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Software certifications; a waste of time and money (2018) (tomaytotomato.com)
174 points by mothsonasloth on Jan 17, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 98 comments

What I like about some certifications is that they're effectively a learning path. Even if you don't take the exam, after going through the curriculum, doing labs to cement the knowledge, and practiced sample exams, your knowledge of the subject improves dramatically.

Learning on the job, you learn solutions to your own problems and architectures for your own use-cases. You're not exposed to all areas so remain naive about some features. A good certification will give you a much more holistic view of the platform.

This is all through the lens of Elastic Certified Engineer and various AWS certs though, instead of software development.

The problem I see with certifications is that a lot of them tend to have trivia questions that are easy to look up but relatively unimportant, e.g. naming restrictions on azure resources is one the comes to mind.

I'm currently following a couple of certs for the learning paths, might even take the exam for one if my employer pays for it and the time off

I find the systems oriented classes like RedHat Linux admin, Network+, security+, etc are really nice. Lots of stuff in there to build skills in generally useful topics.

As for cloud stuff, haven’t really done them but I can’t say I’d bother personally. If you know the above topics well it’s easy enough to RTFM and get up to speed.

Edit: perhaps “cloud stuff” too much of a blanket term. For instance, more complex cloud stuff like Kubernetes probably worthwhile certifying in. But that’s useful in multiple cloud environments, as opposed to cloud specific things like AWS.

Again, I haven’t don’t those certs si someone else probably has better idea than me.

And people who think “cloud stuff” is just mirroring networking infrastructure on AWS/Azure is how the world ends up with “consultants” who just passed a certification, and know how to do a lift and shift and end up costing their clients more than just staying at a colo.....

Not that it makes those questions worth putting on a test. but I took Microsoft's MCSA/MCSD tests last year and while some questions are "easy to look up", the tests are proctored and you're not allowed to open ANY apps during the test. You're also not allowed to have any devices within reach (which they verify via webcam).

if questions are easy to look up then i don't need to memorize thrm just to pass a test. that is the whole issue with certifications.

if the learning path would be such that you work with a system until you have enough experience that you can pass the test without having to learn for it, then that would be valuable, but the problem is that the certificate does not verify your experience. it verifies that you memorized certain facts without being able to tell how you did that.

Great point. I signed up for some online cooking schools and the syllabus was one of the more interesting aspects. It helped me to organize my thinking about cooking and helps me to parse recipes and cookbooks more quickly.

Big companies and government hire armies of cheap contractors to do the grunt work that keeps the company growing.

A tax collector doesn’t want creative programmers. They want a repeatable process that meets their procurement rules. They may even deliberately choose to make sure that nobody knows how everything works! They boil down a process into functional components, and hire cheap labor to fill in the blanks.

When you’re paying a body shop $40 an hour to have someone move across the planet to sling J2EE or whatever, you’re getting what you pay for. (Remember the contractor would probably get a raise working the night shift at Taco Bell) These certifications boil down to a third party attesting that you sat down somewhere and wrote hello world. In that market, it is valuable.

What you're saying is so true, but it's worth saying: it doesn't work.

This is exactly how once-great tech companies die. This is how governments lose the faith of their citizenry.

Writing crud websites with spring/.net ms isn't really that difficult. The work is largely done, you just have to fill in a few small details (your domain models, your db credentials, your endpoint paths, your validation rules, your css, your logging configuration and a few templates html pages) and you are done. The sites have very low load, they have almost 0 concurrent writes for the same db entity, and the front-end is largely a simple form.

Operations are handled by a different team than the initial development team - they don't even need to know how to deploy the thing. It's code by numbers, and in that situation, it pays to have someone that doesn't deviate from the number system and the low need for creativity drives the value of the work down and makes the code into a commodity product. Value is low, competition is high, margins are low. Certification is just a sign that you are open for business in that market.

I suspect that a large fraction of the software in use is written at least in part using that method. Now you can debate whether that software actually works or not, but I think that its value is not net negative.

