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  • #2177121

    the expense of certification accumulation


    by lumbergh77 ·

    Add up all the time you spent studying for these certifications. Now add up all the time you spent taking the tests for these certifications.
    Add in the casual discussions, techno chats and meetings.

    Now multiply that by your current hourly rate.
    Add all the money you spent on internet time, books, training courses, discusssiong groups, and user groups.

    Thats how much in dollar terms you’ve spent.
    Subtract this from your current yearly salary.

    Have you truely made any money yet?

    Ask yourself if you could have spent all this time doing other things like starting a side business, communication with your wife or girlfriend, enjoying a hobby, or relating to or raising children better.

    Now consider the organisations who generate these certifications. You think its because businesses ask them to develop some sort of measuring stick to be able to prove your experience.

    You think they’re doing it because they want a good name in the industry?

    Its a business opportunity. A money making endeavour. Do you think they do this for free?

    They don’t just have you fooled into some short term scheme. They’ve got you hooked for the long term. They’ve even got you selling the certification scheme for them. And convencing recent graduates it wil solve all their problems.

    Why does it cost $600 a day for these courses. And $250 for the test. $125 for a book.

    Now off I go to see when .NET certifications and courses will be available so I can get a job based on technology that changes so quickly I might as well become a Professional Certificant and study 50% of the time.

    By the way did you know that M$ has now simplified their grading to either pass or not pass. So once I’ve got 5 certificants vieing for the same position I won’t be able to tell which studied the hardest the night before and forgot the most the day after.

    This is a money making rip off for short term benefits.
    With a never ending cycle.

    Reel ’em in. We’ve got another sucker hooked.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3350244

      not me

      by jaqui ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      eyuz jest an unedumicated iggeramos
      gots me no edumicashun.

    • #3350222

      Depends on your approach….

      by awfernald ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      The only certification I ever bothered to get (MCSE) was to prove what I had learned through hands-on experience, so… no study time involved, no course costs, etc… and the tests were only $75 where I took them.

      Took one test on one day to see what the tests were actually like, then took the other four tests in about 1.5 hours the next day. Then about a month later, I took the final exam to actually get the MCSE cert.

      Total investment was $450 for the price of the exams. Earned that back with the contract we won because of having the “certified staff”.

    • #3350191

      This is just theory

      by seanc ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      I think that you are focusing on the wrong thing.
      You are debating the cost of getting training from your own experience. And if I read this right, you are only talking about Microshaft. There are lots of ways to get training at various different costs. Bear in mind is all theory. The real benefits come with experience.

      In conclusion, studying is an art form. You have to figure out which is best for you. If you are spending too much time and money, you need to re think your plan.

      It’s not good just making a general posting based on your own experience because it is very limited.

      As far as costs are concerned, sounds like you are being ripped off !!!!!!!!

    • #3351541

      Good thinking

      by amcol ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      Let’s take your thought to its logical conclusion.

      You’re a college graduate. Let’s be generous and say maybe 25% of all the course you took were actually professionally valuable and the rest were Basket Weaving 101 and The Art And Science Of Alcoholic Fermentations.

      Let’s further say you spent an average of $25k per year on your education, and (based on how today’s college students conduct themselves) it took you five years to achieve your degree.

      You spent $125k getting educated. Only $31,250 was of any value, which means $93,750 went down the drain.

      You left school and got an entry level job for $40k. After taxes, living expenses, putting a little away for a rainy day, and the cost of an occasional brewski, you’re left with let’s say $5k. You work hard, you’re good at your job…let’s make things simple and say you stay with your company for your whole career and get your standard 3.5% annual raise.

      So by my calculations, not factoring in financing charges or the opportunity cost of money, it’s going to take you somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 years to earn enough scratch to make up for everything you “wasted” on your college degree.

      Of course…on the other hand…you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get that job without the degree, would you?

      OK, sport. You’ve posed an interesting problem. So what’s your solution?

    • #3331152

      Rules of the game

      by adrian_curiosu ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      It’s all about the rules of the game: some employers want you to be certified! If you can get a decent job without certs, that’s fine!
      An employer usualy requires in depth knowledge of the technical issues listed in the job description. If you don’t have a proven experience on that matter, you’re out of luck.

