Are certifications worth the paper they’re printed on?

I seem to often be having the discussion these days about Microsoft Certification, and it’s actual value. Having worked with the Microsoft stack of development and server technologies for over 12 years I’ve got a lot of proven experience with products like SQL Server and Visual Studio so why bother taking the exams if it’s evident I know the product/technology well??

I don’t view experience and exams as mutually exclusive, in fact since the exams normally heavily emphasise the new features in that version it shows you have a breadth of knowledge in that area. Too many developers stick to what they know and don’t make use of the advances in technology, the VBA developer brings with him the “on error resume next” / “goto” mistakes of the past up to .NET.
However, taking exams with little prior knowledge of the subject areas or professional experience in that area isn’t a quick route to success. It’ll put you on the right track, but just because you have your MCPD it doesn’t make you better than the guy sat next to you with a careers worth of experience.

Certification shows a desire to learn, there were a few topics i learnt about whilst studying for my 70-515 .NET4 Web exam that I haven’t ever spent anytime on. Theming and skinning being two of those areas, I’ve never bothered using it as CSS has always been good to me… But at least I understand what it is and why I’m choosing not to use it.

I’ll end this exploration into my opinions here, and will be sure to post again when I get my MCPD badge and gun.

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