Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...



  • Alot of people say I don't need a certification because I already know the technology better than most who are certified. While that statement can certainly be true, the difference is proving you know something to your NEXT employer.

    Sure you can prove your knowledge to your coworkers and company, but all that proving by seeing wears off when you get to the job market. If you have cert and knowledge you are golden ponyboy.

    The more areas you can prove competency in thr more you're actually worth. Even expired certs from 10 years ago gave value because they will always prove you mastered the competency, and you will always be sme on the topic.

    So cert up boys and girls,
    Your Florida Man



  • Many of the sysadmin jobs I've been applying for want repo links. So when you have a family, and a job where sometimes you have to work 100 hour weeks - and that doesn't let you open source your configuration as code, you have to pick your battles.

    And then there's the homework assignments, one job had me submit an architecture design even before I had an interview with the recruiter.



  • @flaxking said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    you have to work 100 hour weeks - and that doesn't let you open source your configuration as code, you have to pick your battles.

    That's just a bad choice to stay in a strong economy. If you want put in 120% effort for your employer and get virtually zero out of it, that's on you and you alone.

    It sounds like you're getting no training, planning time, or much of anything if you're working even 60 hours a week regularly.

    There's no long term value here, you are just doing it as a favor for your employer who is either under staffing, under purchasing, and/or under paying for inexpensive talent across most of IT.

    If you go into an interview and tell potential employer you worked up to 100 hour weeks it only sounds like a negative. Some people think it sounds like "this guy is willing to do anything for the company". In reality, it's "we can work this guy 60 hours and he will be happy with it".



  • @flaxking said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    And then there's the homework assignments, one job had me submit an architecture design even before I had an interview with the recruiter.

    I have been asking to draw out diagrams during interviews, but never pre interview before.

    Doing it pre interview is like getting design architecture free as you giving a fully polished document over. It's also worse because you can do research to do it or ask for help.

    Doing it during the interview shows real-time knowledge in the area, shows thinking rationale, and the ability to explain on the fly (which is needed for ang architecturely role). If you can explain it on a white board, you can easily pretty it up later.



  • @flaxking said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    Many of the sysadmin jobs I've been applying for want repo links. So when you have a family, and a job where sometimes you have to work 100 hour weeks - and that doesn't let you open source your configuration as code, you have to pick your battles.

    And then there's the homework assignments, one job had me submit an architecture design even before I had an interview with the recruiter.

    huh - did you send them an bill? That does seem unreasonable - you produced work, you should be compensated... who's to say they aren't just using you for free architecture design?



  • @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @flaxking said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    Many of the sysadmin jobs I've been applying for want repo links. So when you have a family, and a job where sometimes you have to work 100 hour weeks - and that doesn't let you open source your configuration as code, you have to pick your battles.

    And then there's the homework assignments, one job had me submit an architecture design even before I had an interview with the recruiter.

    huh - did you send them an bill? That does seem unreasonable - you produced work, you should be compensated... who's to say they aren't just using you for free architecture design?

    Yes. Being able to explain it in an interview totally acceptable, but providing finished document before interview unacceptable



  • @Florida_man

    Not really, I'm severely lacking in IT certs but I'm doing fine in Canada, Toronto nearly 100K salary range.

    Just be walking portfolio, and have projects that you can demo and ace the interviews like I have a domain with a lot of my work publically available, and I tell them if they want to research me go to ML and read my posts 🙂

    Also Im new to Toronto, been here for 4 months

    And the vibe im getting is they want people with experiance and not certs, but hey i follow SAM ideas and concepts closely, so he said this many times when you have family or friend that has IT thing make project out of it and document it and mention it, get your hands dirty you know, but credit that. That said Im the type that go home and work on my shit and experiment with new tech nearly everyday or week at least. So YMMV



  • @Emad-R said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Florida_man

    Not really, I'm severely lacking in IT certs but I'm doing fine in Canada, Toronto nearly 100K salary range.

    Just be walking portfolio, and have projects that you can demo and ace the interviews like I have a domain with a lot of my work publically available, and I tell them if they want to research me go to ML and read my posts 🙂

    Also Im new to Toronto, been here for 4 months

    And the vibe im getting is they want people with experiance and not certs, but hey i follow SAM ideas and concepts closely, so he said this many times when you have family or friend that has IT thing make project out of it and document it and mention it, get your hands dirty you know, but credit that. That said Im the type that go home and work on my shit and experiment with new tech nearly everyday or week at least. So YMMV

    This works only if you can get past the HR goons. Which is the world that Scott and his level of experience gain him. His skill/knowledge is that that he's often being recruited, he's not sending in resume's looking for a job.. so I don't consider his experiences the norm.



