On 9 Dec 2007, at 15:36, Austin Ziegler wrote:
> The 90 hours of classroom work that you're spending for a certificate
> could be spent working on an open source project and contributing code
> that would help others and help you forge something even more valuable
> than a certificate: a reputation. And that is something that will
> matter to me when I'm involved in hiring far more than any certificate
> ever will.
>
> I think your UW cert will be better than most crap certs out there,
> based on what you've described, but I still don't think it's the best
> use of your time or money, compared to *shipping* open source
> projects.

I think it depends what your goals are.  Are you primarily trying to  
learn a language well or are you trying to make yourself more  
employable?

Shipping open source software is invaluable for confronting and  
overcoming real-world problems.  But the projects you work on may  
well not expose you to the breadth of the language.  You'll probably  
end up learning a great deal about a subsection of the language.

A well-designed course (certificate or otherwise) should cover the  
breadth of the language, or at least the theoretical side of it.   
You'll probably end up learning something about most of the language.

I wouldn't rely on someone who either only wrote software without any  
theoretical understanding of the language or who only studied the  
language but never shipped software.

It's similar to scientists: is an empiricist better than a  
theoretician, or vice versa?  I'd say both theory and practice are  
worthwhile in their own right -- and the combination is even better.

So I think it's wrong to dismiss studying out of hand.  A  
certificate's syllabus may (hopefully) be the most methodical way to  
cover the background knowledge that underpins effective software  
development.

Regards,
Andy Stewart

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http://airbladesoftware.com