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Certification Revisted - Lua

I happened upon a "should you be certified" thread relating to Lua while browsing for quite other Lua topics ... it's here, and the initial post appears to provide a reasonable, if admittedly tilted, set of arguments in favour of certification. As it freely admits, "we're looking to set up certification, so you can expect us to be biased". It makes interesting reading.

One point struck me straight away - by adding "certification" to what a trainer claims of his course, he can charge £££ more, and if he sets up a certification scheme in an open market, he may be able to sell it to lots of others, form something of a community standard, and make £££££££££ on top. Hmmm - and the reasons given in the post are so altruistic - as if butter wouldn't melt in the poster's mouth!

And I see in a follow up: "So it makes me nervous to see someone pop up more or less from nowhere claiming to know enough about Lua to create a certification program. What guarantee do I have that the tests you have developed mean anything at all?" ... and I have quoted that because I couldn't have put it better myself.

In another follow up: "To be honest we sigh when we see some form of certification on a CV, even the MSXX and A+, unless it is relevant to the job and comes from a recognised authority it is just an expensive piece of paper. And that is the catch, no matter how sincere and trustworthy you are who are you to issue a certificate and why should anybody take you seriously." ... and that if anything is saying an applicant with a certificate may actually be harming his chance of getting considered for a job.

Finally, the certification organisation writes "We do not test for any number of other skills that are needed to make a good programmer -- i.e. an understanding of algorithms, architecture skills, general logic skills, customer skills, etc." ... and I note a reply "Then just what are you going to test for? If someone codes the factorial algorithms in 1000 lines of lua code and it compiles are you going to give them a pass when it should have been written in 6 or less? Or are you saying that you can test someone without them having to display any algorithmic ability?" ... and that is VERY poignant with Lua, where the language is small and the algorithms are not built in to standard functions in the same way that they are in Perl or Python or PHP ...

So ... we WILL confirm, at the request of delegates, that they have attended Lua courses, and we will also confirm the course agenda at their request. We can look back at notes on request and confirm, with the delegate's authority, that they kept up / the course wasn't a problem for them. We can't confirm how they got on afterwards. As a review, we can say "had good potential".And on all of our Lua Courses, we'll ensure that we cover not only the language, but the also the techniques you need in order to write good programs using it too. In fact, because of the extras, it looks rather like we'll be providing much more than a certificate proves!.

P.S. Yes, we do charge for our courses, and earn our salaries by doing so. We ARE keen advocates of Lua - passionate about it - but we wouldn't claim that's the only reason that we run the courses. After all, you want us to be around next year too when you have other people to train, don't you?
(written 2009-08-09, updated 2009-08-10)

 
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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