Anybody who reads this blog regularly already knows that Anne Martinez’ Web site GoCertify.com is a favorite go-to resource for me when I’m researching information about the certification marketplace and its various programs and offerings. Recently, Anne has added a blog to the site that includes guest slots from all kinds of industry participants — including me on odd and infrequent occasions — that’s worth dropping in on from time to time.
I was reminded of this when visiting over the weekend, as I saw a posting from Oracle learning staff Harold Green entilted “Oracle Certification and the Hands-On Course Requirement…” In addition to explaining how and why Oracle adopted the position that some classroom training had to be mandatory for their database administrator and developer related certifications, Green also raises some interesting points about the values and virtues of requiring some training along the way to a professional certification of some kind. Here’s a direct quote “In an era where complaints that ‘paper certifications’ were devaluing some certification programs’ offerings, Oracle made the tough decision in 2002 that mandatory training would be required for most tracks. All new entrants after November 2002 would be required to attend an Oracle course, interact with an Oracle trainer, and participate in the in-class labs.” They’ve stuck firmly to this position ever since.
I can see some pros and cons for this approach. Certainly, the pros for the certifying body are many: some assurance of attendance in commercial training, a chance to expose candidates to qualified instructors and to observe their skills and abilities first hand, increased assurance that candidates get exposed to important tools, techniques, and skills development, and more. But on the students’ side, those pros are offset by the often high cost of training involved, though most people who attend such training do report that it has at least some value, and many rank it as a positive learning experience.
My take on the Oracle program, and many others like it, would be that the value could be greatly enhanced if they would reserve a number of free seats in each class and offer competitive scholarships to those who can demonstrate a real need for financial support. My biggest issue with the mandatory training approach is not that it requires attendees to pay for training, but rather, that it blocks those who would like to attend but who can’t afford to cover the costs involved.
What do you think of this situation? Post a comment here to share your opinions and outlook on this sometimes thorny subject.