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Programming Portfolio vs. Certification

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by xoq100, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. xoq100

    xoq100 Bit Poster

    Hi there everyone,

    I must apologise if my walking over already trodden ground here, my searches didn't bring back much relevant to my problem. Unfortunately I don't have a crystal ball, or many acquaintances in IT recruitment positions to help me with my problem.

    I read a lot of varied opinions on the subject of Comp Sci degrees/Certifications, I'm sure most of you are aware of what I'm getting at.

    Here's the quandary. I keep thinking that if I were to go down "Show the employer what you have achieved." road, I would need to achieve something unique, something that hasn't been harvested too much for it to carry me into most importantly a job I enjoy doing, and as a bonus, one that pays OK.
    Now, I'm struggling to come up with something like this because I feel I'm "forcing" an innovation.

    So, say I was to make a word processor in, say, C++. There are loads of them out there, and there’s even source available to munge off. So would something like this stand for much on the CV?

    My second idea for this approach would be to join an open source development team, just for the experience of working in that "team" using version control systems, etc. I went ahead and did that, I am part of the BLAG Linux dev team, but it isn't hugely difficult, and I worry I'm wasting my time, as it feels like I'm pursuing a hobby, rather than a career.

    Then there’s the certification. Now I have read a fair few posts on these forums, claiming that certification for programming minus experience equals very little. I get that point, and have turned sour toward the idea of a programming certification. Is this foolish?

    I think I'll leave my post here and hopefully bounce off some replies, to stop it getting hard to chew. I should probably mention what type of development I'm wanting to do, well, I'm interested more in UNIX application/kernel development, but that’s only because I've had more exposure to that environment, I haven't touched Windows development for example, so I really don't know what it holds, apart from more jobs it seems! Also, I'm 18, and in a decent UNIX SSA role, so I'm not desperate or short on time, I would just like some opinions from people "in the know".

    Thank you for time and consideration. I look forward to reading your replies.

  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Theres loads of developer jobs around, *nix skills are particularly sort after in certain fields.
    As a developer you will need to be very flexible with skills and location or live in a major area.
    Also as a new hire you will probably not get a very good package but with 1-2 yrs good experience you can start to demand more.

    I spend alot of time reading about IT and programming in my spare time, but not that much programming anymore. I get more than enough of that from work ! :D
    This means that I don't have a portfolio or any large pieces of independant work to show off, most programmers are in a similar situation, its only college grads that have the time really in my mind. Most people get gigs either through contacts or from their CV, its that simple. I wouldn't write any programs that you are not otherwise interested in writing, especially if they are derivative and you find writing them boring.

    Certification is not necessary, but it doesn't hurt and often helps when it comes to winning interview places. If you want to win a job with your CV what on your CV is gonna get you the interview ? I guess thats the crux of the question, for different people its different things, degress, experience, certs etc. Currently despite sounding talented it seems you have none of these, how do you convince someone on paper that you are the best candidate ? Or maybe you just need to change the question and network face to face ? Theres many solutions, the only limit to your job hunt is your creativity...

    Have you looked on the job boards ?
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  3. richardw

    richardw Nibble Poster

    Certifications are proof of what you are capable of doing, & most employers will require proof/evidence of what you can do.
    Being part of the dev team isnt a hobby, its an interest that can add knowledge, which you can put on your cv.

    As your only 18, it might be worth looking around at university level courses, see if theres any locally that you could do part-time. eg. foundation degrees can sometimes be done part-time, & usually turned into a degree with an extra year. That way you can pick up a qualification, but keep adding to your work experience.
    Certifications: MOS (Master), MMI
  4. harpistic

    harpistic Byte Poster

    With programming, it's experience which matters, not certifications. As you'll see from job ads, it's the breadth of your knowledge/experience which is important, and how versatile you can be, eg ability to code the oddities which come up.

    Whatever you do, try to integrate it with your current job, or at least be able to imply that the 'work' was done in your current job. Same as certifications without experience, if you can't actually put what you've learned on your CV in a particular job, then it won't count with employers and recruitment agents. (A former line manager plays around with C, C++, VB etc in his spare time but as he's only ever worked in Access.....)

    Are you likely to get any support from your boss to expand your skillset? If so, that would probably be your best opportunity.
    Certifications: Pet Geekery
    WIP: cure for insomnia

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