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.
>   
The same could be said for *every* training program out there. For 
instance, let's look at David Black's announcement today for 
"Introduction to Ruby on Rails" and "Advancing with Rails". Each course 
is 5 days long and costs $1,770 (or $1,550 early bird). So, for 80 hours 
(maybe only 70 hours if there is a lunch hour each day) of classroom 
instruction, it costs a minimum of $3,100 or $3,540 for 
procrastinators.  You walk in on Monday, and 12 days later on the 
following Friday you walk out with head crammed full of Rails info.

Do you think that is any better than 90 classroom hours spaced out over 
8 months with another two or three hundred hours spent on homeworks / 
projects to slowly digest the material? I don't hear you or anyone else 
talking about "crap training" (which I'm sure David's is not) or how 
those student's time or money would be better spent on shipping open 
source projects and building their reputation.

Properly done, certification encompasses training and ensures all 
students have a base proficiency of fundamental Ruby and/or Rails 
concepts. That is what UW does and why it is not just a paper cert. I am 
enrolled in the UW program because I want to learn the language better 
and not be sitting in front of a debugger tracing other people's buggy 
code (which I've done and submitted a bug fix on RubyForge for Ruby DBI). 

Both classroom instruction and contributing to open source projects are 
valuable ways to learn the language. I just don't think it is up to you 
to decide what is the best use of my time or money :-) .

Cheers,
Jim