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This may seem like a funny question to discuss on a website that compares agile certifications, but it is a very legitimate question that deserves some probing on.
Benefits of Certifications
Certifications Come With Training
One of the benefits of going through a certification program is that they often involve live training. This means that you are not only getting the certification, but you are also getting training to help you learn and grow. Many of the current training classes will often include experiential learning as well, which help you actually experience some of the practices in a safe environment where you can make mistakes and ask questions.
Certifications Help on the Resume
Recruiters will often start their search for potential hires by looking for key words that apply to the position. Having a set of certifications that comes up in their keyword search will help get you noticed. For example, if a recruiter is looking for a ScrumMaster, they may search for “CSM” or “PSM” as a way to find candidates. If you have these certifications and
Certifications May Be Required
Some organizations may require candidates to have certain certifications. While some organizations will hire and then get the employees certified, other will require them before being hired. Having some of these key certifications beforehand may give you a lead up in getting hired.
Certifications May Get Your Additional Access
Organizations that offer certifications often have closed communities for people who have that certification. These communities share information and are often the starting point for connections or referrals.
Drawbacks of Certifications
Learning is Limited
Even though just about every certification comes with training, it it typically limited to 2-4 days. The common phrase of “drinking from a firehose” applies here. Those who are brand new will not retain very much information from a multi-day intense training. Those with experience will retain more, but it is not the best method for truly learning and mastering a practice.
Certifications Cost Money
Certifications are not free. The price of a certification generally ranges anywhere from $1,000 – $5,000 each, which is a decent investment. Additionally, if you can’t find someone offering the training and certification locally, you will have additional travel and hotel expenses, which could add another several hundred or thousand dollars to the cost of your certification.
Additionally, several of the certifications require you to renew them each year or every few years, which is an additional ongoing cost.
Experience Depends on Trainer
Not all trainers are created equal. Your experience and how much you learn during the training and certification process will greatly depends on the quality of the trainer.
Certifications Don’t Mean You Can Do It
Just because you have taken a training course and received a certification does not mean that you can implement or have success with the practices. Agile transitions, implementations and transformations are not only require knowledge of the mechanics, but also involve many other soft skills. Many of these can only be required through real world experiences.
As mentioned above, certifications may get your foot in the door with an interview, but once you are exected to produce, the certification takes a back seat and the experience that you have and can use to produce results are all that matters.
What is Right For You?
Only you can determine if and which certification(s) might be right for you. Hopefully the above pros and cons of certifications in general will help distill down some of the information to make a decision. If you have any additional questions to help you decide whether you will get a certification, leave a comment below.
Have you decided to get a certification? Be sure to download our free comparison matrix to find which certification is right for you.