Leadership

Getting certified: Is it really necessary?


If you have been working in IT for a number of years, it is quite possible that your skills exceed your paper qualifications. Often we take certification long after we have learned and deployed the skills, so why do we bother? Certifications are extremely expensive and time-consuming and there is often no increase in rewards for gaining them.

Our company, with the ever changing market place, has to re-align its product range and the emphasis is changing from electromechanical machines to more IT based solutions. In the past all our field engineers have been genuinely highly skilled engineers who can actually fit C-clips and springs without firing them across the room, or manage not lose vital but tiny woodruff keys!

Sadly, the products are beginning to leave these skills behind and our workforce is being required to retrain and qualify for Comptia A+ and N+ certification. Although the A+ certificate is more to do with PC architecture and operating systems than software support it is felt that it is better to offer our customers engineers with a certification that demonstrates a reasonable level of competence with PCs.

The N+ is required because some of our new products are network connected terminals that allow members of the public the opportunity to complete postal transactions without the need to queue at the counter.

Whilst these do not require a huge amount of networking skills, it is good to use people who understand what they are doing and knowledge makes it a lot easier to resolve problems if there is something wrong. It is also useful for the customer to see that the people doing the work are properly trained.

The problem we are going to face is getting buy in from the engineers. Many have worked for the company for many years and continue to support a lot of the older style equipment. Whilst it still works and while our fairly conservative customer base continues to do business as they have done for years there will be a continuing but diminishing need for that kind of support. It will die out eventually and when it does we need to be ready for the next generation of work. That is the real issue.

Does the change in technology present any problems in your workplace?

154 comments
don.gulledge
don.gulledge

The equation is simple, but the logic escapes me. Network Engineer?

dinotech
dinotech

Because of the lack of regulation for mortgage brokers, people's credit is low, the housing market has a high percentage of foreclosure, and the dollar is fading. What does this mean for certifications? They are going to be a cheap way for "techs" to be born. People see the IT industry as a fast-buck, and attempt to know something. A person could spend about $300 on books and test materials to study and take the test. The type of people who take the test vary, but I am sure most are in the top 100 in IQ and have photographic memory, or can take any test well. This is what we are discussing here.

dinotech
dinotech

Robert, I stated that our country would not appreciate a socialist solution to qualifying our certifications. I was wrong in making that statement. Our college went through a qualification process called accreditation. A college participates in accreditation to define if that college is giving reliable degrees. So the TQ process isn't that far removed from what accreditation is doing for our college. The process occurs every 10 years to see how we take care of current and potential students. To align this with what we are discussing, the IT department of our college had only a paragraph under the Library and Media section ten years ago. Today, there is a section 5a exclusively for instructional technology, and institutional technology. It clearly defines our strategy, our strengths, and our weaknesses. We correct those areas that need attention by comparing how IT affects the college as a whole in relation to serving the students, faculty, and staff. If vendors can accredit their certification strategies with the state, that would provide the qualification needed for the certification. I believe that all IT professionals should be licensed in the state, which would provide the common baseline measurement that Robert was looking for. My apologies to all, and especially Robert for not recognizing what he was trying to state. I should have known - we spent several months preparing our section. As for Tony Hopkinson, it doesn't matter what license you have, if you don't impress him, you need to get your money back!!

ruprick_z
ruprick_z

As a Director of Training & Certification for network equipment manufacturer I can tell you that even we who write, teach and validate certifications know that it is not the "end game", but the begining. A certification is like a drivers license - it says you know the very basics to pass the test. You know that what a stop sign looks like, you know you should use your turn signal, understand the concepts of safe driving, etc... Does that make you a good driver? NO! Does it make you qualified to drive NASCAR, Indy, F1, etc...? NO! Experience is the real teacher, but the certifications proves knowledge of the basics.

amado.puentes
amado.puentes

While certification is good, and I have most of them; I find that recently the market has been hiring many unqualified technical personnel for their work force, entirely based on their accumulated certification, but not necessarily knowledgeable in the practical sense. It is simple to memorize how to pass an exam of any kind; but this does not get you the accumulated practical savvy needed to resolve those day to day problems. Consequently you end up having to train the newcomers anyway. So why do we need the certification diploma??? amado.puentes@bcc.cuny.edu

DaPearls
DaPearls

Very early in my career, I was sitting in a Novell class next to a guy who was trying to go from being a car salesman to an IT tech. He was going for his CNE. Does that really qualify him to work on computers? Most of the highly technical people I have met only get their certs to impress future employers. Their knowledge far exceeds the curriculumn. I look for experience and practical knowledge over whether or not someone is certified.

