[BSDcert] Ideas on Certifications
tillman at seekingfire.com
Tue Mar 15 16:33:52 EST 2005
On Tue, Mar 15, 2005 at 03:50:35PM -0500, Jim Brown wrote:
> I'm interested in hearing from others about certification levels.
> Some of us have had conversations about levels- basic, medium, advanced;
> or basic, advanced; or just advanced; etc.
I'll start by eliminating the extremes: "end-user" is too low a target
and senior admins are too high a level. Within that middle range I'll
speak some more, using SAGE "levels" terminology because they're already
defined (http://www.sage.org/field/jobs-descriptions.mm) and it saves me
explaining what I mean ;-)
I'm undecided between multiple levels and a single level. A single level
appears at first glance to be the easiest to set up and get rolling with
a community effort ... but I suspect that it would actually be /harder/
due to the large number of compromises it would need to make (compromise
is often harder in community-drive projects). OTOH, I think that if
there are to be multiple levels that they need to be widely spaced so
that there is a clear differentiation between them.
Going back to the SAGE levels idea, I think a SAGE Level II("Junior")
and a Level IV ("Senior") cert make sense if there's to be multiple
levels. Otherwise I'd aim for a SAGE level III ("Intermediate/
Advanced") in a "single cert level" situation. Like I said, I'm
currently undecided. A focused group of similar minds could easily make
a single cert work and could reap the advantages of an easier rollout.
They may also be limiting the appeal of a certification program ... I
jsut don't know.
Anyway, my reasoning for aiming for the "low-to-middle" group is that
there are likely two types of folks that want a BSD cert:
* Those that want it because they've been doing BSD for so long that
that the contents of man hier(7) is muscle memory and they want the
cert to participate in anything BSD related and to help grow the
visibility of the community in the corporate world
* Those that want the cert because they think it'll be useful in getting
a job. I.e., in lieu of extensive experience and personal contacts
I think the second group is the real target for a certification effort.
And the second group is not likely to be composed of senior-"plus" level
folks. With persistence, they'll certainly develop the experience to get
there in time ... but folks wanting a cert to help with obtaining work
are likely applying for jobs/contracts where the employer isn't
/expecting/ a senior person and thus desires to see a cert as a
job application requisite.
My rule of thumb is that senior-level jobs are maximum-bound ("how much
are we willing to pay to attract the talent we want") whereas
junior-level jobs are minimum-bound ("what do we absolutely require to
get these tasks done"). I see certs as assisting in developing common
ground between applicants and employers in the minimum-bound arena.
> If you got a BSD certification how long do you think it should last?
I'm of two minds about this. Folks going after them love "forever"
certs but employers tend to favour limited certs. Going back to the
"this shouldn't be a paper cert" idea, I tend to favour a compromise of
around 4 years (similar to the GIAC certs). With 4 additional years of
experience under the belt, one's expectations for a cert will have
changed quite a bit anyway.
"Users often want ponies; they rarely have the ability to care for them."
-- Mark C. Langston, on the SAGE-members mailing list
More information about the BSDCert