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Certification Attack

Omis Hein

Joined: Dec 06, 2001
Posts: 13
Has anyone experienced verbal attacks by peers because they have found out, you are certified in something.
It is really disheartening... as you put alot of effort into them.
The general gist of the attack is
(1) Cetifications are worthless.
(2) Certifications are covering up for incompetence (implying you must be incompetent as you are certified).
Followed usually by a story about someone they knew who got 97% in an exam but was the most incompetent person ever. Who could not write a line of code to save their lives.
It goes without question that these people do not have certifications.
I would like to hear your experience and suggestions on how to deal with it.
SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, Weblogic Server Specialist 7.0
Valentin Crettaz
Gold Digger

Joined: Aug 26, 2001
Posts: 7610
Hi Omis,
Welcome to Javaranch, a friendly place for Java greenhorns
As this discussion does not directly relate to the EJB certification exam, I'm going to move it to the Meaningless Drivel forum. Please continue discussing this topic there. Thank you for your comprehension

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HS Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Hi Omis ,
Check this earlier thread which seemed to have survived in the EJB Certification forum.
Is certification just a piece of paper ?
These threads possibly belong to the Job Discussions forum, Valentin ?

[ October 01, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2581

I have faced such attacks myself from many, but don't really know how to deal with them, it would be interesting to know other views as well.
- Manish
Andres Gonzalez
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 27, 2001
Posts: 1561
Good point, people think that you should know *everything* just because you're certified...

I'm not going to be a Rock Star. I'm going to be a LEGEND! --Freddie Mercury
Angela Poynton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 02, 2000
Posts: 3143
I think the general belief is that those who are certified tend to hold up their certificates like badges of honour "Sun says I'm a good Java Programmer", which to those who aren't certified reads as "Sun says I'm better than you". The fact is being certified doesn't make a person better or worse at whatever the certification is in.
I have a BA in Film and Video Production, Orson Welles didn't, who is the better film maker? Orson of course. I passed my course but I'm not a good film maker. It is possible to pass a certification but not be a very good programmer.
Certification can be a good basis upon which to build an expertise in something but the only way to get good and earn the respect of your collegues is once you've passed the exams is to build on that base in your work and gain more knowledge through practical experience. I've seen for myself a number of people come and go in my dept came in spouting off about their certifications, they didn't stay because that in itself wasn't enough to sustain them in a real working environment and they showed no ability to learn through experience.
Of course it's a generalisation, most programmers who become certified will go on to build their knowledge, but people will always remember the bad eggs, not the good apples!

Pounding at a thick stone wall won't move it, sometimes, you need to step back to see the way around.
SJ Adnams
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 28, 2001
Posts: 925
I've had such attacks, & yes he didn't have any certifications.
The good thing about them is there are a lot of 'non everyday' things you must learn about which come in handy from time to time.
That all said I've managed to get my biggest attacker to sign up for the CFA exam ( since it provides 'good broad domain knowledge'.
Since your new here there are loads of threads on this subject if you just search the archives.
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Never had or even saw that happen around here. For awhile we where encouraged to get certified. Some companies use it as a marketing tool.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Angela hits the nail right on the head.
There are many people with certification out there who indeed know little beyond the list of items they need to pass the exam and have no practical experience yet behave like they're some kinds of gods.
Such people give all people with certification a bad name.
Then there's of course the exams that any fool can pass with no real knowledge of the subject matter apart from a cheatsheet with buzzwords for the exam (MCSE for NT4 comes to mind).
Such certiciations give all certifications a bad name.
3rd and last are the people who know they can do the job but are passed over for someone else only on the basis of that certification paper (which they don't have because they spent the last 2 years bottled up on a large project working 80 hour weeks using the stuff that exam tests for real every day).
These people are angry at the recruiters who look no further than a piece of paper in deciding who's best for the job and take that out on the person who holds that paper (the recruiter generally being unassailable in her ivory tower).

paul wheaton

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729

"Methinks he doth protest too much". Such a person is usually suffering from some sort of self esteem issue. Because they think so little of themselves, and because they think there is value to your certification, they want to equalize things by saying it has no value.
I once met a guy who refused to read geek books because they are written by unemployed people who, if they really knew what they were talking about, would be employed. While there is logic in what this guy says (books don't pay), and while there are certainly cases of where this is true (there are books that are crap and the author doesn't know spit), I think this guy is a nutter.
The same goes for this certification argument. Certification is not the ultimate. There are people that claim to be certified that don't know spit. I think (and I think a majority of people agree) certification has great value.
Let's face it. The primary aspect of being and engineer is the ability to qualify information as fact, opinion and/or probability. If somebody says "certification is worthless", that person is clearly not an engineer and therefore, his opinion has very little value with me.