But does the software work because of the body shop? Or despite it.

No, the question is whether a competitor that doesn't use a body shop can make software that provides more value to customers.

A little bit of both. The body shop outsources the risk of putting butts in chairs, and removing them when you’re done.

It’s crap work for crap pay. In the 70s and 80s when this stuff was new, it made sense to “grow” and train operators and more blue collar folks driven by runbooks and tight frameworks. Nowadays you just hire low skill folks “off the shelf”.

That... seems like a bit of a leap.

I don't mind sending my engineers off to work on certs. It seems like a plausible way to get someone interested in learning some aspects of a tech that they might not otherwise run into -- since a cert covers more things than one would actually use. However I don't consider it in hiring. It's not that I don't value the knowledge that comes from prepping, it's that I believe the long term success of an engineer has little to do with what they are currently working with.

I had all the AWS certs and I can say it's a total waste of time. These certifications (AWS) probably is for sale engineer than a engineer that really do the works. But I had to get the certs in order to become an AWS partner :(.

When you say you had "all the AWS certs", which ones specifically? I've worked with AWS for a couple of years now, and most of my knowledge has been gained as I have needed to solve certain problems. I'm in the process of studying for some of the certs.

Still, I find the AWS ecosystem is so vast, and I certainly have gaps in my knowledge. The process of studying for the certs has forced me to approach AWS with a more academic lense, learning some things that I may have not known otherwise.

I can't help but feel like some of these bits of information ultimately give me more context, and may even make me more effective on the platform.

edit: wording

Yes AWS certs are so dumb, it is a certification of how to use the UI of a website which will change in several months.

The AWS certs have nothing to do with “how to use the UI”. How do you propose that they would even test on using the UI?

In my experience certificates don't matter to project managers and other programmers, but they are a factor in getting noticed by HR during the hiring/recruiting process.

Granted, they don't matter as much once you get to the in-person interviews, but during the screening stage they are helpful (in my anecdotal experience).

Cute, but here's the bottom line. Some certifications show you really do have a clue. Some don't. But, all of them open HR doors, which would be otherwise closed.

...and, in case of IT, it's a great example how some doors are best left unopened.

Why? You can always reject a job offer, but you can't materialize one out of thin air when there is none.

On occasion I've worked with people who honestly value certifications more than actual competence and if I'm considering working with them this is something that I'd like to know about ahead of time. The cost of finding this out later can be quite high.

...I'd reject any job offer in IT requiring certification anyway, and while I like spite as much as the next gal, I don't think it's worth as much as a certification costs.

I thought the article would be about certifying software, not software developers. That would have been a more interesting topic to me... ;-)

A OCA certificate (like the author holds) isn't actually that easy to pass. You sit through a 2 hour multiple choice exam. Maybe it was easy for him, but that says more about him. I had to study for a month to get up to a sufficient level to pass. I learned quite a bit, even though i had two and a half years of experience as a java developer. Someone who passes that has healthy enough brain cells and knows java well enough to be a valuable team member. Of course certificates aren't the be-all-and-end-all, but if i was hiring another Java dev and one of them held an OCA, then i wouldn't need to check his java knowledge. If he did not, I would need to look at his code, at least. Of course, not every cert is as well recognized in the market as the OCA and some or even most of them might well be useless.

I took the Sun certification for Java 2 about 20 years or so ago. Actually I took two: the programmer certification, which was a multiple choice exam, and the developer certification that required you to develop an app, turn it in, and then answer some questions about some of your design decisions (I assume to prove that you really wrote it yourself). My overall experience was similar: I spent about a month studying on and off, learned a lot, and felt like I was a better Java developer for it.

The world of certificates is not as black or white as the post suggests. I have a few useless certificates too but if I will ever interview a person with a Java8 OCA exam I will not bother him/her with java tests thats for sure.

See also all the various "cloud security assessment" certificates for organizations.

