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Why certification related career goals hurt everyone

Acquire a certification in technology X‘ | ‘Earn a Domain Y certification

Do one of those statements list in your yearly goals ? It is almost certainly a bad idea. Let me explain why. I knew a company that required its employees to be acquire at least one certification on a technology per year. Its employees would work hard throughout the year and during appraisal time it is not uncommon to hear this converation

Foo:  ‘Dude did you take that certification you were supposed to ?’
Bar:  ‘Rats ! I didnt realize it was a part of our goals’
Foo:  ‘hmm… what do we do ? John has already passed it and that puts him ahead of us’

Foo and Bar will probably end up reading real exam questions (also referred to as brain dumps) and passing the exam with only a day’s worth of preparation. That another way of saying ‘They cheated’.  This hurts everyone.

  • It hurts John.

He worked hard to pass this exam. The inclusion of Foo and Bar into the ‘pass pool’ dilutes his achievement.

  • It hurts your employer.

The company probably reimbursed the certification and wasted its financial resources.

  • It hurts the community.

When interviewers come across scores of folks that are certified for technology X, but their skills do not match what they were certified for, it reduces the value of that certification

Foo and Bar also do not realize how foolish they are going to look in their next job interview. If you are an employer, please consider removing this as a valid goal. If you are an employee who is stuck with this goal, do yourself a favor and either acquire the certification by working hard for it or default.

PS: I am not suggesting that all employees take the easy way out. I am merely pointing out a general observation that trends in our industry.

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