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I am a Good Programmer, But no Certifications

Zakir Hosain
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 28, 2007
Posts: 16
I am a good programmer but I always fail in Certification Exams.. but yet doing programming, I do the very best. I mean I am good in Practical and not in Theory.
So What you people think of my chances of getting a programming job.
Hope your answer will boost me optimistically.

waiting to hear from you ranchers :roll:


"The Choices We Make, Dictates Our Life To Lead".
Pallav Pathak
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 10, 2007
Posts: 4
Dear Zakir,
How can you insist that you are a good programmer while you are not able to clear Programmer Certificate. Can you please let me know whether you are preparing for SCJP or any other exam. If you are preparing for SCJP then I'll suggest you to just carefully read Kathy Sierra's book for SCJP1.4, and it will solve all your problems. If you want to know more about this... then please reply...

Thanks
Pallav
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41052
    
  43
How can you insist that you are a good programmer while you are not able to clear Programmer Certificate.

Failing in an exam is not necessarily a result of not having mastered the material in question. Some people have problems dealing with the exam situation, and are unable to to reproduce the knowledge that they actually have.

Also, there's a lot more to being a good programmer than what this (or any other exam) tests.

Lastly, companies are looking for other, somewhat non-quantifiable, traits along with certifications and degrees, like experience and social capabilities. So all is not lost without a certification.


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arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
Agree with Ulf.


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Jan Cumps
Bartender

Joined: Dec 20, 2006
Posts: 2491
    
    8

Also agree with Ulf.

And the topics covered in certifications can often be learned when you need them, or you can look for info on internet and in books.
The other skills that Ulf mentioned, experience and social capabilities, are more difficult to acquire. You can't look up a social capability in Google.

I think a person with good social capabilities and no certificates is better positioned professionaly than vice versa.

Regards, Jan


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Raghavan Muthu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 20, 2006
Posts: 3344

I guess Ulf has literally mentioned a very good optimistic, required reply!

I would like to add on top of that: all what is required is the "attitude", "ability to learn" and most importantly "apply what you know and have learnt". These will do for "technical aspects" but apart from that there are some "team spirits" - that is nothing but "mingling with people".

I guess all these qualities are sure enough to fetch a job. Some situations the certifications seems to be a good entry point but not always! - IMHO!


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Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

As all mentioned, it might be not so usefull for getting job or growing.

But if you see other side ---
Passing any exam, is to prove, how strong are you mentally besides gaining knowledge in that subject? It has to do a lot with how many hours you can read with full concentration.

I would consider passing an exam, proves that we are still having enough enthusiasm to compete with our kids, while the opposite can be consider as -- we are getting older.
[ January 22, 2008: Message edited by: Jignesh Patel ]
Raghavan Muthu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 20, 2006
Posts: 3344

Originally posted by Jignesh Patel:
..I would consider passing an exam, proves that we are still having enough enthusiasm to compete with our kids, while the opposite can be consider as -- we are getting older.


Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 01, 2007
Posts: 759
Zakir, have you already try the SCJA exam? It is easier than SCJP exam and it is designed for non-programmer and entry-level programmer.



Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
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Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15950
    
  19

I do recommend getting certified. It's something you can wave around in front of HR people who don't have the wit to recognize more practical qualifications. If you can't pass at first, cram and keep trying.

I say that despite the fact that I've never bothered to acquire any.

Why? Back in school, I considered that one reason I did so well was less a matter of mastering the subject as an aptitude for test-taking. An aptitude to test-taking, however, is not the same as actual aptitude for the subject in question.

My favorite type of employer is one to whom paper trophies are less important than actual ability to deliver. They tend to be into more cutting-edge stuff, for one thing and the exams for that stuff haven't been written yet.

I probably would sit the SJCP, if every time I looked at a set of sample questions, they didn't include things like how to switch on fine-grained assertions. To me, that's NOT something worth carrying in your head for daily reference. A program that needs to be able to cut in and out assertions is failing far too many assertions, in my humble opinion - I prefer an all-or-nothing switch. But for me, it's sufficient to know that if I should need to, I can look these options up. And my fort´┐Ż is knowing where to look things up.

