To Certify or not to Certify?

Now that I’ve graduated with my Software Engineering diploma and am in the working world I find myself thinking more and more about my career and future as a software developer.  I’ve been doing a lot of development with Microsoft .Net technologies in the past 2 years and that got me thinking about going after a certification like Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) then later upgrading to Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD).  The drive behind this thinking is make my skills official and proven in case I find myself looking for a job in the near future.

There seem to be three very distinct responses when I ask my colleagues about this subject, here they are:

  • Many say to wait it out, get some solid experience then land a job with a company doing Software Engineering and then get them to foot the bill.

  • Some say that there is no point in certification anymore because it is too easy to cheat with all the exam solutions that are available on the net.

  • Then there is the group that is surprised that it has taken me this long (6 months) before I even started thinking about it.

I’m trying to gauge how much of a difference having a professional certification makes in the Software Engineering or Computer Programming fields.  In today’s job market it would logically make sense to me as every new, proven skill that you can add to a resume puts you that much higher on the list of potential candidates, but that is just the way my mind works.  Then, if I do decide to go out and take the exams, which ones do I take?  There’s the obvious .Net from my current work experience, but I’ve also done a lot of work with Java and I’m sure there’s something out there for C++ developers.

What I’m really hoping for is that some industry experts will find their way here and give me their perspectives on the value of professional certifications for programmers in today’s workplace. 

Any responses, good or bad, are greatly appreciated and will be posted back to the site.

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