The $10,000 Cert

  • I should keep my reply short and just say "ditto" to what I've said in the past.

    (New certification programs only ever result in more bad development going on and an unending need for those of us who really know what they're doing to come in and try and fix things after the fact.)

    But...

    Isn't it bizarrely fascinating to see so many people clammoring to be certified by a company that cannot 1) manage its own projects effectively, 2) design an application that won't break everything it comes in contact with, 3) produce a remotely solid or trustworthy product in less than 5 patches, or 4)... (well I could go on and on)?

     

  • Nice redirect. 🙂

     

    I would tend to disagree with your blanket statement, but would agree that there are people that can and people that cannot, and the diffeence is not measured in degrees, titles, or credentials, rather by their track record of success.

    I think your last statement fits most every company out there in most every industry ever created. Well, except for the coffee industry. Never had a cup I didn't like...

  • I welcome not only the architecture certification, but also the more intense discussion in the industry on what architecture is, such as being done by the folks at Bredemeyer Consulting.  Obviously Microsoft is the company that people love to hate (they are used to this) but there is a need by the buyers of professional services (such as architectural or database skills) that there is some mechanism to measure that they can walk the talk.

     

    I consider myself an architect and today I interviewed someone who, according to his CV, currently holds the post of ‘Senior Developer and Architect’ – the poor guy crashed in the interview and on my team would barely make the grade of intermediate developer, never mind remotely being an architect.

     

    Now when I step forward as an architect, I am being lumped together with developers who have no architectural skills, but choose the label because it looks good or their boss is trying to make them feel better by giving them a fancy title.  Frankly it sucks, and it almost wants me not to (me too, me too) call myself an architect.

     

    Microsoft’s and the Open Group’s efforts in this area has to be a good thing as people can be properly better labelled.  How many of the people who frequent this site would like to be called more than a ‘DBA’? Competing with people who last month upgraded their skills from Access to SQL server and are now suddenly DBA’s.  Same title, same skills, same money – right?

     

    Would you be happier if someone, be that Microsoft or even sqlservercentral.com, Kimberly Trip… anyone – took a step forward and developed a mechanism for sorting out the real SQL Gurus, such as Mike and Steve from the newly ‘minted admins’? Hey, if Kimberley Trip, who talks a lot to the buyers of my services, gave me a certificate that she had looked at my work and personally grilled me in an interview – and reckons I’m ok, I’d pay something for that acknowledgement – even if it is just to pay for her time.

     

    Microsoft is simply stepping up to the plate – don’t hate the player, hate the game.

     

    Simon

  • Check out the recently added post on the MCA blog - Common fallacies around MCA programme.

    Looks to me like this discussion is going to continue long after the thread has fizzled out.

    Simon

  • I'll reserve judgement on the MCA program until we see how well it predicts some competency. Don't forget, however, that there are many certified "doctors", not all of whom are competent.

    As far as MS not being able to architect their own systems, I'm not sure there's anyone in the world that could do a better job on an OS or any other project of that scale. It's truly one of the largest systems being built. I'd think though that an MCA could easily build a large scale (> 5000 concurrent users) web system or a similarly sized corporate project.

  • No offense taken, just wanted to point out the value that this community adds to Microsoft and their product offerings, generally at little to no cost to Microsoft.  Communities like this one full of members on the front lines add plenty of value to Microsoft's bottom line.

    The fact that there is no clear-cut definition of an "architect", and the nature of the information available to make this $10K decision leads one to believe that this particular cert. is more of a hands-off cert. for hands-off consultants.  The fact that it's "for people who are able to gather business requirements, translate them to appropriate language and audit the execution" makes it sound an awful lot like "project management" to me.  But I also understand that a lot of consultants make a lot of money by splitting hairs on the fringes.

    By the way, how would a candidate "quantify the success" and "determine the business value" of obtaining this particular certification?  After all, I can easily quantify the business value of an MCSD, MCDBA, CCNA, MBA, or even a good old B.S. or B.A. degree.  One would think this would make an excellent question to ask candidates.  After all, if a candidate can't quantify the business value of making this expenditure are they really qualified to determine business value for your next multimillion dollar project?

    I'm a little surprised to see from the blog posting that the author compares this to a "well-regarded MBA programme."  Is it really the technical equivalent of an MBA?  Is there anything to back up this assertion?  Just to clarify, this is actually a serious question, and not a raving rant.

    Thanks.

  • You know that somebody will be keeping metrics about projects worked on by MCAs.

    Unless the metrics show that MCA's are vastly superior to non-MCA's it won't fly. If there is only margional difference then forget it.

  • That would be interesting to see how people would quantify the value of achieving this certification atthis time. I believe once evidence is in place for what the MCAs do and what the success rate is they have, the valuation will be simple.

    I believe the author made that comparison because of the lack of other comparisons available. Also, he does mention CISSP and PMI certs which have experiential requirements. I modeled the certification interview after PhD dissertation defense and Master's program oral exams, and the person that put together the nuts and bolts of how the interview is conducted is a PhD in psychometrics so have experience in human measurement and PhD process.

    I think one of the many difference between this program and an academic program is that those program are meant to educate people over a number of years and this program is meant to validate existing skills and experience.  

  • I can see one possible benefit of the MCA program:

    With the release of Visual Studio 2005 Mcrosoft is has begun to address the development of enterprise-level applications and systems. No doubt Mcrosoft also wants to provide consulting for such development, and for this it needs a pool of  suitable architects. The MCA provides such a pool.

  • That would address Microsoft's business decision for creating such a program; however, it does not seem to justify the business decision that individuals and corporations must make in investing in this program.  As a wise Microsoft executive once said, "What's the bottom line?"  As it stands there is not enough information available to the general public to make a sound business decision concerning this program.  Unless they are receiving inside information (i.e., expected R.O.I., etc.) to which the general public is not privy, I find it hard to believe that candidates with strong business acumen could justify such a blind investment.  Even a casino provides a well-defined potential R.O.I. and a well-defined potential risk.

    Will this certification lead to higher salaries, more and better job opportunities, more exhorbitant consulting rates for organizations, greater visibility for employers, etc.?  Or will it just be another logo on the old business card?  Will the benefits even recoup the initial investment?  If so, in what time frame?  I did not see anything on the MCA portion of MS' site to indicate R.O.I. or any other factors.  When I checked last week they didn't even mention how often you must get recertified or what the investment there will be.  Of course I might have missed the page that demonstrates all this; if so, could someone please post a link?

    As someone alluded to earlier, this particular certification does not appear to be one to help an individual attain success; it is for those who are already successful at what they do...  The way it's presented (to the general public at least...  I don't know what type of inside information gets passed around to the golden children), it seems like a comparison with a liberal arts degree would be more appropriate than a comparison to a Ph.D.  Although the interview process might be comparable to that of a Ph.D., the interview process alone does not a Ph.D. make.

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