Education and Experience
Education vs. experience: Which is more valuable? For programming, as for most other fields, the answer is both. Because the world of software development moves so fast and changes so constantly (and quickly), employers tend to prefer programmers with proven skills. In this arena, experience is a plus. By the same token, many programming positions also require a solid educational background or certifications in addition to experience. Education can take many forms, ranging from two-year technical programs to four-year degree programs. You'll also find a multitude of certification programs available, such as the following:
- Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD). Must have an understanding of Visual Studio, one or more of the Visual Studio languages (C#, C/C++, Visual Basic, J#), the .NET Framework, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, and so forth.
- Java/Oracle certifications. Until recently, Sun/Java and Oracle certifications were branded separately. However, as of September 1, 2010 Sun/Java certifications became part of the Oracle certification program and have been rebranded as Oracle certifications. (Surprise!) According to the Oracle website, rebranding includes "all Java, Oracle Solaris, MySQL, Open Office, and Oracle Solaris Cluster certifications." Existing Sun certifications will still be recognized by Oracle, although the certification names will change going forward. For example, the former Sun Certified Java Associate (SCJA) is rebranded, now known as the Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE5/SE6. If you already hold a Sun or Oracle certification, you need to understand how your current certification maps to the new certification brand. Be prepared to educate your potential employer! For more information, along with course mapping and migration, check out the Oracle website.