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

In theory, you do not need certifications to get a job in the IT industry. You can get a comfortable position somewhere and make pretty decent money. The only thing is, without certifications, many doors are closed. Why get certified? One word...Proof. You prove you have certain skillsets available to the company that is taking intrest. Anyone can say, "I know what I am talking about" or "I am a really quick learner" or "Active Directory, Group Policy, Kerberos, Exchange, Routing, blah blah blah" and be lying through their teeth just to get in the door. They know "buzz words" trying to make themselves sound knowledgeable. The thing is, many hiring managers and/or HR reps know this. So how can they tell if someone is lying or telling the truth? Proof! Exactly how does one show proof? Certifications. It is true that many have gone through "bootcamps" and are still green to the whole network concept, but if they were able to pass the test, they have to have some knowledge at least. Yes, I agree that experience speaks volumes as well. One might argue that, "I have had 20+ years in the industry and I can network Novell systems with my eyes closed." Thats all well and good, but what enterprise-level company is still using 20 or even 10 year old technology? Or what if the company one is interviewing for is using the newest technology? How does one go about convincing the hiring personel that they are up-to-date with their skillset and understanding of new technology? Proof! Once again, what's the best proof? Certifications. We all know that if you are going to make a career in the IT industry, you are going to be constantly learning and adapting to technology for the entire span of said career. If not, unfortunately, eventually you become obsolete and open a "fix-it" shop somewhere in town. Bottom line is this: College Degree/Experience-Gets you in the door Certifications-Provides proof and most likely more $$$ (this is just my 2cents worth taken from my personal experience, so it should be taken with a grain of salt...others results may vary) MCP,MSCE 2003 CCNA

zlitocook
zlitocook

For most companies it is not, if you get an interview. You talk with some one who most of the time knows nothing about IT. They just try to assess your back ground to see if you fit the job they are trying to fill. If it does then you are passed to a person with in the IT field in the company. With the contract jobs I have had and my current position, this was the way it worked. I was only asked if I had any certs once and after that they went by the job or jobs I had before. Most companies seem to want people who know what they have done and can give good answers to problems asked. They can tell if you are answering from memory or giving real answers to real life experiences, if you get by with shop talk or answers that you guess at or you know are not right. I would not like to work for that company. Why I said if you get an interview at first is because most companies have to post the job for two weeks because of EEOC and some already have a person in mind for the position. Ether a person that they have already or a over seas employee.

JCitizen
JCitizen

in other parts of the world. I've seen associates of mine make six figure salaries; but they miss their wives and children too.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Techno-parrots. Actually I would put these guys at around 50 in the IQ stakes. I mean going into IT for money....

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

The Evolution Lie *ducks

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Tony, the only thing bigger than his head is his ego. :D Hey I'm only one guy in one place at one time. Most of the time you will be wrong for the right reasons. I really wish certs were what they purport to be. I would invest in them to show the distinction between me and some MBA who once wrote a macro. LMAO.

robert_boyko
robert_boyko

I do not believe that for myself that an appology is required. I did not take offence to the statement that was made. It would be a sad world that we live in if discussions like this did not take place. It is through this type of collaberation that ideas are brought forward. These ideas are always seen by others and someone out there actually does at times, measure the weight of the idea or concept, and for the common good of all, construct and implement the notion (usually a politician). There is absolutely nothing wrong with free speech and should be encouraged. It is forums like this which brings out the best in ideas and concepts. Not everyone will agree to what is conveyed, but that is to be expected. It is for these reasons that I am not offended by the remarks and no appology, in my mind, is required by you or anyone else. In any case appology accepted. Thanks.

Questor1
Questor1

Most of the information taught by Cert classes is readily available on the Internet. A motoviated and experienced person will find the answers they need online. When you claim you falsely elevate Certs as a legal job requirement with an implied hazard. No one needs a drivers license to search for info on the Internet. Does your statement mean that anyone who passes a Cert should be bonded for insurance as a legal risk? You too have been brainwashed by the OEMs. However, you also fail to mention you have a vested interest in teaching Certs as a source of revenue and employment for you and your company. Therefore, your opinion is biased.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

not to post your email address in a public forum, or you did a cert in securing an email server?

