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Microsoft certification

Microsoft certification

Microsoft certification

(OP)
Do employers really put much stock in Microsoft certification for programmers?
 

RE: Microsoft certification

I believe that having a MS cert is important to employers when.

1) You are fairly new to a technology it does provide some scale for the employer to gauge that you actually are familiar with the technology in question.

2) The company is an MS partner.  Employees with certs help maintain or increase various partner levels.  Having a number number of employees with a specific certification allows the company to hold a competency in that technology.

3) Consulting companies that specialize in MS products and do MS training like to have certifications of various types to give clients the warm fuzzy that people know what they are doing.

It all really depends on the certification  as a BI person someone with DBA certs doesn't mean anything, and having taken the BI tests myself you really need to know your stuff to pass them so it does show me that someone may be qualified.

RE: Microsoft certification

My wife works in HR. She says a degree carries much more weight than a cert. Certs do help, but not nearly as much as bachelors degree (or better). Associates degrees are helpful, but HR does not put a lot into those either. The way she put it was certs were used as 'tie-breakers' between two equally qualified candidates. They look at experience and level of college education first and foremost. That's the HR view (who you have to get past first before you can get your interview with the IT management). She told me she would hire someone with a 4 year degree and no experience over someone with no degree, 1 cert and 2 years experience. The college thing is really big with them. In most cases the mandate comes down from the CEO/CFO/President/etc. that employees of certain areas have a degree. The certs really help with the IT managers. They are the ones that like to see certs combined with experience relative to the cert.  

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"...and did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!"

"Don't stop him. He's roll'n."
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RE: Microsoft certification

I think the people who make the mandates would be shocked to learn the actual quality and skill level they lose with these mandates. I'm not saying everyone without a degree would be a good candidate just like every degree holder isn't, but to simply discount someone for a lack of a degree is stupid.  I have no degree and only have a cert because my last employeer made me get it so their MS partnership.  They hired a number of degree holders one with a masters who after 9 months still are unproductive.   

RE: Microsoft certification

I agree and have had many discussions about it. I have an Assoc. degree, and no certs, but i do have 10 years in the field. All the degree did was get me into the programming field. It was the 'foot in the door' with entry level pay. 10 years later my degree and certs (if i had any) are really pointless unless I go back and get my bachelors. That is the only wall I run into at times. I've worked for 2 companies that didn't care about the certs, but the owners capped me out because I didn't have a 4 year degree. Didn't care if it was in CS or not, just cared that I had one.

I don't know how many 'Certified Computer Science Bachelors' I have had to train in the past. It's ridiculous. The boot camps make it so that all you need to know is theory and memorize the book for the day. Oh they have incredible ideas, but when you tell them to 'implement' them, they have no idea how. Yet, we get paid less and have to work harder. I'll take a 'geek' that has 'tinkered' (more than just play video games obviously) with computers since he/she was 9 years old over a newly graduated CS bachelors with no experience more times than not. There is a lot to be said about being self taught. The passion and love for the job generally makes it easier and willingness to train/learn new things is always there..... ok...enough of the two cents.

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"...and did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!"

"Don't stop him. He's roll'n."
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RE: Microsoft certification

One thing that seems to be ignored is that it is impossible for HR to determine that you have tinkered with computers since you were 9 years old. They only have the documentation on your resume to go by, and a statement like that would probably not be as helpful as you would like.

A degree from an accredited school shows that you have skills beyond programming in language xyz. In the process of obtaining said degree you have to work with a variety of individuals from various backgrounds, various skill sets and through projects that are not only interesting to you, but on things you would rather never have learned. The ability to persevere through this is what the degree proves. It shows that you are willing to do what it takes, regardless if it's something you enjoy.

These are many of the reasons why HR recruiters (and many owners/managers in companies) look for a degree. Regardless of how much you love what you do there will always be unpleasant aspects of that job. A degree is a way to measure just how committed you are to doing what you say you want to do.

A cert can be gotten with a weekend of cramming and being good a testing. While these may be useful skills, (that many people practice while obtaining that degree) they are not nearly as far stretching as a degree.
 

