I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.
I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.
It seems there were a lot of hot debates on Perl certification a while back, but somehow I've missed them all. Part of that's because I didn't make it to OSCON, but mostly it's been because running Perl Training Australia is a lot of work, and at the time I was spending more time in depature lounges than my office.
Despite having missed all the good stuff, certification is a regular topic that comes up both in the office and the classroom. A number of our students would love to receive a formal qualification, and we've even been contacted by recruitment agencies who are looking for developers. So there certainly appears to be some interest from industry.
The other interesting development for us is the establishment of a contact in the Victorian Qualifications Authority. Anyone who's willing to unravel the knotted threads of the Australian education infrastructure, and bring us baked Chinese sweets, is definitely good news.
So the idea of any sort of globally recognised qualification aside, I'd love to be able to offer a nationally recognised Perl certification. However I'm a real stickler when it comes to giving someone a stamp of approval, and for qualifications this is probably a good thing.
I've worked with far too many programmers who while very talented, have large holes in their knowledge. There's a whole realm of people who don't know how to properly use Perl's Object Oriented features. There's an even larger group who don't know how to write test cases, or how to write documentation in POD. I even had one course attendee tell me that we should rename our Perl Security course, because so many businesses and government departments don't think that security is important; a rather telling remark when the person in question is from one of Australia's national security departments.
So if we do want to go through the time, effort, and the significant expense of producing a nationally certified course, then it's going to contain a strong focus on the things that so many developers currently do badly. That means a focus on testing, documentation, input validation, modular and object oriented design, security, and coding style.
Of course, there's a good possibility that despite the hints we keep getting from industry, nobody will actually be willing to pay the extra costs for certified training. We'll also need to have a goodly amount of discussion with other Perl trainers, the community, and Perl-focused businesses, to ensure as much relevancy and recognition as possible. It's clear that we've got quite a bit of work to be done before we even start opening negotiations with the certification authorities. That's probably okay if I keep getting Chinese sweets and baked goods.