Applying Open
   Source Methodology
   to IT Examinations

Dru Lavigne,
Chair, BSD Certification Group
Outline
    Who we are
-
    Why should we bother?
-
    How IT certifications work
-
    Why change the status quo?
-
   ...
Who we are
    Registered non-profit incorporated in N.J.
-
    Core group of 21 members including devs from
-
    the 4 m...
Why should we bother?
    Isn't Open Source about the code?
-

    Doesn't the code speak for itself?
-

    Aren't certif...
Why should we bother?
    Successful code has a userbase. Providing an
-
    avenue for end users, support staff, and
    ...
How IT certifications work
    They are actually getting better....
-



    Less marketing focus
-

    More psychometric...
How IT certifications work
    But still leave much to be desired....
-



    Post-secondary dilemma (context v.s. experi...
Why change the status quo?
                         Cost


    To the organization creating the exam
-

    High entry bar...
Time to do the math:
    Annual fee:                      $75,000
-
    Publication fees:                $ 4,000
-
    Psy...
Why change the status quo?
                            Cost
    To the testing center
-

    No incentive to offer exam
-
...
Item         Minimum Requirement                Notes
Processor          Pentium III, 1 Ghz         Prefer Pentium 4, 2
  ...
Why change the status quo?
                        Cost


    To the exam candidate
-

    Exams range from $50 to $750 US...
Why change the status quo?
                        Availability


    Not bad if you live in North America or Europe
-

  ...
Why change the status quo?
                      Availability


Our own surveys show largest percentage in:
    Brazil, Po...
Country           Annual GDP per capita                      Per Month
                            in USD
Brazil          ...
Why change the status quo?
                        Software


    Closed source, can't audit security
-
    Only works on ...
Design considerations
                 At the testing center:


    Minimal hardware requirements
-
    Zero dependence on...
Design considerations
               For the testing software:


    Multi-language support
-
    Lockdown of software to ...
Design considerations
                    Overall goals:


    Use Open Source components
-
    Release the “glue” under a...
Design considerations
                    Overall goals:


    Resulting test delivery engine should be secure
-
    and e...
Additional Resources
    Publications at http://www.bsdcertification.org


    Test Delivery Survey Report
-

    BSD Usag...
Additional Resources

      “Why IT Certifications Suck” series at
   http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/unix/bsd/archives




   ...
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Os Lavigne

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Os Lavigne

  1. 1. Applying Open Source Methodology to IT Examinations Dru Lavigne, Chair, BSD Certification Group
  2. 2. Outline Who we are - Why should we bother? - How IT certifications work - Why change the status quo? - Design considerations - Additional Resources -
  3. 3. Who we are Registered non-profit incorporated in N.J. - Core group of 21 members including devs from - the 4 main BSD projects, trainers, sysadmins, writers, and advocates Advisory board of 5 senior members from the BSD - community Hundreds of volunteer translators for 20 - languages Over a thousand subscribers to public mailing lists -
  4. 4. Why should we bother? Isn't Open Source about the code? - Doesn't the code speak for itself? - Aren't certifications about making a fast buck? - Who needs a piece of paper anyways? -
  5. 5. Why should we bother? Successful code has a userbase. Providing an - avenue for end users, support staff, and administrators to gain and prove their skills is a good thing The alternative is a primarily self-taught userbase - with knowledge gaps and the perception that no qualified support channels exist
  6. 6. How IT certifications work They are actually getting better.... - Less marketing focus - More psychometrics and SMEs -
  7. 7. How IT certifications work But still leave much to be desired.... - Post-secondary dilemma (context v.s. experience) - Boot camp mentality (become a sysadmin in 40 - hours for only $4000)
  8. 8. Why change the status quo? Cost To the organization creating the exam - High entry barrier - Annual fees could be better spent elsewhere -
  9. 9. Time to do the math: Annual fee: $75,000 - Publication fees: $ 4,000 - Psychometric fees: $20,000 - SMEs: volunteer - Organizational costs: donated - How much per exam if you deliver 1000 exams - that year? 500 exams? 100 exams?
  10. 10. Why change the status quo? Cost To the testing center - No incentive to offer exam - No incentive for proctor honesty - Expensive hardware requirements - Technical skill to apply testing software and - patches
  11. 11. Item Minimum Requirement Notes Processor Pentium III, 1 Ghz Prefer Pentium 4, 2 GHz Operating System Windows XP Professional Must have latest or Windows 2000 service pack applied Professional RAM 512 MB Hard drive 4 GB free space Prefer 10 GB free space LAN connection 100 Mbps wireless not supported Printer laser quality 600 dpi with postscript support Browser Internet Explorer 6.0 SP2
  12. 12. Why change the status quo? Cost To the exam candidate - Exams range from $50 to $750 USD - Average exam price is $150 USD -
  13. 13. Why change the status quo? Availability Not bad if you live in North America or Europe - And speak English - Where are the Open Source users? -
  14. 14. Why change the status quo? Availability Our own surveys show largest percentage in: Brazil, Poland, Germany, India, and China - Other testing organizations indicate similar - geographic patterns
  15. 15. Country Annual GDP per capita Per Month in USD Brazil 5,717 476 Poland 8,890 740 Germany 35,204 2,933 India 797 66 China 2,001 166 Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
  16. 16. Why change the status quo? Software Closed source, can't audit security - Only works on proprietary, licensed systems - No Open Source alternatives currently exist - No choice; limited functionality - Not available everywhere - Limited language support (English or Japanese) -
  17. 17. Design considerations At the testing center: Minimal hardware requirements - Zero dependence on software requiring separate - licensing Zero skill from proctors to start testing program - and download correct examination Security and auditing processes -
  18. 18. Design considerations For the testing software: Multi-language support - Lockdown of software to prevent proctor or test - taker cheating Built-in auditing mechanisms - Extendable for different question types and hands - on scenarios
  19. 19. Design considerations Overall goals: Use Open Source components - Release the “glue” under an Open Source license - Don't reinvent the wheel - Build a community -
  20. 20. Design considerations Overall goals: Resulting test delivery engine should be secure - and easy to use Should be available in any geographic region - Take advantage of existing proctor mechanisms - (e.g. Accredited post-secondary)
  21. 21. Additional Resources Publications at http://www.bsdcertification.org Test Delivery Survey Report - BSD Usage Survey - Psychometrics Explained -
  22. 22. Additional Resources “Why IT Certifications Suck” series at http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/unix/bsd/archives dru@osbr.ca

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