image I’ve been following the “war on certifications” for a while. It’s not new, since scrum had certifications for many years now, and Microsoft adds fuel to the fire with the newly created “Certified scrum developer”.The latest from Uncle Bob’s R.E.A.L.I.T.Y show made me smile. And yes, if you thought I was going to oppose the attackers, sorry, not going to.

We scoff (I’m really including myself here) at any paper thrown at us. For the last 15 years, when looking through resumes, I’ve really wondered why people paid for the certs. My mind just filters them.

And yet…

The papers are originally there for a reason. A business reason. For centuries, diplomas or references are the same papers that are worthless in our eyes now. They were the deposition of someone else stating that we are fit to a  job. (yes, some of them references of family members, but that was the custom, who am I to judge these people?). And that was as good as it gets for the hiring person, apart from putting the applicant to certain tests to get the job.

And that’s what we’re doing today – we’re trying to ascertain with a high probability that someone is suitable to do the job. And if we disregard the paper, tests are what’s left.

But that’s not enough so we’re sending the people to do some aptitude tests, hoping that someone else will tell us that person is suitable or not. It’s the same as the paper, but these days, we trust psychology more (hurray for us). Oh, there’s social media as well, which tells us how careless (or stupid) the person was before his or her application.

The bottom line is that we need to help not make the mistake of hiring the wrong person. We have lots of options, and the paper is one of them. We still looking for that illusive reference telling us – it’s all right, relax, you’re right.

And I’m thinking – what’s the respectful equivalent of a certification? What’ is the business-related proof that tells me I’m not doing a mistake? If we had a “real” certification for developers, from the “international developer bar” would that be good enough? Or an extremist group will say: we’re not joining this one, we rather like the bar across the street, where there are no rules or papers?

Ah, forget it. Software is doomed to be like this for a long while. And until then, we’ll probably keep hearing about stupid certifications once in a while.

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