--Dan
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

RE: Microsoft certification

Quote:

My wife works in HR. She says a degree carries much more weight than a cert.
I disagree strongly with that. The last three employers I've had didn't even ask about educational background. They wanted certs and experience. And we're not talking your entry level jobs here. We're talking six figure jobs with some substance.
I've talked to my friends who work at one of the largest IT staffing companies in the U.S., and they say the same thing.

A college degree means nothing. What is taught is out of date when it's taught, so it certainly can't add anything that a certification can add. A cert is much more narrow focused on the type of work you're focused on than a degree.

Pat Richard MVP
Plan for performance, and capacity takes care of itself. Plan for capacity, and suffer poor performance.
http://www.ucblogs.net/blogs/exchange/
 

RE: Microsoft certification

The reasoning some people use for a degree showing the ability to commit and finish something I believe is overated in some areas of IT.  If an individual is in over their head or can't keep up I don't want them to stick with it. I want them out so I can bring in someone who can do the work.

A degree does carry value and in various IT areas the may be more applicable. But when it comes to really understanding how to do something the only thing that shows someone can do it is experience.

RE: Microsoft certification

I'm just re-iterating what she and many of her co-workers (also in HR) have stated. Executive Management typically does not care about certs, they want degrees. They make a blanket statement about degrees and do not allow for exceptions. It's an argument that we've had many of times. I agree, it is asinine to disregard experience over education, but open the paper and how many posting do you see that require Certs, and how many require Degrees? Certs are usually "Preferred but not Required" while the degrees are typically "Bachelors Required will substitute for Assoc AND 4 years experience" or something similar.

I will also add that in many (not all) companies, you must have a Degree to be promoted beyond a certain level. They don't care about Certs, just degrees in mid to upper management. Without the degree, you'll be perpetually stuck at the glass ceiling getting nothing more than the annual cost of living increases. A friend of mine is faced with that right now. 17 years in the field programming and because he doesn't have a degree, he's capped out.

I'm not disregarding certs all together. They do help. They do have their purpose, but in regards to the original question, Yes, they put some stock in certs, but not nearly as much as they do for degrees. I'm not debating which is right, just answering the question that was presented to us.

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"...and did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!"

"Don't stop him. He's roll'n."
--------------------------------------------------

RE: Microsoft certification

Quote:

A college degree means nothing.
That is the dumbest comment I have read in quite a long time.

Quote:

The last three employers I've had didn't even ask about educational background. They wanted certs and experience. And we're not talking your entry level jobs here. We're talking six figure jobs with some substance.
I have never been asked if I had any certs but have been asked about my college background and degrees.  

Quote:

What is taught is out of date when it's taught, so it certainly can't add anything that a certification can add.
A stupid comment which it stands on its own.

Quote:

MVP
Case study:  What is an MVP?  Most Valuable Player?  They give those during college football games and corporations donate money for causes in the mvp's name.  But people know what MS, PhD, DDS, MSEd, MA, EdS, and other educational degrees are.   

RE: Microsoft certification

Quote:

a degree showing the ability to commit and finish something
That is not what obtaining a degree is about.  I can say that going fishing and staying until all the bait is used is showing the ability to commit and finish something, but that won't get me a job.  

A college education: shapes communication skills; expands your knowledge base; more inclined to continue to learn throughout life; more intellectual interests; more flexible in your views; more willing to appreciate differences in others; tend to have children with greater learning potential; save more money; make better investments; are able to deal with bureaucracies, the leagl system, tax laws; more concerned with wellness and preventative health care and thus live longer and healthier.

RE: Microsoft certification

Quote:

Case study:  What is an MVP?  Most Valuable Player?
http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/

Quote:

I have never been asked if I had any certs but have been asked about my college background and degrees.
I get asked about experience more than certs. A lot more. But certs come up in a conversation, whereas college doesn't. In fact, I'd have to go back about 10 years to the last employer that asked about education. It's not even on my resume.

