Wern Ancheta

Adventures in Web Development.

On Formal Education and Certifications in Computer Science

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On Formal Education

Do you think its important to have a formal education when it comes to IT? For me its a yes and no.

Yes its important because formal education gives you the foundation, the basic things that you need to know about IT. Things like computer hardware and software, internet, algorithms, flowcharts, data structures, conditional statements, loops, databases, normalization. These things are all thought in school and once you graduate you will most likely have all the requirements to get an entry-level job at an IT company.

But I would also say no because there are some successful people in IT(mostly programmers and designers) who didn’t took up Computer Science, Information Technology, Computer Engineering, or any computer related course but are working at some of the biggest companies like Google, Yahoo, Twitter and Amazon. Most of the developers that I know are self-taught. Which means that they have no background in IT and Programming before they decided to become developers. Most of the things that they know are things that they have thought themselves how to do (self-study). Using learning resources like Google, MDN, PHP.Net and some of the books in Amazon.

On Certifications

There’s also certifications like Microsoft, Java and almost any programming language that you can think of. I believe that certifications doesn’t really reflect whether a candidate can professionally do the job. Certifications are just a one time thing. I haven’t really tried to take a test to get certified on being competent on a particular programming language but the process always goes something like:

  1. Review for the test, learn as much as you can on that particular language
  2. Take the test

You cannot really emulate what can be learned from real world experience based on a test alone. Certifications are merely things that makes your resume look pretty but they don’t really mean anything at all.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think formal education and certifications are important when it comes to Computer Science?