Lack of 102 books

Dee-Ann LeBlanc dee at
Tue Jun 25 14:21:46 EDT 2002

Seung 'Steven' Hong wrote:
> There is a much larger underlying issue at stake here.

Well, yes, but I figured the folks on this list already felt that the
LPI level 2 was a worthwhile certification. :)

> Namely, two main questions are:
> 1. Does the certification adequately measure a person's
> capability to perform a given task?

Sadly, in publishing, the issue is how many people want to take the
certification, not how good is it. Doesn't matter if a certification
is wonderful if no one wants that certification ... you just can't
sell enough books in that case to pay for the process.

> and
> 2. Do the training, whether it's a book, online or other
> media prepare you for the task or certification test?

This one is important in publishing, obviously. :)
> In some cases answer to both questions seem closer to
> truth than others.  I recently took one of the SANS
> courses and it was among the best learning experiences
> I've had.  Not surprisingly, I have kept the texts very
> near to my desk and constantly reference it.

I've been thinking about those ... might look into them.

> On the
> other hand, certain other popular certification program
> tests people only on the most obscure and unlikely
> scenarios.  Worse yet, the supplementary training
> materials does not adequately cover these cases and only
> serve as a generic introduction.  Thus, the curriculum
> neither prepares the student for real life nor the
> certification exam.

Ultimately, what drives a certification's popularity in the long run
is how much employers are actually looking for people with that
certification. I think the Linux cert industry is still shaking itself
> To be fair, there is a good reason to test people on
> obscure topics.  In theory, if the person does NOT cram,
> ability to answer the questions that are obscure and
> wierd means that the person in question is likely to be
> highly knowledgeable.  Unfortunately, people do cram.
> Thus, people acquire knowledge to answer obscure quetions
> without first obtaining the very basic dicipline and
> experience that they should build their knowledge on.

It's better to include thinking scenarios that make people show they
know their stuff than just obscure memorization things. Even better is
hands-on, but that's very expensive to deliver as a test, and
therefore expensive to take.
> While greatly saddened by the the demise of Corlios, in
> some ways it gives me a new found hope.  ExamCram series had
> but one purpose.  To prepare you for the exam.  This in
> turned created numerous certified professionals who could
> pass the test but could not perform the task.  I further
> believe that "Cram" oriented books will eventually be
> overrun by "Cram" oriented sites that offer a more realistic
> test scenarios and questions.  If my sole purpose was to
> pass a test, I'd probably just find a brain dump site.  It's
> easier, cheaper, and I'm not left with a useless book at
> the end.

Ultimately, such a site can still only churn out people as good as the
certification program. Typically you try to test the reader the way
that the cert will test the reader, not in a bunch of different
confusing ways. Of course maybe typically isn't working. :)
> Thus, in my opinion, a book shoud concentrate more on
> teaching people how to perform the task rather than
> how to pass a test.  That is not to say that it should
> not prepare you for the test, but rather, a do a lot
> more.  If this becomes a reality, I believe that you
> wouldn't have to worry about used book market, or people
> tossing their book after the test.  This goes without
> saying that the certification process themselves must
> also constantly improve and challenge the people that
> it attempts to validate.

Really it's not the books that prepare the cert candidate anyway, it's
their own experience. The book _should be_ a vessel to help the
candidate gain and learn through those experiences. In that sense, any
book on the topic is a stepping stone for the cert candidate, along
with looking at the cert's requirements, which are hopefully
explicitly stated. But lots of people don't want that. They just want
an easy way to pass a test. *sigh*
> Anyways, I've said way too much.  My apologies for the
> babbling.

It's interesting to me, but I suspect soon we'll need to take it off
the list. :)

Dee-Ann LeBlanc
Computer Writer, Linux Specialist
LinuxPlanet Reporter

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