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The Certs Question

Microsoft certifications have always been the source of some controversy. When these things were all the rage, a cert in your pocket was the ticket to a hot job, or perhaps a promotion in the current one. Some folks collected them like stamps. A whole industry popped up.

Certs are still around and there is still clear value in them. But just how much exact value is the question.

Redmond columnist and Microsoft MVP Don Jones came across a bunch of new Microsoft certs and took that opportunity to re-pose the question.

First, Microsoft is really pushing the cloud in a lot of its certs, perhaps overpushing in Jone's mind.

So the question remains, do the certs make the difference in these days of cert mills? You tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com. 

Posted by Doug Barney on 11/29/2012 at 1:19 PM


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Reader Comments:

Thu, Nov 29, 2012

I took certification classes and tests since SQL 2000. Worked bit on certification (BI SQL 2008). Certification became marketing - especially for Azure - where connectivity issue for large data set is huge issue. Scenario written for Azure did not make any business sense. What used to be learning process is now game - useless tricks that do not make business sense. Good for MS geeks who like to play games. BTW - go to MS and look at their cubicles. Almost no books there - is this coincidence that not so many MS "smart guys" have US university computer degree and Google is run by Stanford PHDs? Look at the results.

Thu, Nov 29, 2012

I should have said "Agree with the BELOW comments..."

Thu, Nov 29, 2012

Agree with the above comments; since founding my IT consulting business in 1998, certs have NEVER ONCE been an issue for my SMB clients. As a result, I have never bothered to obtain a single one, and doubt I ever will. I strenuously disagree with Doug that there is any "clear value in them." Agree, also, about the limited and declining value of MPN. That deserves a blog post of its own.

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 Arizona

MS Certs have no value to a small shop working in the SMB area. The customer's don't care. They just want their MS stuff to work. The exams and training are pathetic. Why else would people be taking exams two and three times? Why is a free re-take a given? If you took the time to certify in all of your practice areas, you wouldn't have time to earn a living. MS made so much money from this revenue stream that all the copycats jumped on the bandwagon. Now all the vendors want you to certify as if they are the only vendor you work with. One really doesn't need to certify or even partner with MS or any other vendor to make a good living selling and installing their products. If you put a value on your time, it's less expensive to buy or rent their products than to engage with the vendor. Don't get me started on the ever-changing Partner Network. Who can keep up? The time and money spent does not equal the value received. Certification is probably good for the person seeking employment with a large company that uses that as a way to reduce the pool of applicants. Of course certs don’t mean you know the product, it means you were smart enough to figure out how to defeat the exam. Actually, that shows good problem solving skills! I’m so glad I own my own business. Someday my vendors might understand they work for me, not the other way. If they want me to certify on their hardware and software, they can pay for the training and exams. They should pay for my time. BTW I have no axe to grind. I hold an MCP, MCSE, and a host of other useless initials and titles that nobody cares about. I belong to the Partner Network (over 20 years now) and have questioned the value for over half that time.

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