January 14th, 2010
Working for a company in the past I was always bitching about how diploma's and certification don't say a whole lot about a person's capabilities. Of course I HAD to say that, since I dropped out of school and never actually finished my education.. but still. I'd seen too many so-called high level guys paraded in as the next salvation to a project, when all they would know how to do was repeat the tricks they had learned without actually understanding the reasoning behind it. "Why don't we add another layer of abstraction..." Uhuh. I have always found that encountering a problem creates the mental space needed for understanding the solution.
But after starting Future500 in 2006 I immediately realized that you could sum up - to someone who doesn't have a clue about the code anyway, like say... clients - the "years of experience" speech in just two words:
Well, ok so technically that's three words. But still better than the whole "I've been doing PHP since before they added the second 'P'... honestly!" bit. So I abandoned my belief and got PHP4 certified... (I guess the next step would have been to buy a suit to impress the management... another thing I said I would never do)
Nowadays I am somewhat more nuanced about such things.
- I wear a shirt with a collar over a pair of upper-segment jeans instead of my regular T's & levi's...
- I think there are certain things best left unmentioned during conversations with clients, as long as the level of service is not lowered.
- And yes, I think it's a good thing to be certified in your area of expertise.
I have installed a company policy that all coding employees must get certified - so yesterday Jasper went for the PHP5 exam - and passed! And, to show him I'm not all talk, I went along and passed my PHP5 exam as well..
Pointy haired boss