Is this necessary?- Chris Pietschmann, MVP, MCSD, MCAD, MCP

Recently when looking at the analytics logs for referring urls to my website, I noticed one from It's actually a click-through from a comment I posted on his blog way back on April 21, 2006. His blog post that I commented on is titled "Scott Hanselman, 11 Successful Large Projects, 3 Open Source Applications, 1 Collossal Failure".

In Scott's post, he talks about how placing your tech related certification acronyms after your name in your email signatures and such is rather meaningless. He states "Folks go to school for 20+ years to put PhD after their name. I could go take a cert test now, but should it be displayed so prominently?"

My comments as posted:

*I think it's ok to put one or two after your name, but no more than that. And only use them in places where you're not already stating your certified; Like on your resumt and cover letter. It's a good thing in emails and/or blog comments to show your cert. But, I do agree that it doesn't compare to a Phd.

  • Christopher Pietschmann, MCSD*

Now, reflecting back on this thought now that it's October 2008… What the heck was I thinking? It is absolutely meaningless for me to place "MCSD" after my name in the signature of the blog comment.

Today my opinion is a bit different, so I thought I'd post on this to point out my change in opinion.

You need to think about context when placing certs after your name. Basically, the only places it's usefull are in email and letter signatures. However, keep it simple by listing only 1 or 2:

Chris Pietschmann, MCSD

Or even better, add a second or third line to your signature that lists the most prominent certs and/or credentials.

*Chris Pietschmann

Microsoft Certified Solution Developer*


*Chris Pietschmann

Microsoft MVP - Windows Live Platform*

Here's the email signature that I've started using lately. Just my name, followed by notable "titles", with nothing appended to my name. And, notice that I'm only listing my Microsoft MVP award since it's the most relavent and doesn't get devalued by listing other non-relevent credentials.

*Chris Pietschmann

President - Simplovation LLC

Microsoft MVP - Windows Live Platform


Doesn't it look much better/usefull than the following?

*Chris Pietschmann, MVP, MCSD, MCAD, MCP *

And, finally, here's some rules to use when listing your certs by your name:

  • Only include 1 or 2 credentials/certs. Any more will just clutter things up.
  • Always make sure it's necessary/relavent to list them in the first place.
  • Never list your certs after your name when you comment on blog posts!
  • If you have a PhD, then you better put it after your name!