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O'Reilly Open Source Convention


Perl Certification
Dr. Tim Maher, CONSULTIX
Damian Conway, Thoughtstream
W. Phillip Moore, Open Source Advocate
Karen Pauley, Kasei
Timothy Wilde, DynDNS.org

Track: Perl
Date: Thursday, July 10
Time: 4:30pm - 5:15pm
Location: Salon E

The Perl community has thus far embraced the proposition of "Perl Certification" with all the zeal of a trip to the dentist.

And that's understandable, because many certification tests are long on defective questions, short on correct answers, and blithely lacking in sensitivity to the programmer's actual talents. And nobody wants to risk a career opportunity on the verdict of an inadequate testing instrument.

Adding insult to injury, many tests report their results with only one bit of information. Although a PASS/FAIL grade may be suitable for gym class, it's certainly not adequate for a enterprise as complex as programming!

But all these points are only valid as objections to the proliferation of bad tests, not to the practice of certification testing itself.

What's happening with our colleagues? Professionals specializing in other programming languages, from C to Visual Basic, can present certificates attesting to their knowledge, and many hiring managers expect to see them. Of course, we Perl programmers like to think Perl is qualitatively different, and that the skills underlying "PerlThink" are mystical ones that can't be measured. But are we really so unique? Perhaps it's time to admit we aren't, and get some credentials!

This panel explores these ideas and their potential effects on our language and community, with input expected from professionals representing the Perl Language, Software Publishing, Software Training, IS Management, Corporate Hiring, and the Testing Industry.

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