Perl Certifications are a hot topic (again)

by brian d foy

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Many people may want a Perl certification, but how many people want to be the one who is legally liable for the certificant who messes up? Remember, a lawsuit does not need to have merit to mess up your life. All I see in this announcement is that a lot of people want a certificate. Let's see how many people want to take the call from a lawyer for a company that gets burned. Nobody I know who has ever proposed this idea has said anything like "My attorney said I need to do this and this and this to certify a person". That shows me that no one has really thought about this .

Perl certification is not going to magically create jobs. I still see top notch Perl developers virtually begging for work. One more unknown certificate on their resume is not going to make that any better for them, and it is not going to make it better for people who are relatively unknown. Open source programmers are more likely to be judged by their reputation, their profile in Google, and their available source, unlike something like a Microsoft NT admin or Cisco router engineer, which are really just work-a-day jobs with little chance of recognition or fame.

Certification programs make money for companies selling certificates, and in my opinion they are just a way to extract money from people who need it for other things. At Stonehenge we can certify that you took one of our courses, but we do not certify anyone as Perl programmers. Potential employers can ask for references, and that is more telling than some certificate.

In my opinion, to truly certify someone as competent, you have to work with them for an extended period of time and evaluate them in a variety of cicumstances and from multiple perspectives. A single test will not do that. People will study for the test (just look at all the study guides out there), just like they do for any other test. You will only test the test.

If you want a certificate, I am sure Nat can print you one at the next TPC, just like the last time this topic was debated, and, like last time this topic was killed, and I responded on the Perl advocacy list, I will make sure the world knows that I think Perl certificates are a worthless scam perpetuated to extract money from unsuspecting candidates to fool naive human resources departments.

There is absolutely no good reason that people should have to pay to get a job using an open source tool, but that is the culture that certificate programs will engender.


2004-01-11 08:39:59
Don't worry it will disappear again ;-)
The subject pops up again, and then disappears again. I think that the amount of traffic on the wiki and mailing list that Tim set up is an indicator of the actual interest.

(Even then a good chunk of the little that has appeared has been from certification sceptics :-)

2004-01-11 23:13:38
Certification debate
You ask if all people who use open source tools program open source. I know that the answer is definitely "no".

However, a person using an open source tool has a better opportunity for a resume strengther by participating in the open source community than someone who simply lists a certificate. No certificate is better than me making available things that I have done, show myself able to work with other people, and have a demonstrated record of completing projects, handling bugs, and writing documentation.

There are plenty of opportunities for people of all skill levels to prove themselves in open source technologies, and I think all of them are better than a test score.

2004-01-12 12:54:30
Certification debate
Certification advocates might point out that HR workers and recruiters may not have the knowledge or skills to recognize the contributions of open source developers.

I'm on the fence about certification, but recognize that point.

2004-01-12 21:01:39
Certification debate
I have been thinking about this. There is a problem, but I do not think certifications are the answer. Something even deeper can be fixed. Maybe we should help the hiring community figure out how to evaluate open source technologists. I have only begun to research this, and I would like to find ways to connect the things we do and what hiring managers need, then distill that into a little guide, aimed at the hiring managers.

Of course, I would provide that at no cost, without advertisement of any service, and solely from the good will of the fine people of the open source community.

2004-01-13 13:44:21
Certification debate
I am very interested to see this guide when you are finished with it Brian. If you need any help (research, writing etc), just pop me an email from my website.
2004-01-14 09:19:44
Certification debate
I could use a lot of help with research because I know nothing about the intended audience. Woudl they even like something like this? Any ideas or comments from hiring managers and HR types is extremely useful, even if it is merely anecdotal.

Before I do anything, I need to talk to a lot of people to figure out the need, so the more people that can go out there and meet people, the better.