Quote:

But people know what MS, PhD, DDS, MSEd, MA, EdS, and other educational degrees are.
True, people know what most of those are. But a MS is no more qualified for a technical job than someone without a college degree (assuming similar experience, of course). The technical classes taught in a college are completely outdated, and certainly can't be used to any real advantage in the technical field. An individual could take a 1 week technical boot camp and have much more relevant, up to date, skills. I had a technical college ask me if I was interested in teaching classes. I looked at the curriculum and couldn't believe what I was seeing.  When I compared it to classes at another college, it was essentially the same. When I asked my friends at the IT recruiting firm, they said that's one reason they don't look at technical degrees. They mean nothing. As a team leader, I'd grab an MCSE or MCITP before a college grad.
I'm not saying that people won't get anything out of a college degree. What I'm saying is that it does little in terms of technical jobs.

Pat Richard MVP
Plan for performance, and capacity takes care of itself. Plan for capacity, and suffer poor performance.
http://www.ucblogs.net/blogs/exchange/
 

RE: Microsoft certification

Quote:

One thing that seems to be ignored is that it is impossible for HR to determine that you have tinkered with computers since you were 9 years old.

Now that would be laughable. That is exactly why HR exists, isn't it? To find good personnel, be able to recognize them and to keep them. If they cannot even recognize skills, they should be looking for a good HR person first.

Off course a good HR person does not need recognition skills himself, but can delegate those skills to other people within the company. But if HR does not WANT to recognize skills, the company has a real problem.

There is some things that come with certs: confidence. Usually, that confidence is overrated. Someone who has just got a cert is at the beginning of learning, not at the end of it.

The confidence is also a factor that should be accounted for in job interviews. Someone who played with his own home network since he was 9 year old, will have waited a long time before applying for a job as a network engineer. Why? First he feels that "home experience" does not count in a job interview and second because he encountered many more problems in his home setup than the "laboratory environment" of the certification company will ever give. The problems encountered also needed to be investigated and solved.

On the other hand, someone who has just got a cert is often believes or is even told that he can now apply for a job in it.

Certs mean to teach people to build a correct environment, but only experience can teach people to diagnose and repair an incorrect one.

In our company we found out that a cert is actually a negative indicator, unless followed by a lot of experience.

The real jewels tend to come from the "home freaks".
 

+++ Despite being wrong in every important aspect, that is a very good analogy +++
   Hex (in Darwin's Watch)

RE: Microsoft certification

Where I live, a degree opens many, many doors.  I think the post referencing the utility of a degree related to interpersonal relationships is a good one.  

I just got a new position.  In the interviews, I was told they had talked to many people with great experience and certs but were not confident in the candidate's ability to interact effectively with clients or learn new skills outside their comfort zone.  They liked the fact that I had two degrees in different subjects (neither in IT, one a graduate degree) because it demonstrated I could probably learn anything that I wanted.  In fact, over the last 10 years I've moved into three completely different areas of IT for this very reason. (I just moved into my fourth)

Degrees or education in unrelated areas can help in IT.  For example, I took some courses and became a volunteer EMT.  This helped to get me an IT position at a medical facility.
 
Now, I'll say with a caveat that degrees are overpriced and have been devalued.  Everyone DOES NOT have to have a degree for our society to function well, contrary to what many people think.  I think that the huge cost of education brought on by loan programs is detrimental to young people.  Schools are rushing out to get rid of shop classes and replace them with computer labs.  Big mistake, everyone does NOT need to be a computer engineer and right now there is a huge shortage of people skilled blue collar workers.  That said, a degree does act to get one into management and past the HR gate for certain positions, or in any position when times are tough.

I never went to school full time.  For several years I was a heavy equipment operator and took two or three classes a semester until I got a degree.  My university also accepted some of my work experience for credit.  My company paid for this.  Then I just continued on, every time my education would be reimbursed, and taking courses at community colleges/state universities.  

In my last position, single IT guys with no obligations other than work were lamenting that they couldn't move ahead because they didn't have a degree.  Meanwhile, they had been employees for 6 and 7 years and never took advantage of the company's 100% tuition reimbursement.  They could have gotten degrees in that time frame.  Keep learning and take advantage of all opportunities!

