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why should i take the certification exam

 
Greenhorn
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why should a person take (and pass) the certification exam?
1) has certification helped you get a job?
2) has certification helped you KEEP a job?
3) has certification helped in a promotion?
3) has certification helped you get a raise?
heck, why not ask the obvious?
 
Greenhorn
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It makes you more confident if you have not written an exam over long time. Getting back that type of confidence will help you in achieving all the things you listed.
 
Ranch Hand
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1) has certification helped you get a job?
answer: not exactly. cert pushes me to study for things i don't know or i "think" i know. study leads me to job.
2) has certification helped you KEEP a job?
answer: yeah, it proves you really know something (maybe just some), better than some guys who only claim/lies they know.
3) has certification helped in a promotion?
answer: no, only years of hands-on exp. help
3) has certification helped you get a raise?
answer: yes, my boss has more confidence on self-improving guys than talktive ones.
 
ranger
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John, you sound bitter.
The number one reason for getting a certification is to make you feel more confident. It also helps you learn better because there is a goal in sight.
Whether it is a multiple choice or assignment/coding you will learn more.
If you think it will get you a job, no it won't but it doesn't hurt. Will it get you a raise, no, will, will it help you get a promotion, no. Will it help you keep a job, no.
But most of these are not because Certification is an answer to say yes to there.
Will you get a promotion from a certification, not by itself, but it can help.
Will it help you keep a job? Well, if you are not doing your job, then who cares what certifications you have or don't have, they have nothing to do with each other.
Will it get you a raise? Who knows, it could or it couldn't.
Will it help you get a job? Again it can't hurt, and it can help get your foot in the door. Some hiring managers swear by interviewing prospects that have certifications over someone who doesn't, where both have the same work experience.
I'll put it this way, if you expect a certification to give you all YESs for all your questions, then your answers will always be NO.
If you do certifications as a way to learn and get accomplishments that gives you confidence, then the answer to all those questions is YES, even though you can't directly correlate them together.
I'd say that you should not get any certifications at all because it will do you no good, it is your attitude that will make people fire you, not hire you, and keep you in the low paying position that you are in.
Mark
p.s I am a hiring manager at my work.
 
Greenhorn
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I don't think certification really lets you do any of the things that John asked. Even if you pass a test, it doesn't necessarily add all that much to your Resume and credentials. All employers look for is experience and I don't think certification can be taken in place of experience (and I don't think it adds that much on top of your experience either).
As far as it making you feel better and more confident, I can think of a million gazillion other things I would rather do to make me feel more confident. Taking a test is just a lot of hard work, you have to give up nights put in tons of effort and really flip your subject of focus upside down to make sure you pass. And even if you do pass, it's only a momentary and fleeting feeling of confidence you get. When it comes down to it, you are still jobless or still in a dead-end job and that is what really determines your confidence.
In short, certifications are overrated. And you should be able to boost your confidence on your own, not by having Sun pat you on the back.
 
Mark Spritzler
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I'm sorry you feel that way Sajat. But I know for a fact that the SCJD opened up so much of my eyes in OOP and java programming, that I wouldn't have gotten on my own as quickly.
Also as a hiring manager, if I saw someone with SCJP, and SCJD, I would at least interview them over someone who doesn't have it. And in an interview I would find out more on their SCJD assignment, how they solved it etc, and that would tell me a lot on the interviewee and help me make a choice of whether I would hire them or not.
I also find that where you put your energy, for certs or against certs have a huge impact on the results you can get form the certification. Meaning, if you believe they are a waste of time, then yes they will do you absolutely no good, and you should not take them. But for those that have the correct thinking of using them as a learning experience and that they know the cert alone won't make you a must hire, then you will have great success and pride in completing a certification.
Mark
 
High Plains Drifter
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Moving this to Jobs Discussion; I feel its a better fit there than it is here.
 
Author
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This Mark, who was also a hiring manager, seem to be on the opposite end of the spectrum from Mark Spritzler, not to mention oppostide sides of the country. :-)
In my mind, there is only one reason to take the exam--to set a goal for yourself. Let me give you an analogy. I do ballroom dancing, comeptitively, and generally speaking the competitive dancers *seem* to be better then the social dancers. Someone once asked a friend of mine if competitive dancers are always better then social dancers. My friend wisely replied that it's not the competitiveness that makes them better, it's having a goal to which they can strive. The competitive dancers are constantly testing themselves during a competition, trying to beat other people, the social dancers just aimlessly take dance classes.
What does this have to do with certifications? The certification is a very clear goal. The best part is, you get the benefit from it whether you actually take the official test, or not--as long as you test yourself, even unofficially.
Some would argue that it's important for a job. I disagree. Granted, some people ahve claimed their company requires certification--well, for that job then yes, it helps. But for most, I don't think so. I've meet plenty of SCJP's who are cluess about how to write good code. I see the SCJP as a grammar test. Simply because you know the grammar, doesn't qualify you to author a novel. As for SCJD and SCJA, I am skeptical of how well that can be tested.
If anything, I might be slightly biased against hiring someone with the certification, just because I've been so disappointed by the many candidates I've seen who have it. Given two equally qualified candidtates would I choose to interview the certified one? Probably, but I've never seen tow equally qualified candidates--education and experience always puts one ahead of the other, far more ahead then any test can compensate for.