  • @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Emad-R said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Florida_man

    Not really, I'm severely lacking in IT certs but I'm doing fine in Canada, Toronto nearly 100K salary range.

    Just be walking portfolio, and have projects that you can demo and ace the interviews like I have a domain with a lot of my work publically available, and I tell them if they want to research me go to ML and read my posts 🙂

    Also Im new to Toronto, been here for 4 months

    And the vibe im getting is they want people with experiance and not certs, but hey i follow SAM ideas and concepts closely, so he said this many times when you have family or friend that has IT thing make project out of it and document it and mention it, get your hands dirty you know, but credit that. That said Im the type that go home and work on my shit and experiment with new tech nearly everyday or week at least. So YMMV

    This works only if you can get past the HR goons. Which is the world that Scott and his level of experience gain him. His skill/knowledge is that that he's often being recruited, he's not sending in resume's looking for a job.. so I don't consider his experiences the norm.

    True, next time be nice with the HR, try to find something in common and stop talking IT with them and befreind them on the phone ;), I am so informal in this phone interview stuff, first I start format till they say anything... anything outside of the scope and I take that and let the dragging stories game begin.



  • @Florida_man said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @flaxking said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    Many of the sysadmin jobs I've been applying for want repo links. So when you have a family, and a job where sometimes you have to work 100 hour weeks - and that doesn't let you open source your configuration as code, you have to pick your battles.

    And then there's the homework assignments, one job had me submit an architecture design even before I had an interview with the recruiter.

    huh - did you send them an bill? That does seem unreasonable - you produced work, you should be compensated... who's to say they aren't just using you for free architecture design?

    Yes. Being able to explain it in an interview totally acceptable, but providing finished document before interview unacceptable

    I have a friend who is a trainer for a larger tech company. When she was interviewing for that job (or another one), she had to do a training presentation on something as part of her interview. I know it isn't quite the same, but still similar.



  • @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Emad-R said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Florida_man

    Not really, I'm severely lacking in IT certs but I'm doing fine in Canada, Toronto nearly 100K salary range.

    Just be walking portfolio, and have projects that you can demo and ace the interviews like I have a domain with a lot of my work publically available, and I tell them if they want to research me go to ML and read my posts 🙂

    Also Im new to Toronto, been here for 4 months

    And the vibe im getting is they want people with experiance and not certs, but hey i follow SAM ideas and concepts closely, so he said this many times when you have family or friend that has IT thing make project out of it and document it and mention it, get your hands dirty you know, but credit that. That said Im the type that go home and work on my shit and experiment with new tech nearly everyday or week at least. So YMMV

    This works only if you can get past the HR goons. Which is the world that Scott and his level of experience gain him. His skill/knowledge is that that he's often being recruited, he's not sending in resume's looking for a job.. so I don't consider his experiences the norm.

    Being public and social with one's experience makes for a great CV (Curriculum Vitae).

    Certs do help. Acknowledgements, like the Microsoft Most Valued Professional in my case, or VMware Guru, or Veeam Vanguard, and so on also show a distinct experiential knowledge over anyone else that may be applying for a position.

    The better one gets at something, with the knowledge on full display, the more folks will indeed approach to ask for help. BTDT

    As far as handing over knowledge prior to an interview? No way.

    Without thinking about it, that happened once where the RFP made a specific request for details from us. I knew we were the initial contact and the only ones in the running a that time and did not clue in. Never again.

    Details = Consulting = Pay Me. Period.



  • @Emad-R said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Emad-R said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Florida_man

    Not really, I'm severely lacking in IT certs but I'm doing fine in Canada, Toronto nearly 100K salary range.

    Just be walking portfolio, and have projects that you can demo and ace the interviews like I have a domain with a lot of my work publically available, and I tell them if they want to research me go to ML and read my posts 🙂

    Also Im new to Toronto, been here for 4 months

    And the vibe im getting is they want people with experiance and not certs, but hey i follow SAM ideas and concepts closely, so he said this many times when you have family or friend that has IT thing make project out of it and document it and mention it, get your hands dirty you know, but credit that. That said Im the type that go home and work on my shit and experiment with new tech nearly everyday or week at least. So YMMV

    This works only if you can get past the HR goons. Which is the world that Scott and his level of experience gain him. His skill/knowledge is that that he's often being recruited, he's not sending in resume's looking for a job.. so I don't consider his experiences the norm.

