RE: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler

Subject: RE: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 13:17:08 -0400

Damien Braniff had this to say:
> Like others, I see pros and cons for both depending on the
> situation - sometimes it polished and shiny and others it's
> down and dirty and often somewhere in between! :-)
> Like Sharon, I see certification (or any certificate I might
> have) as simply something that makes me stand out at the
> initial phase - to get that interview. Once I get that they
> don't mean a lot if I don't 'sell' myself well.

I think that a point that I, and others, have been trying
to make is this:

If a program becomes entrenched, it becomes ubiquitous...
part of the landscape. After a while, nobody gets hired
who doesn't have the credential. So, taking the requisite
courses becomes a mandatory part of reaching the starting
gate. Only X years of job experience lets you just take
the tests without having put in the classroom time, and
after a while there are none of those old farts left.

But once everybody in the biz has the cert, it becomes
a formality - see other people's comments about people
who have received their medical licences and should not
be permitted within pill-throwing distance of patients,
lawyers who have passed the bar and should not be
permitted near anybody's legal problems or livelihood,
certified financial planners who... and so on.

Then, the only valuable cert is the second-level cert
that says you have qualified (however that is done) to
a higher standard than the lowest level that must be
checked off just so you can show your face in public
(or in HR in-baskets).

Seeing that, the politicos and administrators decide
that they can either create a third level to push
the problem back a few more years, or they can start
creating certifications of narrowly-defined specialties.

Thus, it becomes an exercise in jumping through
hoops, just to get to the ground floor, and then
you get pigeon-holed in a specialty. Don't pick
the wrong major...

Meanwhile, this kind of mechanism needs administration,
which means that a dedicated bureaucracy grows up
around it. No bureaucracy works for free, so it must
be funded. Guild dues, and you can't realistically refuse.

Naturally, at the same time, the political arm of the
organization would be working diligently with regulators
and insurers to ensure that it becomes effectively or
actually 'illegal' to hire a TW who doesn't have XYZ
credential. Maybe there wouldn't be a specific law that
says it's outright illegal, but there come to be official
stances and practices that say "if you hired somebody
without the correct alphabet soup following their names,
and something goes wrong, you are uninsured and wide open
to negligence lawsuits (because after all, the XYZ
credential is now the minimum standard, is it not)?"

It's a natural progression, and in-and-of itself, it's
not bad. It might hurt some rebels during the transition
- those'd be the eggs that get broken to make omelettes.
But eventually, everybody's in the system, so nobody gets
differentially disadvantaged.

Or do they? Who would care to suggest that the new
bureaucracy - and it's political masters - would NOT
develop an old-boy's network and some back-door
handling of friends, family, people-who-grease-the-palm?
What's the name of that organization that works
entirely without influence and trading of favors?

In today's world, you can be "more equal" than other
potential applicants for any given job by knowing the
right person on the inside. We celebrate it, and call
it networking. The eventual certification bureaucracy,
once entrenched, would simply offer another venue for
that behavior, at a significant tithe of everybody's
wages. People who are not good at networking, not
temperamentally suited to glad-handing and base-touching
(with people they couldn't even remember without
benefit of database), would be paying fees to enable
yet another way for them to be less competitive than
the more outgoing and politically astute.

Everybody who is in a position to decide whether or
not you can have something that you need is in a
position of power. This would be a new set of positions
of power, open to all the uses and abuses that beset
existing power structures.

As I believe I might have said the last time we went
around this circle, I'd be less leary of a push for
certification if there were competing certifying
"agencies". If it were a competitive market-place.

- Kevin (who remembers saying all this the last time, too)

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Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Damien Braniff

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