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On 23 Jun 2005, at 4:01 , Customer Support wrote:

Our motivation
We developed certification exams for Python, Perl, and Lua for two main

1) We believe that high-level languages are going to profoundly affect the direction of IT in the next several decades. For most programmers of these languages, this is no surprise, but the business community is only beginning to realize the incredible impact that these languages will have. Media and
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 and, more importantly, the programmers of these languages. One of the critics of certification pleaded that Lua should not become like Java or C++. I think his point was associated with the way that these languages are managed. But it seems to us that Java and C++ have achieved a level or commercial success that few other languages can claim. Have Java certifications helped Java programmers and the success of the language as a whole? We believe the
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 of paper.

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 programmer."

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 candidate's

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 understanding of algorithms, architecture skills, general logic skills, customer skills, etc.

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 the Lua community obtain and keep employment, while improving the image of Lua, and
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 the IT trends that inspired us to create certification exams for Python, Perl, and

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
October 2003

Tim writes:
"Establishing Perl skills as certifiable, and the Perl community as willing to comply with accepted hiring protocols, could cast Perl in a totally new light. First of all, hiring managers would be inclined to see Perl as more stable and conventional..., because certification is considered a hallmark
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 Perl?"

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)