Re: C++ training and certification

Discussion in 'C++' started by Thomas Matthews, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. pw wrote:
    > yowsa, thanks for the link.
    > did I just step in something there? it was the other foot that's not in my
    > mouth.
    >
    >
    >>I used Google Groups search and it turned up a lot of results:
    >>

    >
    > http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=certification&btnG
    > =Google+Search&meta=group%3Dcomp.lang.c%252B%252B.*
    >
    >>--
    >>Thomas Matthews


    Basically your issue falls into these camps:
    1. Those HR (human resources) folks who believe that certifications
    are required.
    2. The people who are unsure of their capabilities and self-esteem
    that they need to be certified.
    3. The professionals who believe that certifications are not worth
    the paper they are written on.

    I'm more on the latter. I don't know what a certification proves
    or demonstrates. I find it much easier just to ask the interviewee
    what they know and have them demonstrate or prove themselves.

    --
    Thomas Matthews

    C++ newsgroup welcome message:
    http://www.slack.net/~shiva/welcome.txt
    C++ Faq: http://www.parashift.com/c -faq-lite
    C Faq: http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/c-faq/top.html
    alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++ faq:
    http://www.raos.demon.uk/acllc-c /faq.html
    Other sites:
    http://www.josuttis.com -- C++ STL Library book
    http://www.sgi.com/tech/stl -- Standard Template Library
     
    Thomas Matthews, Jun 24, 2003
    #1
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  2. Thomas Matthews wrote:

    > Basically your issue falls into these camps:
    > 1. Those HR (human resources) folks who believe that
    > certifications are required.
    > 2. The people who are unsure of their capabilities and self-esteem
    > that they need to be certified.


    That's two good reasons for training and certification.

    > 3. The professionals who believe that
    > certifications are not worth the paper they are written on.


    Unfortunately, this is too often true.

    >
    > I'm more on the latter.
    > I don't know what a certification proves or demonstrates.
    > I find it much easier just to ask the interviewee
    > what they know and have them demonstrate or prove themselves.


    Where did you get *your* training and certification in C++?
    I thought so.

    Training and certification *do* build confidence and self-esteem.
    It is a relatively easy and painless way to learn
    a new computer programming language like C++.
    But, if you are motivated, you should be able
    to pick up a good text book, read it and do all of the problems
    and exercises in about two weeks of eight hour days.
    Depending upon your circumstances, that could be a lot cheaper
    and easier than taking a course for certification.

    But don't kid yourself. It takes a long time
    and a lot of experience to become a good programmer.
    The certificate doesn't mean much but it may be enough
    to convince the HR folks that they should schedule an interview
    for you with an experienced C++ programmer who really can
    evaluate your potential as a C++ programmer.
     
    E. Robert Tisdale, Jun 24, 2003
    #2
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  3. "E. Robert Tisdale" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Thomas Matthews wrote:
    >
    > > Basically your issue falls into these camps:
    > > 1. Those HR (human resources) folks who believe that
    > > certifications are required.
    > > 2. The people who are unsure of their capabilities and self-esteem
    > > that they need to be certified.

    >
    > That's two good reasons for training and certification.


    That some HR people ask for certification is a reason for getting it if you
    intend to apply for a job at a company where this is the case. I'm not
    convinced that it's a particularly good reason otherwise, though. The point
    about certification, and the reason I suspect some professionals think it's
    irrelevant, is that it conveys little about the quality of an applicant
    unless the interviewer has a detailed knowledge of the exam involved. A high
    mark in a trivially easy exam may boost confidence, but proves nothing. By
    contrast, an average mark in an impossible exam may not look good on a job
    application, even though for that particular exam it represents a detailed
    knowledge of the subject matter. It's always sensible to be wary of exam
    marks taken out of context.

    I think a distinction needs to be made between training and certification.
    Training is a productive, positive activity which is designed to improve
    your skills, and as such it's valuable (provided it's *good* training).
    Certification is a negative, stressful and irritating activity which makes
    no difference to your ability or otherwise at a given subject. The fact that
    you *can* rise to the challenge and jump through exam hoops does not mean
    that you should do it for fun. Certification is no substitute for
    experience. It's better to be the person who can actually do something than
    the person who has a piece of paper saying that they can do something *in
    theory*. The fact that many qualified people are also able people does not
    make the fact that many other qualified people are not any less relevant.
    People are not able because they are qualified, they're qualified because
    they're able. In logic terms, being able is (usually) *sufficient* for being
    qualified, but it's not *necessary*. In other words, even an idiot can pass
    an exam if it's an easy enough exam. That's why people take a bit of paper
    saying "I passed XYZ C++ course" with a pinch of salt. The applicant who can
    correctly answer your most difficult C++ questions is a far more interesting
    prospect than the applicant who turns up with a certificate saying "I passed
    'A 3-Week Course in Basic C++ for Total Beginners' and got 100%". You see my
    point? Whilst I have the utmost respect for people who can pass extremely
    tough exams, I respect them for their knowledge of their subject, not
    because they have a bit of paper saying they passed the exam. People who
    know their subject are not disadvantaged by tests of their knowledge,
    whereas people who fluked the exam, or simply took an easy exam, are; that
    is how it should be.

