When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

28 April 2006

The Downside of Certification

Long seen as a method to maximize employment opportunities and salaries in the post-dot-com-bust era, a study released today finds that pay for certified IT skills falls short of the pay for non-certified skills.

The Q1 2006 Hot Technical Skills and Certifications Pay Index, released April 25 by Foote Partners, a New Canaan, Conn., IT compensation and workforce management firm, found that pay premiums for non-certified IT skills grew three times faster than for certified ones in a six-month period spanning 2005-2006.

The study suggests that there has been a change in employers' acceptance of the value of non-certified tech skills versus certifications in maintaining competitive pay for their workers.

Sounds like employers are getting fed up with the performance of "paper MCSEs"--people who took cram courses to pass a Microsoft certification exam, but when faced with an actual server with actual problems in the real world, have no real idea of how to proceed. And they're finding out that certifications are no substitute for experience and a proven track record.

There *are* some certifications that seem to be growing in value... and, interestingly, they are not pegged to particular products or technologies for the most part:

Fourteen certifications have grown in value, showing an 11 percent or higher growth over the last year, including SCNP (Security Certified Network Professional), CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) and MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer).

In the New York City market, we are also seeing demand for ITIL certification (and, to a lesser extent, CMMI training) for IT specialists, developers, and managers. And, of course, PMI-certified Project Management Professionals (PMPs) are in high demand.

eWeek: The Downside of Certification

Also posted at Knowledge Work.

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