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- Subject: Re: Lua Certification - an informal discussion
- From: peterhickman <peterhi@...>
- Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 21:21:16 +0100
On 23 Jun 2005, at 4:01 , Customer Support wrote:
We developed certification exams for Python, Perl, and Lua for two
1) We believe that high-level languages are going to profoundly
direction of IT in the next several decades. For most programmers
languages, this is no surprise, but the business community is only
to realize the incredible impact that these languages will have.
gaming companies seem to be ahead of the curve on this, but mainstream
companies have not caught up.
Most of the games programmers I know were recruited straight out of
university on the basis of their degree, those that were not were
employed after demonstrating their coding skills by writing code.
Pray tell who are these gaming companies who employ you on the basis
of anything else.
I did not need a certificate when I programmed COBOL, FORTRAN,
assembler, C/C++ or Perl and I still don't need one.
2) We believe that certifications will help promote these languages
more importantly, the programmers of these languages. One of the
certification pleaded that Lua should not become like Java or C++.
his point was associated with the way that these languages are
it seems to us that Java and C++ have achieved a level or
that few other languages can claim. Have Java certifications
programmers and the success of the language as a whole? We believe
answer is yes.
I think you have this the wrong way round, Java is popular therefore
people get themselves certified to make their CV stand out above all
the thousands of other wannabe Java programmers. Employers do not say
'oh look he has a certificate in language X, maybe we should use
language X', the certificates did not drive the adoption of the
language. The desire to get well paid jobs drove the certification
industry. Thus having a certificate in Lua will not get me a job as a
programmer if the employer does not want Lua programmers and if they
want Lua programmers they will be looking at my skills not any piece
We are on the lookout for Java and Perl programmers and people waving
certificates will probably (as no one has actually come to us with a
certificate) be shown the door in short order. 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. Does
the phrase 'diploma mill' mean nothing to you?
In the UK we have a venerable institution called the British Computer
Society and no programmer I have known in over 20 years of
programming has considered gaining membership from them and they are
our supposed professional body. No programmer would boast membership
and no employer has required membership. And this is the professional
body for computing people in the UK. Where do you think certificates
from some unheard of company come in the scheme of things.
Answering some common objections
1. "It is possible to pass a certification exam and still be a poor
It is possible to study for three years, get a degree in computing
and be a *BAD* programmer so I'm sure acing a certification exam
can't be that hard.
The purpose of a certification is to establish the knowledge of the
candidate and also to help convince prospective employers of a
Here's another problem 'the knowledge of the candidate' does not in
any way signify 'a candidate's skills'. There are plenty of
programmers who do not know what the partial predicate problem is and
yet are still very good programmers. You could learn what the partial
predicate problem is in five minutes to pass an exam but still be a
bad programmer. Knowledge != skill.
We do not test for any number of other
skills that are needed to make a good programmer -- i.e. an
algorithms, architecture skills, general logic skills, customer
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?
2. "A certificate from a Lua training program would be more
valuable than a certification exam."
What is twice nothing?
3. "I think that your certification exam is deficient in [choose
your topic] area."
It tells me nothing about how good a programmer they are.
It is my sincere hope that our certifications will help members of
community obtain and keep employment, while improving the image of
increasing the value of Lua skills.
Members of the Lua community will obtain and keep employment (in Lua)
when Lua is in demand and they can demonstrate their skills. The
value of Lua skills will increase when the demand for Lua skills
increases. Lua's image will not be improved by people waving
certificates of dubious provenance.
To conclude, I'd like to cite a few articles. I don't consider
these to be
conclusive proof by any means, but they help to illustrate some of
trends that inspired us to create certification exams for Python,
As a Perl programmer of many years this is the first time I have ever
heard of your certificates, never, even once, has an employer (or
potential employer) looked for a certificate on my CV.
"Is it Time for Perl Certification?"
By Tim Maher
The Perl Journal
"Establishing Perl skills as certifiable, and the Perl community as
to comply with accepted hiring protocols, could cast Perl in a
light. First of all, hiring managers would be inclined to see Perl
stable and conventional..., because certification is considered a
of serious languages. Second, they'd realize that screening Perl
programmers would suddenly be no more difficult that screening Java
programmers, Oracle Database Administrators, or Linux System
The best way to screen Perl programmers is to ask "what is wrong with
Remember that the big names in Perl programming do not have
certificates in Perl from you or anyone else.
"Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be
a violent psychopath who knows where you live." (Martin Golding)