Leader of Birmingham.pm [pm.org] and a CPAN author [cpan.org]. Co-organised YAPC::Europe in 2006 and the 2009 QA Hackathon, responsible for the YAPC Conference Surveys [yapc-surveys.org] and the QA Hackathon [qa-hackathon.org] websites. Also the current caretaker for the CPAN Testers websites and data stores.
If you really want to find out more, buy me a Guinness
However, on Friday we had an "exam". It lasted 90 minutes and dispite all the cloak and dagger aspects of a professional exam, it was a limp wristed effort. To qualify, my own performance was not up to scratch and there were some simple questions that I just had brain-fade with. However, of the 8 people who sat the exam, only 2 passed and both just barely.
So was it a hard exam? Most definitely not. It was however, full of ambiguous, woolly and downright confusing questions. Bare in mind that this is an Linux Administrators exam, so what does knowing who writes the Linux HOWTOs enable you to run a cron job? The worst possible aspect of the "exam" was on several questions they wanted a definitive answer to a question that could result in multiple answers, such as in the minutes field of a crontab how do you write 'every 2 minutes'? I wrote both answers and judging from the scorecard I got marked down! Another was asking for a specific result of a theoretical logging application (I assumed it referred to syslog, but who's to say it wasn't something else). Having to second guess examiners should not be part of any exam. What is the "normal exit value of a process"? Without qualifying that, any documented success or error code can be deemed normal.
The other examinees all thought I was doing another exam, seeing as I was writing so much, until they realised I filled in the 'Comments' box for virtually every question. Afterwards I was asked whether I would take the exam again. If the questions are going to be as flakey as this exam, I think not.
I've been using Unix for nearly 18 years, it's not like I'm a novice or anything! While I didn't expect to walk it or anything, I was expecting something closer to the rehearsal test (77%).
With the talk of Perl Certification surfacing again last year, I REALLY hope they can write a decent exam.