Certification or Knowledge – Where should you focus?

After running more than 100 Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) workshops, I would like to reflect little bit on where the workforce is going, especially in India!

I hear these comments often:

“I came to the workshop just for certification”
“It doesn’t matter who the trainer or the content is, all I need is certification”
“I will go with a trainer who is guaranteeing certification, even better, who helps me take the exam”

Having a certification without adequate knowledge is not going to take one very far. Whole world is moving towards agility. Having good knowledge about Agile is essential to survive in the industry. Someone asked me in one of my classes, “What advantage do I have if I completed this certification?”. I said, with thousands of people already holding CSM certification, if you don’t have one, you are lagging behind as most of the employers expect that you have this knowledge.

I often hear other comments like “I will do it only my company reimburse full amount” or “I don’t see this course in my employer approved list of courses, so I will do one that’s there in the list”. You have to have a goal for yourself, not your employer would have one for you! I wonder whether you have a goal in your career you want to achieve? I see lot of people running in the dark without a direction. In this competitive world, one who is not acquiring knowledge and skills will not survive.

So, here is my advice:

  1. Set a goal for your career.
  2. Identify skills you need to acquire to achieve the goal.
  3. Find ways to acquire the knowledge – read books, watch a video, attend class. But remember, getting knowledge is the focus not just a certification or a degree.
  4. Put aside money from every pay check to spend on learning and make sure that you spent it.
  5. Periodically check where you stand as far as the goal and repeat.

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