Certification versus Experience
I remember the last day at SAP TechEd Bangalore 2006 where I saw scores of people sitting in the lawns of the exhibition center and preparing as if they were going to write an exam. As it turned out, they were really going to write an exam and it was the free SAP Certification exam which is granted for full attendees of TechEd. But what was on display that day was the obvious craze for Certifications. And that is what this blog is about. I also have Certifications – infact I have three of them – one from IBM (MQ Series), one from Microsoft (VB .Net) and one from SAP (Root Cause Analysis). But do we prefer Certification more than the knowledge which comes from experience? Does a Certification really mean expertise in a topic? Should we not consider experience as a much credible parameter than a Certification?
Any Certification without proper knowledge on the subject is just a piece of paper. Certifications are meant to test the knowledge level of the candidate and certify that the candidate has relevant knowledge in the subject. But some people clear Certification exams without having any experience on the topic. How? You just have to use the Google search engine to find out how. There are hundreds of websites which offer potential questions asked in Certification exams and some Websites even have the answers to these questions. You just have to build up a nice collection of question and answers and from then on clearing the Certification exam is just a question of testing the memory. Such a certification is of no use.
Needless to say, there are thousands out there who really deserve a Certification. But the very few who practice things as mentioned above bring down the credibility of Certifications. And if the credibility of a Certification comes down, there is no point really in holding a Certification even if you are a deserving candidate. What becomes important then is experience. Experience in working with a certain product means expertise to a certain extent on the functioning of the product and various details of the product. And a Certification in a product without proper experience in working on the product does not make any sense. One can survive in today’s world with experience alone. But then the market is becoming intensely competitive and sometimes Certifications give just the extra inch required to get ahead of others.
There is no denying the fact that Certifications are important. But Certification coupled with appropriate experience is what will really help in the long run. As one candidate said during one of the interviews “Do not take me because of my Certification, but take me because of what I have done before and after I received the Certificate”.