      From my experience (20 years in IT), if you want an IT job, get some training (certified or not), practice hard all that you learned and you’l see that it will make a difference. In time you will see that most of what you learned using a certain technology can be applied to the next technological wave – experience matters!
      Despite the marketing efforts of the vendors, their new products are not so different from the old ones (remember the TV comercials – the cleansing agent launched this month is a revolutionary improvement compared with the one launched six months ago :o] ).
      I understand from your post that you made a serious investment in your training: don’t let it waste! Use what you learned and add real life experience to your training.
      On the other hand, before pursuing any further with your IT career, you must decide if this profession is the place for you. If you don’t like it, if you have no affinity with it, don’t waste your time – find something else that suits you better.

      Good luck !

      • #3331066

        Major rules of the game

        by areynolds51 ·

        In reply to Rules of the game

        I’ve looked at college and certifications in a similar light: they show you made an investment of time and money (lots of it) and obtained a paper showing you have accomplished something. From there, your experience moves you forward and your ability to learn and adapt to change is critical. You need to determine what you want to do, where you want to go and the best way for you to get there. As the previous posting states: if you don’t like it, don’t waste your time.

      • #3347301

        The Certification Game

        by techrepublic ·

        In reply to Rules of the game

        Certification is indeed a game. I never did Microsoft Certification; I evaluated, hired, and fired MSCE’s to be trained under me in the art of complex network maintenance. I never did certify in NetScreen, yet I teach courses to those who wish to. Certification doesn’t get the job done, knowledge does. If you can get a prospective employer to see your skills, the certifcation becomes irrelevant. I’ve hired lots of certified folks that were useless as practicioners, and lots of uncertified folks that were superb at their craft. Smart employers understand this.

        The thing to take is vendor-sponsored courses with not certification attached. They pick up the bill. Why? Because they want you, the reseller, to be educated, to push their product, to make them perform well, and to lighten the support burden on their organization.

        Look at the University equation now. Say it costs you $100,000 to get your Bachelor’s. So you come out 4 years after highschool with $50,000 in debt and no savings. You go to work… You friend who is similarly intelligent, didn’t go to University. He went to work. He bought some books and studied the certification curriculum himself (learning without spending money on the courses or the exams) while he worked at lower level jobs to start, and gained skill and work experience. By the time you’ve graduated, he has four years of work under his belt. He’s got assets and savings, you have debt. He spent 25% of his time learning the 25% of your course that was relevent to an IT career, and has practical expertise on a dozen background and entry topics you will never touch, and has begun to dabble practically in those areas that you are now hoping to tackle with no practical experience at all. He took half a dozen 100% relevent, Industry-led courses in the last two years, making him immediately productive in many projects. He is more use to an employer right now, than you are. How long will it take you to catch and pass him financially? How about in terms of skills?

        • #3347071

          Use all situations towards your advantage

          by mindstrong ·

          In reply to The Certification Game

          It is hard to pin down the exact usefulness of certs. Unlike most of you, I do not have an IT job yet, I am finishing college with a A.A.S. in Electronics and Computer Technology, and I am trying to accumulate some useful certs like A+, Net+, and CCNA. As long as I understand that these certifications are not the sole factors in my success as an IT professional, then I will be O.K. When I become certified and graduate college, I will have enough industry cred to be seen as a worthy candidate of an entry-level position. Now this does’nt mean that it will be an easy ride, only the ticket in. I study very hard on my own time to be on point with my working knowledge of my field. I read a lot of technology media to be up on the “lingo” and to keep up with the ever-changing “latest trends” (even if, at the time, I don’t know lick about what I’m reading…eventually, I will!). I ask costant questions to IT staff and school faculty and participate in technology discussion groups (like this one) constanly. With all my efforts, I believe that I am well on my way to reach the levels of some of you fine people! 😉

        • #3250014

          Not to burst your bubble

          by techrepublic ·

          In reply to Use all situations towards your advantage

          Any time I see somebody with several certifications and no experience, I put it in the discard pile. Certification should never be your first foray into a subject area, it should be an affirmation of your skills. When you’re familiar with something and you take a course, it fills in gaps and reinforces what you know. When it’s your first introduction into it, the course is hard to keep up with and ends up as a large academic exercise to be recalle later when the chips are down. Having the certs with no experience buys you exactly zero industry cred in my view, it just makes you a professional student.

          I recommend you start working, right now, even part time, before taking any more courses. You’ll get more out of the courses when you do finally take them, and will be seen as a viable candidate for a real position at the far end of it all.

