4 comments

  1. Erno,

    I have to say I couldn’t agree more. The concept of certification as an indicator of someone’s knowledge and skill is needed, but it only works well when the certifications actually guarantee these qualities. Anyone can understand this, and if you’d ask, everybody would agree. So just like the debate about some of the Dutch Highschool diploma’s that were given away along with a pack of sigarettes: how much faith do we have in the Microsoft Certifications?

    I’ve also read the article of Fowler and I share the same feeling and experience. However, what can we do about it? Does Microsoft (or any other big corporate for that matter) has any motive to upgrade the quality of their exams? Should we invent our own exams or titles? If so, how do we get ’the market’ to trust our certificates over the existing ones?

    W van Gool

  2. I know quite a bit about how Microsoft creates exams. You will have take my word for it, it is in Microsoft’s interest to keep the certifications as good as they can and the effort they have to make to keep up the quality of the exams is huge. I am sorry I can’t tell you any thing more, if I did I’d be violating some NDAs.
    A pointer I can give you is to track the blog posts of Liberty Munson. She works at Microsoft and knows all about exams and keeping up the quality. http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/members/liberty/default.aspx (you need to login with a live account)

    Erno de Weerd

  3. Diplomas don’t mean skills …

    Gazduire

  4. And skills are hard to show in an interview…

    I have done quite some interviews when people wanted to work for Info Support and from that experience I found it very hard to test for skills. I have used several methods and even writing code on the spot is not a true measure. So I resolve to measuring past experience/education by asking questions to find out at what level of detail and understanding they have been working.

    To us it is more important that a candidate is able to learn and enjoys learning. There is no use in asking them “do you enjoy learning?” Of course they will say yes. So I simply start probing their knowledge about what they have done to find out at what level they understood what they were doing. The results vary from blindly copying code from Google to knowing the dirty details of a runtime.

    Unfortunately not many employers do the interview this thoroughly which has two effects: 1.: candidates get away with shiny but meaningless resumes and 2.: candidates are too afraid of talking to us because we really test them.

    There is no need to be afraid of an interview at Info Support unless you lie a lot or really do not know what you are talking about. And even then, the interview is not what you should be afraid of because if you lie or are completely ignorant you would not like working with us.

    Back on topic: we look at skills, not at certifications.

    Erno de Weerd

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