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Perl Certification

by cosmicperl (Chaplain)
on Sep 06, 2008 at 04:08 UTC ( #709444=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
cosmicperl has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Hi All,
  This is a very small post. The only question is if you are in favour of Perl certification or you are undecided then please reply or (and I know a lot of people at this stage will not want it to be public knowledge that they support this so please, and I mean PLEASE let me know by private message).


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Perl Certification
by kyle (Abbot) on Sep 06, 2008 at 04:59 UTC
      Perhaps you should suggest a poll.

      I suggest it's a troll. :-)

      I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth Remember How Lucky You Are
Re: Perl Certification
by Your Mother (Bishop) on Sep 06, 2008 at 05:25 UTC

    I know a lot of people at this stage will not want it to be public knowledge that they support this...

    You callin' me a coward? I'm fairly pro-certification in spite of agreeing with almost every objection raised in numerous threads here. It does smell quite a bit like a dead horse after all though. If you've got some great idea or plan, spill it. Otherwise put down the crop.

    The power of Strunk compels me to remark that "This is a very small post" could have been length("This is a very small post. ") characters very smaller. :)

        Looks like you have a space for it(?). If I were going to try to do a cert scheme, and I've considered it before, I'd probably break it into pieces, theoretical parts, tests, reqs, areas of expertise. BrowserUK for example can hack the pants off of me, as it were, in huge tracts of land problem domains but if you're hiring for CGI/Ajax I would be a much better choice because he doesn't do, or care to, that stuff. So any realistic cert plan would have to be, like some good Perl, modular.

        Then I'd come back here with one standalone piece at at a time for feedback. The critiques might be brutal but they're also usually solid. Whatever survives, or is at least not rendered entirely impotent, could go into the scheme. I don't like design by committee, you usually get the lowest common denominator or an ongoing process that takes... um, when did Jon Orwant throw that coffee cup again? Critique by the meritocracy would save many cycles of putting it together; again, if it can be. It would be a lot of work with very little love in return.

        The main reason I'm pro-certification despite agreeing with the criticisms is the publicity, visibility, and discussion it would generate. The sense of Perl being a legitimate, first-class programming language shouldn't be an epiphany that is reached by the odd, above average tech manager. An entirely worthless certificate might benefit the larger Perl world just by existing, even if it wasted some time for the average hacker or put extra pointless paper on the HR desk. Plenty of awful Perl hackers are getting hired every day without certificates.

        (update: fixed spelling of Jon.)

Re: Perl Certification
by talexb (Canon) on Sep 06, 2008 at 16:24 UTC

    Not in favour -- but I didn't downvote your node. :)

    Certification doesn't really carry any meaning to me when it's associated with Perl. So someone with a certification knows seven ways to use split. Huh. But can they write good code?

    Joel Spolsky, pretty smart guy, has a great article about interviewing, and he posits two requirements for a hire: a) smart, and b) gets things done.

    One or the other doesn't do it: if they're smart, that's handy, but of they are 'completion challenged', that's no good. Or if they're really hard workers, but go about their task totally in the wrong way, that's not very productive either.

    So my question to you is, what have you taken away from these discussions about Perl certification?

    Why do you think it's a good idea, or is necessary?

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

      Hi Alex,
        I have read through all those, and everything else I could find online.
      I believe certification is required for Perl to be more accepted by big business
      I believe it'll provide much needed funding for Perl development


        AFAIK perl evolved pretty well without big business funding. Guess why? Because perl is orthogonal to business, and fits big and small. Perl is a humble language designed from its very beginning to ease getting things done. Perl never has been a flagship of a company. But it is, since its beginning, an immense and invaluable help for people to get their things done, everywhere.

        Every now and then in my company, strategies bubble up, concepts and/or products to make customers happy with. More often than not things don't work out nicely on planning, implementing and integrating, things need to be debugged, glued, makeshifts need to be done. Guess what I reach out for? You name it.

        Perl exists not as an edifice, but as an act of love - and so its funding. Congenial businesses fund perl, and they need no certs for labeling anybody, because they look at the person, not the label (skill tests notwithstanding.) Yeah, wishful thinking, you might say, but at very much places this is blissful truth.

          I believe certification is required for Perl to be more accepted by big business

        Based on .. what?

        Perl is quite well accepted at a variety of businesses -- although it's open source, there is support, especially if you have a couple of decent Perl developers on hand. It's also possible to hire bright people and train them to develop in Perl.

        I believe certification is probably favoured more by the HR folks -- it gives them something easily quantifiable. The technical managers don't care so much; or at least (heh) that's my opinion. Likewise which university (if any) someone went to. I went to a great school, but I also graduated a while ago. But get me into an interview situation, and I get really excited to have the opportunity to talk about some lovely complicated thing that I developed recently.

        I think bright, enthusiastic (or passionate) and gets things done are pre-requisites for a decent software developer -- some certification means almost nothing.

          I believe it'll provide much needed funding for Perl development


        Is funding that badly needed that we need to lower ourselves to organizing certification? Why even connect the two? If we need funding, go out and get it -- no need to tie it to certification (something that I find unnecessary in any case).

        Alex / talexb / Toronto

        "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

Re: Perl Certification
by sasdrtx (Friar) on Sep 06, 2008 at 14:23 UTC
    The only certification you need is to become a saint. Apparently, that's not easy though, since no one has yet attained it*.

    *The monk with a million-point bonus doesn't count.


      There's one who is nearly there, although I bet he has no idea how close he is!

Re: Perl Certification
by Your Mother (Bishop) on Sep 07, 2008 at 00:35 UTC

    quester above seems to have found a much more likely URI for the project.

    Some members stand to loose too much.

    That stuff adds no value, really doesn't seem to make any sense, and the passive-aggressive tone, plus the spelling, would make me keep walking past that window and advise anyone I know, on lists or at work, do the same. If you're already alienating those who generally agree with you, take a step back and think about what you're trying to accomplish compared to the methods you're choosing to get there.

    Acknowledging dissent in an abstract is a good rhetorical technique. Being dismissive isn't the same thing as discussing or summing the pros and cons of the issues.

    Gaining money for the TPF seems orthogonal to certification too. Tying it in gives me further pause (and not the perl dot org kind, ho-ho). The best, most useful parts of the Perl I work with are coming directly from sharper elements in the private sector -- like Shadowcat Systems and Infinity Interactive -- and hardcore devs -- like Kogman, Rolsky, Kennedy, and Siracusa.

    Rambling feedback. No punchline. Good luck and let's have a clean fight.

Re: Perl Certification
by whakka (Hermit) on Sep 07, 2008 at 05:13 UTC
    What it seems to boil down to is pragmatism versus ideology. And here's a sad fact: some of the largest and most prominent US consulting firms ask for SAT scores. That's right: SAT scores. Chew on that.

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