BSD Certification Group: A
   Case Study in Open Source
          Certification


Dru Lavigne
Chair, BSD Certification Gro...
Outline
Certification 101

Bridging the Open Source / Certification /
Academic Gap

BSD Certification Group (BSDCG)

BSDA ...
Certification 101


Popularized in mid-90s by Novell, Microsoft, Cisco

Associated with braindumps, paper MCSEs

Very expe...
Certification 101
Traditional exam delivery costs: $75,000 USD
annually to participate, extra fees for changing
exam

Mono...
Certification 101
LPI started out as commercial/community based,
current focus is commercial

Other Certification bodies: ...
Gap: Open Source
Strengths: if you take away the “code”, what are
you left with?

Built-in mentorship opportunities for le...
Gap: Open Source
Weaknesses: provide a good measurement of a
community's maturity level

Focus is on code and developers, ...
Gap: Certification
Strengths: provide a good measure of the
quality/goals of a certification program

Assist employers by ...
Gap: Certification
Weaknesses: too many to fit on one slide :-)

Cost: to exam taker and certifying organization

Monopoly...
Gap: Academia
Strengths:

Time to learn understanding and skills in a larger
context

Institution must follow established ...
Gap: Academia

Weaknesses: depend on type of program on type
of institution

Knowledge may be more theoretical than practi...
Bridging the Gap


Benefits to Open Source Community:

Increased exposure and reputation

New contributing members with va...
Bridging the Gap
Benefits to Academic Institution: for both
undergraduate and thesis programs

Increased global exposure a...
BSDCG
Registered non-profit incorporated in the state of
New Jersey in 2005

Mission is to create and maintain certificati...
BSDCG
Internal Structure:

5 Board of Directors (voted in for a term)

21 BSDCG members with voting rights (volunteer
to j...
BSDCG
Community Structure:

~700 subscribers to 2 mailing lists

147 members of 2 Linkedin groups

~90 translators for 22 ...
BSDCG
Community Based:

Remains separate from, but supports the other
BSD projects and Foundations

Works closely with emp...
BSDCG
Psychometrically Valid:

Ensures exam is fair, unbiased, and
understandable, even if English is not your first
langu...
BSDCG

Exam goals:
Globally affordable ($75 USD)        √
Available in local community, and where
warranted, in local lang...
BSDA
Process:

Job Task Analysis (JTA): April - July 2005

Exam Requirements published: October 2005

Beta Period: May - A...
BSDA
Exam:

Target audience is junior sysadmin with 6 months
experience

Covers 7 knowledge domains

Scored for 100 questi...
BSDA

Venue:

Community based: exam events hosted by
conferences, user groups, employers, and
schools

Slowly building a n...
BSDA

BSDA Candidates:

~1300 BSDCG IDs issued (residing in 104
countries)

121 have taken exam (residing in 16 countries)...
BSDP

Process:

JTA currently open (and waiting your input)

Expected time frame between Exam
Requirements through Beta Pe...
Works in Progress


Improved Availability:

Building network of trusted testing centers

Working towards an online solutio...
Works in Progress
Study Materials:

Wiki is available for user generated content

Exam objectives translated to more langu...
Works in Progress
Sponsorship Suggestions:

Fund to assist proctors' travel expenses

Purchase of DVD helps to fund creati...
How You Can Help
Take the JTA!

Spread the word—tell your school, employer, user
group, write an article, blog, twitter, e...
How You Can Help


Host or proctor an exam event

Become an SME

Help us develop an open source exam delivery
solution
Additional Information

JTA:
http://surveys.bsdcertification.org/phpESP/public/
survey.php?name=BSDP01_en

http://www.bsdc...
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Transcript of "BSD Certification Group: A Case Study in Open Source Certification"

