[BangPypers] Certification

Anand Balachandran Pillai abpillai at gmail.com
Thu Oct 25 13:05:56 CEST 2007


On 10/24/07, Jeff Rush <jeff at taupro.com> wrote:
> Dorai Thodla wrote:
> > Anand,
> > You make some good points. I have had similar experience to the one you
> > describe with certified Java and .NET progammers too.
> >
> > It may be interesting to find out what python.org <http://python.org>
> > thinks about certification.
> Hi Dorai.  As far as I know, in my role as former Python Advocacy Coordinator,
> there are no Python certifications anywhere.  Sometimes there is talk that we
> ought to have them, but a large number of people are against the idea.   Not
> that that would matter, in that any group of people could start it moving, and
> those who like the idea would use it and those who don't can ignore it.
> I personally have an interest, not in formal certification which relies upon
> the reputation of some evaluation company, but in what I call my "So you think
> you know Python..." project.  The idea would be to have a website where people
> can go to test themselves, with links to learning material that fill in the
> gaps identified in their knowledge.  The questions would not be fixed but
> dynamically generated, so that a person cannot just memorize the answers.  And
> if desired an employer could sit an interviewee down in front of a PC and have
> him complete the test in front of him.
> No such system is perfect but it would give a starting point for measuring the
> capabilities of a Python programmer.  I don't look at it as some enforcement
> measure for catching pretenders, like most certification does, but rather for
> helping those medium-level programmers who have learned enough Python to get
> along but don't know what they don't know and could use pointers to advanced
> lessons.  The idea is to help create better Python programmers, in an
> non-corporate, opensource manner.

Thanks for sending your comments Jeff. When I meant "community
certification" for a community developed language, this was what I meant.
Not any corporate blessed "official" certification program, but a bunch of
tests developed by the cream of the Python community in order to help
the novices and newbies to the language, rate themselves.

Such a test should ideally have some of the following features.

1. Accessible online - The test should be put online so that anyone can
take it at his/her convenience using a PC connected to the Internet.
2. Random questions - I agree  with your point here. The sample
set should be large enough to have enough questions at varying levels
so that it can be used by a newbie, an intermediate, expert or guru
programmer to benchmark  himself.
3. Provide percentile ratings - The test should provide typical percentile
ratings and classify them into levels - like 90% for expert etc.
4. Provide a pass/cutoff - The test should fix a cut-off percentile so that
if some one does not achieve the cut-off, he has to go back to the textbooks
(or to Guido's online tutorial!)
5. Provide a "certificate"  - "You have passed Python certification with
a rating of xx percentile..."

Of course such a certification should have the blessings of the PSF and
should be generally acceptable to the Python community.

This would make it easy for the average IT recruiter or manager to
evaluate candidates to fill up Python developer vacancies.

> I hope some year to show something like this off at PyCon but currently lack
> the time to implement it myself.
> -Jeff
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