[OSGeo-Discuss] Certification only; stay out of training :-)

Jody Garnett jody.garnett at gmail.com
Sun Jun 12 06:31:42 PDT 2011

While I concur (I don't want to see the foundation set itself up in competition ) there may yet still be a useful roll to play.

What I cannot figure out is how the foundation could expect to make any money from this angle ... any figuring of costs I go through makes it look like a massive effort.

As for the useful role: If OSGeo was able to supply a certification test, provide independent marking, and issue the resulting certification it may actually complement existing training offerings the existing "professionals and enterprises". This would both validate the training offered; and act as a competitive advantage - right now given a choice between two training courses people will often choose the option that gives them a chance at sitting a certification at the end (especially if they have a limited budget and don't really care what it is they are learning).

A couple of things are clear to me about this discussion:
a) I *hate* certifications; I feel they prey on the disadvantaged of our industry right when they are weakest (this goes for both job hunters and those going through a hiring process)
b) certifications are really required in different markets around the world (especially when industry has lost confidence in the meaning of a university degree).

With the above in mind I feel that certifications will happen; and given a choice I would rather it happen at the foundation level (rather than getting people certified in different product stacks).

So while I have some mechanics in mind (certification to include the open source process; not only use; demonstrate ability; aim for a 50% pass rate for the certification to mean something; offer "bulk" discount to groups wishing to use tests at at the end of a training course; or groups wishing to use test as part of a hiring process).

What I cannot figure out is where the profit is; or how to pay for people's involvement. While groups offering training could collaborate (and possible act in a double blind capability to mark results); it would probably require some paid hours to get projects to look at the tests and make sure they mean something at the end of the day.

Pricing the tests would probably be within market norms; and I would expect a much cheaper retry cost (possibly just covering marking time) if we manage to make the marking process brutal enough to be useful to potential employers.

One thing we have a chance to do well here is stress the soft "open source" skills that a potential employee must have in order to be sucessful. Rather than only mechanical questions about configuration and use. Examples: link to 3 questions you have answered on the user list; two issues you have reported etc (which can be marked for completeness etc...).

Finally you have the annoyance for companies that are already established in this space of having the possibility of competing with new groups that have picked up their certifications and appear better "on paper". I cannot honestly have much sympathy here, competition is as competition does, best advice would be to help define the certification (and allow that to be placed on a resume).

Jody Garnett

On Friday, 10 June 2011 at 4:07 PM, Paolo Cavallini wrote:

> Il 09/06/2011 21:38, Tyler Mitchell ha scritto:
> > Anyone else thinking about this or want to weigh-in on what their thoughts were?
> If this competes with the activities the professionals and enterprises are currently
> offering, -1. We want OSGeo to support our work, not to compete with it. This would
> have a number of negative consequences, IMHO.
> All the best.
> -- 
> Paolo Cavallini: http://www.faunalia.it/pc
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