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  • 15. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    YoungWinston Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    Technical wrote:
    Well that was Amazon UK (As I'm from the UK:-D), couldn't you have ordered it from there? Its alot closer :-D
    Oddly enough, I saved myself about 6 quid ordering it from the States, (likely even more, including P&P).
    Go figure : ).

    Winston
  • 16. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    796440 Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    Technical wrote:
    Hi,

    Is Oracle trying to mess up Java just like it did OpenOffice??

    I was planning to go for the Java Developer certification in the near future but if it requires one of those courses I just can't...

    I bought self study stuff from Sun before which was good and useful but the instructor stuff is just way too expensive! Plus I don't like short intense courses like that, I've done them before and you can't really do/learn enough in that amount of time, I prefer to learn at my own pace around other things so I learn it long term not just short.
    I don't know about other countries, but if you work in the U.S., Java certs are and always have been worthless for actual job opportunities. I've never met an interviewer worth his salt who took a Java cert at face value, nor have I met a worthwhile employer who requires one.

    There are far better ways to show you Java skill level than certifications.
  • 17. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    gimbal2 Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    jverd wrote:
    I don't know about other countries, but if you work in the U.S., Java certs are and always have been worthless for actual job opportunities.
    Same in the Netherlands, with good reason. But yeah, you will always find idiots who start to figure out if you know tricks in stead of trying to figure out what kind of person you are and what your skill level is.

    Usually you can already filter it out in the job description. I recently passed on a job offer without even a callback to get more details when a senior developer was asked to do mostly front-end stuff. The only thing I let them know is that perhaps they want to find an intermediate level in stead to have more luck...

    Job offers for Java programmers where you also must know .NET and three different databases are another fun one; you don't even know what you are asking for, so you just ask for everything.
  • 18. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    875329 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    It appears to me that the requirement is ONLY if you seek to achieve the highest level in a particular path.

    http://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=449

    That is, if you want to be a Oracle Certified Master, Java SE 6 Developer, then you need to take one course from this list:

    Java Programming Language, Java SE 6
    Fundamentals of the Java Programming Language, Java SE 6
    Developing Applications With the Java SE 6 Platform
    Object-Oriented Analysis and Design Using UML
    Java SE Performance Tuning

    Since you also have to submit both a coding assignment and then an essay, there are probably not very many people pursuing this certification level and they are either supported by their companies or willing to invest the money on their own. If you invest enough of your time to get that cert, spending a few thousand for a course is not really significant. When the time comes, I'll probably take the Performance Tuning class. Heck, I've spent more than that on attending a conference before.

    -----

    All my Lotus Notes certifications proved two things:
    1) I am good at passing exams
    2) I have at least a minimum knowledge of the concepts involved

    Those exams or the Java ones don't prove whether you're any good at coding, but they do help when sorting resumes. Recruiters looking over resumes look for reasons to throw yours into the trash, since they always have more than they need (and they really only need one!) If the hiring manager requires a certification, yours gets thrown in the trash if you don't have one. You never hear anything from the company and are left to assume it was "just one of those things". So, if you don't have one, no interviewer you meet ever cares about it - if he did, you would never have gotten the interview.

    There are two types of developers who dislike certification: those who are so ignorant that they couldn't pass the exam and those who are highly skilled and don't want to waste the time on it. Any such exam will include some material that you never need to use in your specific career, so they can seem useless. Exams are only a way to establish a basic understanding and to demonstrate a willingness to invest time (and someone's money) in checking off a requirements box on someone's hiring manager's form.
  • 19. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    796440 Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    872326 wrote:
    There are two types of developers who dislike certification: those who are so ignorant that they couldn't pass the exam and those who are highly skilled and don't want to waste the time on it.
    That's an overly simplistic view. There's at least one other type (and probably many more): Those who, regardless of their own skill level, have seen the way certs are abused and their value overestimated, and are sick of the knee-jerk "I must get all certs!" and "My developers must have all certs!" cycle.
  • 20. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    875329 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    OK, let's boil it down to those who can't pass the exam and those who could, but don't want to waste the time. The reason they don't want to waste the time is irrelevant.

    The big trouble is that without meeting someone and seeing work that is actually theirs, you can't know which of the groups that the person who has never passed an exam falls into. The one thing recruiters and hiring managers are most likely to not have is.... the time to figure it out. So, they toss the resumes that don't include whatever the specific requirements are (certs, years of experience, prior job titles).

