Oracle screw over Solaris experts with new certification rules
I can cut Oracle a lot of slack – they’re a big, slow organisation, and having swallowed Sun there are sure to be some bouts of indigestion, in between a few burps as the more troublesome bits get expelled.
But the latest update on how certifications are granted is ridiculous. Read the note on Oracle’s Education website:
Beginning August 1, 2011, Java Architect, Java Developer, Solaris System Administrator and Solaris Security Administrator certification path requirements will include a new mandatory course attendance requirement.
The summary is – even if you pass the certification exams, you cannot be certified unless you attend a relevant hands-on course.
Your experiences may vary, but personally I have always found vendor-run training courses to be useless. They are not teaching you skills you need – they are teaching you how to do things the way the vendor wants you to. Training courses are not always the best way to learn things, and on every single one I’ve been on, there’s been someone who hasn’t bothered with the course pre-requisites – and so the training slows down to the pace of someone who is a total beginner. That is not the way to learn.
Perfect case in point – Sun used to say that to add a user, you’d fire up the admintool GUI. This even came up in the certification exam, and if you said anything other than ‘use admintool’, you’d fail that question.
Meanwhile, in the real world, people were editing passwd and shadow, running useradd, or hacking away at NIS and LDAP. No-one used NIS+ – so naturally, that too featured in the certification exams and the courses.
Vendors want to teach you how to use their specific tools to increase sales and penetration. Fine. But that isn’t teaching you the useable, transferrable skills you need to be a really good sysadmin.
By forcing course attendance, Oracle are making it clear that to be an ‘expert’ in Solaris, you have to a) have paid them lots of money for that bit of paper, and b) know how to use Oracle tools, over and above any real skill or understanding of the OS.
This is short-sighted, greedy, and stupid. It devalues the Solaris certifications by clearly showing them to be about making money for Oracle. It means that someone who invests heavily in Solaris and UNIX skills will be valued less by HR (and less technical managers) than someone who has paid Oracle a bucket load of cash.
It also unfairly penalises small businesses and consultancies. If you’ve got a few UNIX guys, why not pay for some books, let them self study, and then fork out £300 or so for a few exams? That’s a world away from having them out the office for 5 days, and paying upwards of £3000, for a course that is unlikely to give them any new knowledge.
This is wrong. This is ill-considered, and turns a useful way of showcasing your Solaris skills into a valueless exercise in fattening Mad Larry’s wallet.