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Value of Certifications

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by invierno, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. invierno

    invierno Nibble Poster

    On these boards, I have been pretty quiet about the worth/actual intention of certifications for a while -- until now. Some background first: as a biomedical engineering student, working in IT would be beneficial to me in a couple of ways: databases (very large biostatistical databases are used frequently), network engineering (telemedicine particularly), and generally working/implementing/designing technologies. I have a very strong academic record and work history, but honestly everybody IT departments would not give me the time of day until I completed my MCSA, NCTS, Network+, and A+ (in order from most recent to oldest) last year. I've seen it mentioned here several times before that certifications with no experience are worthless or actually damaging to a prospective tech, but frankly I have been contacted (and yes also been offered work) multiple times by companies since I got certified (and yes: I have told them that I have received vocational training in systems administration but have not worked in IT per se).

    My "experience" has been therefore that certification is similar to collegiate studies: when I graduate, I am certainly not going to be able to claim tremendous amounts of hands-on experience in biostatistics/bioinformatics, instrumentation, or the myriad other things that biomed engineers do. But (and it's a big one) what employers will know is that I have a foundation that can be built upon, and that yes -- I know the basics and even some mid-level skills. My "experience" has shown me that it was worth the money to get trained on these technologies and then get certified to show employers who otherwise dismissed me that I am worth their time.

    Let the discussion begin.
    Certifications: See Signature
    WIP: Java, Linux
  2. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

    I think you find that the issue is not perhaps as black and white as perhaps you have interpreted from your reading here.

    There is a lot of variation as to how certs are treated around the world and even on a local regional basis.

    Bearing in mind Certforums is UK-based you will find a lot of comments are peculiar to the UK. Here we are bombarded by advertising suggesting that a newly qualified MCSE with no experience can walk into a top paying job when frankly it is just not the case.

    Given the efforts of the BCS and IET to try to bring a modicum of professionalism into IT I, personally, would never want to see it become the case either. That is not to say that I regard professional status as a license to practise either.

    You are working in quite a specialised field and obviously for you, the route you have taken has worked and you have seen the results. I would just caution that it does not mean that circumstance will apply eslewhere.
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  3. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    I agree with UKD. Not to mention the cert list that you gave is normally what we would recommend to people entering the IT professional anyway; the A+, Network+ and the MCTS (eg 70-620)/MCDST.

    Like UKD already said:

    Plus also realistically, how long do you think a unexperienced person with a MCSE or other higher level professional cert (not including degrees as they are academic based and not professional/job based) will stay in a entry level role before they resign? Companies know this and based on that, do you see the logic of a company employing someone, training them up properly (training without experience isn't the same as real world as there is a high percentage of things in the real world that don't go "by the book"), who then will only stay for 6 months to a year because they have a a bit of paper and now a little experience?

    Added to that there is a growing number of IT managers who will disregard the higher level professional certs if they don't match the experience.

    The advice that we give here is, most of the time general advice catered to the masses & to individuals. Yes there may be the odd exception, however the odd exception verses the hundreds/thousands others, well you see the point :)

    And what it boils down to is what the individual actually does with the advice give by:

    1. Directors of Companies
    2. IT managers
    3. First/second/third line support
    4. IT Technical writers
    5. IT Trainers
    6. People that are trying to get into IT and relaying their experiences
    7. etc...

    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip

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