    In over 20 years in this business, I have often heard from people who hate certs claim to have met many idiots who are certified. While I've met my share of unqualified people, none of them actually had the certifications that they either implied they had or that they'd included on a puffed-up resume. I've met many people who were able to snow an interviewer because they carried themselves well and gave a good interview (or, more likely, just interviewed better than the rest of the lot) and landed a job they were unqualified for. The time and expense spent finding and hiring them is wasted and you often have a hard time removing/replacing them (and a bunch of annoyed developers upset that the person was hired).

    A certification is only a way to avoid having your resume tossed (or keeping a client happy because their upper management insists that everyone be certified without much idea what it means or costs).
  • 21. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    DrClap Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    I don't have any Java certifications, and my employer doesn't care so it's going to stay that way. My view of the certifications is quite negative, because the certification process smells like an abusive form of credentialism to me. However I'm sure it's also because I see so much absolute rubbish on Java programming forums. The certification exams look like they concentrate on obscure or badly-designed features of Java which no professional programmer should ever be using, and the people who take the exams... well, I don't understand how they managed to operate the handle on their front door to get out to the exam location. It's a biased sample, I admit, but even knowing that I still don't care for the process much.
  • 22. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    875329 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    jverd wrote:
    ...sick of the knee-jerk "I must get all certs!" and "My developers must have all certs!" cycle.
    In that case, you should applaud the raising of prices, since it will either separate fools from their money faster or reduce the likelihood that people can continue either of those cycles.

    Now if I could just figure out how open this door, I'd head out for the weekend. No worries - I have 2 hours and the interweb to help me figure it out. Now, where is my bookmark for howtoopendoors.com? I have the email with it somewhere....
  • 23. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    796440 Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    872326 wrote:
    OK, let's boil it down to those who can't pass the exam and those who could, but don't want to waste the time. The reason they don't want to waste the time is irrelevant.

    The big trouble is that without meeting someone and seeing work that is actually theirs, you can't know which of the groups that the person who has never passed an exam falls into.
    More to the point, even if a person has passed an exam, you often (100% of the time in my experience, but certainly there could be exceptions) can't know anything more about his suitability for the position than you'll get from a decent interview process anyway. In short, somebody having the cert does not add value to the hiring process.

    The process of actually earning a cert (as opposed to just cramming for the test), definitely can help the individual with his own education and professional development, but in my experience, that is the only value of most certs.
  • 24. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    796440 Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    872326 wrote:
    jverd wrote:
    ...sick of the knee-jerk "I must get all certs!" and "My developers must have all certs!" cycle.
    In that case, you should applaud the raising of prices,
    I was unaware that this is happening, and am 100% ambivalent to all of it.
    Now if I could just figure out how open this door, I'd head out for the weekend. No worries - I have 2 hours and the interweb to help me figure it out. Now, where is my bookmark for howtoopendoors.com? I have the email with it somewhere....
    You should be able to google for a video demo.
  • 25. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    875329 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    jverd wrote:
    More to the point, even if a person has passed an exam, you often (100% of the time in my experience, but certainly there could be exceptions) can't know anything more about his suitability for the position than you'll get from a decent interview process anyway. In short, somebody having the cert does not add value to the hiring process.
    Ah, but they don't want to interview all 300 applicants. If they winnow out the people who didn't pass the exam , they are certain to at least rid themselves of the people who can't pass the exam. The recruiter won't care that this also removes some people who can pass but chose not to.

    So, from the candidate's perspective, it adds something to the process - he doesn't get tossed in the garbage before getting an interview. It may or may not have prompted the candidate to earn the cert instead of just passing the exam, but the only certain value is it prevents them from being rejected before getting an interview.

    From the recruiter's perspective, it adds something to the process - it helps them weed out some of the resumes, regardless of whether it has anything to do with actually doing the work (which the recruiter is indifferent to anyway). The hiring manager gets upset with the recruiter if they don't get enough people to interview (not likely in this economy), if the resumes are unsuitable (avoided by checking: the meaningless cert, the job titles, the years of coding, etc) or if none of the candidates interview well (which just results in additional postings for the same job.) Resumes of qualified people that landed in the dustbin don't get evaluated by the hiring manager, so recruiters are not punished for overlooking specific people. As a buddy of mine would say, "It ain't right", but that's how it works.

    From the manager's perspective, it probably helps the least because the manager should really only care about whether the person can actually do the work and certs only relate very tangentially to that. It can serve as some vague indication of the person's interest in their own career, since passing exams usually requires one to spend time outside of working hours studying for the exam. However, to any manager doing a technical interview, it's not real useful. Of course, not every manager can actually do a technical interview.

