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Marketing Me! Certifications - Waste of time!

A number of years ago, I worked in the IT field. At that time there were two races on; to get stock options and to get certified.

Certifications were all the rage. Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers, Sun, Cisco Network Associates, and even the oddball Novell certified technicians seemed to sprout like mushrooms everywhere.

Everyone wanted a list of funny acronyms and abbreviations after their name like MCSE, CCNA, PM, etc.

The problem was that many certifications were nothing more than awards for successfully taking and completing a test. Thus, many certified tech people had lots of letters after their name, but very little actual experience. Not good.

So how well do certifications stack up today? In the IT field, most of the survivors (and successful) people I know have few if any certifications. Usually, that CCNA or RedHat cert was something their boss or supervisor paid for in an effort to use up a training budget before year's end.

The best IT people I know are good not because of a certification class they completed but because they really care about what they are doing. These people want servers to serve, networks to deliver packets and firewalls to keep bad guys out.

Further, certifications cost a lot of money with little guarantee that the cost will result in a great job offer. Ask the glut of MCSE's a few years ago about what they went through back then.

Yes. In some fields certification are required and mandated for employment. My own opinion is this sort of mandatory certification requirement is not based upon capability but rather a punch list created by HR or some group trying to protect their own status within a company.

My advice is to skip certifications. In some fields, the piece of paper may be necessary, but otherwise, it is a waste of time and money.
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