Is IT certification still relevant?

I received an interesting article, dealing with the issue on the necessity of getting certified.  I have to admit, that I'm one of those sitting on the fence.  For one, some certifications' lifetimes are so short that they may not be worth it.  An example of this would be Microsoft's .NET certifcations, with .NET 2.0 barely out for more than a year, .NET 3.0 certifications are already in the works.

Another thing is the easy access to "sample" questionnaires.  I know of several former co-workers (in a previous company) who got certified just by reading the questionnaires over and over again and memorizing the correct answer for each question.  It's kind of disheartening to know that some people get certified without actually "deserving" it.  Given that, it somehow lessens the "weight" of holding a certification title.  What's to stop employers from assuming that you're just one of those who used a "sample questionnaire" to obtain the certification?

If certifications were really awarded only to those who deserve it, and if there were no, for lack of a better term, "cheat sheets", I think IT certification would definitely be worth it.  But hey, that's just my opinion.  Feel free to share your comments.

Any thoughts?

Published 11-30-2006 4:46 PM by raistlin
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# re: Is IT certification still relevant?

I agree with you at some point. You have to remember though that certifications have an objective. And that is to learn on the corresponding areas of the technology which the Company that owns that technology think is important. Certifications increase your value as a developer... But having the right motive on why you take certification would increase your value as an individual. I plan to take SCJP next  year, and I'm gonna start reading about it as early as tomorrow. :)

Thursday, November 30, 2006 1:36 AM by lamia

# re: Is IT certification still relevant?

I think that certifications should be awarded by a governing body of established IT professonals. Certification exams should not be initiated by product vendors. The qualifications process should include a thesis and summary of verified achievements as an IT practitioner.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 1:55 AM by darwin25

# re: Is IT certification still relevant?

a coworker of mine in a previous company that i worked for told me that he knows someone who got his certification by paying somebody $300 in mexico(we are in san diego, california). the scheme was that you pay this guy and he'll use your name and take the exam. if he pass you get the credit if he fails he'll take exam again for free.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 8:53 AM by keithrull

# re: Is IT certification still relevant?

personally I wanted to pursue an MCSD track (for .NET 1.1) and I took the first step by taking one exam early this year. I got so disappointed that all questions were in the braindump that I used for review -- I thought these braindumps were just reviewers, but they were LEAKED QUESTIONS! I mean...these braindumps have been around for a couple of years and Microsoft did not do anything to like change the questions?!

that's when I realized that certifications are just money-making schemes for vendors, not really something that's for us IT professionals. I am no longer interested in taking up another certification exam until I see changes/improvements in this front.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 3:51 PM by cruizer

# re: Is IT certification still relevant?

@lamia: I guess the main goal why anyone would want to be certified is to have some "proof" of ones aptitude in a certain technology.  However, given the proliferation of, as cruizer put it, "leaked questions" (at least from some certification exams) it somehow puts the credibility of a certification into some doubt.

@darwin25: well, said. I agree with you.  Although, one thing that might also be good is to have an actual on-the-spot programming exam.  Say give a candidate 3 hours to finish a simple program that's  designed to more or less serve as a measuring stick for his aptitude.

@keithrull: that's even worse. this is the first time i've heard of that. but i guess, for some people, nothing is too low. I guess they have they have their own reasons as well. Personally, I don't know if I'll be able to live with myself if I got "certified" that way.

@cruizer: exactly what i've realized! very disappointing, right bro? The vendors should really improve the security of their certification systems.  Leaked questions is one thing, but not doing anything about it is another.  I mean, how hard can it be to come up with another set of questions if you discover that your exam has been leaked?

Sunday, December 03, 2006 7:01 PM by raistlin

# re: Is IT certification still relevant?

About technology vendors not doing anything about their leaked questions:

Could it be that they're relying on the "honesty system"?  I mean, given that, it might make some sense why they're not doing anything about the fact that their questions are being leaked.

Let's face it, a person is only fooling himself by getting certified only through the use of the leaked material.  But still, it doesn't help those who really studied and put in the effort to get certified on their own merits.

Sunday, December 03, 2006 7:06 PM by raistlin

# re: Is IT certification still relevant?

hmm kung honesty system rin lang, we better just rely on our honesty in putting stuff in our CVs/resumes. no need for certifications! :P

Sunday, December 03, 2006 7:32 PM by cruizer

# re: Is IT certification still relevant?

you have a point. yun nga lang, we can't overlook the fact that there are some who feel the need to "polish" their resumes. :D that's why some employers, sometimes have doubts on the contents of an resumes submitted to them. oh well.

Sunday, December 03, 2006 9:18 PM by raistlin

# re: Is IT certification still relevant?

I view certifications as snapshot of your glory at that point in time, admit it sirs, we're not always on top of the game and its good to have something concrete and say, hey, i've been there and i was good at it.  If not for those li'l sheet of papers who would have known you were good back then. ;)

Thursday, December 07, 2006 7:18 PM by TuldokLambat