The real dirt on programming certifications

Code alone might not be enough to land you that top job

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With programmers and developers in such high demand these days, it may be tempting to think that a decision as stodgy as pursuing a certification is a waste of time. After all, doesn’t it all come down to the art of your code?

According to those who are hiring and those who have completed certification coursework, you might be in for a surprise. While nothing beats experience and real-world development skills, having certifications can definitely help give you a leg up on landing your dream job.

We spoke with a number of IT professionals, from hiring managers to certified and self-taught developers, about the impact of certifications on the hiring process -- and which certifications are drawing the most demand today.

Proof of aptitude

While today’s developers may feel their GitHub portfolio provides evidence enough of their coding chops, certifications can enhance your marketability in the field, as many employers view certs as tangible proof of your aptitude in specific areas of programming or development, says John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology, a staffing firm that focuses on filling jobs in IT.

“Certifications may be seen as a key differentiator for candidates seeking roles on technology teams,” Reed adds.

Most certification programs are conducted and proctored online, with certifying groups testing your knowledge in the field at large, as well as your specific expertise and problem solving for the particular certification area.

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