RE: Microsoft certification

I had a teacher in one of my early college computer classes tell us "The day you stop learning in this field is the day you should retire." In many respects he was right. With the rate at which technology advances, if you don't keep up and keep improving and building on the skills you have, you will be left behind. Employers want programmers that can fix a printer and manage the databases. They want Net Admins that are also Sys Admins and Web developers. Help desk is now starting to blur with Net/Sys Admin. The specialized IT worker is becoming a rare item any more. The degree is a great foundation to build on, and the Certs make for an excellent addition to the degree. They compliment each other.

To answer the OP's original question? Open the paper and/or scour Monster/hotJobs/etc. and look at the postings for your area. Are they asking for degrees or certs or both or neither? In my part of the word, few ask about certs, they're more interested in the degree and how many areas are you capable to assist in on top of your primary duties.
 

--------------------------------------------------
"...and did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!"

"Don't stop him. He's roll'n."
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RE: Microsoft certification

Quote:

"The day you stop learning in this field is the day you should retire."
I'm a firm believer in that myself.

Quote:

The specialized IT worker is becoming a rare item any more.
Maybe in the SMB space.

Quote:

The degree is a great foundation to build on, and the Certs make for an excellent addition to the degree. They compliment each other.
I think that depends. I can't, with ANY conviction, say that a degree in CIS/MIS is going to be of any help to an IT person. The stuff being covered in those classes is just way too outdated. Now - I'm not discounting the other, non-IT related stuff in college. Psychology, language, arts, stuff like that. Communications and interpersonal skills are certainly necessary. But I know at least a half dozen people in IT would started in IT without a college degree. And they all make considerably more than their IT degreed counterparts. Why? They have 2/4/6 years more of job experience in the field. And that is certainly worth more than everything else.
I used to work in the IT department of a national IT staffing firm. I would always talk to the recruiters about what they were looking for for our clients. "certifications" was always the first answer. So - everyone and their brother got an MCSE. A large portion of those were paper MCSEs. Quality of skills in applicants suffered for a while, and clients sent people back. "college" was next. So, people had to have some 4 year degree. That didn't last long at all. Now it's experience - college preferred, but experience trumps it. Certs are preferred, but experience trumps those, too. Why? Time for a story...

I worked for one of the big 3. They came out with a policy about administrators must be certified. They waived a big chunk of change (15,000) for those who got their MCSE. A coworker bought all of the books for the 7 tests. On a Monday, he'd start reading. Reading during lunch. Reading at night. On Friday, he'd take, and pass, the test. Following Monday, new book. MCSE in 7 weeks. The guy got his money, but on week 8, he couldn't tell you a darned thing. He was good at reading and taking tests. So the value of his MCSE (and, unfortunately, those around him because of it) was devalued considerably. Oh - he had a college degree. A bachelors degree.

The rest of us worked with the stuff day in and day out. Built labs and broke them. Got the experience.

Today, the lowest paid member of that team makes nearly twice what mr paper MCSE makes, as he constantly struggles to update his skills.

Experience trumps everything. I couldn't care less about someone's college experience. That just shows they can study and take tests. MCSE and MCITP are similar, but at least they're more current and focused.

Just my .02



 

Pat Richard MVP
Plan for performance, and capacity takes care of itself. Plan for capacity, and suffer poor performance.
http://www.ucblogs.net/blogs/exchange/
 

RE: Microsoft certification

Pat, to add to the fire, recently, I started looking for an online school. Ran across Davenport University (based out of Grand Rapids, MI). In the top 25 online schools according to geteducated.com. I looked at one of their curriculum's, in which I would be interested in getting a degree. "Information and Computer Security". All well and good right? Wrong!!! The curriculum's "major" looks very much like the 10 domains of CISSP. What exactly does that mean? To me it means someone is utilizing a certification as it's own curriculum. Does that make the degree better than the cert? In my opinion, no. One of the reasons is you need 5 years experience to get the cert, but don't need experience to get the degree.....

