Thursday, July 07, 2011 3:36 AM
I don't know if this is consistent across the board or just a trend I'm seeing in New Zealand.
There is an alarming decrease in the value of certifications amongst my peers and employers here. So much so, that in the branch I work in, of over seventy IT workers, I'm the only one who has bothered with an MCITP. I raised this as a potential issue with regard to the Microsoft Partner Network and competencies late last year, but it didn't make any difference. Literally no one was prepared to take the time to certify. The reasons cited were as follows:
- What's the point? It isn't going to give me any advantage with regards to my current employment.
- We don't get any corporate advantage being associated with the Microsoft Partner Network, so why bother?
- Certification no longer gets us a pay rise, so why bother?
- Employers no longer believe certification is important.
Is this a trend others are seeing? Why? I'm a firm believer in certifications, however, if the industry is changing and its value is declining, is it still relevant? Maybe certification is now solely for personal reward rather than furthering your career or employment prospects.
If employers don't drive for certification, then only the very dedicated will bother.
Is anyone else seeing this?
MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCDBA, MCSA, CCNA, A+ Cert
Thursday, July 07, 2011 4:56 AMModerator
I'm not seeing this trend in Australia.
What's the point? It isn't going to give me any advantage with regards to my current employment.
Not true. If two job candidates get ranked the same in experience, the one that has qualifications would probably get the job over the one that has no qualifications and qualifications prove that they are prepared to go that extra mile to understand the techology. This is how I handle things. I also look at whether a candidate has certifications as it generally means they are prepared to invest more time in using and learning a technology.
We don't get any corporate advantage being associated with the Microsoft Partner Network, so why bother?
Once again not true. A corporations level within the Partner Program depends on competencies achieved. A large majority of competencies require a certain number of certified employees. If you're a MS Partner, you are entitled to MSDN Subscriptions and a raft of other goodies that can be used to build development and testing environments. Given that MSDN subscriptions are quite expensive, I would class this as a huge benefit to a corporation. You also get discounted tickets to events such as Tech-Ed. Another saving
Certification no longer gets us a pay rise, so why bother?
Not true. Many people with certifications get higher salaries. This comment really relates to an employee being lazy and under the belief that their job is secure so there's no need to put any effort into skilling up. Most people only think about immediate rewards and not about what would happen if they lost their job. If I ever caught any of my employees thinking/talking like this, they'd find themselves out of a job!
Employers no longer believe certification is important.
This relates to a corporation not providing incentives to employees to skill up. Employees will do nothing unless they see an immediate reward.
MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCITP, MCDBA
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Thursday, July 07, 2011 6:33 AM
I'm in the United States, and I'm not seeing that trend here. My thoughts:
- What's the point? It isn't going to give me any advantage with regards to my current employment. IT professionals should always be striving to learn more, dive deeper, and expand their value. It may not help them earn more money or move up at their current job, but it will help at future jobs. If they aren't thinking about the future today, then they have bigger problems than certifications.
- We don't get any corporate advantage being associated with the Microsoft Partner Network, so why bother? I've spent time at many Microsoft Gold Certified partners. While there are a ton of benefits, some already cited by Jeff, I'll add that the number one benefit I see are the internal-use licenses. These are licenses that can be used internally, in production, in place of paid licenses. This can save a company a ton of money. But, let's forget about money for a second. What the licenses also do is allow the IT department to roll out a software that they may not have access to in a non-partner situation (test, pilot, compare, etc.). For example, let's say that you were looking at configuration management/computer management solutions. You narrow it down to System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) and Altiris. With ConfigMgr, you get internal-use licenses and server licenses, while Altiris has to be purchased from the ground up. Even if your comparison rankings were even, you'd be looking at a huge advantage for ConfigMgr due to costs. When you start thinking about all of the available software that qualify for internal-use licenses, it is huge. You'd have access to anti-virus, monitoring, configuration management, and just about every other infrastructure software that Microsoft makes.
- Certification no longer gets us a pay rise, so why bother? I see some companies giving direct pay raises for certifications. Typically, this is in a consulting environment though (not a corporate environment as often). But the main monetary benefit of a certification isn't a pay raise today, it is a pay raise tomorrow (in the next job). This goes back to certifications being all about the future.
- Employers no longer believe certification is important. Employers have a variety of views. Many times, the employer view is merely a single manager's view that has spread around because nobody else cares. I think that any person or employer that shuns or downplays the importance of certifications is ignorant (and may have had a bad experience with certification testing a long time ago). There will always have ignorance. I still advise my peers to get certified, even if the employer has no interest. Eventually, when that employer (or person) sees that the best IT professionals are certified (and he sees it time and time again), maybe it'll change. If not, the employee can move on, grab a bit more money, and move up.
Thursday, July 07, 2011 7:56 AM
You have both raised good points that I believe I can use when addressing my colleagues with regards to certification. One of my other hurdles is management buy in. Sometimes I get frustrated with the lack of drive when it's clear that it benefits both the individual and the company as a whole. Perhaps it's just a symptom of where I work rather than the industry itself. I really hope so.
Hopefully I can get some traction on this. I'll certainly continue to view certification as a necessary component of an IT professionals career.