      • #3335745

        The COBOL vs C++ Arguement

        by dinotech ·

        In reply to Rules of the game

        I have to make a comment here regarding the so-called transformation process that COBOL programmers didn’t want to go through. As we were dealing with new object-oriented technologies, many companies saw the opportunity to reengineer some of their legacy applications in this new C++ code. Most COBOL programmers couldn’t deal with the new programming paradigm and they fought as hard as they could not to change. Of course, we now know that the projects of reengineering COBOL and RPG were too expensive and for most companies, they have chosen the web interface as the platform and a CORBA or DCOM middleware solution to connect to the mainframe. As a software developer, I am sure you have to look at many technologies and decide what you are going to specialize in. It is possible to have PHP, Perl, and C since they have a common framework and you can easily relate. However to go from VB to C++ is a giant leap and requires some patience.

        So, message to drago is – find something worth pursuing and be an expert in that subject.

        PSS – Do you think that the Certification in Data Processing that the old DPMA members qualified for years ago doesn’t apply to today’s event driven computing model? Absolutely! No matter what model you use, you are still processing data, and that requires a skill beyond the technologies that are used. (ERD’s DFD’s etc)

    • #3347320

      Count me in!

      by kmac3742 ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      You have nailed it right on the head. I took IT courses to “change the direction” of my career only to find out that 1) they were outdated, 2) everyone who goes to a community college gets the same courses and cheaper, and 3) now that the marketplace is flooded with these recent grads, everyone’s salary goes down. Unfortunately, I was suckered in and I hope no one EVER does. Just my thoughts.

    • #3347306


      by doug m. ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      For me, not a college grad, Certs are a way to prove more or less I know what I know to an industry that sometimes demands proof of such knowledge. I went thru a 480 hour series of classes though, not just some boot camp. Perhaps community college would have been cheaper, but I wanted to concentrate on IT classes and not the rest of the college curriculum they make you take.
      I’m only a few credits shy of an Associates from an earlier college enrollment anyway, and I plan on finishing that too. These IT course were a way for me, an ex-telecom guy with 20+ years work experience, to get into a new field. Just my two cents worth.

    • #3347288

      Certifications are the the tools of the devil

      by angry_white_male ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      Certifications are a good tool for lazy HR people to weed out resumes from the 100’s they receive from a single posting on – the MSCE pile and the trash can.

      Maybe a good tool for the IT guy who’s been out of work for 15 months… maybe not.

      You’ll find that most _good_ IT people are self-taught and had worked hard on their own to get to where they are today. When people ask me where did I learn all this stuff – they’re surprised to hear that I had no formal training at all.

      My boss wants to send me out for an MSCE – which IMHO will have little benefit for our organziation. But hey – if they want to pay for something that’ll make me more attractive on the job market so I can get paid more elsewhere, then fine sign me up.

      The one thing about MS certifications is that they pushed them down everyone’s throat – made everyone believe that without one you’ll never rise above the rank of Helpdesk Tech and pushed down the lofty salaries that we were once able to command. As a result – I’m making the same amount of $$$ now that I was 5 years ago as a result of a large corporate layoff and my descent into the public sector (which isn’t too bad – better job security and nice benefits).

    • #3347259

      To certify or not to certify, that is the question….

      by careed ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      Certification (and college) is only relevant if you do it for the right reasons. The goal of getting certified for the money alone is useless. If you do not acquire knowledge out of the certification process (or college), then you are wasting your time.

      I do not have any certifications, but, then again, I don’t need them. I have entered into my managerial phase of my career and I figure that my programming skills will become not as important in comparison to my management skills. In other words, certifications won’t help me any more.

      College, on the other hand, is useful depending on what you want to do. If you want to move into management as a company not owned by yourself or your best buddy, then you need a degree, no matter what it is in. Again, make it worthwhile by actually learning something while you’re at it. If all you want to do is program and/or administer systems for the rest of your life, then college may not be helpful.

    • #3347227

      Getting Certified

      by queen9302 ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      I read on another chat that for an ibm certification you have to also work for an ibm partner (RUP Certification). Is this true?

      Also, I noticed that many of the certifications like IBM Specialist in Object Oriented Design and Analysis requires one to pass the Rational Rose exam. I don’t like that IBM ties its certifications for OO to a specific software. You can understand OO without knowing Rational Rose. I think this kind of setup is designed to tie one down. Before long, they will require the UML certification to require taking an exam for one of their applications as well.

