Survey Results -- Certification

Subject: Survey Results -- Certification
From: Michael Johnson <michaelj -at- OECMED -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 16:37:47 -0700

Yesterday I asked the list the following question, which I directed primarily at tech pubs managers who have to power to hire and fire:

"How important is it to get independent certification of your software (and other) skills?" (Certification is the recognition Adobe, Microsoft, and other software vendors bestow on people who pass an exam on one of their products. Judging from the study guides I've seen, these exams can be pretty hairy.)

Thanks to everybody who responded! In a nutshell, most hiring managers don't think this kind of certification is very important. Here's a summary of what they told me:

John Bell said certification is: "..nice to have but not an essential element.." John says it might be a tie-breaker if he were considering candidates who were otherwise equally qualified.

Eric Ray: "..we couldn't care less about certification, and haven't seen anyone who seems to care about us having it either."

Dianne Defrancesco: "I look at years of experience and writing samples."

Andy Cheyne rates candidates according to the following criteria, with 1 being the most important and 5 being the least important:

1. Do they fit into the company culture?
2. Do they write well?
3. Do they have a broad range of applicable skills?
4. Can they use the tools we use?
5. Are they already familiar with our products?

Julie Comstock-Fisher says, "Give me writing samples, preferably ones you can prove you've written."

Lisa Hodge: "I prefer to ask detailed questions about any tools my dept. uses and the candidate claims to know."

Katav: "no value"

Elna Tymes: "we place no particular value on certification...except for...a degree from a 4-year college..."

Barry Campbell: "Certifications impress me far less than actual experience."

Bill Swallow: "I don't mess around with certification...I rate candidates by proven ability."

Stan Green: "None...the ability to communicate is my driving force"

Mark Baker: "Software certification is not important at all. If you can't pick up software quickly on your own you can't do technical writing."

Robbie Rupel: "I have never hired someone because they were certified...[or]...rejected a candidate because they were not certified."

Rahel Bailie: "I've never asked for certification because I don't think it means much."

I've tried to correctly quote and summarize here, and apologize if I've not. Thanks again for all the helpful input!

Mike Johnson
michaelj -at- oecmed -dot- com
Speaking for myself and not OEC Medical Systems

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