    True, next time be nice with the HR, try to find something in common and stop talking IT with them and befreind them on the phone ;), I am so informal in this phone interview stuff, first I start format till they say anything... anything outside of the scope and I take that and let the dragging stories game begin.

    uh - you missed the point. You typically submit your resume first - so having certs on the resume is why HR calls you in the first place... sure, if they call you - then do what you just said, but before that, the certs are the reason they called you in a lot of cases...



  • @wrx7m said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Florida_man said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @flaxking said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    Many of the sysadmin jobs I've been applying for want repo links. So when you have a family, and a job where sometimes you have to work 100 hour weeks - and that doesn't let you open source your configuration as code, you have to pick your battles.

    And then there's the homework assignments, one job had me submit an architecture design even before I had an interview with the recruiter.

    huh - did you send them an bill? That does seem unreasonable - you produced work, you should be compensated... who's to say they aren't just using you for free architecture design?

    Yes. Being able to explain it in an interview totally acceptable, but providing finished document before interview unacceptable

    I have a friend who is a trainer for a larger tech company. When she was interviewing for that job (or another one), she had to do a training presentation on something as part of her interview. I know it isn't quite the same, but still similar.

    I would only expect something at that level when they are on round 3-4, etc of the hiring process. It definitely would not be in the early stages. At that point, I could see doing it. But for the architect design - it should still be pretty basic.. otherwise that's often considered core work product.

    Now if they tell you to design something of your own creation, so that the result has zero actual value for them.... OK I could see that, but if they give you the specs, and they could then act upon those specs... nope, no bueno.



  • @Florida_man said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    While that statement can certainly be true, the difference is proving you know something to your NEXT employer.

    Certs famously prove nothing, though. That's the hardest part. It sounds good, but it means you are focused on employers who look to paper rather than results.

    Nothing wrong with having certs, but an employer who cares about them is similar to an employer that cares about a degree.



  • @Florida_man said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    If you have cert and knowledge you are golden ponyboy.

    Um... are you? For me, as an employer, a cert shows one thing: effort. Unless you got the cert through a job or via a class, then it feels like someone trying to scam me.

    I like employees with certs, in general, it shows that they are spending time and effort on their career. But only minimally so. Pretty much anything, other than a degree, shows more.



  • @Florida_man said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    The more areas you can prove competency in thr more you're actually worth. Even expired certs from 10 years ago gave value because they will always prove you mastered the competency, and you will always be sme on the topic.

    No, they show that you paid to get a cert. It doesn't even begin to suggest competency. Famously, MCSEs don't know the basics of using Windows. And that's a very high level, well known cert. SMEs are so many levels above certification, this discussion doesn't really make sense.

    SME means you are the expert. Needing a cert means you are struggling to show basic competence. Those are the opposite ends of the spectrum.



  • @Emad-R said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    Not really, I'm severely lacking in IT certs but I'm doing fine in Canada, Toronto nearly 100K salary range.

    I have more certs than anyone I know, well over 150 of them, and I don't have a single one on my resume. Took them all off long ago. I use certs as a bench mark for my self education - something to work towards and to help me ensure that I'm not skipping topics. But I'm not entry level, so having them on my resume would be goofy.

    Your first couple jobs in the field, yeah, showing certs goes a long way to explaining why you are valuable without having experience. But once you have a few years of experience, entry level validations like education and certs don't make any sense unless you are stuck in entry level jobs.

    There are a few exceptions, right now security still uses certs a tiny bit as a minimum bar, but most $300K+ security experts I guarantee don't have certs. It's still only up to the mid-range.



  • @wrx7m said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Florida_man said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @flaxking said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    Many of the sysadmin jobs I've been applying for want repo links. So when you have a family, and a job where sometimes you have to work 100 hour weeks - and that doesn't let you open source your configuration as code, you have to pick your battles.

    And then there's the homework assignments, one job had me submit an architecture design even before I had an interview with the recruiter.

    huh - did you send them an bill? That does seem unreasonable - you produced work, you should be compensated... who's to say they aren't just using you for free architecture design?

    Yes. Being able to explain it in an interview totally acceptable, but providing finished document before interview unacceptable

    I have a friend who is a trainer for a larger tech company. When she was interviewing for that job (or another one), she had to do a training presentation on something as part of her interview. I know it isn't quite the same, but still similar.

    If an interview asks you to do your job in a way that can't be used for profit, that's generally fine. So just showing training is generally good. But asking to do a task the company failed to do is a common tactic to get free high end labour.