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Just give me the damn job and I'll have my certification in six months. If the employer pays for my certs then getting them is anti-climatic to say the least. For most of us, certs are a catch 22. For example, in order to get my CISSP, I have to be working in security already. This is true for most certs which as a pre-requisite ask that you have hands-on experience with their tech. I'm sorry, but I'm married with a full-time job and just making enough to pay rent and feed my family. I don't have the time or the money to invest in more certs. Give me the job and pay for my certs and you own me for at least five years.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I've worked with people with degrees, with certs and with both. Didn't do them any good, I could still tell they were f'ing useless. Just because you put a lot off effort in to get your certs, just because you've applied them successfully doesn't mean everyone else has. What have certs got to do with constantly learning?. There's no other way to do it? There's no point in doing it unless you get another autograph from Bill, WTF Writing two paragraphs one page means there's logical connection, you don't just take things at face value do you? I have this really nice piece of land... Ring 0800 ... for further details. If you accept the claim or even the the piece of paper with their name on it as proof of their skill level never mind, attitude and ability, you are naive at best. It's almost as though you are trying to sell me something, I ain't buying.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Most certs don't require that you have hands on experience with the hardware or software. You just memorize and regurgitate information. With a degree at a reputable institution, at least you have hands-on experience with hardware and software. It's one thing to know how to write an "if" statement in C++, but totally another to include it in a larger program and spending hours and even days debugging it until it works. Any interview will weed out the liars since the actual IT interviewer knows the questions to ask.

JesseLee
JesseLee

Two years ago I graduated from a four year university with a computer science degree, my concentration was information systems. Upon looking for work every where I looked in my area wanted certs, they didn't care about experience or my degree. Thankfully I was able to get a job based on my experience and degree. Trust me when I say it is frustrating for new graduates who look for jobs and no one wants to hire them because they haven't payed a couple hundred dollars to take one more exam to get one more piece of paper that says they know what they can do. Two years later I know to advance I either need to get a master's degree in my field and/or certification. Here is the clincher: if I take classes for a master's degree only one course (and just the course, not including books or anything else) will be payed for every semester; but if I want to get certified I am on my own.

brent.harmon
brent.harmon

When I first took over the management of the Help Desk, there was a general consensus in the user community that the Help Desk was not capable of answering most questions, and that, if you needed anything beyond a password reset, you were better off figuring it out on your own. There was a tremendous gap in the capabilities of the team members, and the quickest way to remedy the situation was to require all of the Help Desk technicians to complete the MDCST exam. I know, this exam is very basic and most people who don't drool on themselves all day can pass this exam. Well, one of my employees failed the exam, and was moved to part-time as a result. Harsh, I know, but necessary to provide the best level of support and customer service possible. Although it seems tragic, this exam really helped this individual identify that maybe she wasn't in the right position. I have rewarded my employees who have chosen to pursue certifications on their own. Once I had established a "baseline of technical competence", I was able to encourage my techs to pursue other certifications. I now have 4 techs with 3 certifications each, and two of them have 4 certifications each. Two of them are working to get certified on Linux, and two are working towards their MCSA certs. The belief by IT Pros that "certs don't mean anything" is only half true. I agree that the certification is only as good as the person holding it. But, if you look at the certification as a way to invest in yourself and your skills, then it is a worthwhile pursuit. Just like a college degree. Sure, I would've been smarter to forgoe college and go straight to work making money instead of incurring debt, but that degree helped me earn a higher wage out of college and helped me pay off that debt faster. Plus, now a potential employer can look at a piece of paper and see my academic and professional credentials and *assume* a certain level of competency and skill exists, and that, to me, is successful marketing. Finally, as someone who has to review the resumes of potential employees, seeing a certification (or two) shows me that the person is at least willing to invest in themselves and their chosen profession.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

It's beyond strange and honestly, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that IT is NOT where the money is...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

certification business, is probably the main reason why it has been debased. In the main, properly applied the material itself is very useful. The idea that you have to buy it off someone else and get a receipt, well that's turned out to be a total crock. Someone realised they could just sell the badge and undercut the people who do it properly. The strangest thing to me is why businesses think certs as opposed to skilled employees who may or may not have a piece of paper reduces costs. One buffoon with a cert but no skill costs way more than paying somebody you know who has demonstrated their ability to vet the candidates before the HR muppets. That's even if they don't make a phenomenomally crass mistake before they really learn something. Some one with a cert but not the skills is pretty much the definitive description of person with enough knowledge to be dangerous.

DaPearls
DaPearls

Frank, I agree with your comments. However, I just spent about 15 yrs in a large corporation. I did not need certs to move around. Therefore, I focused my time on actually working and honing my practical skills. When I left (ok I was let go), I realized that many of the HR "professionals" consider Certs to be key indicators when reviewing resumes. Once you are in the door, the hiring manager wants to know what you have done. So, if you are a PMP without any PM work, what good is the cert?

