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Re: Perl Certification ( oh yeah, it's that time again... almost )

by starbolin (Hermit)
on Jul 04, 2008 at 04:12 UTC ( #695510=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Perl Certification ( oh yeah, it's that time again... almost )

Programmer certificates would be bad for Perl. The problem is, without a large commercial organization driving the adoption of new releases of Perl, the widespread acceptance of certifications would freeze the evolution of Perl. If the major force driving the acceptance of new revisions of Perl was whether or not employers were accepting certifications in that revision then the certification organization would control the language definition. History has shown that the controlling organization will always opt in favor of definition expansion, code bloat and mission creep with the new additions favoring duplicate capabilities rather than radical changes.

Programmer certifications would cause Perl to fork. This would be a bad thing. Standardization of a language leads to bloat which leads to language subsets. We saw this happen with Algol, Fortran, Forth, and Ada. It is more important for the life of the language that we be able to throw out dead constructs as well as add new syntax. Certificates would not allow us to do that.

For a interesting historical perspective see: The Law of Standards


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  • Comment on Re: Perl Certification ( oh yeah, it's that time again... almost )

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Re^2: Perl Certification ( oh yeah, it's that time again... almost )
by mr_mischief (Monsignor) on Jul 07, 2008 at 20:07 UTC
    I agree with your points and I think I agree with your conclusion. I do have at least one counterpoint, though.

    One thing that helps keep other languages afloat in the corporate data centers is the number of certified and therefore nominally "qualified" personnel available. One of the reasons many data centers don't seek to use Perl is because they can't verify the number of people proficient with the language. You often see Perl mentioned as a "desirable" skill where another language is a "required" skill for just this sort of reason.

    I like the idea bubaflub put forth in Re: Perl Certification ( oh yeah, it's that time again... almost ), but rather than martial arts perhaps I'd suggest building trades. Carpenters, bricklayers, stonemasons, electricians, and plumbers tend to have apprentices, journeymen, fellows, and master craftsmen. (In some instances journeyman/fellow is a single rank.) It's sort of a decentralized network of vouching for one another which is less formal than a certification and more formal than just displaying a portfolio or listing three references.

    What would it take for you to feel comfortable vouching for someone as a good Perl programmer? Who would you call a Perl Master, ready to take on students or apprentices? Who would vouch for you? I think a common respect among a field and honest evaluation of one another could bring us a long way toward marketability. It's worked for centuries in other trades and professions.

      Though it sounds good there is a major problem with that form of references.

      This might work on the very pinical of the perl world where a few renowned people have over the years proven to anyone and everyone in the perl world tha they are as good as the rest of us hopes to become, but as soon as one names the next tier down most of us will maybe have heard of 50% of them, one more step and chances are you might know only one or two of those people.

      I think that a formal certification will do nothing but slow perl down, quickly changing the way somehting works or removing or renaming a function will become near impossible. If all you want to do is show an employer how good you are at perl then a certificate is absolutely pointless. An example of your work is far better, a test designed to test your skills written by existing developers in a company will be great to proof or disproof your claims of perl mastery at least for that job, it also gives you a posibility to estimate the skill already in the company.

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