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Re: Certification Foo

by merlyn (Sage)
on Jan 25, 2002 at 20:22 UTC ( #141524=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Certification Foo

Certification won't mean a darn thing to our community unless Larry blesses it. And he's already repeatedly said he won't bless anything. End of discussion.

For what it's worth, I agree with his reasons and conclusion.

-- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(jcwren) Re: Re: Certification Foo
by jcwren (Prior) on Jan 25, 2002 at 20:29 UTC

    While I agree in principle, Randal, the problem is that BrainBench is already offering Perl certs. And there are classes of employers that just *love* BrainBench type certs.

    What Larry thinks will have little to do with what people wanting to hire someone who is known (by whatever metric, flawed or otherwise) to have certain qualifications.


    e-mail jcwren

      Ewww. BrainBench. Which have been shown by Perl Experts to have lousy tests. If an employer wants to trust a bogus organization, they get what they deserve.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

        About a year ago, I did the Brainbench Perl certification test. A year ago, I didn't know OO, almost never used references and never used strict or -w. I didn't even know that local didn't declare. But I passed the certification. At master level.

        (Please note that a LOT has changed in the past year - in that year, I read most of the documentation in the distribution, read a lot on regexes and skimmed over some ORA books I borrowed. (I bought MRE, though - couldn't find anyone that had it). I think my own code is quite good, but then again, I have always thought that ;))

        2;0 juerd@ouranos:~$ perl -e'undef christmas' Segmentation fault 2;139 juerd@ouranos:~$

      I have a BrainBench certification in Perl hanging on my wall in my cube. I took the test because it was free. I hung it up because I went to the trouble of taking the test, getting a certificate, and out of the four or five certs I got from them, it was the only one that wasn't embarrassing. Mostly I keep it around because it looks semi-official and gives me a chuckle once in a while.

      It's certainly politically safer in the workplace than a certificate saying I'm Minister of the Universal Life church (which I don't think I am at this point, just an example). But I would never list BrainBench certification on my resume... I'd be a lot more likely to mention "active participation in the online community" than a BB certification. Now if a prospective employer wanted me to pass one of their tests and was willing to pay the fee...
      And there are classes of employers that just *love* BrainBench type certs.

      Really? I've never met anyone except other Perl developers who have even heard of BrainBench. Did an employer actually ask you about this, or did you present them with a certification from BrainBench?

      I once got a bunch of brainbench certs just to put them on my resume to troll employers - If any of them put any stock whatsoever in them, I ran fast and hard in the opposite direction - I was actually able to extract some usefulness from them. One potential employer saw it, and said "You know brainbench certs are bogus, right?"... I replied back, congratulating him for passing the test.

      I'll be the first to tell you certifications in general are pretty bogus, as they don't mean squat about your real-world abilities, just your ability to Memorize TFM and syntax (something I'm horrible at). On the other hand, corporations are enamoured with getting their people certified on $foo and willing to throw large values of $money around to do so. Parting corporate fools and their money seems like a good idea to me.

Re: Re: Certification Foo
by Masem (Monsignor) on Jan 25, 2002 at 20:33 UTC
    Hmm, Larry must not use OO Perl if he doesn't bless anything... </joke>

    But seriously, I agree here too. Certification in the computer profession, period, is a bad measure of worth; it's not how well you know the manual or the like, but how well you can do the task and find out things that you don't know in the process of doing so. Certification is simply a cop out for employers to determine if someone has a skill set; someone lacking a certification might actually have better skills than a certified person, and in several cases, there are people that lucked out in getting their certifications and actually don't know the minimum standards.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with having a potental employee write code to do a task and then have someone else evaluate it, as part of the interview process. This is a much better measure of what the person is able to do, instead of relying on what a piece of paper says.

    Dr. Michael K. Neylon - || "You've left the lens cap of your mind on again, Pinky" - The Brain
    "I can see my house from here!"
    It's not what you know, but knowing how to find it if you don't know that's important

Re: Re: Certification Foo
by poqui (Deacon) on Jan 25, 2002 at 20:27 UTC
    Would you happen to have a reference or somewhere to point me to so that I may read his reasons and conclusion?
    Or maybe you could give us a synopsis?
      Ok, I'll answer my own question then...

      from January 17, 2001 Maya Tamiya at Perl/Ruby Conference in Kyoto
      CL: Some people seem to see the need for Perl certification. What do you think?

      LW: I think someone else can do that :-) I'm not going to tell people whether they're certified or not. My approach to language design has always been that people should learn just enough of the languages to get their jobs done. They shouldn't have to learn the whole language to begin with. But with certification, you have to be learning the whole language. Some people feel more comfortable that way. I guess if you want to hire experts, you want to make sure they're experts. Certification is useful for that.

      But most of the programming out there is not done by Perl experts. It's mostly done by Perl novices, and they sometimes make sloppy programs, that's ok. They learn by experience to do better over time and eventually they become experts and then, if they want to get certified and somebody wants to certify them, that's fine. I just don't want to do that myself.

      Out of the first 50 of 1,520 hits on "Larry Wall Perl Certification" the above was the only quote of Larry's position.
      To me, this doesn't sound like he is particularly against certification, only that he himself doesn't want to certify anyone.
Re: Re: Certification Foo
by sheriff (Sexton) on Jan 25, 2002 at 20:27 UTC
    I disagree there. If companies are satisfied that it says something about a person if they have the certificate, then it will work. I think you're building castles in the air assuming HR departments and recruitment consultants know who Larry Wall is.
      I disagree there. If companies are satisfied that it says something about a person if they have the certificate, then it will work. I think you're building castles in the air assuming HR departments and recruitment consultants know who Larry Wall is.
      If that's the case, they won't know who any certifying body is. Might as well print up one of your own. I think they've been doing that at some of the TPCs anyway. I got one of mine somewhere at home.

      Certification is useless without authority blessing. Larry will not bless. The senior Perl community will respect (and have respected) Larry's action on this. Therefore, any attempt to end-run this decision will be seen as rogue, and just as pointless as printing up your own.

      So go ahead, print up your own. You want to be certified? Do it.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

Re: Re: Certification Foo
by ignatz (Vicar) on Jan 25, 2002 at 20:44 UTC
    Well, shoot! I would pay good money for something blessed by Larry. The fact that he doesn't offer stuff like that is a testament to his ethics.

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