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A case for certification

A programming certification will help an IT hopeful with a degree–but little experience–to get in the door.

Dear Molly: I am 32, with a computer science degree (1993) and no experience. I have decided to come back to the IT field as a programmer/developer. In the past couple years I have done some programming in VB, C, HTML and JavaScript, but nothing worth putting on a resumé other than the HTML Certification (2000). Do I have enough background to look for an entry-level position? If so, where are the best places to find such opportunities? Should I get certified in the language(s) of my choice first?

Molly says: I think you’re a prime candidate for a specialized IT certification, and that you will need one to get a job that suits your interests. There aren’t many companies that hire people and put them on a subsidized work-to-learn program.

You don’t need an entry-level certification such as A+. I wouldn’t advise MCSE either, as you have indicated an interest in programming and development. Check out the Oracle or JAVA training programs to see which best fits your long-term interests. The part of the Oracle Web site that talks about training lists courses and seminars about Oracle. The Java site’s education link is and you can get details on Java training options there.

With your experience level (medium), it’s also a good idea to participate in a seminar to get a ground-level feel for the company’s products before signing up for courses. You’ll understand what the buzzwords mean!

Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at

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