I'm also not real keen on the sample code with the embedded classes and the "what does this produce?" stuff but that's because if I ran across anything like that in real life, my first impulse would be to hunt down the author and batter him until he promised never to write undocumented slop like that again. Failing that, it would be to map the sequences out on paper - which is a luxury rarely offered in a testing environment.

I did end up taking an uncertified exam recently and scored quite well on it. Although I got unhappy with a few questions - someone seemed to think that there were fewer possible solutions to the problem than I did.


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arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
Certifications can be useful and no one is denying that. The point is that just because one is certified does not mean that it will be easier to find a job or employers will be giving priority (e.g. On the contrary some contries put higher emphasis on certifications, so do your research) or it will make you a better programmer(It may). Finding a good job has nothing to do with certification but

-- How good one's CV is, e.g. accomplishments, relevant
experience, relevant skill matrix. Certifications can be a real plus
for beginners with no or little experince.

-- How well you network.

-- Once you get an interview, it depends on how well you perform in your
interview (know the Java/J2EE core concepts & key areas). If you
crammed for your certification without quite understanding the core
concepts then you may struggle. In interviews you normally draw your
answers from your experience. Also certifications do not cover some
of the popular and sought after frameworks like Spring, Hibernate
etc which gets asked in interviews. Also you migh be given a small
written test to write which may include writing snippets of code.

-- How well you perform in your job.

-- How well developed are your interpersonal skills. One needs to make
conscious effort to build these skills.

-- Your passion, drive and committment.


So in my view hands on experience is very vital to gain confidence and perform well not only at interviews but also in your job. There are myriad of online tutorials and also can work on sample projects on your own. While gaining experience learn the fundamentals associated with it. Six years back I was in a similar dillema of whether to sit for certification or learn/apply rapidly evolving technologies/frameworks e.g. Spring, Hibernate, Struts, Ajax etc. I opted for the second one and it really paid off. I also made a point to learn the core concepts (i.e. theory) while working on the hands-on stuff.

Finally, time is a limited commodity and one should plan how to make use of it efficiently. If you can wrap up the certification in one month then it is okay but what if it is going to take 6-12 months. You be the judge and do your reaserach based on your place of residence and your personal situation. This is purely my view only.
[ January 24, 2008: Message edited by: arulk pillai ]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by arulk pillai:
Certifications can be useful and no one is denying that.


I denied that strongly in the past and maintain that position today. Certifications are, in my mind, of very little value. But that's not a discussion I want to start in this thread (we've had enough others on it already), for those interested search on my last name, and the work "certifications".

--Mark
[ January 24, 2008: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]
Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:


I denied that strongly in the past and maintain that position today. Certifications are, in my mind, of very little value. But that's not a discussion I want to start in this thread (we've had enough others on it already), for those interested search on my last name, and the work "certifications".


I strongly disagree with you. It has two major benefits.

1. Learning:
Example --- SOA was a new concept was always wanted to learn, but never got enthusiasm to sit and learn, but then decided to appear for IBM certification for SOA. And that preparation pushed me a lot to know about the real world SOA then just reading about certitication for IBM.

2. Business Value:
Example --- I am working for one of the largest IT company, and my company encourages to pass the certification. It is very clear in the corporate world, management never wants to waste the time of their employee and money to pay for exam fees if they are not going to get some return for the efforts.


I am replying in this post only, as I searched posts related to certificate by your last name and didn't find any appropriate post to reply.
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
Personally I totally agree with Mark and that is why I never bothered doing it, but for some it is hard to maintain drive and commitment unless there is some tangible benefits like a score, certificate or qualification. Secondly it can discipline some to sit and do some work. That is why I say it can be useful.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Jignesh,

What part of "that's not a discussion I want to start in this thread... for those interested search on my last name, and the work 'certifications'" did you not understand? Remarkably when I search I turn up scores of results and taking a minute to look through them quickly find appropriate threads.

If there are more posts on this topic in this thread I will delete them because this is a volatile topic and I don't want Zakir's thread hijacked by you or anyone else.

