Wednesday, November 30, 2005

ACS president wants IT pros like plumbers

I found this article on Australian Reseller News and it piqued my interest.

From the article:
Unlike builders, plumbers, electricians and other trades people, IT professionals can practice freely without any regulation or accreditation, a situation that, according to Australian Computer Society president-elect Philip Argy, is in need of change.

"Most people appreciate that if you're going to get building work done, you will choose a licensed builder," Argy said, adding that trades people like electricians and plumbers have a base level of certification behind them, but IT professionals do not.

Argy said that what's important is not the licensing per se, but the process that gives people a comfort level.

The ACS has long championed the idea of a 'licence', or similar certification program for IT professionals so that employers have a standard to refer to when recruiting.

I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Even though plumbers, builders, used car dealers are all licenced operators, you still get dodgy ones. And even when people do get some sort of professional certification like an MCSE, they aren't much better than someone who hasn't paid Microsoft a bundle of cash. But on the positive side it will help the customer decide who they employ or which company they outsource their work to.

What do you think?


James said...

I think it's bullshit. The ACS probably sees their membership dropping off and thinks that they might be able to cash in with a certification and make a little cash on the way. An MSCE or any of the other certifications doing the rounds don't actually make you better at anything.

As an example I was "A+" certified by Toshiba when I "worked" repairing laptops. Of course that didn't mean that every laptop was repaired to an A+ standard... there's probably still a few that were fitted with an aftermarket rattle caused by a couple of screws being misplaced :)

If you're reading this from a large government department or recently purchased mining company please accept my apologies if you've received an old laptop with these symptoms :)

Tom said...

I tend to agree. Certification is a nice concept to remove cowboys, which have long been a bane of many companies.

In fact one of my clients was hit by a whole shop of cowboys, who passed themselves off as .NET development experts, but their code is so shite it makes me cry.

I daresay certification would not remove such idiots from the IT gene pool.

Only time achieves that, but the companies die and the parasites move onto a new company and start sucking people's life savings again.

Splat Guy said...

I'm sure the ACS sees itself as the logical manager of a compulsory certification system, which is why it is pushing for it.

Their argument is dumb, though, because they assume that because some professions need certification then all do. Dodgy plumbers and electricians can do massive damage to infrastructure or people's possessions (e.g., cause sewage to back up or fry electrical equipment); they are also doing things that experience has shown can be lethal in untrained hands.

Most computing work is not the same. Sure, if you're doing work on the systems that run, say, a hospital's life support equipment then due diligence will mean the hospital needs some assurance that you're appropriately changed. But why on earth should an office just wanting a simple upgrade or little program written have to pay for the unneeded "benefits" of ACS certification? It's a load of bollocks.