[linux-elitists] What's some marketing buzzwords for what we do?

Peter Whysall peter.whysall@ntlworld.com
Sun Dec 29 11:59:07 PST 2002

> -----Original Message-----
> From: linux-elitists-admin@zgp.org
> [mailto:linux-elitists-admin@zgp.org]On Behalf Of Michael Bacarella
> Sent: 29 December 2002 19:20
> To: Peter Whysall
> Cc: linux-elitists@zgp.org
> Subject: Re: [linux-elitists] What's some marketing buzzwords for what
> we do?
> > > To me, this is our golden opportunity. Programmers in India cannot
> > > be hired to do this, and most programmer peons (MCSEs) are
> > > either incompetent, or just oblivious to the demand.
> >
> > Personally, I would be very careful about using the MCSE
> qualification as an
> > indicator or otherwise of someone's ability in the field. There are very
> > many people (such as myself) who have or are working towards this
> > certification who are perfectly competent in their roles.
> "A Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer is to computing what a McDonalds
> Certified Food Preparer is to fine cuisine."
> I am of the opinion that an MCSE means that someone learned to
> pass a test,
> and that is not a sufficient indicator of anyone's skills to me
> in any way.

Notwithstanding the insulting pseudoquote, I agree. I never said otherwise.

> Then again, some great chefs probably got their start working fast food
> once upon a time.  When I speak of MCSE peons, it is generally accepted
> common knowledge that it is meant to target "paper MCSEs".

Sucks to be me, I guess. We can't all be great chefs.

> MCSEs are convenient for buzzword bingo recruiters and PHBs
> (which I imagine
> is why you're trying to get one). The moniker is completely lost on me.

MCSE also means that if the person says they have an MCSE and they can't
show a fairly good grasp of Windows networking and Active Directory in the
interview, then you know you're dealing with a loser. It's like any
certification in that regard. I have no doubt that I could wander out and
get myself a CCNA without excessive effort. However, I'd still have to
actually *know* something to do it.

> > Furthermore, MCSE isn't a programming qualification - that's the MCSD.
> You've reiterated that these are conveniences for the non-technical,
> that is, these certifications match job titles. They do not display
> any level of competency.  I couldn't take seriously a UNIX sys admin that
> couldn't do the job of a C programmer, nor could I take seriously a C
> programmer that couldn't be UNIX sys admin (with exceptions).

Is there anyone you CAN take seriously? Every programmer I've met who's had
aspirations to administration has either fallen at the technical fence, or
the political one. There's more to being a successful administrator than raw
technical skill. In fact, I'd say technical ability is the minor skill,
compared to the requirement for communication and organisational skills.

> I've not looked over the MCSE course material in years, but I
> suspect it's still
> pretty sterile. Do the MCSE course materials encourage
> understanding of the
> NT* system calls?  Do you write a replacement for the explorer.exe shell?
> How about writing a simple driver? A simple service? Do you even develop a
> command line application? Do you at least become familar with tools like
> regmon, filemon, etc?

I think you're misunderstanding what an MCSE certification involves. This is
stuff I'd look for on the CV of someone who's advertising themselves as a
systems programmer. If I had a candidate who was applying for an
administration job, and presented me with the list of skills you've
outlined, I'd be asking some very probing questions about why they weren't
applying for a job that actually matches their skillset.

> None of the MCSEs I spoke to at the time grokked this stuff.
> Would they now?

I doubt they'd care. I know I don't.

What's really annoying is that I'm one of the biggest Debian advocates I
know, and here I am, arguing the merits of the MCSE. Irony, thy name is

I even wrote this in Outlook. Bah!


Peter Whysall
http://z.iwethey.org/forums | The IWETHEY Project

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