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Re: PostgreSQL Certification

From: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne(at)acm(dot)org>
To: pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: PostgreSQL Certification
Date: 2003-10-25 03:13:16
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Lists: pgsql-advocacy
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, josh(at)agliodbs(dot)com (Josh Berkus) wrote:
> Chris,
>> What _would_ be valuable would be for there to be some form of
>> "professional development."  The valuable (and expensive) form of that
>> would be to catch one or another of the "Open Source" conferences with
>> a PostgreSQL track, such as the Portland thing last summer.
> Well, the valuable thing about the certification is not the
> certification itself but the certification *course*.  Currently, I
> get asked questions about PostgreSQL training and PostgreSQL
> certifications a *lot*; I just got back from PHPCon, for example,
> and 4 people there asked me about professional training.
> So what we need are professional training courses that provide some
> basic level of PostgreSQL competency.  If we have those training
> courses, then the certificate becomes "icing on the cake"; it lets
> the bean-counters justify the cost for existing employees, and
> trainees beef up there resume'.

I did a tutorial last weekend, with somewhat mixed results.

I had two parts to it, which I could not have conceivably gone through
in the 3.5h I had available.

- Part I was a quick review of relational algebra, essentially
  answering the question "what's the point of relational databases?",
  followed by the tutorial from the PostgreSQL documentation set.

- Part II walked through a bunch of the "nifty bits," motivating 
  PG features that are particularly useful/nifty, and why.

  - A quick sprint through normalization;
  - MVCC;
  - Quick list of performance tuning actions;
  - Sequences (and their use)
  - Backups
  - Why avoid NULLs?
  - A review of security
  - Some of the "idioms" (e.g. - what to do rather than MAX(COLUMN))
  - Licensing Issues

  I sprinted through most of it.  Got one report back that the
  performance tuning material was pretty useful.

The "borrowed-tutorial" is probably 4 hours to present properly, and I
think it's not rightly targeted to a "course."

The problem is that what it ISN'T is a document that gives an
internally coherent view of either SQL or PostgreSQL functionality.

It rather rather has, as its target, people that need material that
helps scatter their attention across the features, and where the lack
of internal coherence is _perfectly fine_ because it links to other
parts of the documentation set which supports the "comprehensive"

An example of a more comprehensive tutorial is the following:

It nicely presents a structure of the major aspects of SQL
functionality, and seems a better model for an "SQL overview," at
least for "teaching" purposes.

A proper "curriculum" needs to cover a pretty comprehensive set of
material, including SQL-in-Detail, as well as an hour or two apiece on
topics like MVCC, backups, sequences, stored procedures, triggers,
rules, and probably a number of others, complete with examples as well
as "war stories."

Doing this right won't be particularly cheap.  And the places where it
would be valuable are those where the approach would be for a
"consultant" (or more likely a team of two) to go in for two or three
days to present material at a company planning adoption of PostgreSQL.

There's a bit of chicken-and-egg to that; it's not worth preparing
curriculum unless there is interest, and there won't be interest
unless someone has proven curriculum.
output = ("cbbrowne" "@" "")
"What you  said you   want to do  is  roughly  equivalent to   nailing
horseshoes to the tires of your Buick."  -- danceswithcrows(at)usa(dot)net on
the question "Why can't Linux use Windows Drivers?"

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Subject: Re: PostgreSQL Certification
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