    > > 3. The professionals who believe that
    > > certifications are not worth the paper they are written on.

    >
    > Unfortunately, this is too often true.
    >
    > >
    > > I'm more on the latter.
    > > I don't know what a certification proves or demonstrates.
    > > I find it much easier just to ask the interviewee
    > > what they know and have them demonstrate or prove themselves.

    >
    > Where did you get *your* training and certification in C++?
    > I thought so.


    More interesting questions:

    How good are your coding skills?
    Do you write clear, maintainable, unbuggy, robust, efficient code?
    Are your designs easy to modify?
    How does your knowledge of C++ compare to other people in the company?
    (And importantly, in a job situation) Are you someone we would like to work
    with?

    I would have thought where you got your certificate saying "I can do C++"
    was one of the less-important questions. Frankly, the question is "Can you
    write C++?", not "Do you have a bit of paper saying you can write C++?"

    > Training and certification *do* build confidence and self-esteem.


    Agreed. But you don't train to build self-esteem, you train in order to
    *learn*.

    > It is a relatively easy and painless way to learn
    > a new computer programming language like C++.


    Agreed. And so is reading a book like "Accelerated C++".

    > But, if you are motivated, you should be able
    > to pick up a good text book, read it and do all of the problems
    > and exercises in about two weeks of eight hour days.


    Depends on the textbook. Anything which covers more than the fundamentals of
    the language will take a lot longer than two weeks for a complete beginner,
    however motivated.

    > Depending upon your circumstances, that could be a lot cheaper
    > and easier than taking a course for certification.


    Depending on the course, it could be a lot better (or worse) as well. A good
    teacher is priceless, but a bad teacher can make learning the subject even
    harder.

    > But don't kid yourself. It takes a long time
    > and a lot of experience to become a good programmer.
    > The certificate doesn't mean much but it may be enough
    > to convince the HR folks that they should schedule an interview
    > for you with an experienced C++ programmer who really can
    > evaluate your potential as a C++ programmer.


    Completely agree with this last paragraph. As I said before, if you need
    certification to apply for a job, obviously you have no choice but to get
    it. But as you say, "The certificate doesn't mean much". You seem to have
    changed your mind a bit over the course of your post incidentally :)

    [--
    > 3. The professionals who believe that
    > certifications are not worth the paper they are written on.


    Unfortunately, this is too often true.
    --]

    Anyway, perhaps this post is getting a little long at this stage, hopefully
    I've made my point by now... :)

    Cheers,

    Stuart.
     
    Stuart Golodetz, Jun 30, 2003
    #3
  4. Thomas Matthews wrote:
    [...]
    > I'm self taught in C, C++ and 10 assembly languages. ....


    Wow. THE super-polyglot. Herr Kkkomputersprachwissenschaftler.

    Oh my god.

    regards,
    alexander.
     
    Alexander Terekhov, Jul 1, 2003
    #4
  5. Thomas Matthews wrote:

    > E. Robert Tisdale wrote:
    >
    >> Thomas Matthews wrote:
    >> Where did you get *your* training and certification in C++?
    >> I thought so.

    >
    > I've never been "trained" nor been certified in C++.
    > I'm self taught in C, C++ and 10 assembly languages.
    > I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science.
    > I started programming in assembly language when I was 7 years old.


    If I was a prospective employer and I knew that
    you had a B.S. Comp. Sci., I probably wouldn't even ask you
    whether or not you knew C or C++. I would simply assume
    that you knew C and/or C++ or that you could come up to speed
    in either language in a week or two if necessary.

    But you don't need a B.S. Comp. Sci. to be a good C or C++ programmer.
    As a prospective employer, I would be suspicious of an applicant
    with a B.S. Comp. Sci. looking for a job as a C or C++ programmer.
    I would speculate
    that you were not really a very good computer scientist or
    that you would soon become very board with you computer programming job
    and leave to take a more challenging position.
    In either case, I probably wouldn't hire you (for the programming job).

    I wouldn't expect any prospective employer
    to ask you for C or C++ certification
    if they already had your college transcripts for your B.S.C.S.

    I believe the question here is about certification
    for C or C++ programmers who have no other credentials and
    are applying for a position as a professional C or C++ programmer.
    If I were hiring a professional C or C++ programmer,
    Human Resources probably wouldn't even schedule an interview for me
    with an applicant that didn't have some kind of certification,
    formal training or years of experience but I don't know for sure --
    I'm not a software engineer and I don't hire professional programmers.
     
    E. Robert Tisdale, Jul 1, 2003
    #5
  6. Thomas Matthews

    mjm Guest

    "E. Robert Tisdale" <> wrote in message news:<>...
    > Thomas Matthews wrote:
    >
    > > E. Robert Tisdale wrote:


    >
    > If I was a prospective employer and I knew that
    > you had a B.S. Comp. Sci., I probably wouldn't even ask you
    > whether or not you knew C or C++. I would simply assume
    > that you knew C and/or C++ or that you could come up to speed
    > in either language in a week or two if necessary.
    >


    If that is what prospective employers think no wonder so many projects fail.
    To be a good C++ is FAR more challenging than BS or even an MS in Computer science.

    I'd say many PhD's would be challenged.
     
    mjm, Jul 19, 2003
    #6
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