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On certifications

Ok, so LPI will be at Debconf, giving discounted certifications to registered attendees. Is this good or bad? Mario likes the idea, Madduck is in the middle ground, not decided on his stance on this regard, and Joerg basically says it’s not worth much to him personally. Actually, I’ll quote Madduck, as he has an interesting point:<blockquote>I am not looking for employment, and if I was, I’d certainly not want to work at a company that thinks certifications are the true proof of capabilities. So I guess that leaves me with a ‘no’ still.</blockquote> When confronted with this topic, I always oppose certifications. Why? First of all, I think they are worth very little. I got three or four Brainbench certifications when they were free - And of course, noticed right away that such a simplistic test is worth very little. Of course, LPI is a better established name, and is usually respected - Lets be fair, and talk about LPI together in the line with Cisco’s, Microsoft’s, Novell’s and similar certification programs.
I’ve worked with several people who have got certified in different technologies, and almost always, this works against them rather than in their favor - Such people usually are blinded to all but their technologies. My most recent experiences are with the network infrastructure people - Cisco people know how to push Cisco, but know very little about protocol details, and cannot recommend a tool that’s not madesold by Cisco. Same goes for 3Com. Same goes for everybody else.</br> Although many certification tests include general situations like Solve this real-world problem, they are hampered by the final exam syndrome: The certification candidate spent a couple of nights frantically reading the books, and the material sits eager to jump on his brain lobes. Of course, given a couple of weeks, he has forgotten most of it and confused the rest. No, I don’t have hard data to back this up except for my experience - But I have some experience at least. Oh, and of course: This people can quote from memory in inverse alphabetical order each of the command-line options to ls, but might be unable to spit up a clever shell pipeline without sketching it in paper and thinking it over for some minutes.
What will this mean for most of Debconf’s target audience? Well, just what Ganneff and Madduck said: Take the test if you want to get a new job more easily - but you should have more confidence in yourself.
Just as a final note: Whenever I’ve interviewed people to work with me or for people that trust me, from all of the received curricula, I start by throwing out every curriculum that has the certifications earned in a prominent place. People who give too much weight to certifications IMHO tends to be worthless to work with.


garaged 2007-05-03 12:09:34

Re: On certifications

Can you make public any job offer you have (with wage if possible) to send you my CV if I qualify for one? :)

Gunnar 2007-05-03 14:20:00

Yes, in fact…

We are currently looking for a programmer at the Economics Research Institute, UNAM. You must hold at least a B.Sc. (licenciatura) title or equivalent experience - Besides that, we can talk and see. The base wage is ~MX$8000 a month, but of course, you get basically for sure at least MX$4000 extra as stimulus for your previous academic history - And that extra can grow. FWIW, I’m currently at ~MX$15000 a month for that exact same position (which you know for sure - Técnico académico asociado C de tiempo completo). But once again, as I have posted: I have been asked for people to recommend by several others, and I have been asked to choose one from several candidates. You know, I’m not in this field for the money - I’ve helped select people getting around twice my wage level, in this country.