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What skill/certification have you found to be most valuable for hires in the Atlassian world

With such a diverse community of people working within the Atlassian ecosystem (and by that I mean employees, employers, marketplace vendors, partners - everyone), this leads to a huge variety of education/careers/skills (soft and hard skills)/training and certification that people have. For people new to the space, or, maybe considering a career change, I'm hoping this post can be a sharing place for peoples experiences - and while no two situations will be exactly the same, it may provide some insight that can help you.

 

Anything you feel is relevant to this discussion, please add a comment. As geography/industry/role/etc may play a big impact on the relevance to others, if you're willing and able to share some background for extra context, that would be great.

 

For those who have hired (or looking to hire) - what is it you look for in a prospective employee?

For the employees - are there any sklls you feel have helped "get you over the line" for that new dream job?

Are there any skills/certifications you're looking to get to help you with that next move?


CCM

5 comments

I hope short answer is depends on. 

BTW, could you clarify what is the dream job? That job has some requirements, duties? 

Hey Gonchik,

The post was meant to just be a generic discussion about what people have found useful in their hiring/job searches, nothing specific to a target role for me.

 

CCM

Great discussion! Look forward to seeing the responses.

We're currently looking for a new Snr Digital PM and we hope to find candidates with an Atlassian skill-set built up by 3 or more years of experience working with a broad range of the ecosystem, with Jira & Confluence being the most important.

At some point we are hoping to open up a vacancy for an Atlassian Admin. For skills we'd like them to have 5 yr + of Atlassian Admin experience (especially Jira, BitBucket, Confluence, ServiceDesk) and to have a nice range of Atlassian training & certification completed, with intention to be fully trained & certified within 2 yr of working the job. 

Tarun Sapra Community Leader Monday

Well I am always for "skills over certifications". But yes certifications do help in getting your CV shortlisted and more visibility in the community. 

I have been doing Atlassian related stuff for almost 10 years now and I personally feel that even though number of Atlassian experts has increased exponentially in the market in last 3-4 years, still it's not easy to find someone who is very good at it. 

My definition of a good Atlassian consultant/expert contains the following 3 skills in the following proportions

  • Agile - 30 %
  • Atlassian - 50 %
  • Programming (Groovy/Java) - 20 %

As I have utilized the above skills in doing countless large scale migrations, deployments and consulting gigs and all the above 3 skills have proved to be indispensable when it comes to doing anything at scale with Atlassian tools. 

Like 2 people like this
Danny Harris Community Leader Monday

@Tarun Sapra 

I agree with your proportions, I would also go so far as to add the following;

  • Communication
  • Stakeholder Management

Without those soft skills you are going limit yourself and your market. 

Like 1 person likes this
Gregory Van Den Ham Community Leader Monday

Here’s the thing, Atlassian certs are a waste of time unless you’re working for or as a consultant.  They are written by consultants and there’s no way for someone who is only exposed to a few jira/confluence environments to tackle the scenarios presented.  

From a hiring manager prospective, it may make the candidate choice easier, but it is not going to change the salary band for the role. 

I disagree with this, and I manage a consulting team.  As a long time hiring manager and seeing the new hotness change over the years, there is definitely a difference with Atlassian certs.  

In the past, when I saw MCSE, CNE or whatever the flavor of the day was, I tossed those resumes.  Anyone that had actual skill was smart enough to know that those certs were/are meaningless and wouldn't dare put them on their resume. That's what unqualified people did to make it seem as though they have some skills.

Atlassian certs (most, anyway) require that you have actual experience using the tools and not just reading about them in books.  The main applications certs, Jira Admin and Confluence Admin test you heavily on built in features and there are no questions about 3rd party functionality.  As consultants, we are never asked to set things up in a default way, so the way the tests are worded are actually more difficult for us consultants, since we never see the tools in their default state.  One of the mistakes that many people make with Atlassian tools is to go crazy with complicated changes when the functionality they seek is already built in.  Will I hire someone that has all the certs and badges listed on their resume, but no experience? Absolutely not.  But I don't immediately disregard resumes that mention Atlassian certs, as I know they are not easy to pass.

Gregory Van Den Ham Community Leader Monday

I get it, you’re in the consulting world.  I am not.  I have the luxury of putting someone through my own skills test/sim to judge their experience.  Dragon slayer challenge even comes to mind.  

For private practice, skills over certs any day.   

The reality with the exam is that there’s so much information and so many variables in play atlassian has set the passing bar at 65%.  That tells me there’s something wrong with the exam.   The ccnp and cissp exams set the bar much higher.  

I'm with you 100% on skills over certs. Most people that we hire do not have certs, but do have the unique skills that I require for my team. I expect this is no different for you.

IMO, setting the pass percentage higher dumbs down the value of the cert. This is why we have so many "paper MCSE's" and "paper CCNP's" out there. If you have a great training environment where you can take someone with book knowledge and put them in a situation where they can gain the street smarts, I think that is ok.  My team isn't structured this way for fairly obvious reasons.  No one wants to pay for someone with book smarts and no street smarts, so I can't use them. At least in Silicon Valley where I am, most tech companies expect that you will come with skills. Given that IT is more and more the owner of the Atlassian suite, they often have very little familiarity with the operation of the tools.  They can vet a candidate for the rest of the skills, but they can't effectively vet for Atlassian knowledge.  Having a meaningful certification program takes on greater value in this case.  In the Microsoft, Cisco, Linux, etc worlds, these teams can do a deeper vetting process, since they are intimately familiar with those technologies.  

Good discussion!

As @Tarun Sapra stated, it's more than just clicking around in the tools.  Maybe someone that only knows the webui in Atlassian's tools can survive in a large company that has dedicated systems and application teams, the vast majority of companies are not structured this way.  You need more than knowledge of Atlassian tools in a single company environment in order to be valuable to a hiring manager. You need system skills, experience  with the way teams use the tools, people skills, etc.  I think it's important to recognize that as a tools admin, you are in a value-add position and not a break-fix position.  Too many people view the job as "the customer asks me to do something and I do it," rather than the focus of "the customer asks me to do something and it's my job to understand the why of their request and implement a solution that will meet their needs, but may be useful to others, will support centralized reporting, not impact the availability of my environment, etc."

Almost every prospective company we talk to mentions "best practices" in the initial sales discussion.  Since "best practices" are largely not documented in the Atlassian world, how do you implement them? How do you know what they are? That comes from having been there and done that.  It doesn't necessarily even matter whether the issue tracker was Jira or Bugzilla, or that the wiki was Moin Moin vs Confluence. Governance, standards, simplification for the purpose of aiding reporting, ease of administration, etc are universal, regardless of tool.  If you spent the last year clicking around in Jira and gained enough experience to pass the Jira Admin cert doesn't mean you have been there and done that, but it's a step in that direction.  Focusing on implementing things in a way that is simple, scalable, easy to manage and easy for users to understand is far more valuable to the business than some sexy script you wrote for Script Runner.  Working with users to explain the paradigm that the tools were written in rather than just making Jira behave like Redmine is far more valuable to the business. Using Jira's built-in reporting and finding creative ways to display them to management without doing crazy hackery is far more valuable to the business. It's important to recognize that the job is to support the business. It's not just to do something super cool with Jira's workflows because you enjoy it.

When you interview for an Atlassian related admin position, you will get the hiring manager's attention far more when you talk about the things that you didn't do, or things that you pushed back on, than you will with all the hacky things that you did that makes your successor want to strangle you.

Just a hiring manager from a Solution Partner's opinion, so use that information how you choose.

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