Please feel free to put any specific suggestions in here, comments, new ideas etc. My idea is to keep Certification and Certification_Proposal in the form of documents (which anyone can of course edit) and to treat this page as scratch space for developing and sharing ideas in a more chaotic way. Please number new ideas and suggestions so that they can be clearly referred to in conversation.

Idea Number One

Idea: in addition to the three levels, there could be optional add-ons, modularizing the scheme. These would be the equivalent of "minor degrees" at the bachelors level. For example, "extending and embedding" could be an optional add-on. I, for one, have no experience and little interest in extending and embedding, and I don't see it as an essential part of knowing Python. If I had to know about extending and embedding to gain certification at the professional or expert levels, it would be empty knowledge: studied for the test, then quickly forgotten.

Research Notes For Refined Proposal

A variety of scholarly articles exist, but there are few hard numbers to back up any particular position with regards to certification. The decision to pursue a certification scheme, therefore, is based primarily on a perceived strategic fit with the goals of the organization or group advancing the proposal. Nonetheless, some figures are available and these should be used to make clear whether certification schemes can be expected to achieve the goals that are intended.

Firstly then it needs to be decided whether the intended outcomes from a successful certification scheme match the organizational and community goals of the Python Software Foundation and Python programmers.

Python Mission Statement Stuff

Publicizes, promotes the adoption of, and facilitates the ongoing development of Python-related technology and educational resources.

(In Brief) The mission of the Python Software Foundation is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of the international community of Python programmers.

Further Reading

The Linux Professional Institute: An organization dedicated to the creation and advancement of certification schemes demonstrating competency with the Linux operating system, at both a user and developer level. Presents few hard facts, but favours certification for both groups and individuals based on strategic fit. The strategic fit for individuals is based on certification as a part of career development. The strategic fit for groups is based on formalizing the qualifications of IT staff so they can be recognised internally. Does not do a lot to counter criticism with direct evidence.

Certification Notes

Jeff Rush : -1 Pacqa : -1, +1 Mark Lutz : -1 Stephan Diebel : -1 Jeremy Hylton : -1 Anna Ravenscroft : -1 Steve Holden : +1 Van Lindberg : +1 Tennessee Leeuwenburg: +1


Jeff Rush

I'm not at all a fan of certification in general but I believe there is a legitimate need by employers for help from the community in finding good Python developers and that it is in the interest of the long-term growth of Python adoption. Instead of certification this may be some form of checklist, interview questions or something not yet imagined. One may say that any employer should already have these but the truth is many don't, and I don't think it harms the community to try to provide some assistance. ... I think the focus of this group should be "how can an employer know he is hiring good people" and "how can a programmer know and improve his strengths and weaknesses". I think all else flows from those two, whether it turns out to be certification or not. Otherwise this will devolve into pro/con IT-cert/HR-bureaucracy firefight with little objectivity.


My courses do match the general outline of the NIS Cert IV requirements, but are not 'certified' courses as the certification process is onerous and of no value to me. Would it stimulate interest in Python training? I'd actually say I don't know. It may raise the legitimacy in some managers eyes. The act/art of a useful certification process is difficult and expensive.

... Java certification is certainly the gold standard for language certification, but there are still some issues with it, particularly cost of certification and currency with different versions. MS & CISCO certification is now almost mandatory for those in the networking and support sphere. Much less so in the language side of it, e.g. C#.

Mark Lutz

...[In] my opinion, certification programs usually do not test the right things, and often become an artificial substitute for quality, interactive training delivered by an expert in the subject matter.

That is, certification programs encourage test taking, not learning. In other fields, certification all too often becomes little more than an income stream to certifiers, and resume fodder to the certified. To me, a completion certificate earned by finishing an in-depth class delivered by a qualified and knowledgeable Python expert carries much more weight.

Having said that, although I personally doubt that certification will do much to impart useful knowledge to beginners, I have no problem with this being pursued in general. If fact, this may be a positive for Python in the long run if done well, and may even be warranted given how large the community of users has grown. A rising tide really does lift all boats, and there is plenty of Python tide out there today.

Douglas Napoleone

Thinks it might actually encourage cert efforts from non-PSF groups, thinks it might devalue good developers that do not have cert, might create a two-tier community

General Advice on Specifics of Scheme:

  • Avoid testing obscure features
  • Avoid testing specific applications (perhaps unless selected as study units)
  • Draw from prior art (e.g. Learning Python 3rd Ed)
  • Seek outside partnerships
  1. Create a freely-available curriculum
  2. Develop a textbook

"By your works are ye known and not by your certificates alone."

IEEE Certification Schemes

From one of the papers

"... I.T professionals have chosed one of the many 'undefined career paths' to climb up the corporate laffer. The vicious circle is that eminent I.T professionals do not have a formalized career path to follow; hiring managers do not have any set standards for hiring within this field."

"The adage 'I.T wears many hats' still remains; I.T professional continue to struggle to definte their roles in the business arena."

"Employers consider that an I.T professional is an I.T professional -- there are no specialists, just generalists, in spite of various names. Would you demand your general doctor to perform heart-surgery so that you could keep costs down?"

"In fact, from an industry point of view, certifications, especially MCSE and CNE certifications, provide a measurable level of competence that engineering and computer degrees no longer convey (Electronic Design, 09/18/2000, Vol. 48 Issue 19, p199, 2p)"

"Certification has brought many benefits to certificants. According to the poll by MCP magazine Salary Survey 2001, candidates felt that certification brought them a 15 percent raise. The survey showed that 69 percent received raises for certification and 58 percent had already got, or should be getting, a promotion as a result of certification (MCP 2001 salary survey). MCP magazine did, however, mention that certification did not guarantee a promotion or increase. It is clear that technical employees receive much higher compensation if they hold certifications (John Roberts, Red Hat Web Site, Dec 29, 2002).

According to MCP magazine, more and more employers are ‘footing’ the bill for certifications. This shows that employers are seeing the tangible benefits of certification. MCP magazine states: ‘As is typical in IT, formal education isn't the most important income factor.’ From the salary survey, an MCSE’s salary is on par with a college graduate holding a four year degree. MCSE+I certificants make much more than a four-year degree graduate. Even Doctoral graduates don’t measure up to an MCSE+I with an MCSD, at least in terms of salary. MCP magazine pointed out that experience as well as job-title did have a considerable effect on salary. "

  • Certification can keep pace with technology

Degree + Certification + Experience = True Professional.

"The I.T field has many professionals who have parlayed through on experience only. While that is fine in its own right, the field of I.T can increase its declining worth by gaining professionals who follow the equation to professional success. If the ‘bar’ continues to rise, so will the quality of work, salaries and respect."

Certification Blackboard (last edited 2008-11-15 09:09:29 by localhost)

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