During a Configuration Management workshop in Mierlo, a little town near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, I had an interesting discussion about CM certification. The concept of certification is simple: if you comply with an amount of selection criteria, you get your certificate.
The discussion was what the added value is of CM certification. In my view, the may be – at least – two reasons why you need certification:
- The distinction between professional and amateurs is difficult to make
- The industry is using certification as a selection method
Currently, there is no common, generally accepted, understanding of what a configuration manager is. So if a certification institute defines certain rules and criteria for certification, it is arbitrary. There will be lots of good CM-ers that will fail and bad CM-ers that will pass, depending on whether your knowledge and work experience complies with those criteria. The result will be that within the crowd of certified CM-ers there will be good and bad ones, and within the crowd of non-certified CM-ers too.
In addition, the community of CM-ers is a small world. Bad CM-ers are easy to pick, and if someone is completely unknown within the CM community, it might be a reason to some extra screening when he or she applies for an assignment as a configuration manager.
So my argument was that the added value of certification of individuals within the CM world is too small. This does not justify the investments to set up a certification institution, not does it justify the individual investments to get certified.
I think CM certification is nonsense. It is useless to strive for a certificate unless it clearly boosts my career if I do, or damage my career if I don’t.