[BSDCert] "If you build it, they will come"
evan at telly.org
Mon Nov 21 13:49:17 EST 2005
> Please see the Usage Survey Report which is currently available in 3
> languages. It describes the data received from 4330 responders in 6
> languages over an 18 day period.
> Please see the Task Analysis Survey Report which details the data
> received from 637 responders to a very long and comprehensive survey.
These surveys do a phenomenal job at helping to define what should be in
the skills spec. They do little or nothing to define demand for a
certification. Apples and oranges.
As I said before, this team is doing a superb job in actually making a
certification and producing a well-conceived skills spec. What I'm
asking rhetorically is for any indication of whether certification exams
based on this spec would actually be taken once made. Web hits and
subscription lists are poor indicators of who would actually pay money
to take a test or be a sponsor.
> Regarding Vue/Prometric: don't assume that our business model will
> include these. We are well aware of the size of our market and the
> price costs involved for different test delivery methods. We are also
> committed (see our Bylaws) to make a globally affordable exam that
> uses, where feasible, Open Source products. This is very different
> from the LPI business model both in size of audience and philosophy.
While I was in LPI I tried to sell the community on the concept of a
global network of proctors, using the Internet and open source tools.
This network would be able to deliver low-cost computer-based exams
anywhere -- even hands-on, "performance"-based exams -- by any location
with a qualified proctor, a secure area, an Internet feed and a laptop.
We even had a name for the project, "Xamnet".
Making the software for Xamnet was/is the easiest part of that task,
given the community's strengths, and in fact a significant amount of
code has already been created (for administering candidates, exam
history, certificate fulfilment, etc.) under the GPL. (If you want the
code but are having a hard time finding it, let me know.)
What we found (well, what I found) was that other non-technical
elements, namely the human and security and money-handling
infrastructures, was going to be monstrously difficult to implement
properly. It's possible, but please believe me that you may find the
delivery infrastructure to be far more difficult to implement than the
cert exam itself. (Consider that money transfers between countries now
have to be done under strict money-laundering guidelines.)
I highly doubt that LPI will have continuing enthusiasm for Xamnet now
that I've left since VUE/Prometric and paper-based exams appear to be
doing the job for it; however I still think the idea has social-benefit
merits that go well beyond IT certifications. In conversations I had at
the UN on the topic, folks immediately thought of other applications for
Xamnet. Right now they have no way of knowing whether the huge amounts
of money they spend on (for instance) AIDS education in Africa is
providing any real benefit, and Xamnet could provide a perfect means to
But I digress. I'm not all negative, really. I *am* trying to provoke
what I think is a necessary debate that either hasn't happened or has
been closed off.
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