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RE: Certification and/or Education/Outreach

From: Plummer,Karen A <kplumme@uakron.edu>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 09:00:39 -0500
Message-ID: <70CF144D689DA949B8AD582B1E95EFB406CB13A7@CHUTE.uanet.edu>
To: <public-evangelist@w3.org>

Hello everyone!

Karl's post really caught my interest this morning and instead of my usual lurking, I thought I'd throw a few ideas into the mix.

Background: I'm a librarian by trade and a web site developer by avocation. I've been designing web pages now for about 4 years.  I began my web design work through study of other folks' web sites and then sought some formal training because I quickly realized that there was much to be learned.  During the workshops I took to learn the basics of HTML, there was no mention of standards, much less the W3C.  To further my skills I began searching the web and ran across the HTML Writer's Guild (now merged with the International Webmaster's Association) and its offering of online classes on various web design topics.  Through these classes, I became very familiar with the W3C standards.  I'm now a co-instructor at IWA/HWG for their Introduction to Cascading Style Sheets course. I think some of the students in my class are tired of my constant harping on the W3C recommendations.  Maybe it's my library training, but I'm very driven to adhere to standards -- in my chosen field of cataloging, we have so many standards to adhere to :-).  Of course, I'm a bit unusual; I read standards documentation like other people read novels! 

IMHO, a "professional" makes the time to learn the standards and tools of the trade.  I've heard the "we don't have time to learn new stuff" excuse too many times.  If we are calling ourselves professionals, we have a responsibility to continually update our skills and be aware of trends and changes in our field. Certification is a great thing, particularly as a baseline for hiring and evaluating personnel and possibly as incentive to professional growth, but education and outreach are far more critical.  I have a certification in web technologies from IWA/HWG which looks great on my c.v. and shows professional growth in my annual review, but the experience of the course work learning HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, and covering issues in accessible web design is the real highlight of it all.  The instructors are firm supporters of the standards and serve not just as teachers, but as mentors to their students.  

In the end, I am able to work with the other members of our web team and put forward an agenda for redesign according to the W3C recommendations.  The W3C name is like the old "Good Housekeeping seal of approval" for web development.  I lurk on a number of discussion lists and absorb the conversations there like a sponge, learning and refining my skills as I go along.  I visit the W3C web site a few times each week to either review some details of a recommendation or visit parts of the site I've never seen before.  I urge my students to consider the W3C site as their primary reference source.  I have a tendency to run sites I like through the HTML and CSS validators to see if they adhere to standards.  In my own little way, I'm trying to model the standards and provide some outreach as well.

I guess the bottom line for me is that there is no good excuse for not following the W3C recommendations, so whether you believe that web developers should be certified or not, education and outreach efforts should be our focus.

That's it for me,

Karen A. Plummer
University Libraries Web Team
The University of Akron
Akron, OH 44325-1712
Email: kplumme@uakron.edu

"Whatever the cost of our libraries, 
the price is cheap compared to that of 
an ignorant nation."
                      Broadcaster Walter Cronkite

-----Original Message-----
From: public-evangelist-request@w3.org [mailto:public-evangelist-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Karl Dubost
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2004 4:46 PM
To: 'public-evangelist@w3.org'
Subject: Certification and/or Education/Outreach


I would like to come back on the debate that Bryce has started. It's 
not an easy topic and I would like to add another dimension to it.

* Certification            (Repressive)
* Education and Outreach   (Positive)

As I have studied the topics of "certification at W3C" for the whole 
year 2003 and part of 2004. I have a few ideas and comments, but I 
would love first to hear the opinions of people on the list to not 
close the debate too early by giving my orientation.

Bryce's message address only "Education certification" and in the 
particular context of Web developer (Front end or back end). In the 
discussion don't forget that there is what we could call "classes of 
products" for certification.

	- Services: Web agency, Consulting, Web design Process, Software 
	- People: Web developer (Front end, back end), software developer 
using Web tech
	- Education materials: University curriculum, books, manual, articles, 
	- Products: validator, parsers, authoring tools, user agents, bots, 
proxy, etc.

Le 19 nov. 2004, à 20:00, Bryce Fields a écrit :
> I believe that one of the best moves that the W3C can make to promote 
> and encourage best web practices and the embracing of W3C 
> recommendations is to offer certifications.  Right now, the average 
> web developer has no real incentive to increase their learning curve 
> when it comes to the W3C specs and recommendations.  "I don't have 
> time to learn that 'new stuff' now" is a familiar refrain I hear from 
> colleagues, who all the while are studying furiously for the latest 
> esoteric MS certification.

==> Topic: Certification as a stick to learn the technology.

> The reason they make time for THAT learning curve is that there's a 
> financial incentive in it for them.  I could see something like 
> "Certified W3C Web Developer", etc. as having that same kind of 
> incentive.  Who would you hire when presented w/ a resume w/ a W3C 
> certification and one that's not?  And if you can drive people to at 
> least learn how work with W3C technologies, I have enough faith in 
> those technologies that once they are learned, they'll be used.

==> Topic: Certification for people as a competitive advantage on the 
employment market.
==> Topic: Certification for people as a way to select the good 
==> Topic: Certification as a guarantee that people will use the 
technology correctly once they are certified.
Received on Tuesday, 23 November 2004 14:20:44 UTC

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