Wondering whether or not you should get certified on something?
Experience is cake, certifications are the icing.
It’s hard to sell icing without cake. Yes, there are some people who like to eat icing by itself, but frankly, those people are freaks. They’re not healthy. Something is wrong with them.
If you take an easy-to-get certification into a shop and the manager immediately proclaims, “You’re hired!” then you should run. The kinds of managers who instantly hire based on qualifications are not the kind of managers you really want to work for, because they’re desperate for head count. They’re not desperate because the skills market is so tough – they’re desperate because they have a really bad work environment and they’ve already burned every bridge in town.
The job you really want is going to require experience.
If you’re hungry and you don’t have cake, those ads for icing might look mighty tasty, but hold on there for a second.
Icing by itself isn’t the best option for you.
Geeks like certifications because they’re relatively easy to get by studying at home alone on weekends.
Geeks are really good at doing things at home alone on weekends.
The problem is that you’re competing with other geeks who are also home alone on weekends, and they’re all out getting certs too. If you want to stand out, you have to do something different. Look at your resume and count the number of people that you can count on for great references. If there’s not at least five, let me suggest that you learn to make something other than icing.
Let’s say you’re itching to improve your job options, and as a result, you’re thinking about pursuing a certification that will take six weekends of study in order to achieve. To determine its worth, consider its opportunity cost: what else could you do in those same six weekends?
- Network with potential employers
- Get experience with someone who can vouch for you (and yes, you can do this in six weekends – try volunteering for IT work at a local non-profit)
- Build a marketing campaign for yourself (blog, Twitter, local user groups)
All of these have something in common: other people. People are what give out jobs, not software programs or tests.
Having just icing is better than starving to death.
If you use terms like “meatbag” when describing other people and you’re dead set against interacting with them, then yes, go get certified first. It’ll be something on your resume other than an arrest record, and that’s good for something.