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

Given what you just said "If you accept the claim or even the the piece of paper with their name on it as proof of their skill level never mind, attitude and ability, you are naive at best." My question to you then is this. In your mind, what's the difference between a cert and a college degree. (and if you try to tell me a college degree is useless, then you sir are the naive one.) You have so many people out there getting a degree in "computer science" which is a general degree at best. The point of certs is to narrow down or define one's skillset. Would you hire someone with a degree in computer science to work on your routers, only to have them say, "Uhh, I don't know anything about routers really." No, of course you wouldn't. You would look for someone with a CCNA. Works for me though, i'll just grab up the jobs that require certs while all the people like you stand back and say, "There's no need for certs!" What do certs have to do with constantly learning? WTF?? How are you going to pass ANY cert test if you don't learn about it first? Are you telling me you could go pass the CCNA or any of the 7 required tests for the MSCE without learning? I honestly think not. Like I said before, people can talk a good talk, but without proof, that's all it is...just talk. Cheers! MCP, MCSE 2003 CCNA

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

This is why HR numpties and pimps use them when wordsearching for their next 'successful' candidate.

jglass
jglass

There are two tracks you can take, as I see it. You can focus on the technical side or the business side of IT. If youre looking to get into a management role go for the Masters. With that you get it and have it for good. Cert's are worthwhile if youre planning to stay on the technical side of the department. The one who consults with the business folks and puts together their needs. A fall back to the cert are they expire and become out dated. Both are beneficial. I have several cert's and am still working on my BA. I probably wont go as fara as a Master's since I got a late start, but will persue some type of management class after my BA. Along with acquiring a few new certs.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

For example, Cisco certs. Every Network Engineering position I apply for wants Cisco certs. I've found that once you get them, you have to justify the money you spent getting them by using and promoting Cisco's overpriced products. I work for a non-profit, and so it has given me the opportunity to try other products that are just as good (or better) than CISCO in quality and better in value. I prefer HP ProCurve switches due to the life-time warranty and next day replacement which saves my company a grip compared to paying Cisco SmartNet maintenance costs. I can also configure the switch from the command line, create VLANS, etc. The command line interface and the commands are equivalent to Cisco products. HR people don't know about this though. They don't care about the fact that I can do everything a certified Cisco Engineer can do, they just care about that stupid cert even though I do have a C.S. degree. I remember back when I was in college and a student asked our professor "What will make us different from the other IT guys that don't have a degree and have certs and stuff." And the professor said, "Well, what will make you guys different is that you understand why things work the way they do." So far that's been true. So instead of wasting time and money on certs, I just expand the skills section of my resume to include things that I can do. For example, I don't have an MCSE but I do understand AD, can build and Exchange Server from scratch and can design and deploy a W2K3 Enterprise.

DaPearls
DaPearls

Jessica, My opinion is that you should go for your Masters and let your company pay for it. Every IT Department has a training budget seperate from the Companies tuition reimbursement. Convince your manager to let you work on your certs (PMP, ITIL) by showing them how it will benefit the department. Of course, it will not hurt your job search either. Good luck

lrbassoc
lrbassoc

There are several reasons to obtain certs. First it proves to me that the person took enough time to at least memorize the Q&A for the exam. That in itself is an educational experience and proves they can at least read. Second your correct, they are showing a willingness to invest in themselves. That carries some weight with me as I interview them. What I have found is the average person that took the time to become certified in one of the mills is at least willing to continue to learn. They have invested in themselves and have some knowledge. Our colleges are turning out some of the worst prepared IT people on the planet. They come to us with theory and no experience. The worst interviews I have conducted involved college professors that were teaching students and knew nothing about the subject matter.

