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Sunday January 11, 2004
07:21 AM

Perl is not a toll road

[ #16755 ]

I was going to work on a program to pull down all of the latest O'Reilly weblog entries so I could read them offline, but I got fired up about the latest incarnation of Perl certification debates. Rather than reply to Tim's story, I posted my thoughts in my O'Reilly weblog.

Despite the use.perl story, reactions seemed to be mixed on the wiki devoted to the topic.

Executive summary: I think certifications are a predatory scam. Let's not make Perl a toll road.

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
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  • by jjohn (22) on 2004.01.11 8:56 (#27212) Homepage Journal
    I think certifications for specific languages are daft and could easily go the away of labor unions (which are at their worst rackets that skim money off their members). Steve McConnell says is that you need to certify software engineers in a similar way that civil engineers are. Languages are just the tools. All of the them do essentially the same kinds of things and many software errors appear despite the implementing language. Prove that you can program by doing a formal apprenticeship program, learn from an experienced engineer and the craft will markedly improve. This kind of program would need to have the force of law behind it to work. It would also increase the cost of software engineers (although it may reduce the overall cost of projects to reduce programming deadweight).

    That said, I doubt that coders will be applying for software licenses anytime soon. ;-)

  • I don't really know the true value of certification, but I would like extra bits of paper, because of the sad fact that it often impresses clue-less management.

    There is value in a fair and recognised certification programme, however I accept that they often become bureaucratic, expensive and out of touch with reality. Also pieces of papers often become a substitute for good recruiting practice.

    If only we lived in an ideal world...

    --
    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
    • Then print up your own. Maybe I need to release Acme::Self::Certify that prints up a nice looking certification for you.
      --
      • Randal L. Schwartz
      • Stonehenge
      • Interesting idea....

        Should we have a competition to make-up bogus acronyms for the certificate bodies and exams?

        --
        -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
        • I propose American Society of Social Humanitarians and Organisationally Licensed Engineers and Scientists. :)

          And while I'm neither for or against certification, I've been told by some people I work with that I'm certifiable. :)

          All in jest, folks. Remember, tomorrow's Monday.

          Buck, MCSE
          (Minesweeper Champion and Solitaire Expert)
          --
          Buck
    • MJD [plover.com] has pieces of paper [plover.com] available at a reasonable price :-)
      • But his prices are too reasonable, a manager won't believe you if you say it cost $X, but if you waste $x thousand they are much happier.

        There is something Dilbertesque about this whole topic. I'm not against examinations per se, but I am against the inappropiate usage put on their results.

        --
        -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
      • Actually, MJD makes some very good points about Perl Certification. We certainly want people who are in the know actually making the certifications, right?

        I would suggest that if some organization seriously starts producing or threatening to produce Perl Certification, that The Perl Foundation or some other equivalent body get in the business immediately. Heck, it could be a money making business for TPF. Better them than somebody else, no?

        • I think that it would call into question TPF's non-profit mandate. There are some sticky legal issues there. I explored those with Perl Mongers and ultimately abandoned them because it something that would provide little benefit with lots of effort.

          Remember, TPF is not set up to be a full time effort by a bunch of people answering phone queries from human resources people.

          I see a lot of people volunteering TPF to do a lot of things, but I do not see TPF volunteering to do anything. It is the same way wi
          • I agree with this.

            I was concerned that, without the proper people behind it, the wrong people would be involved, but really, if it's not worth doing, and I agree that it's not, then it's not worth doing well.

  • Can I just point people to something [bofh.org.uk] I wrote on this very subject in August?

    The potted version: I think there's something to be said for standards, but very little to be said for Tim's version of certification.