Subject: Re: Conference moment: Lisp certification? From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: 03 Nov 2002 18:03:22 +0000 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Tim Bradshaw <email@example.com> | I think the problem with this is that the skills needed to write | conference papers are different than the skills needed to write | significant programs. The problem with all certifications is that the skills needed to get the certification are different from the skills needed in the job requiring the certification. The question we should ask "does this correlate with what we actually need?" and allow ourselves to be surprised by the many unexpected things that do correlate. The human brain is deficient in its lack of capacity to see how many small things work together. We are very good at singling out things that are important and focus on that one thing, but lousy at keeping track of masses of smaller interests that work together to make change. Usenet is an interesting experiment in this regard. Some people are so unable to process more than one quality at a time that they have to /invent/ aspects in order to retro-support their favorite quality. This is not just the massive stupidity and lack of intelligence it looks like, it is how people are naturally wired to deal with the world if they do not consciously override it by thinking. This is somewhat like voting for people to lead a country. The United States is /really/ paying the price for its plurality system during this presidential period. For some reason, how many people would like something the most is regarded as a reason to choose it. I favor a system where the number of people who like something the /least/ is subtracted from the number of people who like it the most, or generally, a system where each candidate is given positive and negative scores in some small range (where the sum of the absolute value of all scores is constant or has a fixed upper limit) and those you feel nothing about gets zero or no vote at all. The scores are simply summed and whoever gets the highest total score wins. The purpose of the negative votes is to ensure that someone who may well be favored by the largest minority but is loathed by a larger group, perhaps even a majority, not get into a position where the majority would feel they were not heard and which would destabilize the entire system. This would ensure that a candidate would want to get backers on issues, not just fans of their person (or to avenge their father), and would have to calculate the risk of offending some groups, not just run over them. Back to certification, the number of points at which you would have to score well to be a good candidate for a job is attempted destilled into a certification, which at best may be assumed to mean "above the baseline", but the result may well be as undesirable as making George W. Bush the Republican presidential candidate. In general, I want examinations and tests to score negative for a wrong answer and zero for no answer, and if it were up to me, "I don't know" would be far more socially acceptable than "I guess". But no such luck. Even the business community favors people who make wrong decisions over those who try to figure out what the best thing is and effectively make a decision not to act. But you get what you deserve when you operate that way. Unfortunately, people who should not get a job in programming get one because of certification, people who should be kept as far away from money as possible run both Enron and WorldCom and Arthur Andersen into the ground, and people who should be kept as far as away from Washington D.C. as possible get into the White House instead of staying in Texas and lots and lots of people suffer worldwide. Incompetence should be a criminal offence. The core problem is that certification does not solve any big problems, only small ones, just as book-keeping and auditing does not keep people from being criminals. -- Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder. Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.