Now, if you want to get into the topic, show some effort, read the threads I mentioned and then post in those threads or start a new one.

--Mark
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6661
    
    5

Hey there Zakir

Certifications are sometimes welcomed and sometimes they are brushed aside. It depends. I know of architects that do not have a single certification to their name, but they do a pretty darn good job. I myself have a couple of certifications to my name, but from my experience of certifications I would say that a certification allows you to explore the boundaries of a technology more than anything else. The preceding statement is too general to apply to all certifications though. Some allow you to showcase some of your practical experience and score you on that while others try to teach you what you can and cannot do with a technology / Hardware. Each certification has its own goal.

In the end a certification does not hurt. If you can take one, good for you. If you are unable to, it is still not so bad since you say that practical programming is one of your traits. Good luck with your programming job hunt


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Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
Zakir,

I am not going to sugarcoat anything to you and I personally feel that anyone with good amount of knowledge in what they are working can easily pass the relevant certification with little effort and time. You may not be scoring big 90s and 95s but still you shouldn't fail. For example, most of us here are Java programmers. And SCJP is the basic certification that tests your skills in Java. If you fail in this, I really doubt how practical you are, and it clearly shows you the lack of fundamentals in Java. It's a big warning for you, find out what you are doing wrong and try to fix it.

Yes, certifications are not important as Mark and others mentioned for getting a job but if you are failing, then IMHO, it's a big warning for you. Why are you failing? Is it because you don't know the answer for the questions? Or is it because you don't read the questions properly with patience? Or is it because you didn't prepare well? This is for you to find out, feel free to ask specific questions on these areas.

I also interview people, and I have found that the probability of someone doing well is high if they have a certification. This is from my experience.

Regards,
Srikanth
[ January 26, 2008: Message edited by: Srikanth Raghavan ]
Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

Originally posted by Srikanth Raghavan:
Zakir,

Yes, certifications are not important as Mark and others mentioned for getting a job.





I also interview people, and I have found that the probability of someone doing well is high if they have a certification. This is from my experience.


Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
Yes, certifications are not important as Mark and others mentioned for getting a job.


Oops, sorry! Mark didn't say that. In fact, Mark said the reverse. I stand corrected

-- Srikanth
Freddy Wong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 11, 2006
Posts: 959

To me, certification has its own value, and the most valuable value is the preparation of getting it because you're gonna have to read a lot of books, learn a lot of new things if you don't know any, etc. But sometimes its value is also a bit overrated. A lot of "certified" people that I know love to brag their cert even though they barely know anything about it (some of them even used brain-dump to get their cert). Solving multiple-choice questions won't make you a good programmer. IMHO, in order to be a good programmer, you need to do a lot of coding and learn a lot of new things, e.g. frameworks.

So Zakir, don't worry about it. Keep programming and build some real applications that you can show to your future employer. And when you're free and you feel like retaking the exam again, do it because I know some employers prefer certs than anything else.


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Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

Originally posted by Freddy Wong:
To me, certification has its own value, and the most valuable value is the preparation of getting it because you're gonna have to read a lot of books, learn a lot of new things if you don't know any, etc. But sometimes its value is also a bit overrated. A lot of "certified" people that I know love to brag their cert even though they barely know anything about it (some of them even used brain-dump to get their cert). Solving multiple-choice questions won't make you a good programmer. IMHO, in order to be a good programmer, you need to do a lot of coding and learn a lot of new things, e.g. frameworks.

So Zakir, don't worry about it. Keep programming and build some real applications that you can show to your future employer. And when you're free and you feel like retaking the exam again, do it because I know some employers prefer certs than anything else.


Very well said. Certification has their own value, even though they are not much helpful when you really work in the project, but they are of great help to get the initial knowledge to move you on to solve the real world problems.

And as mentioned in the post. Just don't do certification for the sake of making good resume. Do the certification in the area, where you want to gain the knowledge. So if you think you are good programmer in Java, just avoid doing SCJP and look for some other area where you want to get the knowledge and believe me you will pass that certification because then you will have hunger to learn somethinking new, which is not the case if you just go for SCJP as you know a lot in core java.
 
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