Certified Pool Boys and Higher Education

The other day, floating in the pool, I had one of ‘those moments’. The “Ah Hah” moment. It was a small one. Yes, they come in sizes. Some grand and deep. Others shallow and small, but still refreshing. The spouse has credentials. Lots of credentials. She does not have “Early Childhood Education” so can’t teach preschool; but has K-12 with single room schoolhouse endorsement, so can be put on her own running a one room school with K-12 and not much support at all. She has a variety of “Special Education” credentials and has taught several levels of it. (No, I don’t know the specifics. It’s the usual government alphabet soup of unenlightening acronyms and I just don’t have it ‘stick’ in the brain. One she taught was SED – Severely Emotionally Disabled. How that differs from RSP and the others TLA’s (Three Letter Acronyms ;-) she’s racked up is something I’ve not quite mastered ;-)

At any rate, the spouse is looking for a job out here. She was interested in doing something other than teaching, having done that for quite a while now. No Joy. Loads of resumes. Not much response or action. A 3 week gig teaching ESL English as a Second Language to Brazilian kids. (They get ‘immersion’ by spending a month or so at Disney and related parks while having ESL classes each week day for about 6? hours. Oh, and it counts as credits to their degree back home.) Bottom line was that a lot of folks look at a resume that says “teacher” and don’t see “clerk” or “administrative assistant” or “secretary” or “what ever they have”. She is “siloed” into the Teacher silo.

At work, there are more silos. Only a DBA person can do the Data Base Administration. They are certified in it, and not much else. Only the Application folks can do applications coding. They are certified in it and not much else. Only the Project Manager can do PM stuff (and they want a PMP or similar Project Management certificate). Etc. etc. etc… So a load of folks are stuck in their silo and can not step over the line to learn what the other side does. That is only if you go out and get a certification. Where you spend a few hundred to $thousand dollars to a certification agency to learn the BOK Body Of Knowledge, and the ‘received wisdom’ as controlled by them. The end result is that a lot of understanding gets lost when a product has to cross silo boundaries…

Recently an application was brought up in the Disaster Recovery site. Could not get the backups to restore. The Application folks can’t look at it. It isn’t the application. The DBA can’t fix it. It’s not a database issue. The folks who do restores (an outsourced service provider runs the operations) can’t fix it as they just ‘do the prescribed restores’. The ‘Solution Architects’ are the ones ‘certified’ to make solutions, and they made this one, so it is there baby. Except… They just design new solutions, not fix old ones… So we have opened a full on project, including project numbers and sign offs and all, to “design a new backup / restore process”. Which resulted in another month or two delay as folks needed to horse all the bureaucracy around that is involved in a project. Just to get backup data read in to disk in the new location. (In reality, there are a few more complications involving chip sets, backup formats, and different backup software standards at the two sites, but those are technical not organizational issues.) Organizationally, we have entered a kind of ‘Analysis Paralysis’ based entirely on silo structure of the organization, and certification mandate mania. Nobody can just “go fix it.” This stands out to me as my time in Silicon Valley was dominated by “Just DO IT!” organizations where you just fixed it. My resume includes DBA, networks, routers, applications, operations, hardware installs, sales, support, compiler QA, software production and fulfillment, teaching at the Community College level, and more. In a siloed world, I could never have done 90% of it.

Today, to get “certified” in all the things I can do would cost about $2000 per scrap of ‘turf’, and there are at least a dozen of them. Then it would take another $2000 (average, some are more) per year to ‘maintain the cert’. Also a bunch of CEUs (Continuing Education Units) for each. In short, somewhere between $24,000 and $50,000 per year (depending on just which certs I’d collect – they multiply faster than rabbits…) and then I’d be spending all my time maintaining certs, not working. So I’m slowly being defined out of existence by the Certification Bastille. It is not possible to ‘become me’ in that world. The generalist who learns a new area in a week, and does it very well. The guy who parachutes in to a company and ‘fixes what is broken whatever it is’ even if never seen before.

But what about pools?

So what does this have to do with swimming pools?

The Epiphany Moment came while floating in the resort hot tub. Another ’50 something’ couple was in the spa with us. We were talking about finding jobs. The guy said he got hired ‘same day’ at Disney. (The spouse has been trying to get hired there for 3 months now with ‘no joy’). How? We asked… “They needed a pool guy and I am a Certified Pool And Spa Operator.” They wanted a Cert, and he had it. Yes, a Certified Pool Boy.

Now I learned how to do pool maintenance some time back. On my own. About 3 hours all told. Fixed the Florida Friends pool chemistry and did some ‘shock’ to clean out the green. If you have any grasp of basic chemistry, it’s nearly trivial. BUT, I could not get a job at a large company as “Pool Boy” since I’m not a certified pool boy. The ‘opportunity’ is closed to me, even if I wanted to do it in my retirement years.

