September 18, 2012, 11:33 AM — The path from birth to death is filled with choices about where to work and what kind of work to do. Sometimes the world is nice enough to allow us some input. These days, developers have a lot more say in their employment, thanks to rising demand for their services.
Whether you're an independent contractor or a cubicle loyalist with a wandering eye, programming want ads abound, each stirring its own set of questions about how best to steer your career. For some, this is entirely new territory, having fallen into employment with computers simply as a means to scratch an itch.
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The following nine concerns are central to charting your career path. Some target the résumé. Others offer opportunities for career growth in themselves. Then there are questions of how to navigate unfortunate employment issues particular to IT. Thinking about your answers to these questions is more than a way of preparing for when someone comes to ask them. It is the first step in making the most of your interests and skills.
Will certification give you an edge?
A common dilemma facing career-minded developers is how much attention to pay to certification. After all, employers always want to determine if you really know what you claim to know, and tech companies are always stepping forward with certificate programs to help them.
The programs are aimed at teaching a given technology, then testing your competence with what was taught. They focus on practical solutions, not theoretical conundrums like most university courses. Thus, they appeal to companies looking to vet candidates in their ability to deliver real-world solutions.