They require you to burn a ton of money drafting policies, writing TPS reports, and generally just pushing pencils. Ostensively to improve the security of your SaaS, but really mostly to work as a barrier to entry.

The cost of a full-time compliance officer is minuscule for well-funded startups, but a massive challenge for a bootstrapped business of two people in a garage. Hence well-funded startups do their best to encourage regulation that asks for as many certifications, trials and tribulations as possible.

Among certifications, the most absurd one is the Scrum one.

A random guy with no exposure to software whatsoever can spend a few hours become a Certified Scrum Master (tm).

Unlike CSM, there are certifications that matter, have weight and at least have basic prerequisites.

It's not Certified Scrum Master™, it's Certified Scrum Master®. That trademark is registered.

Let's register "Certified Scrumbag": a person that has no value outside scrum tasks, has no ability to provide a technical assessment on anything, has no ability to implement anything, has no ability to make a rational decision that performs better than throwing a dice.

I really feel like they missed out the opportunity to create Scrum Lords.

My wife and I were talking at dinner about a problem she was having with a Scrum Master at work, and our son, who was probably about 12 at the time said, “Scrum Master? That sounds like something a third-grader would call another third grader as an insult! You’re such a … Scrum Master!”

And I’m not sure he was that far off.

Scrumdog Millionaire.

It entirely depends what you're getting them for.

For certain kinds of contract work, and specific things within IT it's one of those 'checkmarks' that can really help, or be essential in some cases.

They don't necessarily make you better at this or that.

Should note: after a very long time in software, I'm still embarrassed at some 'little things' I should know, but don't.

In electrical work, they have apprenticeships and tests for certification. They have apprenticeships in carpentry as well.

I suggest the software world would be much better if we had such a thing. The basics of computer science, plus the basics of applied knowledge in one or more established languages where you learn how to write idiomatic code, basic architecture etc. - and - basic software communication, code reviews etc..

If you have a degree in CS you can skip the first part, but even so many of those spend years without knowing how to write SQL, do basic things on linux, write idiomatic code etc..

I wonder why Google doesn't publish an online course and say 'you need to know these basic things to be a pro dev'.

Software certifications - waste of time and money.

College - waste of money.

Working - waste of time.


So really, getting a certificate is an improvement in efficiency. Kill two birds with one stone!

My university education cost me ~$30,000, and it has directly paid for itself many-fold, by making me eligible for a work visa.

I have a hard time calling that a waste of money.

People vastly underestimate how many doors not having a degree closes for you.


OK but for real though criticizing nuclear energy is dumb

Could you please not post unsubstantive comments and/or flamebait to HN? You've done it more than once already, and that's not what new accounts are for.


I know someone who got a $200,000 philosophy degree and now works in retail. It's not as simple as you're implying.

And even then, they can go out and apply for something like an office manager job, which has advancement prospects, that their degree-less peers, who have been working retail for the past 20 years, and will be working retail until the day they die, can't.

I don't judge them for not exercising this option, as I don't know them, everyone's life situation is different, etc, etc. But they at least have that option, should they [choose to/end up in a position to] work towards it.

A degree doesn't magically open doors for you. But in 2020, not having a degree will actively close doors for you.

To put it another way: A seat belt does not guarantee you will survive a serious car crash, but not having one is not going to help your prospects.

It can close doors on certain life events. Buying a house, being financially stable enough to have kids, living without the burden of a massive debt. I think I'm not against degrees overall, but it's almost predatory these days. I remember my high school counselor filling my head with these ideas of becoming an MD and how much money I could make. Don't recall ever asking if I liked that sort of stuff. I dropped out early and went into IT and have been pretty successful. There are folks where a degree is really just a debt and they'd be better off learning a trade.

> I remember my high school counselor filling my head with these ideas of becoming an MD and how much money I could make. Don't recall ever asking if I liked that sort of stuff.

Not liking your job is the most normal thing in the world. It is incredibly privileged to have a job that you actually like doing.

