madbean

Is Sun Java Certification all that?

09 Sep 2003

I replied to a post on the CJUG mailing list today. Ching was asking whether he should be bothered to get any of the Sun Java certifications. My comments:

> As a recent graduate, I was wondering what industry/employers think
> about Sun's Java certification?

I work for a small Java/J2EE software development company, and I'm involved in our recruitment process. So here is my $0.02 (which may not reflect the views of Cortex):

We almost exclusively ignore any of those "certified java programmer" credentials on someone's resume. To be more specific:

a) If we see an extremely LOW score, then that is telling us something useful.

b) If we see an extremely HIGH score, then we still interview the person and give them a good grilling on Java... we have met people that get a high score but don't have the high skills we might expect.

c) If we see someone who is not "Java Certified", then we still interview the person and give them a good grilling on Java... we know lots of great Java coders that aren't certified (ie; half our company!).

So that's the view from a small software development company. But that is certainly not the only view. And to be cynical for a moment (and probably more cynical than I am entiled to be), government-type organisations and recruitment firms find it easy to give a resume a "tick" if it has "Java Certification"; which may mean the difference between getting an interview and not when you are up against a pile of hundreds of resumes.

> Would getting Sun certified be good professional development or would > other options (eg: masters study) be more relevant/useful? I would like > to think that I will move on to architecture/design but would like to > maintain some programming expertise.

If you have the opportunity to pick up some certification, esp if your company is paying for it, then go for it. It does no harm -- unless you fail ;-)

Has anyone had an experience where they know that having such certification has helped someone actually get a job? I find it hard to believe that not having Java certification would count negatively against someone. But I certainly have narrow view of the whole Java job market, so I'd be interested in any comments.

Some people might say that part of the value of Java certification is that it allows an employer to quickly determine whether a candidate is worth considering. But that has to be crap. Say even 80% of Java developers have such certification. I would be in that 20% of uncertified developers, and you would probably want to employ me. :D

Some people might say that part of the value of Java certification is that it could be part of a coder's career self-development activities. But that must be crap, too. Do you really learn anything by doing the exam. Well, I suppose you could; you may well be exposed to APIs that you might not have had experience with yet (Swing, etc.).

Anyhoo, if you have an interesting story, do tell.

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