Is getting certified worth the effort or totally useless?

If useful, what sort of certifications one should get?

10 accepted

I think it depends on your situation. If you work at a small company that is planning on being a Certified Partner with Microsoft, then having a Microsoft certification will satisfy one of the requirements.

If you are doing a lot of consulting or contract work, having a certification in the field that you work in may separate your resume from someone who doesn't have any certifications. It's no substitute for actual work experience, having references is worth more in the long run.


Only useful if you know your stuff and not passing it by using braindumps/testking. I have interviewed many certified people who are completely clueless. I still think it is a good idea to study for it because you will learn about stuff which you may not encounter in the real world right away


They're pretty useless in regard to being better at your job. Having said that, they might be useful in getting hired.

Get certifications in the specific areas you want to work in. If you want to do Java, get the Sun Certified Java Programmer cert. If you do .NET, go for an MCSD.


When I'm hiring, certifications are a turn-off! But I agree with Chris and others that they are valuable in other situations.

So perhaps the answer is: If your goal is to work at a larger company or a consulting company, get it. If your goal is to work at a small company where people are hired based on ability rather than paperwork, it's not worth it.

Of course you could always get certifications, but adjust your resume depending on the job you're applying for! Which you should do anyway.


I agree if you have a job and happy there are better ways to spend your time. However if you are ready to move on having a few extra comma's on your card or resume will only be a benefit.

Also if you are like me and running solo or in a small shop the certifications can help bolster your image to existing and prospective clients.


I'm personally looking at the IEEE CSDA (Certified Software Development Associate), which is done shortly after graduation from an undergraduate program. There's also the CSDP which is done later on in your career, after you have some work experience.


I did the MCSD and it was useful as it helped me to get a job when I wasn't very experienced with C#.

But I would say that in that scenario simply having the qualification was more valuable that the knowledge I gained from doing it.

It also provided a useful overview but looking back I didn't really use much of what I learned and the detail has completely gone from my head now.


I took one of the test, the one for ASP.NET a few years ago - it was so lame. An inordinate amount of the questions were about merge modules and other relatively useless stuff.

IMO, studying for and taking the tests was a waste of time - I learned things only to spit them back out and never use them in practice again.

To each his own, perhaps there are situations that call for them, but for the most part I think they pale in comparison to actual experience.


With the advent of braindumps I find very little technical value to certifications. However, they have a lot of value because of the perqs you get -- support, partnerships, and the like.


They are a side dish. Having only certifications doesn't make you worthy of a position, same as having broccoli and mashed potatoes doesn't make a meal.

If you have a fine resume and wish to add a little pizzas and spice it up a bit go ahead, but once you get a good helping of experience you'll quickly find that most certifications are out dated at best given the editorial cycle of the content.


I would say certifications are very useful as a goal if you take it with the knowledge you gained from your work/experience and some extra preparation. It will certainly give you a good confidence.

I feel many people misuse it a lot and its value has come down now a days.


The certification itself might be ignored by some companies, and it might not even be relevant. However, some years ago, when I was barely scraping the surface of what Java could do at my job writing hordes of Model 1 JSP, I decided to study for the Java certification exam.

It was an on and off process over seven months to study for it. And that seems like a long time. However, during that time I was learning new things about the language, and finding excuses to write code in those areas I wasn't touching.

So for me, the certification was certainly worth it, because my skills and knowledge increased to the point where I could contribute at a higher level than I could before. It didn't help me get a job or do something different..not right away at least. It allowed me to become more professional in my work and offer new solutions that I didn't know were possible. It really ended up helping a few years later when our business changed from Model 1 JSP to full fledged JSF/Facelets based sites, since I was prepared to actually write Java code, and not drop a bunch of scriptlets into an HTML page.


Having certification will probably never harm you, but the majority of the courses that provide them are horrendously expensive for an individual to fund.

Also, from what I've seen, certification usually is tightly focused on a particular product/technologoy stack. You spend just as much time being taught how to navigate the file menu and enable certain features as you do learning solid theory that's applicable on a wider scope. Your knowledge will most likely be out dated within a few years.

In my opinion, I probably wouldn't want to work for a company that uses certification as yard stick to hire people with.

I think there are much more important factors to consider when hiring. (Real world experience, personal projects, open source contributions, approach to problem solving in interviews etc)


I have no formal "college" degree - but I did go to a university for a few years (several years ago). Recently I have decided that IT is the way to go for me and I found a TECHNICAL SCHOOL (not a bootcamp) that offers courses that you can essentially take at your own pace which also includes one on one instruction as well as hands on labs. So far I have recieved my A+ Certification and just last week I received my Network+ Certification. Just in this last week, I have spoken with a recruiter and with these two certifications alone - I recieved several job offers ranging from $14 - $20/hr based on practical (not work) experience and these two certifications - however this will obviously depend on your locale (Im living in Arizona).