> There are folks where a degree is really just a debt and they'd be better off learning a trade.

There are large problems with going into a trade, too. It's hard work, your body is destroyed after 15-20 years of it, you are incredibly vulnerable to economic cycles, you don't make much money in most of them, unless you become a business owner. It's better than stocking shelves, but that's a pretty low bar to clear.

To tie back to your earlier point, tradespeople almost universally hate their jobs. Most of them like the money, but hate the job.

Yes, I have an electrical engineering degree, I now work as a software developer, and the last two project managers I worked under had no degree. They are great developers and leaders.

Let's not conflate 4 years of undergrad with a crash course in leadership. Id take someone in the military for 4 years over most college grads with a useless major any day of the week. For one, the degree and failure to apply it shows me that make bad decision or can't execute a plan. The military person shows me they are a leader, can make tough decisions, and are able to keep going when thing get tough.

Hiring is much more nuanced than that. Putting people into categories like "Military Person" and "College Grad" is stupid.

I think we should all appreciate people's life choices, recognize people's hard work no matter how they went about doing that hard work (military, college, self-taught... who cares) and give people equal opportunities.

I've come to find that this is typically how life plays out anyway, most decent companies aren't particularly worried about the minutia of your background and are much more focused on what you know and what you can bring to the table now, and rightfully so.

I like meritocracies. The world should always operate as a meritocracy. It's 2020 for fucks sake lets end the gate-keeping.

Did you just comment to tell me there are more than 2 types of people in this world? TIL.

Some degrees are more practical than others.

At least they know how to ask the important questions:

"Do you want fries with that?"

Such ridicule might be the only thing that hits hard enough to cause a person to pause and think about the cost/benefit of a course before they fall victim to predatory certificate mills or colleges. Please post it everywhere.

This phrase predates the internet.

Such internet clichés are unsubstantive, so please don't post them here.

I’ve also come across a few that seem to be downright scams. CREST security Cerys are ~$6k AUD, but from people I’ve spoken to they’re largely irrelevant to modern day security practices but required for various work in certain fields such as finance.

I imagine the people who run the cert board are making a fortune at least.

My anecodotal info. on CREST, as someone who's been in the industry a while, and has a CREST cert.

The exams (like any) aren't perfect, but if you pass the CCT, you need to at least be pretty familiar with common pentest tooling and able to use them quickly and under pressure of time.

They're not perfect and some have said they could use some updating.

As to CREST being rolling in cash, you'd be surprised to find out that, as far as I can tell, that's not the case.

The main org. is incorporated in the UK, so you can see their financial statements for free https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09805375/filing-h... is the list and from a look at their latest accounts, you can see it's not big business...

Does knowing some obscure nmap flag really make you a good baseline candidate? Aptitude tests are hard, but CRT was silly things like ‘what normally runs on port 1433’. I don’t care. I have 2 devices that can google on my person at anytime when the question is relevant. I’d prefer to see MCS*, OSCP, OSCE, hell even pentesterlabs stuff. Anything that runs at or near actual cost of development.

I also don’t take financial reports as gospel. I’m no finance guru but assume it’s possible / easy to hide money, or it gets reinvested into marketing the notion that crest actually matters, the former at which doesn’t make the thing a giant scam at least.

Any multiple choice exam is going to not necessarily mimic the real world, but doing exams that do is pretty tricky, and I can't think of one in the pentest world that gets it right (e.g. OSCP can't think of any time I've had a 24 hour window for a pentest, whilst sitting in a single room with no assistance and someone watching me from a webcam).

CRT has a practical element which demonstrates knowledge of tools, and the CCT bumps that up quite a bit.

On the second point, I think accusing CREST of financial shenanigans is a bit of a stretch given you think they should make more money than their public accounts show they do.

I don't know if this is still true today, but software development certificates certainly helped me find the first jobs to bootstrap my career. Granted, this was because I could get them relatively easily back when I was 15 - so before even getting to college. And later I dropped out of college, so I needed something in lieu of a degree to get past that initial HR screen and into the interview, where actual knowledge and skills mattered.

