[consulting] Drupal Certification

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Tue Aug 11 21:53:14 UTC 2009

Aaron Winborn wrote:

> What I would personally like to see happen, and will do my part to
> volunteer to push back in this direction, is to have the developers
> themselves dictate the terms and means for certification. I do not
> want to see an individual company in charge of certifications, and
> will strongly protest any move in that direction.
There is an ongoing debate between proponents of vendor-specific
certification and vendor-neutral that is not restricted to I.T. Does it
matter that your car is serviced by someone who is licensed by the
government as a general mechanic, or certified by Ford as a specialist
in your model? Both approaches have merit -- but my own bias shows in my
efforts to create a vendor-neutral Linux certification in the face of
Red Hat's attempted dominance of the field. As the marketplace has
shown, there is room for both the LPI and Red Hat approach.

> This discussion goes back at least nine hundred years to the formation
> of the university.
> Whereas the former model would pool their resources to look for high
> quality teachers who would have to compete and continually prove
> themselves to their students, the latter model created a system of
> tenure with mixed results.

This is a worthwhile discussion, but not necessarily relevant to
certification itself which is about standards setting and measurement
rather than education. Think psychometrics instead of pedagogy.

In the case of LPI, as a matter of core philosophy we didn't care *how*
you got the requisite skills -- whether you took courses, hired tutors,
read books or just taught yourself. All that mattered was that when you
took the test, you were prepared with the knowledge detailed in LPI's
published objectives. This is a different model from vendor-driver
certification which is sometimes just a tool to drive training business
or sales of "official" materials. It is not necessary to tightly couple
education to certification.

> I believe the Open Source movement is resuscitating this model, and I
> would personally like to see us explore the idea a little more
> closely. Let the modern 'corporations' duke out their certification
> process.
As I've said before, there's nothing wrong with encouraging multiple
paths towards a community-derived standard. In fact, that's my preferred
model. However, it's the creation of multiple similar but competing
standards that I've called a worst case scenario for all.

> Meanwhile, we developers have a blank slate, a unique opportunity, to
> create our own model. This is where places such as Drupal Dojo and
> Drupal Kata have a chance to shine, if we can focus enough attention
> on them (and similar efforts), and take charge of our own education
> and certification.

This is quite compatible with what I am suggesting. It is
procrastination ... and obstacles placed by those who believe that
everyones' approach should be theirs ... that simply invite others to
fill the vacuums with solutions that will eliminate any such ability to
take charge.

And as for taking charge of the education process ... I wish you best of
luck with that ... seriously. Once training companies such as New
Horizons and courseware vendors such as Element K smell the money, it
will be really hard to compete. IMO the community's best shot -- should
it want it -- is to control the educational standards and leave others
to compete on implementation.
Once the vultures of the training industry get involved (and you won't
be able to stop them if they want in) any control not yet asserted will
be lost.

- Evan

PS: If the students are always in charge ... how will they know what
they don't know?

PSS: In this and future references, when I mean "Community" I mean "the
subset of the Drupal community with an interest in certification"

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