Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Google starting Android Developer Certification

Certifications for developers is not a new thing. For example, Microsoft offers a wide range of certifications not only for developers but for almost anyone who works with their products (Office, Skype, Microsoft Server etc.). Oracle, Cloudera, and a plethora of other IT companies make certification programs for their products as well. 

These (in theory) help employers to connect with those who search for work in their field. It's (should be) kind of a confirmation that you have these skills that you're talking about.

But in practice, it doesn't work that well, many certified programmers don't know much about real software development process and don't have the necessary experience to start working in a team of qualified developers. So, employers did understand that and ceased to pay attention to certificates.

The most important criterion in employment is what applicant really did and can do, his portfolio and capability of learning from mistakes and failures. 

Meaningful certification

To be at least a little bit significant, certification should lead a developer through a development of a real software product that developer can put in his portfolio. 

It should be not just a piece of paper that endorses that you did pass a one-time exam but a process during which you use those skills that should be certified to build something really valuable.

Maybe something that you can really sell or publish in an app store (probably with some modifications).

Associate Android Developer Certification

And with that being said, I want to talk about Google's certification program.

Google didn't certify developers before. It's their first certification program despite they have really wide range of product for developers: Angular, Go, Dart, great amount APIs, Google Play Services etc.

And I think the reason why they didn't do so is that they are hiring many developers every month and face the problem of certificates. But seems like they come up with an idea of how to make certification better.

First of all, there is a performance-based exam that should show the candidate's ability to perform real-world tasks in a real-world project. Also, the grading system is fully transparent and that will allow employers to understand for what this certificate was given.

With these two improvements, a certificate should become more valuable for employers, it becomes not just a piece of paper but something that shows applicant's performance during development not just during the exam. That's what both employers and employees want from a certificate. 

What is in the future

The first certification program is for Entry-level Android developers and this, I think, is for the testing. Google want to know how it will work out and maybe they will have to change the way of certification in future. But if it works out well, I think, there will be other programs for high-level developers.

Also, the reason why they choose android for the first program is that it's highly popular now among new programmers and this will allow them to get more feedback. So it becomes clear that they're just testing their system for something bigger.

As for me, I'm already signed up for this certification program and waiting for July to pass an exam and get my first software development certificate. :)

And if you are just starting out like me, go ahead and sign up, even if it's not that good, it definitely will not hurt.

It's all for today, go ahead, sign up and good luck!

See you next week!

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