 

RE: Microsoft certification

A lot of schools are doing the degree/cert thing. One school here does the MCSE with an Associates degree. You end up with a paper MCSE - no experience, so it's worthless.

Pat Richard MVP
Plan for performance, and capacity takes care of itself. Plan for capacity, and suffer poor performance.
http://www.ucblogs.net/blogs/exchange/
 

RE: Microsoft certification

Basically it is to get your foot in the door.  It is the same with degrees etc.  The employer doesn't know you from Adam so they have to have something they can base their judgement on.  If you have something, say a degree then they might think that you are capable of working to the some capacity.

That is all it is - proof that you are capable of working to some capacity that the employer thinks will help them churn out products faster, better or more reliably.  You don't really need a degree etc but you'll have a hard time convincing agents and employers that you are capable of doing the job.

You have to bear in mind that you are not just applying for a job: you're competing against a whole load of people for one job.  You want the agent to put your CV on the interviewer's table and you want to get the interview.  Once you are talking, you might somewhere but the CV has to get to the table first.

If a worthless cert will get your CV to the table, then go for it but be prepared to say what you've achieved by going for a worthless cert.  Everyone makes mistakes and employers are quite happy to employ people who are brave enough to admit that they've made a mistake.

RE: Microsoft certification

The big problem that I see with certs is that people are getting them to get into the industry.  Certs (at least the Microsoft ones) are designed to be taken by people who have a year+ of experience in the field.

As an example, when I look at the info for Exam 70-443 (MCITP Database Admin (SQL 2005)).

Quote:


Candidates for this exam are professional database administrators who optimize and maintain database solutions. They have three or more years dedicated to database work, which may include two or more of the following phases in the product lifecycle: design, development, deployment, optimization, maintenance, or support. The typical work environment is an enterprise or a midsize organization. Candidates should be experienced in using Microsoft SQL Server 2005.

Because there are so many people taking the exams with no little experience the exams end up looking useless.

I was at dinner after PASS in Seattle last week and was asking about what people thought of the MCP certs.  They told me that pretty much everyone that they interviewed with any Microsoft Certs usually didn't know anything.  Usually the people that knew the most didn't have certifications or college.  Several of the people at diner either were just getting there BA, or didn't have one.

Denny
MVP
MCSA (2003) / MCDBA (SQL 2000)
MCTS (SQL 2005 / SQL 2008 Implementation and Maintenance / Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0: Configuration / Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007: Configuration)
MCITP Database Admin (SQL 2005/2008) / Database Dev (SQL 2005)

My Blog

RE: Microsoft certification

Absolutely correct.  Certifications are not a path to knowledge.  They are supposed to be a representation of the path you have already followed.  You can't take a 3-week MCSE boot camp and come out of it knowing everything that I know, because I've worked in the field for 10+ years and THEN got the MCSE.  Unfortunately, people don't market certs that way because it limits their target audience, and therefore their sales potential.

Degrees are a little different in that it takes years of sustained effort and learning to get one, along with a boatload of cash.  Unfortunately, a degree with no experience is almost as useless as a cert with no experience.  Experience trumps all in the IT industry.  The technical skills that you learn getting your degree will be somewhat outdated by graduation day, and after 4 years in the field the degree largely becomes irrelevant.  The only real purpose that it serves at that point is to give someone a checkbox they can mark on a requirements form.

Of course there are a few backwards-thinking companies that "require" a degree in all of their IT positions.  Those companies (at least in the US) tend to be the exception, and not the rule.  Most of those companies are also more than happy to make an exception for an otherwise well-qualified candidate.  In all my years of experience I have never once been asked about whether I had a degree.  

There was one employer that worked for on a contract basis through a consulting firm for awhile.  After about 6 months they made an offer and I took it.  A few months later HR was updating position descriptions and they found out that I didn't have a degree, so they changed the description to match.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Microsoft certification

I've had pretty much the same experience with regard to actual degree requirements.  I've had only one company that actually required a degree (or so said the recruiter).  I informed them that it was their loss and never heard back from them.