Questor1
Questor1

I am surprised that you are using "education discrimination" based on certifications for interviewing qualified job candidates. You are likely missing out on interviewing older workers who could be a great additions to your staff and projects. You claim that "if you look at the certification as a way to invest in yourself and your skills, then it is a worthwhile pursuit. Just like a college degree." Certs are used to unfairly screen out job candidates because certs do not adequately reflect a person's current skills, knowledge, or motivation. Newly minted "paper MCSEs", etc. who cannot get projects or tasks completed on time abound in IT and give the profession and certifications a bad name. I have 15+ years of IT support experience, am a MCSE (NT4), Novell CNA, up to date on MCSE through Win 2003 server and cannot get a job in this area or on a Help Desk because I am considered "overqualified" or "old" at age 49. I have great references from past employers about proijects I have completed, but work in IT is drying up as more programming and IT support jobs are shipped overseas. Despite my broad and expensive education, I now have to hide the facts that I have earned separate Bachelors degrees in Information Systems (Tech degree), Marketing (Business), and Political Science (Liberal Arts)because I am condsidered "overqualified" in a crowded IT market. The number of IT jobs in the USA are declining where recent employment studies estimate that 25% of programming jobs have drie up in the USA. It is estimated that 15-20% of IT support jobs have also disappeared or been transfered to "near-shore" or offshore foreign forms. Consequently, more IT jobs seem to require more specialized Cerst and less formal learning such as college degrees because IT is trying to reduce wages to compete with offshore outsourcing wage scales. Employers are moving towards hiring technicians to support off the shelf software and in doing so, reducing the amount of creativity and IT innovation needed for companies to advance. This playing field is slanted against older workers in favor of younger ones or overseas workers. Therefore, there is a built-in educational bias aganist older wages based on lower wages and how new a certification seems to be. You should re-consider your statements about how Certs supposedly define the character and motivation of the worker!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Taking the course and almost certainly applying what you picked up in the real world vs cramming and getting the badge. The badge itself has (should have !) no value, it's what you had to do to get it. So you can put some real effort in to learning, applying and expanding, or you can boot camp, cram and be guaranteed the badge. Without some one who has travelled first path vetting the claims, simply relying on the claim of a badge you will get the f'kers who took the short cut. Given support is basically an entry position you have to have some way to thin out the applicants, certs, degrees, locals, all those with a middle name, take your pick...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I had a question pop up last time I was updating my resume. Where do hiring managers prefer to see proffessional certifications listed? At the top, beside the name and degree is one place but I've been told it's not a good place. At the top of the "skills" section seems a good place but then still, I've had people say that certs should be embedded in the skill bullet points with the relevant skills. Really, I'd like to just have a line where I keep adding the certs in a comma delimited list so I can watch it grow and save the reader from having to find them amongs everything else. Any thoughts as a hiring manager?

robert_boyko
robert_boyko

OK, here its is. PLAR (Private Line Automatic Ringdown) and SRST (Survivable Remote Site Telephony). Both of these terms would be familiar with anyone that works with Cisco equipment and is familiar with VOIP and converged technologies. Pulp mills use a variety of IP technologies to monitor and control a variety of processes. As paper rolls out of a wet end it is dried and then processed for the commercial market (hence dry end machine). These machines are controlled by computers. These servers use control software running on Windows, Linux, and Unix operating systems. These servers actually talk to each other via ethernet or ether fibre connections, some use token ring or FDDI. The servers themselves are then monitored by control room personel or engineers via desktop or laptop applications. In some vendor units this may also be be done in a mobile environment (Blackberrys etc.). And no this is not specific to Canada. You can find these technologies in sawmills, steel mills, and any other manufacturing enterprise that has modernized there systems for efficiency. And where can you get your starts? Try Cisco, Flotrol, Avaya, and any other Vendors who deals with communications and control and monitoring technologies. Most of the companies have their own courses. Once you gain the basic skills, then go job hunting for the entrance level positions to gain the experience. That is how one gets well rounded. Before you know it you become in demand. It is then that your start seeing the big bucks. For control and monitoring try the oil companies, sawmills, and pulp mills to name just a few. For communications and survailance try security companies, the armed forces, police forces etc. For communications, well there are a number of companies which have stepped into the VOIP world. Finning Tractor, FMC, and many others. All you have to do is research the opportunities. They are at you finger tips. All you have to do is invest in yourself (education). In my career world everything changes. Upgrading, learning new skills, and updating is not an option. It is a requirement. Think about what I just said. As far as wikipedia goes, as an IT proffessional you should already be aware of most of the acronyms (MGCP, SIP, H323, BGP, EIGRP and so on). Did I answer your question? Cheers, Rob

dinotech
dinotech

Okay, so I would hope that Robert might enlighten us where to learn about such technologies. Or, are they specific to Canada? I'll wikipedia the acronyms and see what I come up with.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Who is now traveling the world and taking in six figure salaries. But this kid was maniacal, he would seriously study untill all hours of the night with a baby daughter just born! I don't see how he made it. He would come to class dead tired but still keep kicking along. Got an offer to a consulting firm going to Germany for 280,000 a year, straight out of Hays University. As far as practical experience he did a lot of work for the community college he started in; and wrote the ACL for the system there; And helped them build a whole new MDF and infrastructure overhaul.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

When I did, the bulk of it was HP and DEC, RS232 , dumb terminals etc. I took the NT3.51 admin course, and it's stood me in good stead. NT was New when I took it. Didn't need the extra stuff to get the badge though, RAS was in the workstation course, but you needed it for the server exam. Can you say sucker or what? Now I know enough to know where admin should come in and to explain what I think I want to the chaps who haven't had the last ten years off. I know the game is somewhat different for admins, but I still think a good deal of it is a con. Anyone who can admin NT3.51 could do 4, Use 4, and you can get 2K.... AD is probably a course in it's own right.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Cisco is respected because it is VERY had to pass unless you have a clue...why? The practical. All these multiple guess certs are good for is wasting paper...without a practical, you'll never know if that person understands the material or not.