      We need vendor neutral certifications for concepts that can be used without a specific software application.

      Further, the exam questions often contain jargon and wording that would only be recognize if you read a certain book but they don’t tell you which book so you have to buy several and hope you come across the right one. The point is that you end up being tested on jargon and someone’s writing style instead of a true understanding of the concepts.

      • #3243420

        RUP Certification

        by david_haas ·

        In reply to Getting Certified

        IBM has recently (?) opened their certification up to anyone who is willing to spend the money to take the exams. For RUP certification, there is one required exam (#639)

    • #3347183

      Great theories and all but let’s look at REALITY

      by tomsal ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      I’ve read the posts to this thread (most anyway) and the opinions and theories of the posters aren’t bad and I happen to agree with a couple of them.

      However what we post here as “what employers should look at” or “what really matters” still doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of tech jobs demand at least a BA degree or a showing of the alphabet soup (certification). That’s all that matters. If you can’t get a job theories and opinions meant squat…you can’t pay bills or buy food on opinion and theories (well unless you have the most “cush” job in the world, IMHO — a radio talk show host. Think about it you work a grueling 3 maybe 4 hour show each day, which is all about you sprouting off your mouth, you get a fan base (fame) and you get sick money for it too.).

      Anyway, look at the listings — you don’t have to really look hard either — any job that offers even minimally decent wages demands a four year degree or certs.

      So not that I agree or totally disagree with any of what I’ve read…when it comes down to needing to get hired, you do what you have to do to get the job.

      Another thing, I keep hearing CIOs and HR folks on forums like this and others sprouting off about how they’d hire on experience even if the candidate didn’t have certs or degrees…oh yeah? That’s not what the job market is saying in real life or are you execs and managers all talk and no walk with these claims?

      • #3347135

        Radio Show Gig

        by bfilmfan ·

        In reply to Great theories and all but let’s look at REALITY

        I am ready to sign up for the Tom and Jerry Show hosted synidcated nationally.

        How much do we get?

        What’s the topic of discussion for this week (remember the more upset we get people, the more callers we get and more listeners cause everyone enjoys hearing someone sputteringly ticked off on the radio)?

        Do we get to write books and have nice tours signing them where the fans gush all over us?

        Get to hobnob with the wealthy and politically powerful?

        Show up on CNN books talking trash?

        Maybe we even upset Bill Riley and he asks us on the show?

        I’m ready! Call me when the papers are ready to sing, cause this here ol’ fat man will sure sing!

      • #3335698

        Can’t generalize about hiring practices

        by amcol ·

        In reply to Great theories and all but let’s look at REALITY

        Or anything else for that matter.

        You’re going on your own experience and that of your circle of friends and colleagues. I’m at least one CTO who DOES, in fact, hire on the basis of who I think is the best fit regardless of credentials.

        The best technical person I ever hired never spent a day of his life in a college classroom and has no certifications of any kind. I liked his work so much I hired him three times, at three different companies (not as a consultant but as an employee). He’s now a VP making over a quarter million annually.

        I just hired three people as high level professionals…a systems architect, a help desk manager, and an applications group chief. Between the three of them they have two years of college experience.

        My hiring/management/leadership philosophy is very simple…find really brilliant people and then get the hell out of their way. I couldn’t care less what formal certifications folks have. I’m interested in only two things…do you have the professional chops to do the job, and will you fit into my group’s interpersonal dynamic. Those two factors are of equal importance to me.

        • #3331011

          Reply To: the expense of certification accumulation

          by doug m. ·

          In reply to Can’t generalize about hiring practices

          I like your style! Wish there were more out there like you doing the hiring. Luckily my present boss seems to think the same way. I had no certs. and no college but he took a chance anyway. Its all working out so far.

        • #3251879

          Hire me !

          by j_leonardo_perez ·

          In reply to Can’t generalize about hiring practices

          When do I start!

        • #3251664

          Here’s the good news

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Hire me !

          I’m far from unique. Despite what you see posted all over the place, not just on TechRepublic, my style is more the norm than anything else. I didn’t develop this method of doing things independently, I learned from a lot of very fine managers and leaders I’ve had the great good fortune to work for throughout my career. Some duds too, but that’s also a learning experience.

          The overwhelming majority of what you read is about bosses from hell, situations from hell, jobs from hell, ad nauseum. That’s because human beings love to complain, and it makes a much better story in the news media especially to write about how things just couldn’t be worse.