Denny
MVP
MCSA (2003) / MCDBA (SQL 2000)
MCTS (SQL 2005 / SQL 2008 Implementation and Maintenance / Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0: Configuration / Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007: Configuration)
MCITP Database Admin (SQL 2005/2008) / Database Dev (SQL 2005)

My Blog

RE: Microsoft certification

I think you can tell, based on what was said, who has a degree and who has a cert.  Everyone's comments are valid, but everyone is speaking for the most part from personal experience.  We'd all like to think that our own personal experiences reflect industry wide trends, but that's not often a good recipe for success.  So please keep that in mind as you evaluate what others have said as you map out what you own life's plan.

I think you'll find that certs are short-term instruments focused on individual products or specific technologies.  They're job-oriented.  Degrees are long-term instruments, broad based, and geared towards establishing foundations from which to build.  They're career-oriented.

It's a big mistake to say that I've known x people who had degrees but couldn't do the job, and y people who had certs and could do the job it's an unfair comparison.  It's comparing apples and oranges because you're comparing a short-term job-oriented instrument against a long-term career-oriented instrument.

Both certs and degrees are valid, but have different targets.  Which is better for you depends solely on what you to do, and where you want to go.

That being said, generally speaking, these two basic rules of everyday life apply just as much to this discussion as they do to many other aspect of life.
1 - The value is proportional to the effort
2 - You get what you pay for

With respect to cert vs degree - do the math.

--------------
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RE: Microsoft certification

While I definitely agree that you get what you get is relative to what you pay for, I'm not so sure that I agree with the first point (if it is intended to say that a degree is more valuable than anything else).  I still firmly believe that experience is far more valuable than a degree.  Given a choice between a newbie fresh out of college and a person who's been working in the field for four years without a degree, the guy with experience is going to win out.  You can learn a lot in school but the real world is the best teacher, especially in an industry that changes so rapidly.

One way to look at it:  a degree is a foundation for gaining experience.  If you can get your foot in the door without it then you don't really need it.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Microsoft certification

Quote:

I'm not so sure that I agree with the first point (if it is intended to say that a degree is more valuable than anything else).
No, that's not the point at all.  The point is that nothing comes for free.  How much you put into something is directly proportional to how much you get out of it, and the same is true for education.  Whether you apply yourself, or skate, through to a cert, or to a degree, or on the job experience,  what you get out comes from what you put in.  The bottom line is it's all about education.  How much education did you get?

==> I still firmly believe that experience is far more valuable than a degree.
What is of value is education and the ability to apply what you learned yesterday into what you do today and tomorrow.  So first question is what did you learn yesterday, or the day before, and the day before that.  You always have to make an assumption of how did the student applied him or herself, and that's true on all front.

What you can be sure of is that a person with a four-year degree has a broad based education and has been exposed to a wide variety of topics and theory.  This person has a well rounded foundation.  The person with the cert has a good deal of knowledge about one specific thing.  The person with experience is much tougher to know.  Does this person with four years experience really have four years of experience, or is it one year of experience four time?  Or is it one month of experience 48 times?  That's a judgment call that the evaluator has to make.

Quote:

Given a choice between a newbie fresh out of college and a person who's been working in the field for four years without a degree, the guy with experience is going to win out.
I find that to be a broad based generalization which has very little practicality in the real world, especially without knowing the details of the experience or your requirements.

Quote:

You can learn a lot in school but the real world is the best teacher, especially in an industry that changes so rapidly.
Yes, that's true, but again, it comes down to what were you exposed to while in school and what did you learn, and similarly, what did the real-world expose you to and what did you learn?  And so too, you're far more likely to learn bad habits from the real-world.

Quote:

a degree is a foundation for gaining experience.  If you can get your foot in the door without it then you don't really need it.
Yes, a degree is a foundation for gaining experience, but it is a broad-based foundation and you don't get that broad-based foundation in the real world.  And I totally disagree that you don't need it, because you can build from that foundation over and over again as new things come out.    Product knowledge goes away, but the foundation is always there.

