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Has anyone done CSDP certification?

The value of certifications notwithstanding, I'd like to know what you know or think about the certifications offered by the IEEE. They're called CSDA (entry-level) and CSDP (mid-level)

I'm a big fan of certifications, they work for me since I like to have a clear goal to look at when I'm studying for something. They do look decent enough for me. I for one have developed a trust in IEEE as a whole, and think that, based on the people behind it (Steve McConell and others) it should be nice to study for and, why not, use it to enhance CV's.

marked as duplicate by Thomas Owens, Walter, Adam Lear Aug 9 '11 at 2:12

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    Since you're too from the Rio de Janeiro area, I'd like to point out that those certifications are almost unknown (at least locally) therefore are probably going to be almost worthless in the marketplace. – Vitor Py Jul 26 '11 at 0:53
  • I figured as much. But the syllabus does look nice (it's supposed to cover all software engineering areas so it should cover things like incremental development, OOD, good practices) so I thought it would be nice to study for it. I'm not really taking into account its value in the market as a whole, just want some input like whether or not this exam is mature and well written... – Felipe Almeida Jul 26 '11 at 0:59
  • And input from people who've actually taken it, what they thought about it. – Felipe Almeida Jul 26 '11 at 1:22
  • youtube.com/watch?v=wDyhucbFI6o – Job Aug 7 '11 at 13:54

I will take an opposing view: mandatory certification, like "professional engineer" in Civil Engineering, and "taking the Bar exam" in law, and any number of other cases, is just a way of keeping supply low relative to demand, and therefore increasing what one of the certified professionals can charge.

Programming and "software engineering" are young, and there's lots of room for creativity and exploration. Why lock the field down when we don't even really know what we can do and not do? Why exclude people who don't like whatever process certification entails? Why exclude people who can't afford whateer process certification entails?

In short, if you want programming to advance rapidly, don't mandate certification. If you are a consumer of programming services, don't mandate certification as it will only increase prices.

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    +1 Bruce, I love you! Milton Friedman would be proud of you. – Job Aug 7 '11 at 14:33
  • I'm not sure if I would use "young" to describe software engineering. The field became well defined in the late 1960s at a NATO conference, making it 50 years old. Although that's significantly younger than other engineering disciplines (civil engineering is often dated to around 2600 BCE), there is still a long history of learning from the older, more established engineering, science, and mathematical disciplines that establish a framework for engineering. As for creativity and exploration, all engineering and science disciplines have this room, not just software. – Thomas Owens Aug 7 '11 at 16:04
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    When did the last innovative passenger airplane get developed? When did the last innovative passenger automobile feature get developed? The highly structured and non-competitive nature of civil and mechanical engineering allows only tiny, incremental progress. – Bruce Ediger Aug 7 '11 at 17:07

I have been looking for something like this. Always good to keep learning and get post qualifications. I'll probably do the CSDA come end-of-year, or a bit later on. Although it is quite expensive, so for someone who is recently employed (me) I don't think it is such good value right at the moment.


I took the CDSA certification in December 2010, about 5 months before graduation, and after I had finished the required courses in my undergraduate software engineering degree program. As soon as I have the recommended experience, I'll be sitting for the CSDP certification as well.

Overall, I feel these certificates are among the best for a software engineer. They are rooted in the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge, which was developed by people from a number of organizations around the world to identify the key knowledge areas for a software engineer. It's offered by a world-wide respected organization, and that right there adds even more value to the certification. These certifications also correspond well to not only what I learned in the classroom, but the skills that I've used or seen used on projects at a number of organizations.

In short, yes, these are legitimate, well written, certificate exams.

I think my answer to a related question about the CSDP certification is of value.

A few key thoughts from that answer:

Like any certificate, it's only proof that you know certain topics, by the book form. They don't really say much about how you'll perform on-the-job. Your past work history will do that far more effectively.


How employers view certificates varies widely, between industries and organizations. Some industries favor certain certifications over others. Organizations also place their own weight toward perspective employees and the certificates they hold.

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