The Benefits or Not of Certification (was LPIC certification)

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The Lounge What is on Your Mind? The Benefits or Not of Certification (was LPIC certification)
# 8  
Old 01-31-2014
Why futile... It could be that possible employers give nothing on it if it is a RedHat or LPIC certification.
Employers do appreciate that some possible candidate has at least had the will to advance/enhance skills in any way instead of chilling and putting feets on the table.

In the decision stays yours, what you do.

My last certification ranges back to 1999 and since then I simply had too much work to go beyond the thought of certification, I was able to get new jobs still. I admit I had some trainings and when I have time between my daily business, I try to improve my skills and write down a lot for times, when I have forgotten the half of it already, since only what you do stays in memory.

It is very ambiguous subject:
I saw people with certifications, some very good in these things and some seemed to have just did the barely neccessary to get pass. Same with working experience - there is people that teach themselves a lot of things and do a good jobs - others do just the necessary stuff to get along, mabye even in a not very reliable quality and that's it.

To sum it up a bit - somebody who does a decent job is more important for an employer than any certification. Certification can be proof of skill, but does not need to be.

Funny and impudent thing happened to me:
I had once contact with one of those 1001 headhunter agencies. I got forwarded to their boss in a short telephone interview. She did not even had read my documents accordingly and asked things in a very arrogant style. After checking my trainings, she said it's a bit meagre and I could have done more in the time training and certification wise. She said I am like an old broken car that will be hard to find a customer for. I thanked for the nice conversation and quit the communication.

Some 2 months later, I had directly contact to the company she was searching for and got the teamleader on the phone who had read my documents and wanted to get me for the job with much effort.

So you see the two extremes how people judge about your skills etc. Don't let yourself be pushed down Smilie

Last edited by zaxxon; 01-31-2014 at 12:56 PM..
# 9  
Old 01-31-2014
Thanks for your advices. It's something I can use Smilie
# 10  
Old 02-01-2014
Originally Posted by zaxxon
Employers do appreciate that some possible candidate has at least had the will to advance/enhance skills in any way instead of chilling and putting feets on the table.
Having taken a year off work myself and after recently passing the RHCE, I hope you're right Smilie

I wouldn't ever consider it to be "futile", since the skills learned in the process of attaining the certification are very useful indeed.

Sure, if you're already gainfully employed then it's perhaps less important, but if you have an opportunity to get certified, go for it. My previous employers were very good in this respect, offering me the chance to be certified in Solaris, AIX and in Red Hat, and even in Windows, vSphere and other things, but I was always "too busy" to take them up on it. Big mistake! If your boss or your company offers you the chance to educate yourself, take it! Every time.
# 11  
Old 02-01-2014
Frankly speaking, I'm not very keen on certifications.

When I am in hiring mode and interviewing technical people, I have found that people with a lot of certifications on paper are less likely to be very good at the job than someone who has bone fide real project and application development experience.

I've seen candidates, in the past, with a resume full of certifications, and not a single verifiable project of any substance, ever completed. It's really annoying.

A few years ago I travelled to "a particular country" and interviewed folks for a technical position developing vBulletin mods for us using PHP. Many people had lots of certifications and listed vBulletin and PHP on their resume; but when I asked them to execute the most simplest task on the white board, all failed.

That is why the trend for years with busy hiring managers has not been "certifications" but verifiable contributions to significant projects, including open source projects.

I know many hiring managers that will not hire any new (not well experienced) developer or system admin who does not have strong contributions to open source or similar projects on their resume.

My experience is that certifications are nearly "worthless" on a resume; but having strong completed, verifiable projects in a portfolio, even if volunteer (free) open source contributions is very strong on a resume.

In other words, if you want to easily get a job in a technical field, get real hands on experience even it if means working for free as a volunteer for an open source or similar project. You will get a lot of good references (from your team members) and verifiable coding and admin experience. You will more-than-likely get your name on the code you help write. This is much, much more important that a resume full of "alphabet soup" certifications and acronyms.

