I want some initials after my name, please!
September 8, 2008 1:38 PM   Subscribe

What are the must-have certifications for a web developer working in higher education?

I just started a new job as a web developer at a liberal arts college in the upstate new york area, and my boss has indicated that there will be both funding and administrative support for me to obtain certifications in my field (and, of course, the extra knowledge I will gain from preparing will be a great asset to me and the college!)

We have a mixed environment around here, with servers running Windows 2003, AIX, FreeBSD, Debian Linux, and OSX. We're probably going to be having fewer and fewer Windows 2003 servers as time goes by, and as we move to a virtualization setup, we'll have a lot more. We're writing in HTML and CSS, of course, but there's a fair amount of ColdFusion, PHP, Perl, and Python going on as well, and since we're using Django for some things, we're going to be doing a lot more with Python as time goes by.

So far, I'm looking at: Any bad experiences with any of these? Any good experiences?
Anything I'm missing from my list?
posted by fvox13 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Speaking as a hiring manager and a developer, if you put "Certified HTML Developer" on your resume, you'd be the butt of jokes around here for several months.

Seriously, I'd take some time to settle in and figure out a direction. The stuff you've tossed out is all over the map, and if you're going to take the time to get certified in something, make sure it's something you want to actually take the time and effort to do.

PMI certification is actually worth something if you're going to head into the corporate sector, but it's for Project Manager jobs, not developer ones. A more broadly-applicable one would, IMO, be some sort of UNIX/Linux administration certification.
posted by mkultra at 2:16 PM on September 8, 2008

Seconding what MkUltra said, exactly. The Project Management one is the only one that smells remotely worth mentioning, and even then, my experience with "certified" and "good" project managers shows that they don't overlap as much as you'd hope.

Stick to higher-level stuff like that, though, because the specific technologies shift and change so quickly that the "certifications" are usually cobbled together scammy things anyway.

In my next life, I'm selling certifications. What a racket.
posted by rokusan at 4:40 PM on September 8, 2008

If you've got funding, take classes or go to conference or buy books; don't bother with certifications. IMHO experience/portfolio trumps initials after the name in web development.

mkultra's 2nd paragraph is well worth considering, too. You can certainly be a generalist (yay generalists!), but if there's an area that you find particularly compatible, head that direction.

me = web designer/developer/etc almost 10 years now (!), six of that in higher ed as a webmaster type.
posted by epersonae at 4:47 PM on September 8, 2008

CISSP is a decent certification, in that it's fairly hard to get compared to other certifications. But it's not really helpful for web developers specifically.

Database certifications would probably be your best bet, assuming you're using a database platform for which certifications exist. There really aren't a whole lot of certifications aimed at web developers.

I would second (third) the folks above who recommend you spend your efforts elsewhere.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:44 PM on September 8, 2008

Best answer: As a fellow upstate new york higher ed web person (12 years now), the only cert I've sought was the Certificate in Accessible Information Technology offered by EASI and the University of Southern Maine. Mine was paid for by my employer.

As a web developer, I wouldn't touch any of those you've listed with a ten-foot pole.

You might want to ask this question on the HighEdWeb or Uwebd lists.

I'd recommend going to the HighEdWeb conference but, for the first time in several years, it won't be in Rochester.
posted by jdfan at 3:27 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

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