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.

3 comments:

  1. I honestly disagre with your premise. Not all four year college acquire the hands on needed in the IT field within the four walls of the university.What ever happens to the intership? Network certificaton has become hands on inthese days of you tube, and dvd where basic and academic concpets cn be broken down.
    The best innovators and inventors are not necessariy college graduates. Ther are many examples .Innovatins and ingenuity is not restricted to academic field. Infact thinking outside the box is the buzz . Dont get me wrong four year degree may definitely help butit is not a prerequisite.Did nt Bill Gate Left Harvard after two years?
    Even you need a masters degree and PHD to delve in the realms of R&D.
    your arguement that equate four year academic cramming to on the job performance kind of wring hollow.
    How any of those brilliant four year collge graduate end up staying on the job, they move up to higher planes; unless they are a big fish in the pond and cant swim with the sharks.
    how do you define worth? The market place decide by law of supply and demaand.
    my premise is that there must deand for IT TECHS, otherwise there wont wouldnt be many H1 visas going to India andIBM, MICROSOFT AND GOOGLE will not be going to india to set up offices.
    My friend have an open mind. The world is changing, dont be myopic. 40 years ago when i was in the college we were being thought electronic, with diodes and etc. Then came chips, micro chips and now nanochips.
    it is a dynamic and evolving world. nothing is permanent, unless change.
    Alhaj Munir Bola Lajide

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  2. There's no way a certification beats a 4-year degree. Unless the degree is from a totally worthless school. My point is this: people typically study up for exams. If you want to become an MCSD, you don't need to have prior knowledge. Just buy a couple of .NET books, study for a few days and ace the exam. It's much harder to get a college degree (be it 4 or 2 year).

    I have interviewed guys with Microsoft certification who can't explain the difference between a hashtable and an array (something that's covered in 2nd year CS classes). Sure hands-on knowledge is invaluable but unless you want a mechanic, that's not good enough. I need someone who knows not just how to do something but *why* you do it.

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  3. Really?wht is technical know How? Is how u do things.You need to know how u do things to answer why u do it.I am not quarrelling with your premise that you need to WHY but do you need to go to a four/two yr college to burn midnight cande and pass an end of term exam u crammed for?
    how many remember after a couple of weeks after passing the crmmed exam.. I mean remember how to apply the theories they crammed.
    this is the rason why executive recruiters look for trainable potentials to recruit. How best to demonstrate your potential than by explaining how things work rather than why they work? The answer to why comes explaining how.
    when you know how to type a letter or how to breathe , you will be able to answer why u type and why u breathe.The answer to why u go to the moon comes from the challenge of how u get to the moon.Without know how , u can not answer why?
    both go together hands in hands
    Alhaj Munir

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