Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Technical Certifications are worthless

Technical certifications, especially in the IT field, are totally worthless. Why? All a technical certification prove is that you were able to buy a couple of exam prep books, cram them in a week or two and take an exam. My monkey (if I had one) could do that. I can't tell you how many times I have interviewed certification-carrying candidates for open positions at my company only to find them severely lacking in thorough understanding of computer science. I don't care that you have an MSCD or MCP or whatever it's called these days if you don't know foundational concepts in computer science and database design.

For example, I don't want someone who just knows that you store things in a hashtable using keys. I need you to know why a hashtable is better than an array in some cases. I need you to know when an interface is better than an abstract class; when to use recursion; the different kinds of joins and when to use each one; I need you to understand how crucial source control is to our field. Don't just tell me "some other guy handled authentication in my last project". That's not good enough. Don't tell me "I don't remember the different authentication types supported by ASP.NET". And definitely don't say "Well I haven't used recursion"

And please please don't put "wed services" on your resume unless you are wedding singer. I know it may seem minor but typos really show you don't care about your work. If you did, you would run it through Word and proof read your own resume!

So if technical certifications are worthless, what's the alternative? Well how about you show me your dedication by getting a 4-year degree? At the very least that shows that either you really studied or you were able to pull off your charade for 4 years. Either way, you are better than the guy who can't explain basic stuff but has an armful of certifications.