  • @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    uh - you missed the point. You typically submit your resume first - so having certs on the resume is why HR calls you in the first place... sure, if they call you - then do what you just said, but before that, the certs are the reason they called you in a lot of cases...

    Only if you want to work in shops where HR filters before experts evaluate. If that's the job you want or are willing to accept, that's fine, but that alone means you are choosing a cert entry level shop. Shops doing that can't get SMEs, for example. SMEs don't need to work for shops that act that way, and would be embarrassed to do so. There is more money, respect, and prestige at good shops.



  • @PhlipElder said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    Being public and social with one's experience makes for a great CV (Curriculum Vitae).

    This is huge. A real actual showcase to skill.



  • @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Emad-R said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Florida_man

    Not really, I'm severely lacking in IT certs but I'm doing fine in Canada, Toronto nearly 100K salary range.

    Just be walking portfolio, and have projects that you can demo and ace the interviews like I have a domain with a lot of my work publically available, and I tell them if they want to research me go to ML and read my posts 🙂

    Also Im new to Toronto, been here for 4 months

    And the vibe im getting is they want people with experiance and not certs, but hey i follow SAM ideas and concepts closely, so he said this many times when you have family or friend that has IT thing make project out of it and document it and mention it, get your hands dirty you know, but credit that. That said Im the type that go home and work on my shit and experiment with new tech nearly everyday or week at least. So YMMV

    This works only if you can get past the HR goons. Which is the world that Scott and his level of experience gain him. His skill/knowledge is that that he's often being recruited, he's not sending in resume's looking for a job.. so I don't consider his experiences the norm.

    Except it could be the norm. People choose not to be in this position. Most people do whatever teachers and college professors say to do, whatever recruiting professionals want, and are herded into lower pay situations because it's in everyone that they listen to's interest to do so. But it's simply a choice to not function that way for the majority of pros.



  • @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Emad-R said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Florida_man

    Not really, I'm severely lacking in IT certs but I'm doing fine in Canada, Toronto nearly 100K salary range.

    Just be walking portfolio, and have projects that you can demo and ace the interviews like I have a domain with a lot of my work publically available, and I tell them if they want to research me go to ML and read my posts 🙂

    Also Im new to Toronto, been here for 4 months

    And the vibe im getting is they want people with experiance and not certs, but hey i follow SAM ideas and concepts closely, so he said this many times when you have family or friend that has IT thing make project out of it and document it and mention it, get your hands dirty you know, but credit that. That said Im the type that go home and work on my shit and experiment with new tech nearly everyday or week at least. So YMMV

    This works only if you can get past the HR goons. Which is the world that Scott and his level of experience gain him. His skill/knowledge is that that he's often being recruited, he's not sending in resume's looking for a job.. so I don't consider his experiences the norm.

    I think the issue here is chicken and egg. But I was the same as everyone else. Until I started doing those things that flipped it for me. I didn't get jobs that wanted a walking portfolio and then get one. I built my career into a portfolio then started getting those jobs. Building a portfolio is something nearly any high schooler could do if they were interested and driven, it's well within almost anyone's reach (especially in the US.) It just takes effort. But pretty much the same effort you need to learn the skills in the first place. So not like wasted effort.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Florida_man said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    While that statement can certainly be true, the difference is proving you know something to your NEXT employer.

    Certs famously prove nothing, though. That's the hardest part. It sounds good, but it means you are focused on employers who look to paper rather than results.

    Nothing wrong with having certs, but an employer who cares about them is similar to an employer that cares about a degree.

    It's not easy to pass many certifications unless you work with the stuff daily for a long time and know quite a bit about each competency.

    I've taken quite a few certifications, and know from experience that, had I not been actively involved and working with just about all of the competencies for a decent time period, there's no way I'd have passed. It's the kind of things that real-life experience working with that stuff, running into issues and solving them yourself, setting up from scratch, working out the bugs, etc... that kind of stuff is what helps you with passing the exams.

    Personally, it was a combination of on-the-job experience with reading a book or two end to end, plus some videos. I can't speak for everyone, but all three of those are required to pass. I know there are exceptions for those who can read something, and remember it so well they ace the exam, but that's not typical, and certainly isn't me. I learn best by experience, and that's what did it for me the most. The books helped fill in the gaps for me, but it's the experience that has the greatest weight.

