The Personal Value of Certification

Fabio Rapposelli´s post “On the Real Value of IT certifications” highlights some of the current problems related to IT certifications in general, and basic “entry level” exams in particular.

The problems with brain dumps, lack of experience and testing methods is not new, and the “Paper MCSE” term was coined back in the early 2000´s when the influx of newly certified Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers, with little or no real world experience flooded the market. Sure, they were certified, but without hands-on experience, what is a certification worth?

All in all, there is nothing new under the sun. As long as monetary or other professional rewards are in the picture, some people will do whatever it takes to achieve it. There is nothing new under the sun, the emperor is still not wearing any pants, and even if we don´t like to admit it, the desire to be or become better is human nature and for some people, this means stealing, lying and cheating.

As Fabio mentions, replacing multiple-choice exams with hands-on lab based scenario ones is probably the best way to go, even for the “entry level” exams.

I´ve mentioned this before, VCP 5 Certification Requirements Clarification, but removing mandatory training classes might also be a way to lower the cost of obtaining a certification. This in turn might provide less incentive to actually study brain dumps, since the “cost of failure”  won´t be as high.

And yes, the moon just might be made of cheese.

On my part, certifications play a dual-role. For one, it´s a way for me personally to validate my skill set, and gives me tangible goals to work towards. Secondly, I work for a VAR that has competency requirements from their partners, and I work to fulfill those.

That dual focus helps me keep my integrity, but if my only goal was to fulfill some partners (paper) competency requirements the story might just be different.

What do you think? Do most people pursue certifications for personal fulfillment, or has certification lost it´s luster and generally not worth anything?