It's the age-old quandary between textbook knowledge and street smarts. It's very common to see companies staff with engineering talent that has really grown up in the field. They've learned their craft through hands-on, real-world experience. It's a tough debate because there are certainly times when you'd want to have more certification, especially in the enterprise market. But what I've seen over the years, and especially in the SMB space, is the most important thing is the practical, hands-on experience, that they know how to deal with the issues that they are faced with, and all the textbook-based knowledge in the world may not always be the most beneficial knowledge, depending on the circumstance.
In terms of the value of the certification, I think it also depends a lot [in] a VAR community on the markets the VAR is serving. For example, with government contracts and those types of markets, certifications may in fact provide a competitive advantage, especially when you're talking about some [of] the larger, more enterprise-aware outsourced IT companies. They will oftentimes list their certification criteria as one of their competitive advantages against others who may be bidding for the same space.
As it relates to compensation, it really depends on how an organization is structured. If the VAR organization has incentives based on education and certifications, there's an obvious benefit, but you don't always find that.
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