There will be a few who say yes, but the question I always like to ask in these kinds of discussions is how many people with a degree regret going to school?

I know lots of people will rationalize that I knew someone with a degree who happened to be a slacker.  Of course you do, everyone knows slackers, both with and without degrees.    But they don't reflect on the degree, they reflect on themselves.  However, when you base any argument, regardless of what point you're trying to make, with a slacker involved, are you're really saying is that slackers can't be used to prove any rule, and that's good.  Slackers are good for anything, except maybe to make the rest of us look good.

Those people who don't have degrees and say that it's all about experience are missing one critical fact in their argument.  They don't have any experience with a degree from which to make that judgment.  You don't know what a degree would or would not mean to you because you don't have one.

As I said in my previous post,  which is better for you depends solely on what you to do, and where you want to go.

--------------
Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
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RE: Microsoft certification

Quote (kmcferrin):

Given a choice between a newbie fresh out of college and a person who's been working in the field for four years without a degree, the guy with experience is going to win out.
In large corporate America (and some mid to small companies) this is not exactly true. Many CEO's, CFO's, Presidents, etc. have the belief that a college degree is a MUST regardless of experience. Some are willing to trade years of experience for a degree, but not all. HR is often given the order to hire degree personnel only. When this happens, it does not matter how good you are, how long you've been in the field, it matters only if you have a degree. The crazy part about that mentality is rarely do they care if it is in Computer Science or Basket Weaving. All they care about is that you went to college and got at the minimum a bachelors.

I have an Associates and 10 years in the field. I still run into this wall on occasions. Maybe it's a regional thing, but many places I have applied for that have that requirement are national/multi-national companies as well as a few local shops.

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"...and did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!"

"Don't stop him. He's roll'n."
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RE: Microsoft certification

First:  I haven't been here in a while and I'm glad to see CajunCenturion still being a voice of reason.  

Second, As someone who has a degree (BA English Lit/Philosophy), a couple of certs (some outdated PBX stuff, CCNA, ACA), over a decade of experience in my field and a recent job change under my belt I can't say I would trade any of it.  Every part of my education and experience has contributed to my current position. Even 14 years later I speak to my degree when interviewing even though it has no direct 'job specific' relevance to what I do.  Even now that some of my PBX certifications are for systems that no one is using I still talk about how I taught myself the systems from the ground up and then got the paper to 'validate' it.  And, of course, even if I am interviewing for a job completely different than all others I have done I speak to my ability to navigate in the corporate world.  At the end of the day employers certainly value good employees over anything else.  The key to being a good employee, in my opinion, is the ability to use your knowledge to benefit business coupled with the desire to be of benefit.  There are people with degrees who work that way, people with certs who work that way and people with neither who do the same.

Now, in looking at a piece of paper would I place weight on similar experience to mine in deciding who gets an interview?  Of course I would but when I leave a company and write my job description/requirements I always say the same thing about degrees and certifications:  preferred.  

I do a lot of interviewing to keep sharp and my experience has been that HR does the initial screen but that it is based on criteria written by the hiring manager.  My answer to the OP?  Find out what the hiring manager has under his/her belt to find out how certs v. degrees v. experience will be weighed.   I think this thread speaks pretty clearly to that as sound strategy.
 

RE: Microsoft certification

CajunCenturion, have you looked at what colleges are teaching? Very outdated stuff. Same can be said about some certifications out there (I have the C|EH cert, and it really was a joke).

So, I'm going to assume that you would take the person straight out of college over the person who has worked in the work force? Does that include a person in the military who has hands on experience, and attended the school of "work your butt off and get this done"?

I do agree that you get out of it what you put into it. I also agree with a lot of the posters who explain that experience is essential.  