--Mark
[ October 17, 2002: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]
 
mister krabs
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The two Marks did say the same thing... taking the test makes you better because it gives you a clear goal to strive for.
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
The two Marks did say the same thing... taking the test makes you better because it gives you a clear goal to strive for.


Er, I should be clearer. It gives you a goal and makes you better at achiving the goal. However, I don't see the goal of the SCJP or other certification as particularly germain to a programmer's ability.

--Mark
 
Cowgirl and Author
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Howdy,
It depends on the job market at any given time, but headhunters have told us that more and more employers continue to ask for certifications (SCJP primarily). It won't compensate for lack of real development experience, but if two candidates are equal, in many cases the certified one will get the edge. That was true in the "boom" days, and still seems to be true, at least for those few employers who actually NEED someone.
But... I taught a certification course on the Java Geek Cruise last month (geekcruises.com, I think, is the site) and ALL of the students said they were there because their employers thought it was a good idea -- either to move ahead, or for one guy, to keep his job.
Still others in the industry know how darn hard the exam is, and use it not to verify your Java knowledge, but simply to see that, "I'm smart and I can study my rear off". At Sun we consider that a secondary value of the exam, given that the programmer exam is considered among the most difficult in the IT world. And the Developer exam is unique in that -- you actually have to design and develop something!
Overall, though, the SCJP continues to be really popular, in spite of -- or perhas because of -- the current job market. I don't have current statistics about *why* its continued to be so popular, I just know that it is.
And hey, you get that really cool lapel pin.
And a certificate that -- THANKFULLY -- doesn't give your score. I was always afraid mine would say (the first time I took it) -- "Just Barely Sun Certified Java Programmer for Java 1.1"
Good luck,
I second everything said here by others about the whole goal thing and the confidence.
Gives you something impressive to talk about at dinner parties, too.
cheers,
Kathy
 
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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I don't know who talks to Sun about it (I guess people who care about it would) but I haven't seen any evidence from any recruiters that certification meant anything except for some consulting firms. They like to be able to say, "Our entire staff is Sun certified, blah blah blah." I know when I was hiring I never paid any attention to it. It just never occurred to me that a guy who knew all the constructors for GridBaglayout would make a better candidate.
 
Ranch Hand
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I went job searching before and after being Sun Certified. What I found was that the certificate did open more doors as far as initial interviews and headhunters giving me a call back after receiving my resume (before getting certified, no one even bothered calling me back). But my lack of development experience still prevented me from getting a java developer Job. And yes, I did feel more confident after taking the test about my being able to program in a professional enviornment (perhaps a little more confident than I should have been .
So, if you have no experience, no technology related degree, and no certification, you probably don't have a lot of hope getting a job as a programmer (and if you do get one with none of the above qualifications, consider yourself fortunate and get to work on improving your skills and qualifications).
Getting the certificate will help in interviews, but it is no longer enough to get the job.
Jon
 
Greenhorn
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Hi all,
I agree with the persons who says that actual development experience is considered to get the job whereas getting certified may be just to be considered to be interviewd.
Whatever I think and i feel after getting certified, I feel more confident about myself. And the important thing is that, you are not able to get the experience until you get the job of that type, but getting certified is on your hand. This is the thing you can do on your own without working as a programmer and you can open the door for yourself to be selected to get "the experience" which is more valuable. Though I have no working experience in Java, but have worked in other languages. And it's true whatever you learn from experience, you can't learn with any certificates. But we can see certification as a ladder to start getting experience.
(SCJP2 1.4 -- 86%)
[ October 18, 2002: Message edited by: smita raval ]
 
Greenhorn
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Hi,
I took the SCJP in early 2001, because I wanted to switch jobs (working then as a developer in a microsoft shop). After passing the exam I got several job interviews and finally was hired as software engineer. I additionally have a degree in computer science and a couple of years development experience, but to get the job, SCJP was the reason they took me. So it helped me, and I am also a little bit proud on the achievement to add a new programming language to my quiver; did it on my own in the evenings while doing a full time job during daylight.
Cheers,
Taudo
[ October 19, 2002: Message edited by: Taudo Wenzel ]
[ October 19, 2002: Message edited by: Taudo Wenzel ]
 
Ranch Hand
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my experience-- certification is a good thing--not because it will suddenly improve your take-home pay but it can-- for your next job. From my personal experience the SCJP certification (took it 2 years ago) was very instrumental in my keeping myself employed and it certainly help my career mobility. note however-- certification alone is not enough--what matters is your commitment to improving your skills and what better evidence to prove your skills than a certification?- remember lawyers must pass an state exam to practice, doctors, nurses etc-- the only difference is a legal requirement so i don't see why IT professionals should not pursue certifications.
 
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