[consulting] Returning to a solution

Domenic Santangelo domenic at workhabit.com
Mon Aug 10 18:41:51 UTC 2009

Bill Fitzgerald wrote:
>> You're talking from the perspective of yourself here, as a 
>> developer/contributor/coder. 
> Only partially. I would much rather work with a developer/shop who is 
> actively developing useful code, rather than one who is actively 
> talking about how they are sooo good at developing useful code.
> We serve our clients more effectively by pointing out the difference.
I would abstract this concept even further -- "useful" code (for a 
client) is that code which solves their business needs. So in this 
sense, I do agree with you: I'd prefer to hire a consultant/shop that 
has a history of solving problems and driving business value (aka, 
actively develops useful code). A certification by itself doesn't speak 
to this important point, and is one of the very real problems in the 
market -- it's pretty easy to find a skilled programmer, but *much* more 
difficult to find one that can contextualize the work that he/she does 
in terms of business value. The more I consider your point the more I agree.

>> A skill that we as consultants must develop (whether we agree about 
>> certification or not) is the ability to empathize with our client 
>> base and predict their needs. If the *market* (our clients) 
>> demonstrates this need, it will have to be filled. 
> Or, we can articulate why this is an artificial and contrived measure 
> that only demonstrates proficiency at passing tests, as opposed to 
> solving real-world problems.
Or, we can mitigate the "study to pass a test" problem by taking control 
of and developing a certification program of our own from the beginning 
to create a test of value (see: Cisco certs)

> The notion that the "market" is an abstract thing working of its own 
> volition is a myth that needs to be punctured. People make up markets, 
> and people shape them. We can also help shape the terms within which 
> we work.
Sure, this is a concept that's been around for a good half-century if 
not longer. Ultimately it's self-interest that drives the market (and 
the aggregate population that composes it). If it's in the clients' best 
interest to reject the concept of a cert, then they will reject it (I 
think your argument at the top, Bill, is a good reason a client might 
choose to reject it for example).


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