Today you can be certified as an individual, a professional or as an organization. There are certifications for developers, testers, process specialists, project managers and so on. There seems to be a whole ecosystem of certifications and certifying organizations. Some of the certifications need a lot of effort to get and keep up while others seems to involve handing over a large amount of cash.
What is the value of being a certified something as a computer professional? There certainly are many certifications to get out there. Would it do me any good to get one? There are two views on that: yes and no.
Yes, There is Value in being Certified
People who favor certifications, not considering the people who earn money from it, will say that certification
- establishes a minimal standard of professionalism,
- creates a common vocabulary among the certified individuals
- and that it shows that you have made at least a minimum effort to prove your credentials.
When asked, one senior manager told me that “all other things being equal, I would choose the certified applicant”.
No, the Value of Certifications is Small
Those who do not approve of certifications say that they are shallow, superficial and misguided. They are created to make money for the certifiers and not to support the certifiees. Test guru James Bach is strongly opposed to the ISTQB certification of testers. If you read this parody on the Scrum concept, you might be ready to agree that it is all a SCAM (SCUM Certified Agile Master) (here is another site).
I admit that I too have been tempted to certify myself but so far I have never done it. Perhaps that is just circumstantial, perhaps it is a lack of faith in certifications or perhaps it has to do with my view on expertise?
Update 2014-02-02. I too have certified myself. A few years ago I became a TOGAF 9 certified enterprise architect. I’ve had some use of the methods I learned in the certification training but I haven’t really had any use of the certificate as such.