Google’s $99 Mobile Web Specialist certification probably isn’t worth it

Google has launched a certification program for mobile web developers. Those that successfully pass the Mobile Web Specialist exam and interview earn a badge, which they can display on their website and resume. They are also entered into a registry, which employers can check against.

The exam content focuses on several fundamental (read: basic) areas, like creating and formatting forms, and rudimentary JavaScript. Google has also thrown a few advanced topics in for good measure, like front-end networking, and building ‘progressive’ applications that work offline and ‘offer a native app experience’.

The Mobile Web Specialist certification costs $99, which is about right. The Zend PHP certification program, for example, costs €170. Those wanting a piece of paper to prove they know Ruby can pay the Ruby Foundation $150. Microsoft’s used to offer the MCSD: Web Developer certification, but it’s since been ditched for one that focuses more on devops skills and building for Azure, so it doesn’t count.

I guess the question remains, why would you bother? Software development is something that, by and large, doesn’t tend to concern itself with certifications. Plenty of people enter the field without having gone to university at all.

If you’re trying to land a new job, the person looking at your CV is more likely to look at your prior experience and side-projects than your educational achievements. Try as I might, I can’t understand why someone would choose to study for this course over, say, building something and throwing it up on GitHub. Or making some CodePens. Or writing some blog posts about things they’ve learnt or built. Or contributing to discussions on Reddit or Stack Overflow. That stuff is way more valuable than a certification, even if it does come from a big name like Google.

That said, I can accept that some people new to development might feel more confident if they get a piece of paper confirming they know something, even if it doesn’t translate into mileage in a job interview. If you’re eager to give it a try, you can check it out here

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