Monday, November 3, 2008

Changes in the certification world

The Information Technology Certification Council is a new organization you are going to hear a lot about in the next year. The membership list is a who's who of the computer certification world and their main focus is increasing the value of computer certifications.

Their most visible project to the public will be marketing materials on certifications. The general public does not know a CCIE from a MSCE or CMDBA. Why is this education valuable?

Several years ago I was employed by an on-line recruiting firm and hiring managers asked why they could not find programmers with twenty plus years of Java programming experience. Java was under ten years old at the time and even James Gosling did not have twenty years of Java experience. Twenty plus years of programming experience with a recent emphasis on Java was not what they wanted. They knew exactly what they wanted and would not accept a substitute. Even if what they wanted did not exist.

Only a tiny fraction of the world's population know what someone with a CCIE, LPIC-2, or CMCDBA have had to accomplish to get that jumble of letters. They may know that a PhD, MBA or a MFA have spent a good deal of time in school. Most people have no concept of what law school or medical school entails apart from what they have seen in films or on television. So how does one value these funny computer 'geeks' who show up for an interview with these funny little tree and four letter designations on their resume? What does SCJD or MSCE really mean? Why would you want to hire one?

I was told earlier in the week that an analyst told the ITCC core, "Certifications are as important as college degrees were 10 years ago." That is quite a castigation on the educational system and a big 'heads up' to the certification world that certification programs need to make sure our product clearly delineate those who have the skills from those who do not.

The second ITCC project that will have great impact will the the Certification Clearinghouse. All your certs will be listed on one centralized server under one access code. A hiring manager or human resources clerk doing due diligence on a job candidate will not have to chase a dozen websites with various codes to check certifications. They can go to one site and verify the certifications from a trusted website.

And the ITCC will be working hard to improve test security. The general public will probably not see any of this activity but it will make life difficult for those who wish to cheat or facilitate cheating on certification exams.


Jeremy Cole said...

Hi Dave,

I have to think you meant MCSE, not MSCE -- but I suppose that just reinforces the idea that nobody knows what they really mean, as that's a hugely common mistake.



Anand Sagar said...

Hi Dave,
Need to know something about cmdba 5.1. Is it available in India now, & which book I should follow. Can you guide me what type of questions would be asked as of the same way choose the right one as in cmdba-1.

Reply Requested.

Dave Stokes said...

Ecommerce -- you will have to check with the Oracle certification website. I am no longer associated with the MySQL Certifications.