I don't think there was any practical value in a sense of skills learned while preparing for the certification exams. But it was very low cost - I didn't take any courses, only the exams themselves, and self-studied for them; so mostly it was a time investment, and spare time is plentiful at that age. So I'd say they paid off handily.

Software ones can be good or bad, but software adjacent ones can be downright ridiculous.

A running joke at my last role was that I would keep trying to get the company to pay for my Scrum Master Training, which conveniently had a Hawaii option.

But in all seriousness, what a silly "Certification".

> If you can pass them, that's great but does it prove you can work and handle complex business problems, probably not.

No, but neither does anything else. We (as a civilization) have settled on using tests as an objective proxy to measure knowledge. Although I generally agree that software certifications don’t mean much, saying that they’re useless because they’re tests dismisses almost all forms of education. Lawyers have a bar exam that, if passed, tells you a lot about that person’s knowledge of the law. Just because current software certification exams are relatively easy to pass and don’t tell you much about a candidate, that doesn’t mean that a decent test couldn’t be put together.

Software certification matters in certain industries.

In automotive and airspace, you will find that being certified opens a bunch of doors for you.

From a company's perspective, these certification don't PROVE that you know what you are doing, but at least they prove that you aren't completely in the dark with regards to all the annoying processes that exist in the industry (stuff like MISRA-C, Automotive SPICE and so on). Or at the very least, you aren't lying when you say that you've TOTALLY heard of them, honest (un-shockingly, people lie on their resumes, even about things that can be easily checked).

This might not get you hired, but it will make them consider you.

I agree. To add another industry, with government and/or defense contractors, certifications matter immensely - sometimes more than actual work experience.

this is unfortunately true. I meet one too many people who had the certifications for a job but not the skills when I worked as a government scientist. Some people can pass any test you throw at them without retaining or learning a thing.

Did a google cloud associate cloud engineer cert, nothing really came out of it. Not postings are looking for it, maybe it's different for AWS certs, but I don't think recruiters or HMs care at all

IIRC, when you're a Google Cloud Partner, you're required to hold a certain number of Google Certified Engineers in your team, that number varying depending on you Partner Level, BUT, the associate certification doesn't count for that number.

Because of that reason, I got the Google Cloud Architect certification that was paid by my, then, company.

If I were screening people for a Cloud Sysadmin job, I would appreciate the associate certification as it would prove that you are, at least, familiar with the platform. Higher level certifications may help to maintain partner status, and also, in Google Cloud, they're not the classic "memorize the answers" type of exam, so I feel like people going through them have some sort of real life experience.

Anyway, I probably wouldn't use ANY kind of certification as a final decision for hiring somebody, unless we're required to hire a certificated person for any reason. I value experience, interest and learning abilities before certifications. I'd rather hire someone very skilled on googleing solutions than a classic certified guy who memorized a Cisco book.

What do you get for being a "Google Cloud Partner" that makes it worth jumping through those hoops?

Edit: It looks like the Partner program is aimed at consultants looking to prove to clients they know how to use Google Cloud

It's mostly commercial stuff. For the lower levels:

You show you're 'friends' with Google. You miiiiight get some work through them. You get to show interesting business cases on their conferences. You get to know their timelines a bit before the general public. You can consult them on products when you're getting a bidding ready for a client.

That kind of stuff.

My resume has a few items with Google Cloud and BigQuery mentioned including “Best Use of Google Cloud” at a hackathon. I was thinking that since it’s all internship experience though, that I should get a Google Cloud Data Engineer cert to be more marketable. Do you think that it isn’t worth the time?

For AWS, I was bombarded with recruiters (and still am as its listed) after receiving the associates level certification.

I believe I was hired at the time solely to meet partner level certification quotas of my current company as they definitely didn't need more headcount and there wasn't much to do at the time.