    Most of mine were with Microsoft, so I know for a fact that the way they are designed, unless you work a lot with most of what they cover, there's no way to pass, unless you are extremely great at studying, labs, etc (which isn't hard, but it forces you to actually know the stuff to a decent level that's worth considering for hiring). I've also done ITIL 4 and SCRUM, which both of them also require you to know most of the stuff. Granted, those were held after a 3-5 day course, so a lot was fresh in mind. But the important stuff sticks and is valuable to the workplace.

    In IT, I see certs as worth more than a degree, but less than proven experience by itself. SO I don't agree with you that they are as worthless as you seem to think they are.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    SME means you are the expert. Needing a cert means you are struggling to show basic competence. Those are the opposite ends of the spectrum.

    I see SME's in the Microsoft spaces with backing certs all over. In fact, I don't see any Microsoft SME's that are not obtaining the relevant Microsoft certs.

    If I work with something, and I've very good at it, I will go get the cert... first, it's easy, second, it's usually free, third, it shows on paper you know enough to pass the cert, which if you have taken the exam, would know it's saying a lot... i have seen first hand! It's great to see how you are doing by taking the certs.



  • @Obsolesce said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    SME means you are the expert. Needing a cert means you are struggling to show basic competence. Those are the opposite ends of the spectrum.

    I see SME's in the Microsoft spaces with backing certs all over. In fact, I don't see any Microsoft SME's that are not obtaining the relevant Microsoft certs.

    If I work with something, and I've very good at it, I will go get the cert... first, it's easy, second, it's usually free, third, it shows on paper you know enough to pass the cert, which if you have taken the exam, would know it's saying a lot... i have seen first hand! It's great to see how you are doing by taking the certs.

    Microsoft certs are the ones most famous for being worthless though.



  • @Obsolesce said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    I see SME's in the Microsoft spaces with backing certs all over. In fact, I don't see any Microsoft SME's that are not obtaining the relevant Microsoft certs.

    Well... that might be true, but no real SME is flaunting his certs. That they got them when they were juniors and later made it to SME level is very different from the cert showing that they are SMEs.

    You never see any expert that didn't go to middle school. But no expert in any field is proud of having been to middle school.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    There are a few exceptions, right now security still uses certs a tiny bit as a minimum bar, but most $300K+ security experts I guarantee don't have certs. It's still only up to the mid-range.

    I think it is bad advice to tell people not to do certifications because people making $300k+ don't have certs. You don't get to that point anymore, generally, through experience alone, unless you are a <1%er who gets lucky with a lot of things and is able to steer perfectly through life (such as yourself).



  • @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Obsolesce said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    SME means you are the expert. Needing a cert means you are struggling to show basic competence. Those are the opposite ends of the spectrum.

    I see SME's in the Microsoft spaces with backing certs all over. In fact, I don't see any Microsoft SME's that are not obtaining the relevant Microsoft certs.

    If I work with something, and I've very good at it, I will go get the cert... first, it's easy, second, it's usually free, third, it shows on paper you know enough to pass the cert, which if you have taken the exam, would know it's saying a lot... i have seen first hand! It's great to see how you are doing by taking the certs.

    Microsoft certs are the ones most famous for being worthless though.

    To the point where for a solid decade they had become a mark of shame. Not like that now, but their reputation is still pretty bad.



  • @Obsolesce said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    If I work with something, and I've very good at it, I will go get the cert... first, it's easy, second, it's usually free, third, it shows on paper you know enough to pass the cert, which if you have taken the exam, would know it's saying a lot... i have seen first hand! It's great to see how you are doing by taking the certs.

    Yes, exactly. But nowhere did you mention "telling others that you got the cert" or "feeling like the cert, rather than the knowledge, is actually useful." That's the difference. Sure you got the cert, so did I. But we know that it's our skills, not our cert, that has value. And a hiring manager who doesn't know that is a buffoon who isn't qualified to hire an intern.



  • @Dashrender said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @Obsolesce said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why IT certifications are worth more than you think...:

    SME means you are the expert. Needing a cert means you are struggling to show basic competence. Those are the opposite ends of the spectrum.

    I see SME's in the Microsoft spaces with backing certs all over. In fact, I don't see any Microsoft SME's that are not obtaining the relevant Microsoft certs.

    If I work with something, and I've very good at it, I will go get the cert... first, it's easy, second, it's usually free, third, it shows on paper you know enough to pass the cert, which if you have taken the exam, would know it's saying a lot... i have seen first hand! It's great to see how you are doing by taking the certs.

    Microsoft certs are the ones most famous for being worthless though.

    Not for me, definitely not for me. Without them, I'd not have gotten as far, that is for sure.


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