Instead of taking one of the several opportunities, I have decided that I am going to continue with furthering my technical education and start with the CCNA Certification. If you don't have much networking experience, I would definitely recommend the same route I took - A+, Net+ and then Cisco - as they all lead into the next one. CompTIA's A+ and Net+ aren't as highly sought after as say a Cisco or Microsoft Certification, but it'll NEVER hurt - especially if you're working or looking to work in the IT field.

Also, over these past several months I have done some of my own personal "social" networking to get the opinions and advice from people currently in the industry. After speaking with about 15 different people ranging from techs to administrators and hiring managers, in the IT world it's really becomming more about certifications and what you know rather than most other industries who prefer a college degree. While a college degree will NEVER hurt your chances, it's the technical or industry certifications that more and more employers are looking for. This is all just my opinion - I have read some comments about people who do hiring and say that certifications are worthless or a turn off, but my best guess is there are more employers/recruiters looking for these over hiring managers that are not.

The certifications wont necessairly guarantee you a job as most interviews consist of technical questions and scenarios, but if you really do learn the material that's taught/learned in the certification courses - then you'll be quite a bit ahead of someone with experience but no certifications. Actually, the thing that I have also discovered (not all the time - but more than 2/3 times) is it's the people currently working in the industry that ARE NOT certified who say that certifications aren't necessary - some even say that it hurts your chances. Again, this is all just my opinion - but I'm willing to bet that more people would agree with me than disagree.

My advice would be to do your due dilligence online. There are quite a few sites out there that offer some "practice" questions of which are on the vendor exams. Obviously the questions are not identical - they're somewhat similar. If you know the material on the practice questions, then buy a voucher (NEVER PAY FULL PRICE AT A TESTING CENTER) online and try to take the exam. If you're struggling with the practice questions - there are some self study programs out there as well as books, but I would really recommend finding a technical school and going from there.


In general, I think I'd say "somewhat worthless?" That said, what really matters is that the individual is passionate about computing and programming. I've seen college seniors in CS who can barely code "hello world" in a major language (pick one, any one--they can't do it), and I've seen people with a "degree" from a certification mill who are prolific programmers.

As a generalization though, I think people who get degrees in CS are typically better than people who go to trade/vocational schools and get industry certifications.

If you want to help yourself out a lot, join an open source project and start committing code. This will give you A) programming experience and B) source control experience and C) "working as a team" experience and D) a portfolio of code (changes) that you can show to potential employers. I would much sooner contribute to open source than I would get some random industry certification.


I will have to differ on getting clients.

As somebody who works solo (well with 4 other developers/designers) the certifications are absolutely worthless. Now, if they taught you something that you couldn't have learned otherwise then they might have some use. Resume is also completely worthless, clients never care to see resume. What do they want? Portfolio, portfolio, portfolio. They want the code you have written, they want to see who you have done it for, and they possibly want references from those people. Cutting edge stuff is generally just not taught, it is out there in the trenches, on the forums, in the open source projects, and with the latest applications being launched.

Now if you are in the corporate world, it is a whole different ballgame, and it will boil down to the specific hiring manager. If the manager is an MBA, a few MS certs might seem impressive. If the manager is an MSCS, I doubt they would be impressive at all.

Running a business budget also makes them even more worthless, I view it as a poor ROI, and nothing else. The best ROI for me is always spent better on actually writing code, or networking with future clients.


In networking (routers / switches, etc..), I think certifications are definitely worth it, particularly Cisco. My ccna opened the door for me at a large hospital, and my ccnp got me promoted - simple as that. The "braindump" fear is silly because there's so much information in those certs that someone who cheated would betray themselves quickly. Also, the older anti-cert folks at that shop made me laugh because they didn't understand OSI properly, particularly layer 2. "Experience" is fine unless you've been doing sub-par work the whole time. The ccna does a great job of rounding out your knowledge.


i bumped into this thread as i was searching about a data base administration degree or certification and i read from some here that a degree or a certification is not important yet when i look in the classifieds most of those hiring for coding jobs (php in my case)require at least a cs degree for the job.


I am a solution integrator and I have certifications in networking CCNA/JNCIA. I am also slowly working towards CCIE/JNCIE, and so do everyone else in our department. It's part of our KPI, so in that sense, it's definitely worth it.

When entering tender and such, we're partly evaluated on how many experts we have, and this is where certifications truly matter. Of course, CCIE/JNCIE which are lab-based are more credible as it's rare that cheating could happen for those certifications, unlike most other papers.

Personally I believe certifications are worth it. They help me to manage my learning, and sometimes force me to learn boring but important details that I otherwise wouldn't want to even read about. However, I don't expect people to reward me based on my certifications, rather than quality of my work.


I feel sorry for whomever works for the managers that think certifications are worthless. Theses managers have no goals or ambition, and their envy is shown. It's always the small minded little managers that sit behind the desk and take credit for the work the "certified" people do. These managers still own a vcr's that blink 12:00 on the display. Before you open your mouth, look at CCIE, RHCE and GPEN. These exam paths were not easy, they took time and dedication. These certifications have great value, along with a Bachelors and experience, the phone never stops ringing, even with a job, not to mention the awesome compensation.