?
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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Try to upgrade the technology where you work.
Are you on JDK 1.4?
Are you using struts?
If you are a swing shop are you using SWT?
Are you using JBuilder, WSAD, IntelliJ, or Eclipse?
Do you have some web service going?
Are you XML savvy?
Getting SCEA certainly could not hurt you. But putting it on your resume might. SCEA proves you know the fundamentals of the J2EE platform, fundamentals of patterns, and UML. People who don't bother with certificates thinks it means you will know every arcane detail.
I think if you were an experienced developer and SCEA you could design simple J2EE platforms. That experience could be parlayed into more ambitious designs.
 
Matt Cao
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Originally posted by roy russo:

I'm a Team Lead at a small tech company with 4 programmers under me. Aside from the usual bug fixing and patching we all do, I architect and design anything from our database structures to new software designs. Even though I have "some" experience with architecting systems, I would like to move up the chain of command in to a project manager or architect role. So my question is: Is it worth seeking Sun Certs to buttress my experience?

Hi,
If you have experience, then cert will help as long as you could relate to your company current technologies. The likely scenario question you might face is what could you do to improve your current company technologies. It will delves deep into details. Know your domain industry in detail also helps too.
If you know how to improve your current company, then the potential employers will interest into hearing what could you do to help them.
How? Have a proposal written officially for your company, you may have to go through the whole states or your proposal could be killed because no budget. But it helps to establish into your record.
Good Lucks,
MCao
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by roy russo:

So is it even worth being a SCEA? Even though most companies weigh experience over paper certs, would it not be an important differentiator?

I don't think it is, but then I've never been a fan of Java certs. I generally think the higher level the cert, the less useful it is. This is for two reasons. First, the work gets more complex, so it's harder to test/measure ability. Second, people working at the higher levels generally need more experience, so it will outweigh the value of any certification.
It's fine to get an SCEA or any other cert, but just be sure to understand exactly what it is, and isn't. An SCEA isn't going to make you an architect.
--Mark
 
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