Ivan Porto Carrero

IO(thoughts) flatMap (_.propagandize)



Wellington - Lunch With Geeks (21/08/2007)

Last week there was no lunch with geeks because of Tech Ed.  Naturally we started our session rehashing what we thought were the highlights of Tech Ed NZ.

In general everybody really liked the keynote by Lou Carbone and we were definitely not the only ones, mauricio has a more detailed post on the keynote.  Anyway it was really entertaining and educational at the same time, I couldn’t believe some of the things hotels do with towels and toilet rolls.  Designing for to trigger emotions instead of functionality would be the biggest lesson for me.
My favourite quote from tech ed would be something Jim Webber said during a session about Dynamic languages vs. Static languages:

If you polish a turd, your hands will be smelly but you will still have a turd.
(Jim Webber on wsdl)

After that we started the topic at hand: Vendor certification is it really worth it? - A topic suggested by Pablo Garcia from Provoke solutions.

The discussion was long but seemed to often get back to the same basic ideas. I’ll just summarize:

It’s worth it:

  • It’s worth it if you’re an intermediate or a junior developer and looking for a job
  • It’s a benchmark for people that have been in the industry for a long time to assure that they are still current.
  • it can be really useful for systems people

It’s not worth it:

  • A senior that has heaps of certifications and boasts about them => Mort alert
  • it doesn’t teach you any of the concepts behind problem solving and analysis, but focusses more on learning-by-heart
  • it often promotes less-than-best practices aka enterprise practices
  • it is in no way a guarantee that the person really knows his stuff it only proves he can memorize a bunch of things.
  • seen as software development is an art, exams are inappropriate because the grader needs to like your writing style before everything else.

The discussion went on about the benefit of a university training vs. the certification process and that seemed to go on forever. Some of the members of our group started recalling memories from when they were in uni and why exams were too subjective to effectively measure the skill of a student.


We did all agree that certification done by vendors isn’t the best way to go about it, and that it would be a much better idea if these certifications would be issued by some global, independent organization. That would immediately raise the credibility of these disciplines.

That was our session.

If forgot something please let me know :)

UPDATE: I added a link to Pablo’s blog http://blogs.provoke.co.nz/theengineroom

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