Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More on certification: my own history, for openers

I see that back on March 24, 2006 I discussed certification of computer professionals on this blog, particularly the company Brainbench, which offers certification tests in a huge number of areas (just explore the site), and the Institute for the Certification of Computer Professionals, near Chicago.

I actually wrote a certification test for Brainbench on business ethics as a contract in 2003 (and, no, I can’t give out any of the questions) but I did learn a lot about multiple choice test writing, including “distractors”. I can imagine trying to get a contract to write mathematics SOL questions for Virginia, for example.

And I’ve certified in Brainbench in a few areas (you can check this link for my certs ( ) and the transcript link on Brainbench will require you to enter a captcha. The questions tend to be problems (some are simple facts), with sample program output as choices, and they can be very complicated. No, I won’t give away questions. They’re copyrighted. But it’s the same with Sun java certification – there are books on how to prepare for it, and the sample exams look difficult – even the multiple choice. Sounds like law school or medical school.

I remember taking a Saturday prep for the ACP exam (Associated Computer Professional) at corporate campus in the fall of 1991 in Lanham Maryland, and actually taking the test at Catholic University in early 1992. I followed up with the “procedural programming” ICCP test soon. I renewed the certification in 1995 with continuing education credits at Northern Virginia Community College, Wednesday night courses in Unix and DOS – material that seems very dated now. But I let it slide after 1998 because I got so wrapped up in authoring my books – and then there was the layoff at the end of 2001, which “ended” my traditional IT career of 31 years at age 58.

Check the 2006 entry for links.

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