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In my place of work, we have a number of applications that seem to interact in a rather ad-hoc, haphazard way, and I feel I need to understand system integration better.

I'm currently deciding whether to do an SOA School Profesional Certification. The certifications are well recognised, but from what I've read of them, I'm a bit concerned that even after I've passed the exams, I won't really be in a position to implement what I've learned, or that the information won't be hugely useful in my day to day job as a developer. It all seems a bit too theoretical. Will it be any practical use to me?

Also, I've heard the 150 page booklet that costs $300 is not enough to prepare you for the exam. Is this correct?

Edit

Really, what this comes down to is whether SOA is really going to be the answer to my integration problems. At the moment, it seems to be the de facto answer.

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What exactly does SOA stand for? Why don't you just get books on the subject, why spend money to learn the material, only to recieve a peice of paper that in the end really only proves you passed the exam. I am not a fan certificates, I feel that except for maybe the Microsoft/CISCO certificates, they only prove you were able to pass an exam. The difference between the Microsoft exams is the teach you the Microsoft suggested method of doing something, which is the standard, which means it will always work. –  Ramhound Oct 5 '11 at 12:04
    
Fair point about exams. I've known great developers who can't pass exams and vice versa. But my work's paying and offering incentives for gaining certifications so I feel I may as well take the exam if I'm reading a book. I'm more concerned abou the time I'll be puttin gin. –  Paul T Davies Oct 5 '11 at 12:17
    
@PaulTDavies If they are paying you then do it. Just expense the book. –  Tom Squires Oct 5 '11 at 12:27
    
@PaulTDavies - If your work is paying for the exam and offering you incentives for getting certifications then you should get certifications. –  Ramhound Oct 5 '11 at 13:33
    
@Ramhound What about your ethical responsibilities to your employer? You know, not waste their money on things that don't add value to yourself and their organization? –  Thomas Owens Oct 5 '11 at 13:45
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closed as not constructive by Walter, Tom Squires, ChrisF Oct 6 '11 at 13:10

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1 Answer

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Recognizing the need to learn a new concept is a good start, but why do you need this certification? The point of a certification is not to take courses and learn new topics, but to assure employers that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform some work function.

I took at a look at the SOA Certified Professional website, and it raises questions. I don't see any well-known organizations sponsoring or backing the certification. I only see a handful of testimonials from companies I don't recognize. I don't see a list of companies who employ people who hold these certificates. There's nothing that indicates this is a widely respected, widely held certificate program. If it's not recognized and held in a high regard by potential employers, paying for a certificate adds no value to your career or to your organization.

You also mentioned that you might not be able to use what you learn in your job. If you can't apply the knowledge gained or use the certificate to advance your career, why spend the time and money getting it? Learn on your own at your own pace.

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Was it soaschool.com you looked at? It is founded by Thomas Erl, a top SOA name. I have no doubts about the prestige of the certification, just how useful the skills taught are going to be. –  Paul T Davies Oct 5 '11 at 13:22
    
@PaulTDavies Yes, that's the site I looked at. It doesn't matter who the founder is at all. Certifications become valuable based on the people who hold the certification and who endoreses it. I see no endorsements of any large companies or organizations, nor any significant testimonials. –  Thomas Owens Oct 5 '11 at 13:26
    
What are the best alternatives? –  Paul T Davies Oct 5 '11 at 13:27
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@ThomasOwens - When I did a google search I wasn't even able to find results that I would even normally visit ( i.e. the results I didn't feel were safe ) this tells me a great deal about this certificate. –  Ramhound Oct 5 '11 at 13:34
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@PaulTDavies It's more likely than you think. SOA School uses Erl's books as the basis for everything. It's also Erl's company. So you are paying to learn Erl's way. He gets money from your training sessions, the study material, the recommended books, the exams - everything. A more reputable organization would give you a more balanced approach. Erl might be a knowledgable individual, but this seems like a money-generating pool. –  Thomas Owens Oct 5 '11 at 14:41
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