robert_boyko
robert_boyko

Tony your are right in many counts, However I can tell that you may be seeing things in an English pertspective (Georgraphically that is). Different regions have have different definitions for the general term IT. It has taken me almost 28 years to earn, and I disclose openly just for example over $72,000 Canadian annually (last years figures). Most people getting into IT rarely make $38,000 in their first 5 years. Ok why is that? Let me try to put it into perspective. First I may show up at customer #1 to diagnose a problem with a PLAR that has mysteriously diasppeared from his SRST router, then on to customer #2, the installation of a 350 gateway (the LAN needs to be set up - VLAN Configs etc.) Then next Customer #3, Engineer having trouble accessing data logs generated by Dry end machine # 3 (cause of application failure due to newly installed Patch), are we getting the picture. IT in my world is not all LAN / WAN. No Boot Camp will ever get you this type of skill set. The people supplying the training will never tell you what it actually takes to become proficient at your job. My advise is simple, take the Vendor courses. This will allow you to see how their products work, how they are configured, and most important, how they are implemented. The core education would normally come from a good overal curiculum in network basics and PC fundementals. Most colleges offer a good CIS program (Computer Information System). Most industries usually recognise the CIS graduates as entrance candidates. As for the Big Bucks(dollars and cents or pounds and pence) for those that are looking to get rich I say keep dreaming. It takes time and effort and most important you can never quit investing in yourself. And Tony, you are right when it comes to the Cisco certs. The exams are actually designed with the candidate having at least one year in the field working on Cisco products (CCNA) prior to taking the exam. However if you have a photographic mind, one could simply read the book and pass. I've seen it done. And yes I am lengthy and probably replied to the wrong post - forgive me. And I think you missed the third party training vendors. These guys are always hitting me up (Prep Logic, Exam Cram just to name a couple). Learn your Cert while you drive to work in the morning was the last slogan I recieved.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Strangely people who sell IT training, can't think why that would be.... University career advisors, a bunch of people who seem to be chronologically challenged, among other concerns, (50 would be a good IQ for them) There is a shortage of people in position X, you can get Y money for doing it. So four years later this is still going to be true is it?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I wish I could find it to link here for you if you haven't though it made the rounds at the time. Recommendations included using a magnet to clean off all the little flecks of metle on the diskette so there would be more space for the data to reside. I think it also advicated taking the platters out of the drive or diskette to clean them once in a while under warm water to avoid clutter and viruses (but be gentle with them of course and let them dry fully before placing back into casings).

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

My all time 'dumb user' personal experience was with a guy who I asked to press F8. What's happened ? Nothing What's on your screen now? F8 No word of a lie, had to ring the guy back.

dinotech
dinotech

I've read that IT pros would tell their users to place the floppies in a plastic bag so they wouldn't spread any viruses and protect the floppy. I bet between you and Tony, there are some stories to be told!

JCitizen
JCitizen

At some places I worked, where most people didn't have a clue what we were doing, I would purposely paste those goofy nuclear radiation symbols on my tool chest or on my MDF/lab door. Nobody would come around asking any questions, and we got a lot of peace and quiet that way! ;\

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

in the warehouse when they put a new computer system in. The IT boss just put the job up, advertised internally and told me I should apply, interviewed and gave me the job. Mind you that was when HR knew they didn't know anything about IT. It was so arcane, they used to issue us pointy hats. One place I worked at the HR bint was big and had a penchant for wearing yellow. :D And I know Kermit, Bert and that eagle fellow all put on a disguise for extra money when the show isn't running.

JCitizen
JCitizen

You crack me up Tony; I get all these visual queues when I read your posts; and they are spot on. :^0 When I was in control logic it used to rag the HR people off when the department supervisor would interrupt the interview to take me out on the floor and ask a few questions; then they would anounce to the muppet, "we'll take him". Took about 5 minutes or less to figure out. OOOOooohh! That used to chap them off! They didn't even look at my certs or college degree for that!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Are certs necessary? You say yes but you have to test to make sure you think they are/should be certified. I say no because you have to test yourself anyway. I ask you if the learning and not taking the certs has value. You say no to that too ! Yet that is what you are testing against, or do you have a counterfeit cert detector? What am I to make of these contradictory assertions? You are a walking / talling collection of assumptions aren't you. How am I meant to know what the context is if you don't communicate it. If I fail to comprehend your communication, then you failed to communicate. What do they teach people nowadays ? Sheesh.

