The danger of DevOps Certifications

There are many people who poke fun at DevOps certifications, usually questioning the value. There are also a lot of companies who want people who hold them.

I believe this specific type of certification is worse than “not valuable”, and is actively harmful. This talk explains why.

When the first DevOps certifications became available several events had a bit of fun with it. DevOpsDays Berlin stamped “DevOps Certified” on every attendee’s badge. Of course this is nothing new, there have been debates over the value of certifications as long as they have existed.

There are a few examples, and DevOps certification is one, where it’s worse than not valuable. They can and do cause harm in organizations who are led to believe DevOps is all about things you can test for, like how to run a specific tool. These organizations often skip the most important cultural aspects and then declare DevOps a failure (agile transformation anyone?)

The really scary part about this is that many of the people who support and even offer DevOps Certification seem to agree that there are many issues. The most common reason given why they persist? “Someone is going to offer it no matter what, might as well be me”.

The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good People Do Nothing

This is obviously a highly opinionated talk, but it will not be a rant. I will show real evidence of harm at real organizations, show a few examples of certifications which are valuable, and encourage the attendees to make the decision that’s best for them armed with more information.



Ken Mugrage

Ken Mugrage teaches Continuous Delivery and DevOps for ThoughtWorks. He’s a core organizer for DevOpsDays, and is in complete denial about the world accepting “DevOps Engineer” as a job title.