Certification != Competence

22 Aug 2011

Get ready for a rant today. My current gripe is that of certification within the IT field being required by every tom, dick and harry career out there. What is worse is that majority of the people doing the hiring doesn’t even have even a basic grasp of the industry they wish to hire from.

For example, I once saw a job offering asking for a Linux certificate with at least 4 year experience with Windows 7. It’s not just the fact they required a Linux certificate to work with Windows 7 that bothered me. It was the fact that they expected somebody to have 4 years with an operating system that only came out a year or so ago.

But back to the topic at hand. There seems to be this myth that certification equals competence. This sadly isn’t the reality. Working in the field myself, I’ve met people with the highest possible certifications money can buy that admit when they started the job, they realised that they didn’t know anything at all. What is worse is that these certificates are not only expensive, they are of lesser quality and end up being marked in a pass grade system. You heard me. They pass regardless. I’ll relay the story of my one friend who was doing his A+ at the time. There was a guy who was asked to change the RAM within the PC. He gladly did it while the machine was still on and for the life of him couldn’t understand why the PC crashed and the RAM got fried. This individual got a better grade than my friend who actually knows how to use and upgrade computers. This sad individual is possibly working within the industry now, still confused to why his machines crashes and why he goes through RAM and motherboards so quickly.

This brings me back to people like me. I have over 15 years experience with computers and I’ve been fixing my own since I was 11. What I know I’ve learned from dealing with the problems first hand. I’ve learned bits of many programming languages by desiring something to work and instead of waiting for somebody to fix it, I did it myself. I’ve been using Linux exclusively as my own desktop system for 4 years now, one of which I’ve dedicated to learning and understanding a boot strapped Linux called SliTaz. I’m an active forum member and I’ve packaged A LOT of programs and games which are used by hundreds of people out there. I’ve got code floating around that people are using right this moment. I’m normally the guy that figures out how to fix something when nobody else can (even google!).

But I lack a piece of paper that says I’m good with people and so I can’t find a job. Yes, we’ve reached the point of this post where I state my real problem. I can’t find work, yet I am good and I’ve got good by dealing with real life problems and solving them. I’ll admit, it’s not only those that don’t know and require certificates for a job that cause this breakdown in the industry, but those individuals that actually got into the job with a mere Windows 95 Desktop user certificate and now feels they should regulate hiring of people with an iron fist by requiring CV/Resumes to be written in a strict and anal writing style. People that don’t fit this style, doesn’t even get considered no matter their skills, experience, talent or even qualification. To that individual (yes, I’ve read your blog), I say, it’s because of your like that the industry is like is now.

What do I see for the future? Not much. I’ll keep trying and I’ll keep writing about it. Maybe someday people with start getting it and actually hire somebody that knows what their doing. If it’s me, then great. If not, then great for that guy/girl. Either way, it’s making the industry better.

  • Posted by Trixarian