InfraGuru
InfraGuru

because your comment on what I wrote was out of context...just pointing that out for your benefit in case you didn't realize it.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

then. CCNA badge = valuable. Person with CCNA reboots terminal. You wrote it, not me!

InfraGuru
InfraGuru

As hilarious as developers that don't know how to install a printer driver...I've seen that as well. But if you want to turn this into thread into some kind of childish banter devoid of professionalism then go ahead since you are pretty good at it. I'll just continue to give people current and relevant advice that I feel will help them progress in their careers as I am not in the least bit threatened, either professionally or personally, by your insidious comments. Have a good day.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

certs serve a useful purpose in terms of recruiting, it's hilarious.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

So in one post you say there's no point in learning without certification, but you are forced to ask questionsto prove that the certification I claim is justifiable in your opinion. As for your career advice, I've been in IT since 1987, never unemployed for more than a month since 1981, and I'm a principal developer for the largest most successful IT organisation in the UK. So don't give up your day job.

Oktet
Oktet

"If they hire someone who has a ccna and thinks he has to reboot his pc console instead of the router to do a password recovery (I've actually seen that)."

InfraGuru
InfraGuru

Why would anyone go through a study program and not strive to obtain the credential that proves successful completion...would you go through the requirements for a bachelors degree and at the very end opt not to apply for graduation? That's absolutely ludicrous to me, but perhaps, I suppose, not to others. Acquisition of certification or degree is, like it or not, a quantification of sorts indicating the baseline knowledge someone has obtained in a respective area. If you were to actually read my post, not once did I say that having a cert or even a degree equates to actual knowledge and I even gave examples, obviously for naught. Perhaps in ten years time you will wonder where your career would have been if you would have obtained certs...or, more than likely, you are already there thus your perspective on certs. I am a hiring manager and I don't hire someone without a cert and the experience to back that cert up...having a cert tells me that the individual is of a certain motivated ilk and that is who I want working for me. Obviously I?m not talking about the TestKing takers, even though for some reason, some of the non-certified techies think that?s all that?s out there?sad really, but if a hiring manager can?t figure out during an interview or even from the resume who is a paper cert and who is not, well then he shouldn?t be a technical hiring manager now should he? And deserves to hire a paper weight. Just one more example, the best network engineer I have ever worked with (when I was fresh in the civilian IT world) was much older than me and worked in IT, it seemed, since he could talk, but didn?t have any certs. One day he was really upset?he just got so fed up in being again overlooked for positions because of his lack of certs. After that in a matter of, no kidding, less than 60 days took and passed the ccna, ccda, ccnp, ccdp, and?and?the ccie. He immediately got hired as the senior architect for an extremely large ISP and never once looked back?I won?t mention his name because he is now very well known in the Cisco world. Again, all I can say is just get over it?if you are as good as you think you are then just take the exam..should be a cake walk, right? And you never know what opportunities will open up to you because of them.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

it's a waste of time then ? You are doing what many supporting certs here are doing equating posession of badge with acquisition of knowledge. Oh well when you put another ten years in you might become aware of this fallacy.

InfraGuru
InfraGuru

you can't be a PMP without PM experience. This issue of cert or no cert, degree or no degree has been going on for as long as I can remember. Let's put it this way...I have met people with bachelors, masters, and phds in CS that couldn't troubleshoot their way out of a loose utp connection and I've met ccnas that aced the ccie first time round (when it was a two day lab). So the argument that one type of IT employee is better than another just because of whether or not they have a degree or a cert just doesn't hold any water. What holds water is what the company's hiring managers (read non HR personnel) place into the job descriptions for the positions they want to hire. If they require certs it's because they see value in it, if they require degrees then it's for the same reason. If they hire someone who has a ccna and thinks he has to reboot his pc console instead of the router to do a password recovery (I've actually seen that), well then, he probably won't last too long anyway so what's the worry...the position will be advertised again shorty. Why discuss this any longer, stop wasting time or being a hater...just go ahead and get a degree and a few certs in your specializations. Personally I have a masters in IT and several certs from MS, Cisco, PMI, ISC2, ISACA along with the ITILF and I can say for certain that I would not have progressed as far as I have in the 10 years I have been in IT (not counting my time as a systems analyst in the military) without obtaining each of them as soon as I was either able or qualified to do so. I get contacted by recruiters and employers alike on a daily basis and that's the situation everyone should be striving to be in...of course geography helps...you can't expect to find your next great job quickly unless you live near a metropolis, but that's for another forum topic. Hope my two cents helped.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I should expect someone with a CCNA to know something about routers, I would expect that beccause they say they have a CCNA, that they do. Seeing the distiction here?. I'll spell it out, the pice of paper does not mean they have the knowledge they should, it means they have the piece of paper. Is that clear enough? As for the start of this post, if you want to put words in my mouth so you can argue against them, then do the rebuttal as well, it will no doubt make you feel better. How do I get a cert with out learning it, simple, I scan yours in and change the name on it with paint and then print that out. Some poor numpty trusting the piece of paper will hire me and then I try to learn on the job without being discovered as clueless. I learn constantly and don't do certs was my point, tell me did any of your self vaunted education cover logic and comprehension, I honestly think not. I'm not saying there's no need for certs, I'm saying they do not fulfill the need. Try to read this one, if you want help with the big words do post back. Cheers !!