We are becoming a nation (world?) where opportunity closes as soon as you get your first certification and where choices, both for the person and for the organizations, are eliminated. You are put on a ‘track’ and forced into a silo; there to remain until you don’t have enough ongoing CEUs to retain your cert. (Then you are deemed no longer competent – for reasons that are a mystery to me… and discarded. There is a catch-22 in the end game. For many certs you must maintain the cert or lose it, and to get the cert again you have to be employed in the field, but you can’t be employed without the cert, so… I’ve looked at a couple where I’m very qualified, but having not worked in that particular area for the last 5 years, can not even apply).

In Conclusion

So why the rant?

Simple. Loss of freedom.

The Certification gives some minimal assurance that the person has some clue about the job; but it does not guarantee morality nor competence. Mostly it functions to restrict supply and raise wage rates for those in The Guild. Initially this can be a generally beneficial effect. My Dad sold real estate prior to Real Estate Licensing. He then got his license. He could have grandfathered in to a Brokers license, but didn’t bother. My college roomy did get his. AFTER 4 years of college, a bunch of mandatory additional real estate classes, and a few years working for a Realtor / Broker. He was no better a real estate guy than my Dad. It cost him a lot of time and money to get there. It made the Broker richer. It raised commission costs and helped to assure a closed guild with high costs and lower productivity.

In computing, the Cert Racket is making $Millions for the likes of Micro$oft, Oracle, et. al. At a couple of $Thousand per cert, and several levels of cert, how much can you rake in if ever person working on your product has to pay out $5000 / year to keep their job? (I looked into it, for the cert levels I’d get, it would take about $5k / product to keep up the ‘couple of certs’ each). It keeps the ‘riffraff’ out of the job market for those in the guild, so a DBA doesn’t need to worry that some smart ass Applications guy will offer to do both. But…

In the end, you have highly siloed organizations with nobody who understands the whole picture, who has worked all sides of the issues. The process ossifies. Prices rise greatly. The whole thing starts to freeze up as the BOK does not welcome innovation. And personal freedom is cut short. The spouse has now accepted an offer of being a substitute teacher as they want her and her certs, even though she very much wanted to have change in her life. We are all impoverished, both by higher prices and by fewer choices with less liberty. All in the name of a ‘certainty’ that the certificate does not supply.

If you start looking at the list of certifications and licenses needed for simple things, it will start to curl your hair. Speaking of which, curling hair is one of them. If you want to braid or curl hair, you need a license for that… Sigh. The whole goal being to develop a local monopoly for The Guild in each field. To eliminate choice, and the freedom that goes with it. While racking in cash for government licensing agencies and corporate Certification mills.

Here’s a link for one of the Pool Boy certs I found on a first look:

CPO® certification courses are designed to provide individuals with the basic knowledge, techniques, and skills of pool and spa operations. The Certified Pool/Spa Operator® certification program has delivered more training than any other program in the pool and spa industry since 1972, resulting in more than 375,000 successful CPO® certifications in 93 countries. Many state and local health departments accept the CPO® certification program.

So is this how societies age and ossify? It is at least a part of it…

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Economics - Trading - and Money and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Certified Pool Boys and Higher Education

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; I know the feeling. I am a Master Mechanic and Master Builder and could not get a job in any of these vast fields except as a minimum wage helper. No certifications when I learned all of these trades. This is a creation of Human Resources managers and means anyone that loses their job and is over 50 is done. What a waste, as that is where all the accumulated knowledge is. This is why NASA is no longer competent. Bureaucrats have to destroy the field they manage, They must have control of every detail, control it to death! They are clueless of the damage caused by their ignorance and arrogance. They believe that they are making things better! pg

  2. EM – like pg this really resonates with me too. Back in ’79 I joined Raychem as a computer operator, since where I was the degree in physics was in general a bar to getting employment otherwise (I was too highly qualified). I worked through fixing the comms, installing hardware, fixing computers, applications programming and systems programming simply by doing the job. I’ve always found it funny that when I left they replaced me with 4 people because they wanted to have specialists. I left with one extra certification – VTAM programming on the IBM 4343. No longer useful, as that hardware and software is way out of date.

    In Xerox I did hardware design, and since the software designers said a video display was beyond the hardware capabilities I wrote one that did it (in assembler rather than C) – that bit of software (or a descendant of it) may well be in the current production since it was pretty efficient. Sticking to the official boundaries of the defined job is unnecessarily restrictive – I’d had to learn the microprocessor pretty thoroughly in writing the test software, so the video routine did not take that much extra work.

