I have a java experience for about 3 years. When I came in US a year ago I was lucky to find a job where they didn�t ask even my bachelors diploma. No one certified inside the company. The company is small so it�s not like a rule, but I�ve got a question:
Why do I need to certify? What kinds of benefits I�ll get form it?
It could be just my laziness but I think a person should have some kind of motivation before trying to pass anything. E.g. in case of java certification: Every solder dreams to be a general. So I dream to be a Java Architect. It sounds nice and pleasurable. But to reach that goal I have to spend significant amount of time and money. I need a real motivation to do so. Each company will tell you getting certified don�t guarantee you a job. That�s true. And it�s true when they say: if we have to choose between you and certified guy and both of you have equal knowledge/experience we prefer a certified guy. It�s just less risky. That�s definitely not enough for good motivation. Ok, then I tried to speak with my friends who are from IT industry (who is certified or trying to certify) and ask them what are the benefits for you? Well, they said it�s a good way to keep you in shape. That�s true. But to pass any exam you have to learn lots of details, which you probably will never use. It�s just wasting you time and brain space. There is more important stuff to learn. I prefer to learn new stuff, details whenever I got a problem to solve, not a year earlier. Another benefit was that when you are preparing and especially passing the exam you�ll learn how to solve problems you�ll see the effective and quick solutions. Which is defiantly benefits you. But it�s not true. At least in java case certification is just a bunch of questions with a list of answers with a very low pass level (60%, 70%) even 80% I think it�s very low pass level. They don�t tech you how to solve problems they teach you alphabet but not how to construct sentences or write a text of a story. To learn how to write a story you need to know concepts and ideas, fundamental bases. If a certification was something like they give you a task and you have to create a solution for it. Like a real small business app, with great logic in it. After that if you app runs successfully they will spent time to analyze you code and give you a points. In that case I could agree they really teach you how to solve real world problems. And it�s worth to certify. As far as I now it�s not like that for Java Associate, Programmer or any third level (Developer, Web, J2ME) certification. In case of java: 1.4 certification is still available but 1.6 is coming. Why do I need to certify for 1.6 if in couple of years it will be 1.9? Finally, they said you just need it because you�ll prove yourself that you can do such things. It will increase your confidence. But I don't need to increase it, I can do such things. Please don�t consider that post as a try to convince someone to don�t certify. It�s just a question. Not a philosophical but very practical. I really want to be convinced that certification is really good, important and what I need. And that�s all I said is because I�m lazy. Please prove it if you can.
I'm with you, not very excited about certification.
Some potential employers care. You would care as much as you care about them. Mine doesn't require or reward certs so that doesn't make me interested. To date I haven't observed much correlation between certs and quality of candidates in interviews, so again, not that interested.
You might find a cert program to be an interesting guide to what to learn. As you said, they're often far broader than your needs at some point in time. Even the opening level programmer stuff covers many topics I don't expect to ever use. That might be a positive thing for somebody much younger with more brain cells to spare, but ...
Of course I sit here with just under 30 years in the business, a fair portfolio of accomplishments, a steady job and little need to prove much. Your mileage may vary.
A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of the idea. John Ciardi