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The Future of Knowledge Measurement Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:33 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Future of Knowledge Measurement






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Post #1493424
Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:52 AM
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We seem to live in a society of yet more and more tests, more and more certification. If my sons want to drive my RV with a car attached they have to take six driving tests now. Does it make a difference?
The best DBA's are those that not only understand their own jobs but the context in which they do their work, so would such certification be of high value? Are the Microsoft products really that good? Look more at TFS and it's facilities for managing schema changes and you will see facilities that specifically accommodate bad development practices.
Certificates can breed arrogance and are no guarantee.
I rarely find I work with people with more than the most basic of qualifications although I always work on the biggest projects around. One senior consultant has a CSE in metalworking and that is all, but he has worked for a top US Investment Bank in a critical position.
In many disciplines, such as being an Architect in building design you must be chartered or else your employer is legally liable. This is never applied in IT.
Decisions are rarely made by those with the necessary depth of understanding to correctly evaluate the relative importance of the information they have.
If a DBA does not know the syntax he (or she) will very quickly get caught out.
That said there are still a lot of cowboys in our business, and I am qualified to state this - I have the hat and the boots!
EurIng Jane Dunn CEng, CITP, MSc IT (Dist), BEng Hons, MBCS.
Post #1493465
Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 5:11 AM
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Why not base your decision on the candidate's academic qualifications?

College and university exams are far more rigorous and comprehensive than any interview tests can ever be.

Choose a candidate with good exam grades in a relevant subject area from a reputable college/university and you can't go far wrong.

Base your decision on a small number of random interview tests and you will get random results.

Simon

Post #1493577
Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 6:29 AM
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Why not base your decision on the candidate's academic qualifications?

College and university exams are far more rigorous and comprehensive than any interview tests can ever be.


LOL!

Degrees are not a sign of competence. There are many folks with CS degrees that can't problem solve and many MBAs that can't manage. The best programmer I know is self trained, the second best was a music major. The best DBA I've been around has a culinary background. (He's also a MCM, too.)

Steve mentioned self publication. There's a large number of people attempting to "game" that too. There's a lot of blog postings out there that are cribbed 99 percent from other reputable sites and MSDN articles.

If an employer or potential employee really wants to test capabilities two things come to mind. Have a true professional screen the applicant. A top level DBA can figure out the level of an applicant with 3 questions and in about 20 minutes. Also a company can test the applicant on site before hiring. Toss them in front of a VM with SSMS up and see what they can do.
Post #1493623
Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 6:56 AM
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simon.crick (9/11/2013)
Why not base your decision on the candidate's academic qualifications?

College and university exams are far more rigorous and comprehensive than any interview tests can ever be.

Choose a candidate with good exam grades in a relevant subject area from a reputable college/university and you can't go far wrong.

Base your decision on a small number of random interview tests and you will get random results.

Simon



College degrees are a pretty good indicator, especially when considering folks new to the job market. At some point a history of job performance can lend greater influence to hiring decisions. Certifications should be a positive indicator also, the fact that they can be gamed is an indication that the particular certs being gamed need to be fixed, not that testing knowledge and performance is simply invalid in itself. College degrees by definition test knowledge and ability, and so should certs (to whatever degree the cert aims to test).

Post #1493643
Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 7:01 AM
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I like the idea of an independent testing/certification organization. This is how members of some other professions demonstrate their competencies. While probably not a requirement, we should keep in mind that many/most of these same professions require memberships involving annual dues, much higher (and required) testing processes and costs, etc.
I still don't see how this directly (or just) relates to Microsoft. "They [Microsoft] have too much incentive to cheat." I disagree. I would be interested in knowing how Microsoft's certification program -- which I've been through and find not perfect by any means but very good -- is different than Oracle's, Cisco's or any other such company. Besides making a profit, it seems to me that what they want is competent professionals eager to use and promote their technologies. And what we want is the opportunity to do so.
Post #1493649
Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 7:25 AM
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chrisn-585491 (9/11/2013)
Degrees are not a sign of competence. There are many folks with CS degrees that can't problem solve and many MBAs that can't manage. The best programmer I know is self trained, the second best was a music major. The best DBA I've been around has a culinary background. (He's also a MCM, too.)


I can definitely vouch for that one, having originally been a Bachelor's of Computer Science recipient and not having any idea what I was doing . Our college curriculum focused on basic C++ programming, with some assembly programming here and there, and our database course (for one semester only) was with MySQL. In it, we were largely taught that triggers should do most of the heavy lifting in the database. Oh, and I started on my degree in 2005. Yeeeeeep...

The degree certainly looks nice, though, and it gives me a little bit of credence in my resumes, at least. Still, I definitely wasn't satisfied with what I'd learned, and started doing plenty of self-study to learn more. A lot of what I initially learned was that I hadn't learned much of anything useful, so I had to ditch the (bad) course education I picked up and instead develop good programming habits. But you'd never guess that was the case if you judged me entirely by the fact that I have a diploma, with the idea that having it guaranteed my competency.


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Post #1493669
Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 7:29 AM


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I think we have enough evidence now to support the fact that there are very highly skilled individuals who have been extremely successful over a long and distinguished career and who also have no certifications and in some case don't have college degrees either. So I think the idea of developing "the perfect" certification process would do nothing more than cost a lot of time and money to both the candidates and the entity responsible for administering and awarding the certifications. Additionally, employers would be depriving themselves of all the high performers who have no certifications and/or degrees. So the pursuit of "the perfect" certification process seems to be a pointless endeavor for everyone involved.

The simple answer has been in use for more time than I can remember. The answer is the tried and true probationary period. Most places that I have worked for had a 90 day probationary period. Today it's becoming more common to extend the probationary period to 6 months. My current employer is at 6 months and I have heard of others as well. The probationary period actually takes a lot of pressure off of the candidate and the hiring manager.

The hiring manager tells the candidate up front, "I'm not looking for degrees or certifications so if you demonstrate during the probationary period that you can do what your resume says you can do then you will still have a job here after the probationary period". At this point the candidate is free to decline the offer if he or she knows the resume was over-exaggerated.

The hiring manager now has no pressure to make and later defend/protect his or her decision. The final decision will be made before the end of the probationary period.

No need for certifications. No need for degrees. No need to limit the pool of highly skilled candidates. And the end result is a hire that has proven he or she can do the job as advertised.

Problem solved!
Post #1493671
Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 7:48 AM
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I agree 100% with the idea of a probationary period.

However... you still have to decide which candidate to hire for the probationary period, and it is still 6 months wasted if you get the decision wrong.

Therefore, you still need some way to choose the best candidate, and I still believe academic qualifications are the most reliable indicator of long-term potential.

Sitting someone in front of SSMS will tell you how useful they will be on day 1, but not how useful they will be in 6 months or a year.

Simon


Post #1493690
Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 8:02 AM


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simon.crick (9/11/2013)
... However... you still have to decide which candidate to hire for the probationary period, and it is still 6 months wasted if you get the decision wrong.

Therefore, you still need some way to choose the best candidate, and I still believe academic qualifications are the most reliable indicator of long-term potential.

Sitting someone in front of SSMS will tell you how useful they will be on day 1, but not how useful they will be in 6 months or a year.

I will not limit my pool of candidates to only the people who have academic qualifications. I want the most highly skilled person I can find.

I'm not suggesting to water down the interview and screening activities. Sitting someone in front of SSMS is a great part of the process. But I can sit anyone down in front of SSMS. So I don't have to limit myself and potentially lose highly skilled candidates.
Post #1493697
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