permaculture Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 - 4-DVD set
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1304
certifications+master degree are only the begining those qualification are only the basics for entry into the professional industry,there is nothing to show off with those , there are like lots of phDs in lots major companies and coporations
I know for a fact that the head of MIS departments, enterprise solution groups, IT departments, applied technology team etc in big companies and medium size companies all have phD in either computer science or information system
anyway if that attack happens just swear right back at that person and smash his f*** face out and beat the crap out of him
also ask him what does he have a degree in god or what , what a bloody useless person.
Joe Pluta
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
Hey, Billy, stop beating around the bush and tell us what you REALLY think!
Oh, and just to toss in my .02, I think certifications are great ways to learn something that you might not be able to pick up on your own. At the same time, certifications never are as good as real world experience, even if its on your own time.
I'd be more likely to hire someone who goes through the trouble of, say, building their own web server from scratch, "just to see how it works", than someone who learned what the word "servlet" meant while studying for a test.
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
The crammers alone are perhaps not the best way of studying.
A certificate like the JCert initiative comprising of three levels may be more recognised as it has three levels to turn one into the best developer possible.
The following may be out of date:
SCJP Level I -
Common Exam at Level II - IBM OOAD
The Vendor Specific Exam at Level II - It used to be IBM Visual Age
IBM Webshere
OR Oracles IZO -502 and IZ1-512
Level III Common Exam - IBM 483
Level III Vendor Specific Exams - Enterprise Connectivity Test with J2EE (for eg IBMs 495)

Oracle IZO-505
Sun's iPlanet application Server
At the end of these you get a Certificate and can describe yourself as
an IBM/Oracle/Sun with iPlanet Certified Enterprise Developer.
I'm not sure what the latest offerings are but check at JCert . and
IBM upgrades tests

I can't find anything XML related on the jCert or IBM lists ?
And also if there is an after-life for developers. Anyway , I'd follow Billy's recommendation with a few modifications if an interviewer
crapped about Certifications. As Joe pointed out practical work speaks for itself best.

[ October 02, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
No, I can't learn all these. I think that I will refer everything to your website. It's time to return to the western world.
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
I'd be more likely to hire someone who goes through the trouble of, say, building their own web server from scratch, "just to see how it works", than someone who learned what the word "servlet" meant while studying for a test.

Could we extend this to a guy who spent 4 years as a low level programmer beats the guy who comes out of local U with BS MIS.
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
As Joe pointed out practical work speaks for itself best.

Practical projects that involves groups of people is even better. This shows you can work within a group's dynamics.
Omis Hein

Joined: Dec 06, 2001
Posts: 13
Most of those replies made me realise its a common experience.
Time to start my next cert (SCBCD).
Steven Broadbent
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2002
Posts: 400
Is JCert dead?

"....bigmouth strikes again, and I've got no right to take my place with the human race...."<p>SCJP 1.4
Steven Broadbent
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2002
Posts: 400
Over the past months I've seem a couple of ads which say SCJP is favourable or required.
I hope SCJP will always be a level up from being a paper MSCE.
Pradeep bhatt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

Certification really helps to gain more knowledge but it does not make you an expert, you will have to work hard for that.
Certification do not give jobs but helps you to do better in interviews because you have gained some knowledge.

Jeff Carlson

Joined: Mar 31, 2003
Posts: 4
I was in the Boston area during the .com era. A lot of folks would notice that their job at the local car dealerships or super markets weren't paying as well as their comptuer friends jobs. They went and tooks some tests (a lot of semi-intelligent folks can really pass with just reading the books) and landed some very well paying jobs. Then they got job training as fast as they could so they could keep their jobs. This did happen. I met folks who did this. The area had an influx of folks who were warm bodies with one certification and no job experience. Becasue there was no one else and becasue they could pull so much money.
At least in that area, people were suspicious of the certificates becasue the bulk of people who had them were the least skilled and the least experienced. There were a few (like me and some of the guys I work with) that have the certifications and many years experience but it was definitely not the norm. It is changing now that we can do *real* job interviews again for zero to n positions (where n is a realistic number). We can pick between qualified consultants again, instead of accepting anyone that the agencies had.
Kevin Thompson
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 04, 2001
Posts: 237
Omis - they are jealous.
Paul is correct. Co-workers who have an emotional reaction to a peer who obtains a certification has issues with self-esteem.
Prakash Dwivedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 28, 2002
Posts: 452
Followed usually by a story about someone they knew who got 97% in an exam but was the most incompetent person ever. Who could not write a line of code to save their lives.
Once in an interview, when negotiating for salary with HR, he asked me, if i possess any extra qualification, i told him that i have passed SCJP Exam. On this he replied that he knew a 12 year old boy who has cleared this exam. I told him that in that case he should recruit that 12 year old boy.

Prakash Dwivedi (SCJP2, SCWCD, SCBCD)
"Failure is not when you fall down, Its only when you don't get up again"
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Certification Attack