    One other thing about the stratification of employment and these fixed rates is that my ex-mother-in-law in Pa couldn’t get a job teaching English since she had not just one but two Masters degrees, so they would have needed to pay her more, so she didn’t get the job. Finding a new job took her quite a while.

    There’s a lot of profit in the certification process and some interesting side-effects. On a building site, unless you’ve had the obligatory 2-day course in how to climb a ladder you can’t be allowed on one. Given the number of accidents in the home falling down stairs and cutting fingers in the kitchen, it’s surprising that we don’t need to be certified competent to eat and to go to bed…. More 2-day courses, but in that case hungry and sleepless.

    One recent thing in the UK was the exam required for citizenship, which is a written test. It seems that if you pay certain people they will sign in as you and take the exam for you. The documentation is basically meaningless.

    Fixing real-world problems mostly requires knowledge that goes across the official boundaries. Experience only accrues by doing something, and there’s not much that a 2-day course can give you that would not also be apparent after a few days on the job. What the certification does, though, is to allow a quick and easy criterion to eject people that might not be able to do the job yet and make the HR job of hiring simpler. It can thus be done using fewer people and more computers – useful in these days of high unemployment. It also passes the responsibility over to someone else (the certification supplier) if it turns out that the new hiree is not competent at the job.

    Looking deeper, it seems to me that the need for certification is because of the extra mobility of people now. Used to be that if you wanted a pool-boy, you’d know who was good locally and they’d have been there a while. You know who’s good and who isn’t from what your friends and neighbours say. The certification is intended to substitute for that knowledge, yet it tells you nothing about that person’s capabilities to go outside the speciality or their usefulness.

    Of course, I’m now caught in the same trap, and effectively unemployable (no real problem as I’m on a pension, but…). I’ve done software, hardware, electronics design and failure analysis for a living, but have no certificates saying I’m competent in them. Maybe I should be a pool-boy….

  3. R. de Haan says:

    Lot’s of job opportunities in Texas.
    Otherwise start a certification agency or just leave the damn country and find your luck somewhere else.

  4. R. de Haan says:

    It’s remarkable but far from unsuspected how the certification madness is undermining the economies not only in the US but Europe as well and not only for individual workers but also for business.
    Now EU regulations require minimum annual turnovers for small and medium business besides certifications as a requirement to remain an official partner with companies like Airbus.
    A turnover of 100 million euro per year is a major obstacle for many specialized business and so we observe the further collapse of the Middle Class which was the objective in the first place.

    The time has come to introduce tough certification procedures for politicians to stop this madness.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    Interesting data on the EU. Yes, there is another goal by the Central Authority Class. The desire to centralize power demands a limited number of control points. Limited companies with which to work. Fascism (in the Economic sense of the economic system invented in Italy pre-WWII and not in the politically loaded emotional insult sense. As a technical economic term of art only.) has as the key insight that Big Government need not directly own all business / economic activity (as the Communists / Marxists taught and believed) but that all they really needed was for the business ‘owner’ to do as they were told / expected.

    To do this, it is far easier if you have a limited number of large organizations to ‘discipline’ and to reward. So you end up with a real Evil Bastard deal. The ‘owners’ Evil Bastards agree to be in line with the Big Government Evil Bastards, and both of them agree to keep everyone else out of the ‘deal’. Labor is brought in via the Labor Union (or ‘bundle’ or ‘fascis’ in Latin) that gets a local monopoly on labor via the Union in exchange for being bought off to Central Authority.

    As the EU is a profoundly Fascist organization (in the Economic sense – socialism with markets and Central Authority but with less of Socialism / Communism emphasis on class struggle and ownership of the means of production by the State) it is not at all surprising to find the same Central Government / Monopoly-Oligopoly Business E.B. / Labor Union ‘bundle’ being advocated.

    “Little guys” just get in the way and are hard to control, so need to be eliminated with various rulings and laws. Freedoms need to be removed as well so that Central Control has an easier time of it. Unions are the traditional means, but Certifications have been increasingly used as a means of control and limitation on ‘surprises’ to Central Authority.

    Per “luck”: I don’t find it, I make it.

    Besides, my rant is more for the young ones today than for me. As a young man, I could be a real estate agent, or sell cars, or program computers just by doing it. Now you need to pay folks money, get licenses and certs, often give over your finger prints, and more. That is a profound loss of liberty.


