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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Best Certifications To Get?

Hardhead_7 writes: Seeing the recent article on Slashdot about how much your degree is worth got me thinking. I've been working in the IT field for several years now, but I don't have anything to my name other than an A+ certificate and vendor specific training (ie, Dell certified). Now I'm looking to move up in the IT field, and I want some stuff on my resume to demonstrate to future employers that I know what I'm doing, enough that I can get in the door for an interview. So my question to Slashdot is this: What certifications are the most valuable and sought-after? What will impress potential employers and be most likely to help land a decent job for someone who doesn't have a degree, but knows how to troubleshoot and can do a bit of programming if needed?
Math

Submission + - Grad student looking to contribute to Open Source

An anonymous reader writes: I am an Applied Math grad student who knows a bit of Mathematics and a bit of programming. C++ being my first programming language, I am decent at it. I wish to start contributing to a numerical library with two purposes — contribute to open source and develop my C++ skills at the same time. I looked at the Boost libraries and joined the developer list. However, I have no idea on how to start contributing. I'm not an expert in template programming, having written only toy programs to understand that concept. I've used some of the OOP constructs like inheritance, but that too only for very small projects.

Could slashdotters please give me tips on how to get started on the contribution? Are there any other emerging numerical libraries to which I can contribute? Are there any other avenues where I can contribute to open source and improve programming skills?
Technology

Submission + - Technological Genius is Timeliness Not Inspiration

Hugh Pickens writes: "Ezra Klein has an interesting essay in the Washington Post about "simultaneous invention," where technology advances to the point that the next step is obvious to multiple people at once, and so they all push forward with the same or similar inventions because while the natural capabilities of human beings don't change much from year to year, their environments do, and so does the technology and store of knowledge they can access. One good example is Alexander Graham Bell, who in all likelihood invented the telephone after Elisha Gray — and both of them came after Antonio Meucci, who couldn't afford the fee to keep his patent current. "The idea of the lone genius who has the eureka moment where they suddenly get a great idea that changes the world is not just the exception," says Steven Johnson, author of "Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation," "but almost nonexistent." Or consider Adam Goldberg's CU Community, created in 2003 at Columbia University, a social network that launched first and had cooler features than Facebook, with options for pictures and integrated blogging software. "Today, Zuckerberg is many times as rich as Goldberg," writes Klein. "He won. Zuckerberg's dominance can be attributed partly to the clean interface of his site, partly to the cachet of the Harvard name and partly to luck. But the difference between Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Goldberg was very small, while the difference between what Mark Zuckerberg could do and what the smartest college kid in 1999 could do was huge. It was the commons supporting them both that really mattered. ""

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