    So, certification adds some value to the hiring process, but not to the actual working process.
  • 26. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    796440 Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    872326 wrote:
    jverd wrote:
    More to the point, even if a person has passed an exam, you often (100% of the time in my experience, but certainly there could be exceptions) can't know anything more about his suitability for the position than you'll get from a decent interview process anyway. In short, somebody having the cert does not add value to the hiring process.
    Ah, but they don't want to interview all 300 applicants. If they winnow out the people who didn't pass the exam , they are certain to at least rid themselves of the people who can't pass the exam.
    That's only useful if you buy into the notion that "can't pass the exam" is a valid indicator of "can't do the job." I don't happen to buy into that notion. I don't consider certs in general a meaningful measure of skill in either direction.

    But more than that, even if you do buy into that notion, in the vast majority of cases, the recruiter only knows that the candidate claims to have passed the exam.

    It's a very flawed filter, no matter how you look at it.
    So, certification adds some value to the hiring process, but not to the actual working process.
    Certs appear to add value to a hiring process if and only if that process is already polluted by the notion that certs add value.

    It's like hiring managers arbitrarily deciding to hire only people whose last names contain an even number of letters. Recruiters learn this fact, and discard all the odd candidates out of hand. Wow! They're sure effective at providing all the candidates that the hiring manager wants, and none that he doesn't. Candidates learn of this, and those who have the poor judgment to buy into it change their last names. Lots of qualified candidates are rejected and lots of unqualified ones moved along for reasons that have nothing to do with their actual suitability for the job, even though that suitability is the entire goal of the hiring process to start with.

    Presence or absence of certs may not be quite as horrible a measure of suitability as last name letter count, but it's not that far off, and the end result is the same.

    Edited by: jverd on Jul 15, 2011 1:05 PM
  • 27. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    875329 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    OK, suppose you have time to interview 5 people. Ten people have applied who have basically equivalent experience and all of whom have last names with an even number of letters. Five of those claim to have passed some exam and five have not. Which five do you interview?
  • 28. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    796440 Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    872326 wrote:
    OK, suppose you have time to interview 5 people. Ten people have applied who have basically equivalent experience and all of whom have last names with an even number of letters. Five of those claim to have passed some exam and five have not. Which five do you interview?
    So everything is exactly equal except the certs? Then yes, in that completely artificial situation, I might pick the 5 that had the certs. Or, since I consider certs pretty worthless, I might decide that all 10 are exactly equal, and just randomly pick 5. In the real world, I have never been in a situation like that, nor do I ever expect to be, and I have never taken a cert or lack thereof into consideration, nor would I ever expect to, given a choice.

    (I will qualify this stance somewhat, however. I am talking specifically about SCJP and similar certs that, from my personal experience, say nothing about a programmer's actual ability. I'm not denying that there could be certs that are more meaningful.)
  • 29. Re: Instructor led course requirement??
    YoungWinston Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    jverd wrote:
    (I will qualify this stance somewhat, however. I am talking specifically about SCJP and similar certs that, from my personal experience, say nothing about a programmer's actual ability. I'm not denying that there could be certs that are more meaningful.)
    I guess one counter-question would be: have you ever taken a cert yourself? For anything? If so, why?
    Another might be: given 50 candidates, and 1 post to fill fairly quickly, might you look at certification as a basis for deciding which people to interview?

    I have taken (and passed, just in case you wondered : )) the SCJP exam and, while certainly not perfect, it's no pushover. And for an entry-level exam, its focus is pretty good. It's an aptitude test.

    For a long time, many companies have required a Bachelor's degree as minimum, presumably on the basis that if you can persevere for 3 years on a major subject and pass a refereed exam, you at least show some application. Upshot: I've worked with one guy who had a BA in History of Art and another whose degree was in Soil Science. The Art guy was pretty lousy, but the Soil Scientist was an absolute whizz. Go figure.

    And where does that leave someone like me? No degree, but 35 years in the biz. 15 years back, that garnered me a place on a Master's degree course; doubt whether it would happen now.

    I'm not sure exactly what I'm trying to say here, but to me any form of "checkbox acceptance", be it a degree, certification, or anything else, is hogwash; but it might just be one of the things that get you past HR and onto the people that actually speak "programming".

    BTW - I was going to do the SCJD exam this year until Oracle decided to add the $2,800 tag to it, in the form of their "prerequisite tutored courses"; no doubt given by someone who was a glint in the milkman's eye when I was already working. Per-lease.

    Winston

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