Re: Certification

Subject: Re: Certification
From: George Allaman <gallama -at- LOOKOUT -dot- ECTE -dot- USWC -dot- USWEST -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 09:06:25 -0700

On Mon, 8 Jan 1996, Robert Plamondon wrote:

> I'm saying that the correlation between qualifications and quality work
> is weak. And what qualities would a certificate indicate that a
> resume does not? My diploma contains far less information than even
> a one-sentence description of my coursework, for example.


You are very articulate, Robert, yet you are not addressing the correct
issue. You are vague about exactly how much useful information a certificate
would carry. I propose that, although it would not always give an accurate
indication of a person's competence, more often than not it would. This is
useful information.

Do you deny this? I think that position would be hard to support. There is a
big difference between someone who is willing to pay the $100 for a bogus
certificate that allows them to accept a job they are not qualified for and
will not succeed at, and someone who has proven experience and demonstrated
proficiency. As a recruiter, I could not ignore this.

The information that a certificate would carry, and that a resume does not,
is this:

* The applicant has demonstrated proficiency at editing and formatting
on a given platform.

* The applicant has proven that they have a minimum number of years of
experience in the field.

This saves the recruiter the trouble of testing the applicant and doing a
reference check, a significant savings of time and trouble on both sides.

Having said that, any recruiter who would accept a certificate unaware of
the limitations you have pointed out would be naive. But on a general
basis, I still think the certificate is useful.

An example: I am an advanced ham radio operator. I hate Morse code. I learned
it to pass the test, then I forgot every character. Almost nobody uses it any
more, yet the test survives. Why? It keeps people who are not serious about
radio off the bandwidth. It's not a perfect system, but it works. Ham radio
has not (yet) become as polluted as CB radio, for that reason.

Having a license doesn't mean I know more about radio than anyone who doesn't
have one. It simply means I have demonstrated a certain level of knowledge.
You'd be crazy to hire me as circuit designer on the strength of my license,
but it would be reasonable to hire me as a radio operator because of it.

Gawd, I do go on.

|George Allaman | |
|Tech Writer | <clever, meaningful |
|Denver, Colorado | quip which somehow |
|Office (303) 624-1619 | summarizes my life |
|Home (303) 771-8060 | philosophy> |
|Alternate: georgea -at- csn -dot- net | |

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