Back when I first started doing IT consulting for an outsourced firm, a high value was placed on certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and other organizations. Consultants obtained these certifications after rigorous testing.

Some had most of the knowledge and experience already, and just did some basic studying. Others started from scratch and went to “boot camps”. Grizzled IT veterans called the latter type “Paper MCSEs” because often although they had the certification, they only knew “The Microsoft Answer”. More experienced consultants know that the real world often differs from answers in training materials, and we often found ourselves cleaning up the mess left by the “green” guys.

I completed multiple Microsoft and Cisco certifications many years ago, but I find that my customers today never even ask about that, and to them, it is more important that I can perform the work, and have the experience to find the right solution quickly when things go wrong.