Certification doesn’t prove you know everything, but it certainly helps….

My name is Julie and I am not

I stress out about it because I
feel that it might garner me some peer recognition that I do not have after
almost 20 years of programming. I don’t need it for my clients or my


Get certified.. it is cool to have the
option to use the letters, but more importantly it can (1) give a little bit of
reassurance to someone who is a 1st time client of yours… how could that be
bad? and (2) it reassures you that “yep, I do know at least that much…”.
Sometimes I’ve thought… “Maybe my programming assignments have all been easy,
and I’m not actually even in the league of person x” … at least with an MCSD I
felt that I must have some idea what I’m doing 🙂

I passed those WOSA tests, which I
thought were useful tests to a certain degree (developers should have a
good knowledge of the underlying OS and hardware… maybe not those specific
details Keith mentioned, but the intent of the exams was valid) .. and received
my MCSD in 1996. Big deal at the time, but I’m still proud of it. I kept it up
to date and added a MCSE (NT4) and MCT … but recently I’ve realized that
I’ll likely be certificationless soon (NT4 MCSE… MCT expired because I don’t
teach anymore, MCSD is for VB6…) if I don’t get back on the exam taking track.
Why bother? At this point, with a job that doesn’t require it of me,
I want to do it to help out the certification itself by pointing out
that I am proud to have it. If I ever manage to get my certifications
up-to-date, I’d like to list them in that little bio they put at the end of my

I actually suggested (when I first
arrived at MSDN) that we list certifications after the names of all our
writers, to show the developer community that our ‘experts’ valued their
certifications… but not all of us had our MCSD so we decided it wouldn’t
have the desired effect. I had just come to Redmond from a position out “in
the field” working for Microsoft Consulting Services and the customers I worked
with were (and still are) of the opinion that certification was very valuable.
Anyways, in the end my general answer to anyone who says that they don’t need to
be certified is “why not, how can it hurt?”

Sure you don’t need it, but then it
should be easy for you to blow through the exams… I’d hate to have a customer
ask me if I was an MCSD and have to say no… “I don’t need it” might not cut it
with them. Does having a MCSE/D prove you are an expert? Of course not, but it
proves a certain level of basic knowledge… you can prove the rest through your
references and your work.

Author: Duncan Mackenzie

I'm the Developer Lead for the Channel 9 team, formerly worked on MSDN as a developer, content strategist and author.

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