Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Certification Deja Vu

" Get ready for certification. It will improve quality and that's profitable for everyone concerned "

No, not the ISEB/ISTQB marketing machine in full flow.

Carrying on from my last blog post, I'm learning the world of SAP and found that they are also having an ongoing debate about certifications and the value ( or not ) of having them

The quote at the top of this page came from here
( you might find a problem where the site wants you to choose a digital certificate but doesn't offer any in the list )

I found this page after reading What Was Your View of the Latest SAP Certification Debate?
The arguments there had a very familiar ring to them

I’ve been a long time advocate of field experience over SAP certification in my writing, but that’s mostly because all the aspiring SAP folks reading my stuff tend to get roped into this idea that certification will lead them into the promised land of a highly paid SAP career without much effort on their part.


I placed hundreds of SAP folks in the 90s and I can tell you that certification was almost never a good indication of consulting talent. Believe me, when I placed someone who was certified in SAP but who didn’t live up to expectations in other ways, I heard all about it.


In my view, the biggest weakness of the traditional SAP consultant is that the technical folks tended to lack "big picture" business skills and awareness, and the functional folks tended to work in "configuration silos" without a broader view of the business process or a deeper technical know-how


Also, I will be more and more of a fan of the SAP certifications as more field experience is incorporated into them somehow, as you suggest. I’m not saying this will be an easy task. But I think there must be ways of making the certification more real world accountable


I have mixed feelings about SAP emphasizing the importance of certification to customers at this point, only because most folks are still only certified at the Associate level. I worry that hiring becomes overly simplistic when certification is the central point of emphasis

Replace 'SAP Consultant' with tester and 'SAP certification' with ISEB/ISTQB and you have a replay of the often repeated tester certification argument

"plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"
as Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr would say

( or as Rush sang in Circumstances )

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