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Tell your employer you are pursuing certifications?

Tod Stroszer

Joined: Oct 24, 2007
Posts: 28
I don't know how many people on these boards are already working as Java developers, but I had a meeting with my new manager today in which I was asked if there were any training and professional development opportunities I was interested in. I mentioned that I was studying to take the SCJP and planned on taking a few more tests in the Sun/Oracle certification track.

It occurred to me later that I possibly shouldn't have told my employer that I was studying for certifications. I am thinking that this may be a bad thing, because:
-it implies that I may possibly be looking to upgrade my resume to help me look for another job
-it implies that I feel my skills are lacking, or that I am not getting experience in technologies like Hibernate and Spring at my current job and need to get that experience elsewhere

On the other hand, it shows initiative and a desire to improve my skills. My manager offered to pay for books and tests. I just wondered if others on these boards let their employers know they are taking certification exams, it's a new area for me and I just want to make sure I'm conducting my career properly. Thanks.
Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 46412
I would have thought telling one's employer one is sitting an exam is a good thing. They would probably then pay for some of the additional training (as appears to have happened already).

It suggests you are prepared to better yourself, and makes you a better employee. All employers know there is a risk of their staff going elsewhere; similarly, they wish to recruit people who have done the same sort of thing for their previous employers. I think you should gratefully accept the payment and make sure to make the most of it (by working hard and getting a good mark in the SCJP).
Tod Stroszer

Joined: Oct 24, 2007
Posts: 28
I should probably mention that I'm on a team of senior level developers, and I feel like we're expected to be at a level of proficiency at or above the SCJP certification level, at least, and probably the SCWCD and SCJD. I feel like these certs are mainly for new people to the field who are looking to break in, with a lack of college degree or experience. That's my impression, but I am probably wrong. Anyways, I felt like at this point in my career - Masters degree in CS, 10 years experience in IT, about 7 as a developer - I should be past the point where I need certs to prove my abilities - but I'm struggling with the SCJP, so obviously I'm not there yet.
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
The SCJP certification exam is designed to test a strong and complete understanding of the syntax of the Java programming language and knowledge of basic API, data structures, etc. It does not address software design abilities or software achitectural concepts.

If you have 10 years IT experience and still feel that you "need certifications to prove your abilities", then you should certainly continue to work towards getting them.
Tod Stroszer

Joined: Oct 24, 2007
Posts: 28
It does not address software design abilities or software achitectural concepts.

Doesn't SCJD test these things? Right, and I'm studying to take SCJP next month.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 33131

My employer wants us to get certified. It's a good thing.

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Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11778

Tod Stroszer wrote:
It does not address software design abilities or software achitectural concepts.

Doesn't SCJD test these things? Right, and I'm studying to take SCJP next month.

I think that if anyone were concerned with the level of the certification then you could point to the fact that SCJP is the prerequisite to many of the more specialized certifications.

Many companies love the idea of their employees improving themselves, and have processes in place to help them. I think that showing that you are motivated and a self-starter is definitely a good thing.

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Hebert Coelho
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 14, 2010
Posts: 754

I don't see as a problem at all. Every time that I'm studying for a certification I do tell my bosses. They can see that you want to grow up as a developer.

Go ahead and don't worry, people that gets a certification are more determinate and companies don't want to miss those!

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Paul Harris

Joined: Feb 14, 2006
Posts: 7
My employer ( I work for a consulting company ) and many other employers encourage to take certifications these days (I'm a SCJP and SCWCD ). However, in my case only those certifications that are in line with the business goals will be approved for reimbursements . The process works something like this: I tell my manager the certification I aspire to take --> manager approves --> I pay for the exam , take the exam and pass it --> company reimburses

On a different thought ( in case your company won't reimburse or your aspirations are different ), just my opinion, I would recommend keeping your goals secret before you achieve them. If you get a chance watch : Derek Sivers: Keep your goals to yourself Video on

In your case as your manager has already offered to pay for the exam, Go right ahead and make the best of it !

Best of luck on your SCJP !
I agree. Here's the link:
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