The whole thing really grinds my gears though and I wish it wasn't a necessary evil for me to pursue more of them. I think services such as acloudguru and the like devalued them from a technical perspective, but Amazon puts their finger on the scale with partner requirements keeping them relevant.

Certifications were key to my career in tech since I transistioned late from a totally unrelated, blue collar field. For me they were a way for me to convince myself it was okay to apply for a job doing something I was new at. What's weird is I see many of those who tout hands on experience and 'projects' as the only true mark of competence who routinely apply for and get jobs that they aren't exactly qualified for. I never had that kind of ego. Certs were my confidence.

i'm calling BS on this one. i personally worked with a dude who had both his cissp and oscp. he told me that _the_moment he put cissp on his linkedin profile, the doors opened for him. i know in my former life my mcse cert helpful me tremendously.

It’s been known that the Cisco CCIE certification is useful, because companies get purchasing discounts from Cisco if they have someone on staff with that certificate.

So for the company, it’s cheaper for them to buy Cisco equipment by just hiring a CCIE guy, and just letting him sit in the corner and play video games all day at work.

If that’s what you want your career to be about, then I guess getting a CCIE certification is worth it.

Edit: Fixed it.

the only reason they provide discounts is because Cisco is more likely to upsell more stuff and more frequently to a company that has CCIE people. CCIEs themselves would advocate from inside to purchase the entire ecosystems from Cisco, rather than from multiple vendors, because of integrated ecosystem, "smaller tco", single-pane-of-glass, blabla, and other reasons

wait a minute.... i think you're confusing ISC's CISSP with CISCO's CCNA AND CCIE?

i will say that if someone wants to pay me to sit in a corner and play games all day, that's fine by me. as i've stated before, a job is a job now-a-days. i'm not looking to change the world, i just want a paycheck.

The real value in certs is from a business partnership perspective. It's a measurable way to coerce your business partners into RTFM for your product.... and collect a bit of revenue as their operation scales.

I think too many people think certs are for them. Rarely are companies going out of their way to build a certification program for your personal benefit.

that is only true for company specific certifications.

independent organizations providing certifications may either profit from selling training. (which is fine if the training is good) or the profit comes from the fees to take the test.

linux processional institute for example is not profit oriented and provides the LPI certificates for the benefit of the community. and it's one of the better certificates out there

There is a difference between general education and those software certifications. I have masters in physics and had never really studied software formally. Having studies in University I believe had set me up for life, very grateful. However I've switched from science to being a programmer fairly quickly for financial reasons. I've never taken any software course and in my about 40 years long stint I was never asked about any software certification.

What did happen instead 2 or 3 times when I was getting some consulting gigs was that the client would try to have me pass some IQ / Aptitude / Whatever else test. I already have a reputation for delivering solutions and whole bunch of nicest references. So I just apologized and walked away. Not playing these kindergarden games.

Certifications are like a goal post it helps us to learn something with a target. It becomes a trend nowadays Udacity Nanodegree, Upgrad and ... I attended certain courses in Udacity I feel certifications from certain vendors (Udacity, Springboard) are worth to get it.

Over 20 years ago I got an Oracle Certified Professional card, I think as a DBA for version 8. Had I ever been tempted to boast about it, a conference or two of listening to what veteran DBAs said about OCPs would have cured the temptation.

It's not clear to me whether these certifications can actually help one get a stable, well-paying, unshitty job.

If they can ... don't hate the player, hate the game. There are certainly more damaging examples of rent-seeking behavior all around us.

Certifications can be abused when incentivized incorrectly.

Our company has a specialized product that offers multiple certificates with names like Core, Advanced, Expert, etc. The Core and Advanced are free certifications. We provide free access to prep guides, videos, and a community forum.

These two exams are not easy and many fail the first time. But they are free and designed to help identify weak areas while learning the product and its resources. Fortunately our users love our product and many retake a second time.

It has helped create a community within our industry to learn and help each other. It's been wonderful.

