[TriLUG] Career planning - certs(?)

Ben Pitzer bpitzer at gmail.com
Mon Oct 13 05:48:08 EDT 2008

Certs will get you in the door.  Knowledge will get you the job.

This is especially true in places where semi- or non-technical people are
doing the initial screening for technical job candidates, and handing off
the best qualified to the hiring managers.

But there are few certs which give you serious real-world experience in
troubleshooting and fixing problems, and that's where one separates the
sysadmins from the posers, regardless of whether it's MS, Unix, Linux, or
anything else.  If I'm doing a technical interview, I'll drill the candidate
on stuff that they should know from their certs, and things that I expect
them to know from having applied that knowledge in real situations.  Knowing
what's in the cert is good, but not always good enough to get the job.

I guess what I'm saying is that I agree with Dave, Jim, and Greg:  The cert
may be a good start, but don't depend on the cert alone to get you the job
that you want right off the bat.  Do some homework on your own, even if it
just seems like small stuff.  Building it and debugging it teaches you WAY
more than just reading about it, doing the exercises in the book and taking
the tests.

Ben Pitzer

On Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 5:44 AM, Dave Moody <davethebald at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Unfortunately, not all hiring managers take the same approach.  In IT, as
> in some other fields, the hiring manager will often not know what they need
> (or worse, think they do when they don't) and may be swayed by the alphabet
> soup after someone's name.
> This tends to be less of a problem in a more purely technical field.  So,
> for example, the Software Engineering Manager is more likely to be able to
> effectively sift the alphabet and consider those without the letters, to
> find the right person.,  But how many of us know of situations where SysAd
> reports to the Finance or Office Operaitons group.  The CFO/Controller/HR
> only knows they want it to work securely at inifinte speed and no cost.  The
> letters may at least get us in the right pile of resumes for further review.
> I can't believe that the certs would be the deciding factor, but, depending
> on the situation, might be helpful.  And, of course, knowing that the certs
> are a factor can help get us futher insight into the organization.
> But, ignoring what I just wrote, Mr. Ray is right.  You have to love what
> you do.
> Dave
> --- On Tue, 9/23/08, Jim Ray <jim at neuse.net> wrote:
> From: Jim Ray <jim at neuse.net>
> Subject: Re: [TriLUG] Career planning - certs(?)
> To: "Triangle Linux Users Group General Discussion" <trilug at trilug.org>
> Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2008, 9:43 PM
> It is more important for a person to like what they do than to have
> industry experience and certifications. Why? Because the person will be
> happy and enjoy the day's work.
> There is a big difference between a person that looks forward to 5 PM on
> Friday and a person that looks forward to 8 AM on Monday.
> Of course, having all is wonderful, too. The person I hired 3 years ago
> for VP of Tech Ops has MCSE, CCNA, A+ and Citrix certs et al plus
> experience at IBM Global Services and is a former Army Ranger in Special
> Ops.
> However, I also hired a person that had no certs and no experience yet
> liked the field. I do not bar employment from those without certs and
> experience.
> Regards,
> Jim Ray, MCSE
> President
> Neuse River Networks
> 919-838-1672
> http://www.neuserivernetworks.com
> Neuse River Networks, based in Raleigh, NC, is redefining IT Outsourcing
> with its Managed Services ONE Plan that automates computer processes to
> provide proactive computer networking solutions for businesses. The ONE
> Plan is designed to manage your computer network so you don't have to.
> Neuse River Networks has been developing client trust since 1997 by
> applying expertise in Computer Networking and offering superlative
> service.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: trilug-bounces at trilug.org [mailto:trilug-bounces at trilug.org] On
> Behalf Of Phillip Rhodes
> Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 5:17 PM
> To: Triangle Linux Users Group General Discussion
> Subject: Re: [TriLUG] Career planning - certs(?)
> Jim Ray wrote:
> > I'll take someone that has an interest and a good home network over a
> > person with experience in the field and alphabet soup after their name
> > any day. If you do not tell the prospect, the prospect might not know.
> And what about somebody with all three?  I think a lot of people, in
> discussions such as this, mistakenly setup a false dichotomy and assume
> that having (a) certification(s) means the candidate is not interested,
> passionate, blah, etc.  In actuality, there's no (particular) reason a
> person who's passionate about software, sysadmin'ing and OSS might not
> spend time working on their home network, AND pursue certifications that
> they think will advance their career.
> Certifications aren't evil, they just aren't a panacea.  They are just
> one - out of MANY - criteria that a potential employer might look at
> when evaluating a new-hire.
> --
> Phillip Rhodes
> Rhodes for NC Lieutenant Governor 2008
> http://www.philrhodes2008.com
> --
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