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Who Certifies the Certifiers?

This ought to get at least a few of Adam‘s goats. Sadek Drobi over at InfoQ summarizes a debate about certification for programmers where several writers advocate that programmers really should be certified in testing software.

InfoQ: Testing and Quality Control the only Certification Needed?

A new certification for software developers should not be about OOP, metaprogramming, macros, design patterns or any in depth knowledge of programming languages. Reginald Braithwaite believes that only one subject must be on the examination list: testing and quality control.

Braithwaite stresses that this is not a debate on “whether to have separate testers or whether programmers should test themselves.” He simply asserts that, judging from his experience, safety is of crucial importance for software development in commercial environment. Hence, developers’ ability to ensure that software does what it is expected to do should be the prerequisite to any software development job…

While I’m not sure that any of the certifications currently available in the software business actually add value, the underlying message deserves to be shouted:

IF YOU DON’T CARE WHETHER YOUR CODE WORKS OR NOT, GET THE HELL OUT OF THE PROFESSION!

If you don’t know how to tell whether your code works or not, it’s pretty clear you don’t care. And if you don’t understand that “works” is defined by your users, not yourself, well…

Greg, your professional Master’s degree better have lots of Quality in it, with a good dose of User-Centered Engineering.

One Comment

  1. Adam Goucher wrote:

    Okay, deliberate Adam-bait taken. đŸ™‚

    When will the current fascination with certification end?

    The issue is not whether or not certification is good / has value or not. It is what do you teach / test upon. For instance, one of the articles linked from the article says ‘black box testing.’ What the heck does that mean? Boundry Testing? Well, a dozen of the current leaders in the testing community spent 2 or 3 days discussing ‘what is a boundry’ and guess what, they couldn’t agree. How do you write a test around that.

    It’s more important that the people know how to *think* — and good luck writing an exam based around that.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 5:52 pm | Permalink