Deborah Gauer of Microsoft Learning recently posed an interesting scenario to its IT Manager Advisory Council, to wit:
You are the hiring manager in an organization that is running an older version of Microsoft software (eg. Windows Server 03, Visual Studio 2005, etc.).
Would you be more or less likely to hire a candidate if they hold a certification on the newer version of the same Microsoft software (Windows Server 08, Visual Studio 2010, etc.)?
Her blog “What Matters to Hiring Managers – Certification and software versions” (9/27/2010) then goes on to recap responses to this question from 8 different managers on the council. Interestingly, 5 of those 8 answered “Yes” to the question, from the standpoint that back-rev technologies are likely to advance with time, and that all other things being equal, it’s better to have a person in the job who’s already familiar with the latest MS technologies (or at least, their certifiable versions anway). The other three basically answered “That depends…” where their experience obviously showed them that some versions of MS software and tools can change substantially between versions, and that when major functionality switches occur, it’s important to make sure the candidate can do the job that’s needed, irrespective of the value of the newer certification (changes to AD from Windows Server 2003 to 2008, to SQL Server 2000 versus 2005/2008, and .NET 2.0 versus .NET 4 all came in for specific mention in this context).
This pretty much accords with my own experience in talking to employers about certification, and the relative merits of current credentials as compared to certs on older versions of the same or similar technologies. If you want to learn more, read the blog: it’s got some great quotes to share.