Last year I took a software certificate, my last employer demanded it. The experience was miserable. It was memorizing trivia and in the end, you are watched by some pervert though the laptop camera.

Certs are maybe one of the last things my colleagues and I look for on a CV. However, in many cases, it does help a bit to have some relevant certificates listed there, especially if the candidate is applying for a junior position, or a position which does not explicitly require a tertiary degree, since it shows that they have made some effort in the right direction. Unfortunately, very often they had gone through some brain dumps and cannot demonstrate even basic subject matter knowledge in person.

When I worked for a company which tracked this religiously, an average junior candidate with at least one certificate listed on his application had a lower score than an average junior candidate. The observation was the same, people frequently sunk time into some cert which taught them some syntax quirks, or were so shallow that the basic concepts behind what they (supposedly) learned were totally foreign to them. Too little practical knowledge for it to matter.

Certs are not a qualification to hold a job titlez they simply show you passed an exam on a subject matter, they are for the job interviewer to let them know you know enough to pass that specific exam so thay they can inquire and focus on more complex/intricate technical questions about your skills and experience. They get a candidate an interview,not a job.

If you hire people simply because they hold certs,that's your screw up for not holding a more thorough technical interview.

Programming certifications are very useful and important for one thing at least - unless you learn for a certification and pass the exam, you cannot tell that you really know something well.

As for the non-programming like AWS or Scrum Master (WTF) - it's loss of time. Especially Scum Master - it's a scam and it is designed to squeeze you of money by having 3 levels :)

Certifications* are glorified vendor manuals.

They limit your understanding of the field the certificate pertains to. The value it brings is the things you learned and companies continue to accept and validate it as some useful token. Outside of that it is near worthless.

* Software & IT industry certifications. You could have learned the same things outside of a certification.

Agree. I had bunch of certifications but could not help me to secure better job. Therefore I'm no longer pursue any certification.

In a watered-down way, certifications are to people what logging is to the server: a way to communicate information about state that could prove useful.

Certifications are a little bit better than certifications.

Without them, we'd be forced to rely even more strongly on interpersonal relationships than we already do.

The cert isn't useful but the forcing function of studying for the exam can be, especially on practical exams like the CKA. At least for me, when I know that I have a test coming up it's very motivating and helps me focus.

I think this really depends on the job and industry. AWS certs, for example, while not generally sought after, are generally positively viewed for companies that are trying to fill out devops and/or cloud security teams.

I just got an AWS cert myself (Solutions Architect Associate) and while I don't have any experience with other certs, I do feel like studying for it helped me get a better understanding of what AWS services were available and how to better design systems using the AWS services. There weren't really any "memorization" questions, the questions were more scenario based - like a customer wants to do X, which one of these services/configurations would make the most sense given their needs for high durability/reliability/cost saving/whatever.

Are certifications a perfect way to judge someone's competence? definitely not, but at least in the case of that certificate I think it'd be hard to pass the exam without having at least some decent knowledge of which AWS services are the best to use in different business situations.

Yes security certs are valuable in some cases, my manager has a CISSP and attributes his current job role to it. I think it also helps people looking for a first job to make up for a lack of experience. It's just a part of the overall consideration though, just having a cert itself won't guarantee you anything. And it shouldn't there is a lot more to being a productive team member.

Doing the certificate isn't bad at all. It gets you informed about many things in disciplined way. But preferring the candidate during the interview based on just certificate is plain stupid.

it depends, some vendor certificates are highly valued and signal your expertise, for example CCNP/CCIE. Cisco does a pretty good job here

Meh, another piece of trash writing.

I literally wrote a longer comment and erased it three times... Meh, don't bother getting certified if you can't see the value of it.

Some certs are more useful than other, of course, my experience getting certified in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL - RHCSA) was immensely positive though: I was forced to do a thorough learning and to level up under many aspects. I'm using a lot of that knowledge everyday even though I don't always use RHEL anymore. And for the ROI... It has paid itself almost immediately and with very good interest.

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