RE: Microsoft certification

==> CajunCenturion, have you looked at what colleges are teaching?
I'm familiar with what is being taught at the universities I attended, and with those in whom I have contact through friends and associates.  I'm also somewhat aware based on university papers published in journals such as the ACM and IEEE.  I'm somewhat aware of various computer science degree program rankings and I know that there are roughly 250 universities with accredited (ABET) computer science degrees.  I do have confidence in ABET accreditation because I know what their accreditation requirements are, and I know that accreditation will be lost if the program does not meet and maintain certain standards.  But as far as getting specific about the curriculum of a certain university or another, it would only be conjecture on my part.  The first question I would ask is whether or not that degree program is accredited, and the date of their most recent accreditation.

Now you claimed in a broad statement that computer schools are teaching outdated stuff.  To keep an open mind, I ask you what basis do you have for claiming that to be a fair and valid characterization of even just a simple majority of those 250 ABET accredited programs?

==> So, I'm going to assume that you would take the person straight out of college over the person who has worked in the work force?
That would be an invalid assumption on your part.  As I have said at least twice in this thread, what is best for you depends on your situation, goals, and objectives.  That applies to both sides of the fence.  When I'm in hiring mode, what I look for in a candidate depends on the company's position as well as its short-term and long-term needs.

As a veteran, I appreciate the value of hands on experience and work your butt off and get it done.  I'm also painfully aware of the cost of having to go back and do it again, which is also a trait of military training and experience.

==> I also agree with a lot of the posters who explain that experience is essential.
Essential?  That's a classic Catch-22.

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RE: Microsoft certification

Quote:

==> I also agree with a lot of the posters who explain that experience is essential.
Essential?  That's a classic Catch-22.

You have to have experience to get experience, but you can't get experience unless you have experience.

To put it lightly..... those days sucked.

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"...and did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!"

"Don't stop him. He's roll'n."
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RE: Microsoft certification

I'd have to add one small thing to this. CC - I get why you say I can't know how much I would have gained by having a degree.

But surely by the same aurgument you can't know what I gained from those 4 extra years of experience.

Most of the people who work for me have degrees. I don't mind either way. I'd prefer they had common sense, but that seems laking generally I suspect.

Fee

"The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea." Isak Dinesen

RE: Microsoft certification

==> But surely by the same aurgument you can't know what I gained from those 4 extra years of experience.
No I can't, and nor do I pretend to.  It's a judgment call that must be handled on a case by case basis.  That's exactly why I don't make the claim that one is better than the other.  They're simply different.

Quote:

I'd prefer they had common sense, but that seems laking generally I suspect.
I've had people work for me that had degrees.  Some had common sense and some didn't.  I've had people work for me that did not have degrees.  Some had common sense and some didn't.  Common sense, or lack thereof, is independent of both education and experience.

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RE: Microsoft certification

I think individual by individual is what it boils down to.  Like I said before: what gets you to the interview is most often dependent upon the experience of the hiring manager but once you are there it is up to you.  

Take me v. my sister.  I had a boss who needed a phone tech and substituted a philosopher.  Ten years later I'm running an IP system that spans the globe.  My sister has a BA in Computer Science and I wouldn't trust her to set the time on my VCR (if I were still using one).

RE: Microsoft certification

Quote:

The crazy part about that mentality is rarely do they care if it is in Computer Science or Basket Weaving. All they care about is that you went to college and got at the minimum a bachelors.
An accredited bachelors degree, regardless of subject matter, requires four years (+/- 120 credit hours) to attain.  Someone who has such a bachelors has shown that they set out on a four year goal and they made it.  Despite the hassles of certain professors and college administrators, despite the distractions of the real world, despite all the curves that real everyday throws at you over a four year period, they had the drive, motivation, and discipline to get the job done.  The bottom line is they finished a four-year project that they started.

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RE: Microsoft certification

A college degree is not something an employer looks at like a project and comes to a conclusion that a potential employee "started something and completed it."  As I said earlier in this thread you can say that about fishing.

A college degree, among other things:

Quote:

shapes communication skills; expands your knowledge base; more inclined to continue to learn throughout life; more intellectual interests; more flexible in your views; more willing to appreciate differences in others; tend to have children with greater learning potential; save more money; make better investments; are able to deal with bureaucracies, the leagl system, tax laws; more concerned with wellness and preventative health care and thus live longer and healthier.

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