Certifications: Worth It or Not? - Page 3

 By Daniel Dern
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Education's What Counts
"Certification should never be confused with education," states Lubert. "If you take education away from your people, you'll never keep them. Really good people continue to reinvent and improve themselves.

Be sure to support on-going learning. "If I were the CIO or MIS manager, the last thing I would care about whether they were Cisco-certified, but would care if they were educated," stresses Howard Lubert. "I'd make sure they went to class, went to school, had the tools needed, and had the time to work on -- in a non-production environment -- the products. This would enhance their value to the company."

This doesn't necessarily mean certification-oriented courses are without value.

"People who take the vendor training on top of the knowledge of a computer science background will get a lot more out of that training than just cookbook knowledge," says Beth Cohen.

The flip side, Lubert notes: "It is almost never in a company's best interest to encourage people to get certifications, because that makes them more marketable to companies who place a value on certification."

Advice to Network Managers

"More of the work today on networks and PCs is troubleshooting and fixing things -- more of the routine activities have become automated," points out Cohen. So try to hire people with good troubleshooting skills."

"Be very leery of employees who are discussing wanting to continue or get certification, as opposed to getting experience, when they are in the interview process," cautions Howard Lubert. "That's a big red flag to me."

Daniel P. Dern is a free-lance technology writer. Most recently he was Executive Editor of Byte.com. His web site is at www.dern.com.

This article was originally published on Mar 1, 2002
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