Scott Hanselman

More Talk about Certification from an MC*.*

April 10, '03 Comments [0] Posted in Web Services | Gaming
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So I guess the point of all this rambling is that it is easy for those of us who are authors, speakers, etc., and who have years of experience under our belts to make light of the utility of certifications, and to be annoyed when we see the those 3- and 4-letter marks of the certified. But I try hard not to forget that absent certification, it's entirely possible that I would still be building scenery somewhere, and still struggling to pay my bills.[Andrew Duthie]

This whole certification thing sure is an interesting discussion.  I seem to remember having the same talks a few years back when the MCSD came out.  I still stand by my previous (last week) opinion on certification.  If Mort wants a certification, more power to Mort. But, when it comes time to choose the team, Mort had better have a resume like Elvis or Einstein. 

I hear what Andrew is saying, there but for the grace go I.  I got the MCP in '93 or '94 and felt pretty darn good about it.  But did it kick of the whole thing for me?  I think it was passion for technology that did it.  It was the TI/89A and the Apple II. It was the Commodore PET and the TRS(Trash)-80.  It was caring so much about an elegant solution that I'd stay up nights refactoring perfectly operational big ball of mud code.

I'm not trying to down play the paper - as Rebecca Dias says, documents are central to life.  Why else would I be on my 11th year of my Software Engineering degree? (Reminder: June 6th is Graduation!)  Something in myself says that THAT is a piece of paper I really want to have.  I wouldn't mind it if Mort had a B.S. or M.S. and a few MC*.*s, as well as some experience under his belt, not to mention the ability to grok and ephiphanize.

I'm getting off on a rant here, but here's the real rub - there are a lot of people in the technology industry who got in for the quick dot-com-dollar.  Certainly the industry can't support this many people can we?  Certification may be a great way to stay in the game, but, I mean, there's the whole competence issue to deal with.  80% of the world business logic runs in Microsoft Excel for Pete's Sake.  .NET is fantastic, but Visual Studio drag and drop can make bad programmers WORSE faster than ever.  I know lots of people who are certified that I woudn't hire. 

A great example of why I take certification with a grain of salt is a friend at work who is a biscuit away from his PhD...in History - and, he's a fantastic, brilliant, talented, completely uncertified engineer.  And darnit if he doesn't ship good code to production.

Bottom line, certification, degrees, experience, are each just checkboxs on a long list of qualifications.  Full stop.

private short mytwocents[2];
Scott

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.