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Does Certification Still Count?

I used to co-own a company that did outsourced certification exam development, and we helped Microsoft on several projects a few years back. Like many of you, I also held the requisite certs: MCSE, MCDBA, MCT and so on. Like some IT professionals, certification has fallen a bit by the wayside for me. My position doesn't require it or, in fact, do much of anything to make me stand out from the crowd.

But certification is obviously still a factor. I know plenty of IT professionals are still taking first-party exams from Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, Cisco and so forth. Training materials focused on certification are still a big deal -- the SQL Server 2008 exam videos I did for CBT Nuggets, for example, still get pretty good viewership.

As an IT decision maker, however, what role does certification play in your life? Do you encourage -- or even demand -- that your IT team maintain the appropriate certifications? What certifications, if any, do you look for on resumes when you're bringing in headcount? Does a certified individual have a better chance of getting hired or promoted than a non-certified person?

I know for a fact there's still considerable concern about the "paper MCSE" effect (or whatever we're calling it now that the MCSE itself is defunct), wherein exam-crammers obtain certifications without really earning them, thus (according to some) diminishing the value of the certification itself. Is that something you've run into in your own organization?

I'd love to get your thoughts in comments below -- but if you have a moment to answer a two-question survey on the value of certification in your organization, go here. I'll share the results in a future post.

Posted by Don Jones on 12/16/2011 at 1:14 PM


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