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Re: Certifications (was Re: CCNP - 1000 hosts bull crap.. [7:78559] posted 11/02/2003
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At 8:48 PM +0000 11/2/03, annlee wrote:
>Howard C. Berkowitz wrote:
>>  Nortel made a fair try with their top-level certification
>>  (architect), which requires tested subject matter knowledge, writeups
>>  of some designs you have done (establishing both design and
>>  documentation skill), and a final open-book exam.  The problem with
>>  this, of course, is that it doesn't scale well.
>I knew one of the candidates for Nortel's Network Architect program.
>Aside from everything having to be snail-mailed -- with no allowance
>for the fact that he was on a company project approximately 160
>degrees longitude away from home -- and with limited time frames in
>which to complete the forwarded materials, he still was failed over a
>grammatical misunderstanding. The instructions said to submit a
>maximum of 35 pages, and he packed it into 35. The "proper" response,
>which he got when he asked why he failed, ran almost 100 pages -- the
>35 was supposed to be the limit for the main document, not including
>tables and figures.  The application of BGP was also entirely
>unrealistic, though very pretty in theory.
>He was furious, and was able to resubmit.  He lost the appeal. They
>gave him sufficient points to total one less than that required for
>the Architect certification.
>I don't know that there is a good certification out there from anyone.
>But everyone with hiring interest/authority has their favorites, not
>always for implausible reasons.

You point out another of the problems with vendor certification, in 
comparison with professional certification. It's reasonable to have a 
multiple-choice test for knowledge of the National Electrical Code, 
and get an electrician's license -- but plans of any complexity need 
permit review, and jobs get inspected.

In the case you described, the vendor could come up with a set of 
instructions that really may not get review for clarity.  There's a 
tendency, within organizations, to let the "administrators" deal with 
things like that.

In medicine, the board questions are developed by consensus among a 
reasonably-sized group.  Oral exams and presentations are tough, but 
tend to be fair, and give the candidate an option to explain. Indeed, 
with some of the boards, the applicant may have an 
advocate--confusion with document formats and such rarely are a 

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