Think of it like this:

You want to be a pro football player. First, you starting playing with your family when very young; and then you join your school teams. It's when you are playing for your "school teams" (or non-paid leagues) where you get your experience and develop your reputation. The best of these go on to be pro footballers.

The same thing is true for system admin and developers. Play on teams, especially volunteer teams, when you want to learn. Become experienced and you will have such a strong reputation, companies will beg to hire you as a pro. If you cannot produce as a volunteer, who is going to hire you as a pro? Furthermore, volunteerism shows you are generous, social and a contributor to society as a whole.

No one hires a pro football player who studied football and is "certified" as a footballer who has not played much. They hire winners with experience.

The same is true for strong technical professionals.
# 12  
Old 02-01-2014
They offered me help for Oracle certs as they are partners with it..
# 13  
Old 02-01-2014
It also depends on the kind certification. Certificates like RHCE with hands-on, performance based exams are more telling since they are difficult to get without considerable experience..
# 14  
Old 02-01-2014
Originally Posted by Scrutinizer
It also depends on the kind certification. Certificates like RHCE with hands-on, performance based exams are more telling since they are difficult to get without considerable experience..
Agreed. Naturally some certs are more rigorous than others; but in my view, the "great certs" are exception to the rule versus the norm.

My experience with all these technical certs is that they are like "multivitamins" and the multivitamins industry - by far the biggest benefit is to the seller of the vitamins, not the health of the person taking it. In fact, it's pretty much been proven that taking multivitamins provide almost zero health benefit, and in fact cause more damage to the body than not taking them at all.

There is nothing better for the body that eating the right foods (avoid HFCS - high fructose corn syrup, sugary drinks, excessive alcohol, drinks lots of life-crucial water), exercising and staying active (sports, dance, fitness training, long walks - keep the body moving), avoiding or properly managing stress and getting lots of good sleep, etc.

However, the multivitamin industry has convinced the public that you can take a pill "one a day" and you will be healthy. This is a huge "myth" .. it's a downright lie, actually. There are no shortcuts to good health - and it's certainly not found in a pill called a "multivitamin".

In my view, the same is true for the vast majority of certs. Yes, there are some exceptions - not all certs are evil; but the analogy is similar. You simply cannot "take a cert" and become a great technical person. The biggest beneficiary for certs is the commercial companies selling certs; not the people taking them and also not employers who are paying for it.

Instead of contributing to the pockets and bottom line of corporate earnings in the "certification machine"... go out and volunteer for an open source project and contribute to society - and get real experience writing real programs and maintaining real systems.

For example, Mark Zuckerberg of FB fame did not go out and "get certified"... when he started writing early code for his father's dental practice. Nor did he get certified to create the prototype FB app. The same is true for nearly all, if not all, great developers and system admins - without exception.

Granted, everyone out there is not cut out to be the next great inventor or system creator; but the concepts are the same - we learn best by taking an idea (or another's idea) and developing it, step by step, making mistakes along the way.

I agree with Scott that if your employer is willing to pay for certs, then by all means, go do it; but don't get wrapped around the axle thinking "certs" are a kind of "multivitamin" for your technical health; because they are not.

Yes, some certs give lab and hands on experience - and these are considered the best ones; so what is that really telling us? It is telling us that nothing is better than a lot of good, difficult, challenging hands on experience actually doing something "real" - something for the benefit of others.

IT and technology are a blessing. Many people are not IT or technical specialists; but most all benefit from technology in some way. So, if you don't have your own ideas to implement, or obvious opportunities to work on projects, go out and seek projects and volunteer for them.

Someone comes to me and says:

For the last year I did not have a paying job, so I volunteered and wrote code for the Apache Foundation (and here is my code and references) and I volunteered for the Linux Documentation Project (and here are the manuals I wrote)... and then I created an order management system for my local grocery store owner who did not have the knowledge and expertise to make or buy his own....

Another comes and says:

For the last year I got 5 certifications.

Who am I going to hire?

Certainly not the second one with the 5 certs and no projects and no volunteerism.

See also this thread.
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