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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • We can all certainly agree on one thing -- the idea of certifying Perl programmers is surely guaranteed to elicit some lively discussion!

    But the pattern of responses is always the same -- a few well-known JAPHs coming out against it, and the rank-and-file community members taking neutral, or strongly favorable positions, because they don't want to convert to Java/C++ etc. just to gain employment, and certification might help there (see my TPJ article [teachmeperl.com]). As I've argued in that article, and in postings on the

    --

    Dr. Tim Maher
    CEO, Consultix
    Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
    • Why is the focus always on testing? Discussing methodolgy is so beyond topic right now. How about laying the foundations for certification instead. What is the perl body of knowlesge? What are standards of professional practice? Who is an issuing authority? Answer those questions and then maybe you can come up with a meaningful certification that can a) have recognized stature, and b) lead to a professional society for perlers.
      • The "focus is always on testing" because that's the role of a certification procedure -- to ascertain the knowledge of the testee. But of course you're correct that there would be some homework to do before sitting down and writing that test 8-} In that connection, we have lots of resources (mostly in print) that already do a pretty good job of summarizing the "body of knowledge" for Perl, and we could certainly come up with some "best practices" and "preferred coding styles" too.

        But here's the real ans

        --

        Dr. Tim Maher
        CEO, Consultix
        Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
        • I strongly disagree.

          There's plenty of benefit to ascertaining the Perl Body of Knowledge without committing to a certification program. That body of knowledge serves as a repository of best practices on how to (and how not to) write Perl programs.

          Currently, there's a vague body of knowledge floating around, built up from received wisdom, cargo cult programming, and uncritical repetition of previous practices. Building the BOK examines all of those practices and codifies what works, what doesn't, and

          • <Ziggy> There's plenty of benefit to ascertaining the Perl Body of Knowledge without committing to a certification program. ... Building the BOK examines all of those practices and codifies what works, what doesn't, and why. I know I'd find that rather handy. Especially if I wanted to avoid the classic pitfalls in an unfamiliar domain (like the SQL injection bug when writing database backed web apps).

            «Cart before the camel»? Hardly.

            <Tim> If the BOK is so important, how have we surv

            --

            Dr. Tim Maher
            CEO, Consultix
            Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
            • If the BOK is so important, how have we survived so nicely for so long without having it codified? Why aren't people (besides you) clamoring for its development?

              If Perl Certification is so critical to Perl's success, how did it get as successful as it is today without a certification program?

              A Perl BOK would be a useful tool, but it is not a pre-requisite for Perl's success. A body of knowledge is a necessary pre-requisite for any meaningful certification program, anywhere -- Perl Certifications, dr

              • If Perl Certification is so critical to Perl's success, how did it get as successful as it is today without a certification program?

                As you know I've stated elsewhere, by not providing an official Certification Program for Perl Programmers, we have necessitated the creation of hundreds of private Perl certification programs in IT departments all over the world.

                It's a testament to the appeal of the language that so many companies have been willing to take on this burden on their own. But can we really expect them all to upgrade their homegrown Cert Programs for Perl 6? Maybe they'll just throw in the Perl-towel and go totally to the Java side at that point. And what about the other companies that have never had their own Cert programs, and don't feel qualified to judge and hire JAPHs? Why should we let them fall by the wayside, rather than pulling them into our flock (er, herd).

                I think it would be wise for the Perl Community to help companies, who are unwilling or unable to shoulder the burden of developing and/or maintaining their own programs, to easily validate the knowledge of JAPH applicants, and therefore make them easier to hire.

                When I was interviewing for jobs as a Perl programmer many years ago, certification was not a holy grail by any means.

                Thanks for sharing your personal experience. Given the absence of hard data on the subject, we all have to make use of the info we can get, but we're all like blind men feeling different parts of the Camel.

                Just because a company already has a homegrown Perl cert doesn't mean they're looking forward to revamping it for Perl 6, and that they wouldn't prefer to delegate at least the purely-technical-knowledge part of that vetting process to the Perl Community instead. And having Perl 6 on the horizon is certain to make the Grail of Perl Certification ever Holier by the minute, as companies ponder what to do with their (somewhat) outdated homegrown programs. I think we should carefully consider the possibility that the arrival of the spectacular Perl 6 could ironically cause us to lost market share to Java, just because it's emergence will render obsolete so many homegrown cert programs, and consequently shift new development projects away from Perl.

                ... for you to assert that hiring managers and HR people consider certifications to be a "holy grail" is patently absurd. They are merely one tool among many that some managers will use occasionally to weed out a stack of resumes. No more, no less.

                Even a Swiss Army knife is by some definitions "only one tool", but as tools go, it's hard to beat on a camping trip. 8-}

                If we had an entity worthy of a name like the Perl Professional Institute, we could ask them to randomly call 100 of the Fortune 500 companies and ask them if they have a Homegrown Cert and what their plans are for upgrading it for Perl 6. I'd be willing to bet a Larry-autographed copy of the Camel that the IT managers would ask why we don't get on the ball and help them in this area -- as I've been hearing in my own (less ambitious) research.

                We're not likely to get the PPI anytime soon, but perhaps it would be worth creating a special TPF-sponsored email address, or Wiki page, through which we could solicit input from businesses on these matters.

                Or how about assembling an "Enterprise Advisory Panel", or maybe a "Camel Trainers Club" of corporate IT execs, who could tell us what their Perlish needs are and help guide us in directions that will meet them.

                Wouldn't these efforts be within our meagre capabilities?

                Let's face it, Perl is not a toy in some geek's closet anymore; it's a powerful resource with a lot to offer the business world. Isn't it time we started capitalizing on that base to build up our community's reputation and stability, and pave the way for an even brighter future?

                --

                Dr. Tim Maher
                CEO, Consultix
                Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]