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Certification Value Revisited

Rufus BugleWeed
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Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
I see this was last month's Thread of the Month.
One of the premises of the thread is would you let a person drive a car who had only read a manual. I.E. being SCJP means you only have a theoretical knowledge of programming and can't be trusted behind the wheel.
Whoa Doggies!!!
Certificate Bashers( are you out there Mark? ) seem to forget there's a world of difference between a fresher and somebody that has years of experience in a structural language.
Suppose an enterprise rewrote their application from C to Java. Suppose the crack ten year C program veteran gets his SCJP. Tell me honestly you would pause before you gave him the keys. If you had pause, it would be because he would get in there and find how you had made all the same bugs coding the java app he'd fixed in the C app.
My question for discussion, is there a strong belief that a new BS Comp Sci will make a good developer/programmer? Does a good GPA increase your belief in the candidate? Does a prestigous school on the diploma further increase your confidence?
Joe Richard
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 15, 2001
Posts: 76
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My question for discussion, is there a strong belief that a new BS Comp Sci will make a good developer/programmer? Does a good GPA increase your belief in the candidate? Does a prestigous school on the diploma further increase your confidence?
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The answer to your first question is yes, I strongly believe that a new BS Grad would make a good developer/programmer. Someone who has a background in computer science would have an understanding of the basic concepts of computer programming. Would also have demonstrated that they are serious about programming, that would cause me to think they have the desire to succeed in the field.
A good GPA would increase my belief in the candidate, it would show me how much they pay attention to detail.
A prestigous school would would not impress me as much, there are a lot of schools out there that focus on computer sciences but do not teach the students how to apply there knowledge in the business world.


Persistence equals goals
SCJD (In Progress), SCJP
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

One of the premises of the thread is would you let a person drive a car who had only read a manual. I.E. being SCJP means you only have a theoretical knowledge of programming and can't be trusted behind the wheel.

That wasn't a premise, but an argument, but I don't think that was the exact argument. Specifically, I don't think SCJP = theoretical knowledge of programming, only theoretical knowledge of Java (if that was what was stated then I disagree with it).
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

Suppose an enterprise rewrote their application from C to Java. Suppose the crack ten year C program veteran gets his SCJP. Tell me honestly you would pause before you gave him the keys. If you had pause, it would be because he would get in there and find how you had made all the same bugs coding the java app he'd fixed in the C app.

I didn't follow the question, but I'd have few qualms about putting a C++ vetern on such a project. Any good OO guy can pick up Java easily. Now if he's a C guy without OO, I'd want more supervision, since the manner of coding is different. We did bring a PhD with 10 years C experience to a Java project and I got burned because of it. Likewise, if the code uses of lot of Java subtlies, lik eoptimizing EJB performance, I'd want some with experience doing that to also be on the project. (As a converse example, we brought in a guy with 7 years C/C++ MFC GUI development to the Java shop and he picked it up within a few weeks. The basic principles like MVC and event modeling are more abstract than language specific.)
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

My question for discussion, is there a strong belief that a new BS Comp Sci will make a good developer/programmer?

I don't think a CS degree makes a good programmer. I do think a lack of a CS degree makes a bad programmer. CS != software engineering. However, developers without some fundamentals are trouble. Guys who don't understand trees, hashing, big O concepts, etc will get into trouble. If they picked it up elsewhere, then I'm less concerned.
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

Does a good GPA increase your belief in the candidate?

Presumably the smarter/more studious people get better grades, and those people will be better developers, suggesting a correlation between GPA and raw capabilities.
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

Does a prestigous school on the diploma further increase your confidence?

This corrleates to the previous question. Better colleges typically correlate to better grades in HS, and so the arguments to the above question apply. I agree that the CS taught at school A isn't different fromt he CS taught at school B. However, many people prefer brand name schools on the believe that the admissions committee already did the filter on "smarter" people.
Obviously there are exceptions (people who can't afford better schools, or who worked 3 jobs and didn't have as much time to study), but in general those are my views.
--Mark
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
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