LPI suggestions

Bryan J. Smith b.j.smith at ieee.org
Mon Jun 30 07:40:23 EDT 2003

On Mon, 2003-06-30 at 02:31, Evan Leibovitch wrote:
> For one, the names are not intuitive as a hierarchy (Quick! What's the 
> higher level cert -- Engineer or Master?). The term Engineer for vendor 
> certs is an improper (and in some cases, illegal) misappropriation of a 
> term that should be limited to university degrees.  Because vendors do 
> it for marketing reasons is not reason enough for us to continue to do 
> the Wrong Thing.

For many Americans, the concept of using the term "engineer" as a
professional title is not debated much.  In fact, states like
Massachusettes and Delaware, which have large IT industries**, won
lawsuits against the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
upheld the right of Novell and Microsoft to use the term "engineer" in a
"building networks" consulting sense.  This is because the PEs in most
states are 98% Civil and Mechanical Engineering industries.

But in Canada, where the LPI program is based, the term "engineer" is
reserved to those with engineering degrees.  Using the term
"professional" before "engineer" is reserved to those who hold the
respective license of combined education, experience and exams.  One of
my former supervisors was from Canada and sold me about the trouble
Microsoft got into when it started selling its first t-shirts that had
"Professional" right above "Engineer."

Of course, some US states that have large electrical/computering
engineering industries have done the opposite.  MCSEs in Texas received
a "cease and desist" order a few years ago.  And Microsoft and Novell
got slammed with their common "we build networks, you build bridges"
because over 50% of PEs in Texas are Electrical and Software Engineers.

[ NOTE:  Texas is one of the few US states that recognizes Software
Engineering as a newer Engineering dicipline, largely because there are
so many.  I sure wish some of the "bridge builders" in my state,
Florida, would "wake up" to the fact that "Software Engineering" _is_ a
discipline.  Why oh why do I, someone who holds a Computer Engineering
degree, and has done largely Software Engineering throughout my life,
need to take an Electrical Engineering exam when it's not what I do? 
Both the ABET and IEEE have the exams written, which select states like
Texas use.  No wonder Microsoft and Novell win in other states --
because too many state BoPEs (Board of Professional Engineers) are "old
guys" and don't consider "computing" to be a discipline. ]

> And lastly the names are English-centric -- a numbering 
> scheme makes far more sense for a program DESIGNED to be global.

Always a good idea.

> The three pillars of LPI are quality, community and integrity. We are 
> not a traditional vendor IT certification and ought not to engage in 
> their bad tactics jjust because the vendors do them. Maybe in the short 
> term we are hurt because we don't play the same games as other certs, 
> but in the long run we will be better off. LPI has the support and trust 
> of its community because, like Linux itself, we do not always play by 
> the same rules as conventional vendors. IT Certification is decreasing 
> in respect because in large part how they are marketed.

Exactomundo.  I have always respected the LPI program, for the longest
time.  I was originally turned-off by the RHCE program because of their
marketing and use of the term "engineer" -- and only that their method
was lab-based examination is what changed my mind later.

> We are on the right track. Our numbers have held steady during severe 
> economic problems that have badly hurt elsewhere in the IT field. Our US 
> affiliate has only recently come online. We have been told by VUE and 
> Prometric that our first few years have resulted in FAR higher numbers 
> than Microsoft, Novell and CompTIA had in their early years. And our 
> numbers are ready to explode in areas such as Brasil and Germany where 
> new affiliates are forming.

That's great news!

> PS: I recently spoke  to my counterpart at Red Hat about the possibility 
> of us working together more closely. It won't happen. RH won't do 
> anything that will "dilute the brand" -- that is, make it look like 
> "just another Linux". And that means that it won't even do a joint press 
> release with LPI, which is why it won't support our planned desktop 
> certification (even though it has no plans to do its own). Oh well.

Yeah, when it comes to marketing, Red Hat _is_ Microsoft.  I'm not
saying that's a "Bad Thing(R)," it's just a very pro-capitalistic,
expense-the-community, thing.  But as long as Red Hat's own software is
GPL-anal, I can't complain, because that's the balance.

Bryan J. Smith, E.I.   b.j.smith at ieee.org   http://thebs.org
If you want the stupid letters:   http://thebs.org/certs.pdf
Running Windows applications under Linux does not reduce any
political/legal "costs" but does increase the overall tech-
nical "costs."  Linux is not a better Windows than Windows.

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