“EARN” or “BUY” a certification?

Last post 07:48 am January 27, 2021
by Alfredo Alcantara
8 replies
11:10 pm July 22, 2015

As a non-native English speaker, I have worked very hard and have studied many papers and book to deserve the PSM/PSD certificate, although I have near 30 years of experience in software development.

There is an easy way for me to attend an expensive course to get another scrum certification even if I just sleep in the corner of class room.

I really wonder why people here having years of projects’/products’ experiences choose a hard way to earn a certification instead of buying a certificate?

Thanks for any input!

05:05 pm July 28, 2015

I have been using scrum for many years now and I had the same question in my mind! However, my experience to EARN certifications is, I realized I had some gaps in my knowledge, scrum guide is short but very focused on framework rather than discussing tools and techniques. In every day life, as per my experience, we focus more on scrum tools and techniques rather than framework.

So I believe EARN is important rather than just BUY, and even if you buy, use the opportunity to LEARN ;)

12:37 am July 30, 2015

I agree with you 100%.

To EARN these certifications, I've improved my knowledge on problems domains rather than on solutions domains.

The gaps in my knowlege are reflected in my assessments score.

I read very hard to pass PSM 1 with 89 score but pass PSD 1 with 94 score with a little readings.

Thanks for your input.

02:35 pm July 5, 2016

<div dir="ltr"><div>Thank you for your email. I'm currently on vacation and will respond back to you once I'm back on Monday July 27, 2015.

02:58 pm July 15, 2016

To me the certifications are something that companies use to filter out most resumes for job positions. Then they are some reassurance to some companies you have some proof of your knowledge. In any case if you really do not have the knowledge you may fail the interview and if you get the job and advertise you have X skills and you don't you will lose your job. In most cases assumption of innocence it is an indication of your eagerness to learn new things whether you earn or buy but in the end you reap what you sow.

09:53 am January 26, 2021

Many employers prefer and often require their workers to obtain certifications. Certification indicates that you meet a certain standard of competence and can give you a competitive advantage, more job opportunities, a higher pay scale, and job security.

08:50 pm January 26, 2021

I will say very unpopular mind (especially here) but in my mind, all certifications (ok, almost all) are no more than visibility in CV. Just an example: about 3 weeks ago we have interviewed 2 candidates and one of them was PSM 1,2 and PSPO 1,2 holder while other was just a Scrum Master. But those who is certificates holder answered to our questions with a very high level of theory and those who didn't have any certification provided very smart and practical answers close to real life. 

So, if you have certification it doesn't mean you are a real valuable professional. 

Sorry for my poor English :) 

08:53 pm January 26, 2021

I do not think that certifications set out as a way of exploiting people, maybe they did, but that's certainly what it has become. 

I remember taking my CSPO course, where my trainer was a harvard business grad. He literally told the class, what you've learned the last two days wont change your businesses, the problems you've had you will keep having. I encourage you to get on my side of this problem. We continue to raise the price of certification every single year, and will continue to, because businesses refuse to actually learn the material which is largely free.

On top of that, he explained that it's a lot more profitable to teach and sell certifications than it is to try and actually change businesses or transition them etc. 

The only certification I have personally purchased, was my CSM from scrum alliance. It's also the only certification I will spend my own money on going forward. If a company I join wants to send me to get more, and they foot the bill, absolutely I'll go attend some two day classes, but I'm not paying for it myself.

I tell people looking to get into Agile, work your way into it from another angle. I spent 5 years as a software tester before I got an opportunity to play a scrum master. I encourage everyone to take this type of approach. BA to PO, or even project coordinator to SM etc etc. 

Personally, I think most certifications, well any that don't require a rigorous exam like the PMP, and don't require any years of verifiable experience, to be practically useless. That's just my opinion.

Get a couple of years experience in an agile environment, preferably on a team. Then leverage that into a SM / PO / Agile Coaching position and use your actual experience to sell yourself to companies, they will value that experience way higher than any sticker you earned from sitting in a hotel for two days. 

I will say, there are definitely some certifications that are very rigorous and well worth it. To be a Scrum Trainer or Enterprise Agile Coach etc requires you work with leaders in the field and get vouched for, for you even to take the exams, and those exams are TOUGH. I have MAD respect for anyone who is a CST or equivalent level certified, they truly are a leader in the field.

But, I also think someone with 15 years experience on teams, or who played active roles in transformations etc is just as respectable, they have proof of their knowledge either way. One just makes you look better when presented to an audience, and if that's the way you want to go, probably better to get the certification for it.

These are my opinions, I do not wish to disparage anyone's work or talk down to people who value certifications, we all have different ways to the same destination.

07:48 am January 27, 2021

Agree with you Jonathan