Re: certification

Subject: Re: certification
From: Chuck Martin <cwmartin -at- US -dot- ORACLE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 11:15:37 -0800

I have to wonder what is meant by "this attitude." And I disagree
completely with the implication that certification implies a certain
level or "professionalization," and that one is less professional by
deciding that issues other than a "hard-won" piece of paper have higher
priority in a given situation. To suggest that an opinion is given
because an issue isn't fully understood is simple arrogance.

Certification says no more about a person's quality of skills than ISO
9000 certification says about a company's quality of output. That is,
there is no direct correlation. To paraphrase what one ISO consultant
once told me, you can produce total garbage, but as long as you can
fully document how the garbage is produced, then it will be ISO
certified garbage.

Let me offer another example. Just this morning, on my way to work, I
was cut off 3 times on the freeway, once by someone who came within just
a few feet of my front bumper, and if I hadn't been alert enough to jam
on the brakes, or if I had been distracted, we might not have missed
each other. I assume that at least the majority of these people had
driver's licenses--that is, certification that they have the knowledge
and skills to drive provided by a state agency. Clearly, however, that
certification showed no correlation to competency for the task.

Certification is a buzzword. Certification can be used to hide
incompetency. When a programmer walks into Microsoft for an interview,
certification (even an MSCE) isn't going to do much good. That
programmer will be asked how to solve a specific problem and to show
that solution right there. If the programmer can't complete the task,
it's on to the next candidate. Early in my career, when I applied at one
company, I awas asked to write a definition of "styles," and left alone
to complete the task.

I *know* I write well. I know it not only because I am aware of what I
am and am not capable of, but because I have received that feedback from
many others in my writing career, from newspaper editors to teachers to
managers. I receive positive evaluations from past managers and
teachers. No certification, no matter how "hard-won," can ever take the
place of proving myself over and over in the real world, where it really
counts. I'll take my pages and pages of quality published work over a
certificate any day of the week, and I'll look for and be more impressed
with the same in others.

Nick Marino wrote:
> This is so often the opinion of those who are uncertified in their
> respective fields. I don't know if this is the case here and I don't
> mean to say that it is the case. I see this attitude in a number of
> fields where an industry established certification process is not well
> understood.
> Perhaps it is a negative reflection on the part of the interviewer who
> hasn't bothered to keep up with the professionalization in his or her
> respective field when they reject out of hand a hard-won
> certification.
> Of course the interviewee would be wise to become certified and
> maintain a portfolio, both to bring to the interview.
> Certifications are meant to be known and fully understood by field
> practitioners so that a common industry standard exists that sends a
> universal message about the one who posses the certification. It is
> just unprofessional for a practitioner to be unaware or uninterested
> in established relevant certifications.

Chuck Martin
Principal Technical Writer, Oracle Developer
Tools Division, Oracle Corporation


org:Oracle Developer
email;internet:cwmartin -at- us -dot- oracle -dot- com
title:Principal Technical Writer
fn:Chuck Martin

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