  1. 1. BSD Certification Group: A Case Study in Open Source Certification Dru Lavigne Chair, BSD Certification Group Inc. MNN, October 9, 2009
  2. 2. Outline Certification 101 Bridging the Open Source / Certification / Academic Gap BSD Certification Group (BSDCG) BSDA (BSD Associate) BSDP (BSD Professional) Works in Progress How You Can Help
  3. 3. Certification 101 Popularized in mid-90s by Novell, Microsoft, Cisco Associated with braindumps, paper MCSEs Very expensive to launch—domain of large, established companies with alternate revenue streams who can afford to wait ~2 yrs before certification program starts making money
  4. 4. Certification 101 Traditional exam delivery costs: $75,000 USD annually to participate, extra fees for changing exam Monopoly on exam delivery (VUE/Prometric) --this is just starting to change Exam delivery software is proprietary, currently no open source solutions exist
  5. 5. Certification 101 LPI started out as commercial/community based, current focus is commercial Other Certification bodies: Zend for PHP, EnterpriseDB for PostgreSQL, Canonical for Ubuntu Other open source communities (Apache, Gnome) have expressed interest Cost, time, and expertise are huge barriers
  6. 6. Gap: Open Source Strengths: if you take away the “code”, what are you left with? Built-in mentorship opportunities for learning real- world skills Community of like-minded individuals Networking with others of differing skill-levels from across the globe in area of interest
  7. 7. Gap: Open Source Weaknesses: provide a good measurement of a community's maturity level Focus is on code and developers, while other community skills and resources are ignored Processes and culture vary widely between communities Documentation is not considered important, written processes and training materials are virtually non-existent
  8. 8. Gap: Certification Strengths: provide a good measure of the quality/goals of a certification program Assist employers by assessing a published set of skills Increase the recognition and use of a software product Provide job seekers with an advantage over other applicants
  9. 9. Gap: Certification Weaknesses: too many to fit on one slide :-) Cost: to exam taker and certifying organization Monopoly on exam delivery solutions (all proprietary) Rarely available in languages other than English Difficult to keep exam content secure Training is often boot-camp style to pass the exam, not learn real-world skills or understanding
  10. 10. Gap: Academia Strengths: Time to learn understanding and skills in a larger context Institution must follow established guidelines for student assessment Institution provides reputation
  11. 11. Gap: Academia Weaknesses: depend on type of program on type of institution Knowledge may be more theoretical than practical Program may not include networking/placements with potential employers Institution may not have a global reputation
  12. 12. Bridging the Gap Benefits to Open Source Community: Increased exposure and reputation New contributing members with varied skillsets Reason to document processes and how to use the software
  13. 13. Bridging the Gap Benefits to Academic Institution: for both undergraduate and thesis programs Increased global exposure and reputation Introduces students to potential employers and colleagues Provides students with hard and soft skills in a non-artificial environment Opens research and commercialization opportunities
  14. 14. BSDCG Registered non-profit incorporated in the state of New Jersey in 2005 Mission is to create and maintain certifications to assess skills of BSD system administrators Community based with a legal governance infrastructure Relies on open source methodologies and volunteer contributions of time and money
  15. 15. BSDCG Internal Structure: 5 Board of Directors (voted in for a term) 21 BSDCG members with voting rights (volunteer to join) 5 Advisory Board members (invited) 9 SMEs (subject matter experts) 1 (paid) psychometrician Network of trusted exam proctors
  16. 16. BSDCG Community Structure: ~700 subscribers to 2 mailing lists 147 members of 2 Linkedin groups ~90 translators for 22 languages Donated hardware, bandwidth, system administration, and web development Ongoing relationships with other certification bodies and educational institutions
  17. 17. BSDCG Community Based: Remains separate from, but supports the other BSD projects and Foundations Works closely with employers and sysadmins to keep exam current and “real” Advocates the integraton of exam objectives into existing diploma programs (rather than bootcamp style learning)
  18. 18. BSDCG Psychometrically Valid: Ensures exam is fair, unbiased, and understandable, even if English is not your first language SMEs who are working sysadmins keep the exam practical Use of ongoing metrics keeps questions current and spots anomalies
  19. 19. BSDCG Exam goals: Globally affordable ($75 USD) √ Available in local community, and where warranted, in local language Encourage local study groups and creation of training materials (both open and commercial)
  20. 20. BSDA Process: Job Task Analysis (JTA): April - July 2005 Exam Requirements published: October 2005 Beta Period: May - August 2007 Angoff Session: January 2008 Available Since: February 2008
  21. 21. BSDA Exam: Target audience is junior sysadmin with 6 months experience Covers 7 knowledge domains Scored for 100 questions Passing score is 500 of scale between 200 and 700
  22. 22. BSDA Venue: Community based: exam events hosted by conferences, user groups, employers, and schools Slowly building a network of trusted testing centers who promote BSD (FreeBSD Brasil, Systemics Poland)
  23. 23. BSDA BSDA Candidates: ~1300 BSDCG IDs issued (residing in 104 countries) 121 have taken exam (residing in 16 countries) 78 have passed exam (some not scored yet) average score: 68%
  24. 24. BSDP Process: JTA currently open (and waiting your input) Expected time frame between Exam Requirements through Beta Period to Angoff Session is 9-12 months Exam delivery expected to be virtualized lab- based environment
  25. 25. Works in Progress Improved Availability: Building network of trusted testing centers Working towards an online solution in a proctored environment (preferably open source)
  26. 26. Works in Progress Study Materials: Wiki is available for user generated content Exam objectives translated to more languages (currently English, Russian, Spanish) Creation of study labs Formation of study groups
  27. 27. Works in Progress Sponsorship Suggestions: Fund to assist proctors' travel expenses Purchase of DVD helps to fund creation of BSDP ($9,400 in psychometric costs) Fund to assist exam candidates who can't afford exam or travel costs to exam Startup costs for an online test delivery solution
  28. 28. How You Can Help Take the JTA! Spread the word—tell your school, employer, user group, write an article, blog, twitter, etc. Read our publications Take the exam Donate time (assist with study materials, marketing, etc.) Donate $ (e.g. purchase study DVD)
  29. 29. How You Can Help Host or proctor an exam event Become an SME Help us develop an open source exam delivery solution
  30. 30. Additional Information JTA: http://surveys.bsdcertification.org/phpESP/public/ survey.php?name=BSDP01_en http://www.bsdcertification.org https://register.bsdcertification.org//register/events chair@bsdcertification.org
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