          Don’t believe it. We all have rough spots, but most people are reasonably good. Most managers and leaders are reasonably good. Call me a cockeyed optimist.

    • #3347138

      The world changes

      by wamorita ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      I have been in the software for 33+ years. The change in the industry where HR is flooded with resumes has created a situation where the certifications, whatever they really mean, are there for HR to check-off before passing your resume on.
      You need to get past HR for someone with real understanding views your resume.

    • #3335756

      The Go Getter

      by dinotech ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      I read a book about 5 years ago called The Go Getter. It was about a father (Joe, but in the book his name was something else) who had a business that he allowed both of his sons to run while he was away. Nevertheless, they managed to screw it up while he was gone. Upon his return, he decided it was time for a management change. He would take over the local operations but needed someone for the overseas operations. He didn’t have anyone that could fit the qualifications he was looking for.

      Out of nowhere, a young, ambitious man appeared at the door. After pleading his case of how he could be an asset to the business, Joe decided to give him a chance.

      He told him about a special vase he was trying to find, but has had no luck in finding it. The young mans task was to locate this vase and to bring it to him at the train station by noon tomorrow. It was already late afternoon, so the young man didn’t have much time.

      The point of this story is that the young man sacrificed his time, money, family, and well-being to get that vase. You will need to read that book to realize the full benefit of my diatribe.

      What is it that makes us stand out from the rest of the crowd? Does the employer really care what you did to earn that BA? Yes, but more so what can you do with the knowledge you have attained? As far as earning more money because of certification, that is based on an economy that has money to give. We are no longer in that economy. We are in the have and have-not’s society. It is the “me” generation, and we want all of our golden eggs in our hands now, right now.

      So if you feel your pursuit of certifications was a waste of time, you have no one to blame but yourself. Employers no longer use certifications for pay increases – although that could be one factor to get a much higher salary that someone who doesn’t – they use them to screen applications. Those that have, gets.

      Make your efforts valuable by spending more time and money on things that are important to you rather than what society deems important. I believe certifications demonstrate the minimum effort a person is willing to sacrifice to make himself or herself more employable as a human resource.

    • #3350708

      I stand by my original post

      by lumbergh77 ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      Some of you claim that certs are needed to get through HR. That depends on what kind of job you want. If you aspire to be a dime-a-dozen network admin, I’m sure an MCSE would help get an interview. You might stand out from the 500 other resumes that have been submitted.

      What’s wrong with being a well rounded professional? I can setup and maintain a network. I can program in many different languages. I can administer a database. I’m no MCSE but there hasn’t been a problem I’ve been unable to resolve in a timely fashion, Most solutions are easily found by doing a Google search. Even the MCSE’s can’t remember all that they’ve learned and have to look up answers to problems.

      When I’m not dealing with tech support issues, I’m working on value added software projects that actually benefit the company. If I’m wasting my off hours going after an MCSE, that’s less time I that I have to learn skills that really make a difference. Who cares about the details about Microsoft Certificate Services?

      Unless you’re a specialist who deals ONLY with Windows problems (few jobs are like that), learning everything there is to know about Windows is a waste of time. All one really needs to learn are the main concepts and where to quickly find answers.

      Unless you’re fascinated by Windows and certification accumulation is a hobby, the time spent studying for an MCSE would be better spent making money on the side or learning a more marketable skill.

      • #3235598

        This is so dead-on

        by 32bitswide ·

        In reply to I stand by my original post

        I have been feeling like this for quite a while.

        I couldnt agree more. I have been in IT since, well, I remember the introduction of the IBM PC, who gives a rats a** about where M$ stores the 4th bit of the 3rd octet. Speaking for myself I was pissed off with the deceptive, misleading questions geared towards having you fail so you could spend more money on “re-education” and retesting.

        I’d take someone with experience and “soft-skills” over an uber-geek with a cert any day.

    • #3244275

      Reply To: the expense of certification accumulation

      by vic ·

      In reply to the expense of certification accumulation

      Riiiiiiiighhhhhhhhht drago762. So I guess I should spend all my time doing nothing and not reading, not studying, not keeping up with the latest (even though this is an ever evolving field). How much time did you waste posting this? Are you making money posting it? Do you ever get paid for posting on this forum and others? Take the amount of time you spend writing posts like this, multiply it times your hourly rate, now subtract it from your salary; That’s how much time money you’ve wasted on these forums.

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