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Personal Recommendations instead of Certificates?

by szabgab (Priest)
on Oct 19, 2007 at 13:10 UTC ( #645950=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

The issue of certifications came up again, this time here on Perlmonks: Perl Certification revisited

IMHO the Perl community both needs to help companies to hire people and should avoid the problems of certifications.

I wonder if we should just encourage p2p recommendations that could be easily accessed by potential employees?

I guess we could develop yet another p2p web site where people could sign up and recommend each other but I know many people use LinkedIn and it already has the recommendation feature so we can just use that.

I wonder what others think about this?

Of course it is already there and any one of us can go and recommend the others but we might do more:

Should we try to add some more measurable way of recommendations? e.g. adding a score to the recommendations just like CPANRATINGS for modules?

Should The Perl Foundation be involved in this to give some more official looking face to it?

Should someone (eg. TPF) talk to LinkedIn to get an API and add additional information like a link to our CPAN id or PerlMonk id?

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Re: Personal Recommendations instead of Certificates?
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Oct 19, 2007 at 15:03 UTC
    Why is there this insane need to have some sort of rating system? We have a perfectly workable system right now - either someone in the shop recognizes your name from CPAN/Perlmonks/IRC/wherever or they don't. If they don't, you probably don't want to work there. If they do, then you're in.

    Please describe the flaws in the current system and how your system would improve on that.

    My criteria for good software:
    1. Does it work?
    2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
      1. I would never recognize the real names of most of the PerlMonkers. You see, I just met Corion on YAPC::EU and if he did not say his Perlmonks ID I would not connect the person with the ID. Knowing how most of the people are humble here, I think most of them won't mention this in a job interview.

      2. Do you always and only work at places where there is a Perlmonk/CPAN author/etc... working? What if you are supposed to be the first "good Perl developer"?

      3. There are only a few thousand people in the core Perl community. They can only work in so many places. What about other companies? How can they select from the other ~ 99% Perl users which one of them are better?

        1. Under the Interests section in my resume, I have my Perlmonks handle listed. Interviewers have led off with a question about that.
        2. I didn't say there had to be a Perlmonk/CPAN author/etc there first. I said they had to recognize why those were important things. That means that the philosophy of the group I'm going to be working in is closely aligned to my own where it counts.
        3. Most companies don't deserve to survive. Those that do will make a concerted effort to recruit the minimum level to do what they perceive is in their best interests. If those interests include "Solid Perl development", then they will plug themselves into the community and be noticed. I'm working for a company right now that did exactly that. Two years ago, they had no solid Perl devs. Now, they have 3 with a 4th being trained. Perl development was something that their business now needed.

          If you're not going to make an effort to find me, then why should I bother working for you? I code because I love it. If I just wanted a 9-5 that I can depend on for 40 years, I wouldn't be a coder. I'd go work at the local Honda plant - they have better hours, better benefits, and I am still making something.

        Here's the point - most companies suck at business. Frankly, it's amazing to me that the economy even works. That said, I want to work somewhere that meets the following criteria:
        • Is building interesting things
        • Has other interesting and smart people for me to work with
        • Requires me to work on OSS projects on company time
        • Requires me to contribute patches back to OSS projects being used for company projects
        • Compensates me according to my skills, experience, and contributions
        If the company also does 100% telecommute, I'm probably sold. And, yes, there are dozens of companies out there that meet those criteria. Your friends probably know several of them. My last 3 jobs were found solely through word-of-mouth. I was kinda surprised that I even had to interview for my current job - I hadn't done interviews for my last 2 jobs. If you're getting recommended or hired by close friends, interviews aren't needed.

        My criteria for good software:
        1. Does it work?
        2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?

      Why is there this insane need to have some sort of rating system?

      Ha! Maybe it's ruby envy. RubyForge has a rating system for contributors.

Re: Personal Recommendations instead of Certificates?
by oyse (Monk) on Oct 21, 2007 at 10:42 UTC

    Personally I don't think such a system would solve the problem I think you are trying to solve (helping companies to distinguish good Perl programmers from bad ones).

    I don't think HR people / management would use such a system if it was available since they would probably not be aware of it's existance. And if there are aware of it they would probably and understandably by concerned with the quality and authenticity of the recommendations. I think they would be much more interrested in some sort of certificate, but you have already stated that you don't want that.

    If the hiring process involves technical people the system might be used, but we already have other ways of finding out if someone are any good or not. I know I would be very sceptical to the recommendations given.

    I think that the recommendation / rating-system might be useful for finding good talent instead of when people are applying for a position. Perhaps a project like Ohloh is what you are looking for?

Re: Personal Recommendations instead of Certificates?
by UnstoppableDrew (Sexton) on Oct 24, 2007 at 19:50 UTC
    IMHO certifications are overvalued. All they really mean is that you can read a study guide and pass a test. I've met plenty of people with certifications out the wazoo that were A) idiots, B) incompetent, or C) both. Not saying everyone with one is that way, but they're out there. If you want to know how good someone is, look at their prior body of work, and ask them technical questions. I once interviewed at The Mathworks. I had to give a presentation and brought source code for the project I was presenting on. That way, everyone who knew perl could see what I had written and gauge for themselves what they thought of my skills.

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