JCitizen
JCitizen

The colleges I attended required taking the same cert exam to pass the class! You couldn't get any computer science degree worth having unless that was done. I am not a certification fan so don't jump me about that. I'm just pointing out what was going on in the midwest all the way to Texas in 2003.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

You've just given the most damning reviewe of certs in this thread. To paraphrase your post. You insist your IT people can read If they've already got the cert you can save on training. You make no distinction between a cert mill and the guy who spent hours slaving away in labs and learning it for more than one day.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

People with neither have them. Therefore, you can't trust the posession of the cert, so you have to validate yourself. So waste of time, except for minimising the number of resumes you have to plough through, by throwing away potentially good candidates in favour of some useless twit who paid for a badge. That's where I'm going. Don't even get me started on whether knowing how to do something means you are competent in terms of when and where and why to do something.

randrade123
randrade123

"Certifications are SUPPOSED to be..." Where exactly were you going with this??

randrade123
randrade123

So I am reading the posts here and I can't help but to think that the one overriding point of Certifications is being missed by everyone: Certifications are supposed to be a demonstration of foundational knowledge not the end all be all that people seem to think they are. I have four certifications from the Comptia A+ to the MCDST and guess what? I still have a lot to learn and I know it. Anyone who walks away from a test or a college with a degree believeing they know everything is a dangerous fool who will get any company that hires them in a world of trouble. And yes I went to college to take certification specific classes along with the on my own time work experience. They key to any successful classroom learning experience is whether or not the instructor forces the student to do hands on lab work with real life situations. The one question that I ask when interviewing someone whether or not they have certs is a simple one: "Someone calls you and says 'I push the power button and get no response.' What is the first question you should ask?" I also have issues with those who say that certs do not represent real world situations: When was the last time you actually looked at cert requirements? I took the A+ cert and the MCDST as well as Network+ and every question I have been asked in the real world is represented in the materials. Finally the importance we place in the certs is strictly misplaced in the way we attach importance. The certs; no matter what that cert is (Cisco, Comptia, Red Hat, Microsoft and so on)are foundational markers and markers only.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Tigger Team auditing is probably the one tech area of specialization I always come back to between whatever tangent I may go off on from week to week. I'm actually a little stunned to find out that there is a specific Ethical Hacking certification.. that was my motivation for considering the CISSP and the cert above that. The irony isn't lost on me either. You need a valid cert holder and so many years experience before you can write the cert exam but; you need the cert to get the job to get the experience to be able to write the cert. I just have to giggle a little over that. Off hand, anyone out there know of a group in the Toronto/North York area? I'll have to check out the local LUG but finding a local group of like minded security geeks would be fantastic. I'd ask to know more about the CEH but I can't wait.. I'm off to my local search engine (ah the days when we had "search engines" and "google" was not a verb). Thanks Tig (Edit): If only the Damn Vulnerable Linux distribution was available for download outside of the US.

JCitizen
JCitizen

and will be the only one I would be motivated enough to pursue. I will probably not renew any other for the future.

Tig2
Tig2

The CISSP BOK. It weighs a ton and is packed with information on all of the required domains. Find a local group. If you have general IT experience, you will need someone with a CISSP or better to vouch for you. I found my copy of the BOK at my local Barnes and Noble. Info Sec is fascinating- to me at least. But given your talents, you might be better suited for Certified Ethical Hacker. The ISC(2) site is good- a quick Google search will send you to many more.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Of all the CompTIA books I've read so far, the Security+ was the most interesting read though it had less new information for me than I'd hoped. I still learned a lot from it mind you. It was the same in University when my program finally offered a tech liberal course in security; the book was a great read and it was one of the few classes I really enjoyed going too but I was in the minority.

jglass
jglass

I list them in the Education section of my resume underneath college EDU. Eg. University of Richmond 1999-2004 BA Information Systems Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer - MCSE Certified Cisco Network Associate - CCNA Certified Information System Security Professional - CISSP I dont have that last one yet.....

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