W3Schools Certification

Hi All,

I was looking at queries on Stackoverflow.com and read an answer from someone who had linked the w3school.com website and then below read a comment referring to w3schools as w3fools. So that comment lead me to believe that maybe there are web designers/developers/programmers out there that think w3schools is terrible or inadequate. Bear in mind, the website doesn’t always offer the best information but I think its always a good start or point of reference for some one.

So part of what I am asking is, what are the views towards W3Schools.com and their certifications? And as a web design company owner, do you see this certification as nothing special or is it always a plus to see in the portfolio?

Also, I was listening to a podcast from Non-Breaking Space, and one of the guest speakers was saying, “I have never met a company that actually cared about anyone’s formal education,” which I thought was interesting too. I feel that is just another man’s opinion, but I had a friend tell me something similar, his advice was, “make your portfolio the best it can, because its all about the portfolio.” Thoughts?


[font=calibri]I wouldn’t go so far as to say that w3schools is terrible, but it certainly isn’t a bastion of best practice.

In terms of qualifications … I would be very wary of putting faith in third party certification. There are no official qualifications in web design, inasmuch as W3 (who are of course not in any way related to w3schools) don’t do such a thing and don’t set any standards for it. Anyone can set themselves up as running a web design certified course, and there are no quality checks. The course may be really good, but there’s no guarantee. And with web design being such a fast moving discipline, there’s a good chance that even if it was up-to-date when the person did the course, it might not be any more.

And on the other hand, there are loads of people who are great webbists who have never taken any kind of course, certificate or qualification in it.

As far as web design goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The person’s portfolio is really important, but so is the interview. Question them, challenge them. Make sure that they have the skills to actually do everything that is in their portfolio! It’s dead easy to put together a portfolio of someone else’s work, so you have to satisfy yourself that they aren’t blagging it. As for other formal qualifications … that really depends on the level you’re appointing at. Standard school-leaver qualifications might be expected, particularly for younger candidates, but that’s really down to your own style.[/font]

I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on a company that somehow gets away with black hat SEO techniques, doesn’t have best practices recommended in their tutorials etc. Its only good for checking on how to do some basic things when you’re still new to a language.
You’d be much better off buying a course through TutsPlus, Team Treehouse, and some other places - There’s lots of quality tutorials to follow and you’ll build up your portfolio of knowledge quick enough.

The w3schools site belongs to two ordinary people who have no connection whatever with any of the standards organisations. A certification from them is meaningless as they do not have any connection with any recognised training organisation either. It would be as meaningful and easier to just ask your neighbour to issue you with a certificate.

I agree. We employ a wide range of devs, some have formal qualifications, some don’t, but ALL have great portfolios and experience. Personal projects are so important – they demonstrate that you have motivation and an interest in learning. They give an insight into your skills and specific areas of interest.

I wouldn’t say don’t spend time training and upskilling, but don’t put too much stock in certificates.

Thank you everybody for answering. I did find it especially interesting about you said Felgall, regarding that w3schools isn’t affiliated with an organization like W3C. I had viewed their site and how the certificates were awarded, a while ago, and it stated to have some industry professional watching the person undergoing the test to make sure there was no cheating involved. However, it is easy to get somebody to hang out while you plug away at multiple choice.

I also agree that, with schooling it probably was great material at the time of creation but is quickly out-dated. I’m learning through some correspondence and as many books as I can, and I find some of my course materials are lacking current information. I suppose once a foundation is made, you just have to keep building it up and keep up with the evolving industry.

Great insight from everybody, Thank you!

You might find this post an interesting read – Why I hire people, not skills.

The reason for that is that the siteis maintained by just the two owners and they have taken on a large number of topics. There just isn’t enough time for two people to keep that many topics completely up to date. Even with only one topic per person you need to spend a lot of time just to keep up to date. With w3schools some topics are more up to date than others. For example most of the JavaScript pages still read the same way they did when Netscape 4 was the most modern browser and while pages have been added for new JavaScript commands those that became obsolete when Netscape 4 died have not been changed to reflect that.