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Re: AYT? Support network, anyone up to?

Rob Browning <rlb@cs.utexas.edu> writes:

> "S. Ryan Quick" <ryan@phaedo.com> writes:
> > I think we should . . .  Sun, IBM, Digital, Siemens, Sequent, etc. all
> > have their certifications.  It would be well worth it for us to have
> > ours as well (and eventually, the co-op could even make some money for
> > itself off the certification process and by teaching classes geared
> > to debian support).  Yes, we offer training . . .  Can you tell? ;-)
> In my opinion, certification, if it exists at all, should be free.
> Perhaps web based.  But I think I like Jim's "web of trust" approach
> better.

I've always been highly suspicious of "certification" (like MCSE, CNE,
etc) programs in general.  They just seem like new ways for the "big
guys" to bleed money out of the "little guys".

Just because somebody has a certificate does not make them more
qualified, unfortunately.  I know a number of people who have
certificates that I would not hire.  What a certificate designates is
that the consultant was willing to cough up some money, and cram from
an exam.  They might learn the minute trivia associated with a
Microsoft NT administration, for example - but they are unable to
answer the grander question of why one would choose Microsoft NT over
Linux for a particular solution.

(There is also the rather sticky issue over whether or not they are
 allowed to call themselves "Engineers".  In BC, the Professional
 Engineers association is supposed to be policing the use of that
 word.  I took an 5 year Engineering degree so I could call myself
 an Engineer, vs. some $500 course taken over a weekend.  It really
 bugs me to see people with business cards that say something like
 "Joe Blow, M.C.S.E.")

Does a certification assist with marketing?  All things being equal, I
have doubts about whether an intelligent customer would choose a
consultant with a vendor-supplied certificate over one that didn't.  A
consultant with an MCSE designation probably is more likely to
recommend only Microsoft products without considering the competition
- which isn't really in the customer's best interest.

A computer science or engineering degreee from a respected institution
blows a vendor certification out of the water.

Where it does help is that the small independent consultant gets to
associate himself/herself with that huge monstrosity out of Redmond,
appearing to be a bit larger and more connected (and thus less of a
risk).  Microsoft does make a small effort to make referrals.

I know some people who are members of these rather costly programs.
And they really aren't sure whether or not it's an economic plus or
minus to their business.

I feel that a co-op organization with a "closed" membership policy,
good marketing, and high standards (collectively set by the "peer"
members) would go much further towards convincing a customer to sign a
deal than a silly plaque hanging on a wall.

Anyways, I'm not totally against a "Linux Certification" program - but
I don't think that a good business case can be made for the DConsult
co-op members to go through the expense of developing, administrating,
and marketing one (at least, not at this stage).


 - Jim

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