    Wife has some of the same issues. Due to her degrees and credentials, she falls in the Masters pay scale, so will not be offered some slots even if she wants them. Union rules and all…


    There’s an interesting Information Theory problem in Central Control. It simply is not possible to get the same amount of information evaluated and processed in a Central Control unit than in a gaggle of disbursed distributed processes. You see this now in Supercomputing where all of the Top500 list are hoards of processors, not a single monolithic CPU anymore. Similarly, the massively distributed processor (like a COW Cluster Of Workstations, or a Beowulf Cluster) can do huge jobs. Economies are even more suited to disbursed distributed solutions ( ’emergent phenomena’) yet people, for reasons beyond my ken, lust for The One Central Authority to sort things out. Even though it can never be as competent.

    That is why free markets beat Central Authority.

    Oh Well. Just another turn on the wheel of history…

  6. One consequence of a specified set of qualifications/certificates for a job is that the person writing the job specification must know exactly what that job needs. A corollary of this is, since you know exactly what knowledge and competence is required, you can automate that job just as soon as the cost/benefit analysis tells you it’s profitable so to do. It also means that the job is boring and doesn’t stretch the employee. Same things, day after day.

    You can currently buy a robot to clean the pool. Add a bigger microcontroller, some sensors for pH, turbidity etc. and either a chemical dispenser or (much cheaper) a link to your mobile phone telling you what to add and how much, and the certificated pool-boy is out of a job. The hardware costs don’t really rise very much (the original microcontroller is less than a dollar and the new one might be up to a dollar more), and the software cost is a one-off with occasional maintenance as the rules change. The unemployed pool-boy, though, won’t be able to afford one (or a pool).

    So what does the newly-qualified PhD say? “Would you like fries with that?”

  7. Ralph B says:

    All this talk of silos makes me think someone has read Wool

  8. Clay Marley says:

    It isn’t just people who have to get certified, its products too. Our development processes have to be compliant with ISO-9000 series, TL-9000 and others. Our products have to be compliant to various Telcordia (now owned by Ericsson) standards, safety standards, and the dreaded environmental and sustainability standards like RoHS WEEE, and many others. Then we have to hire consultants to prep and hire auditors and testing firms to get certified. Then they change the standards every year adding more junk and requiring we buy the new version. Is gets so bad we have to hire firms like IHS just to keep track of the standards and licenses.

    Some standards like UL safety standards to assure your wall wart doesn’t catch fire when something fails, are useful. But much of this is a racket to keep consultants, auditors and standards bodies paid. It is turning into an entire industry that drains the real economy. Ten years ago my career path was going down the QA route, and I did the prep work for a TL-9000 audit. I found multiple non-conformances, advised management and they said thanks. Then I tried to get work done to close these issues and management said basically, sit down and shut up. Then when we were audited by a well known auditor; in spite of my reports no non-conformances were found. I decided I must not be a quality guy, quit and went back into real engineering.

    I don’t see how a small company can survive in this environment.

  9. Another Ian says:


    In verse

           By Peter A Barton
           Huntly Clermont Qld

           There’s a blight upon the country that’s really quite degrading
           Invented by the bureaucrats to stop their jobs from fading
           A nasty imposition that now has been put in force
           It’s become an obligation to attend a two day course.

           There are courses by the hundred to improve your education
           It’s now become essential that you get accreditation
           You will need that piece of paper or you’ll really be in strife
           Although what you’ll be learning you’ve been doing all your life.

           In the drought of ’69 I cut scrub from dawn to dark
           And fence posts by the thousands I have hewn from ironbark
           Now it’s hard for me to fathom that I could break the law
           If I dare to start the motor of my trusty old chainsaw.

           Take chemical application, that’s something I know best
           By now I must have sprayed every single living pest
           From cattle ticks to buffalo fly, from burrs to rubber vine
           Now a course must be attended or I’ll risk a whopping fine

           Just ask those who know me if I know how to use a gun!
           From every sort of weapon I’ve shot bullets by the ton.
           Though I’ve been proficient since I reached the age of ten
           It seems that this is something that I have to learn again.

           I’ve studied on computers, learnt how to market crops
           Benchmarking and QA, I’ve been to those workshops.
           Breedplan is something I now understand in full
           It took two days to learn how to scrotum test a bull.

           My stock are getting poorer from general lack of care
           And all my bores and fences are in sad need of repair.
           You might think me lazy but that simply isn’t true
           I’d go to work tomrrow but there’s another course to do.

           The bank would like to see me for the funds are getting low
           And I’d like to get the time to plant the crops I need to grow.
           My wife and kids all miss me ’cause I’m hardly ever there
           I’d love to stay at home but there’s this course in Cattlecare.

           If I continue in this vain I’ll surely end up broke.
           All these accreditations are really just a joke.
           I’d rather wrestle with scrub bulls or ride on bucking horses
           Than be subjected to all these two day f*****g courses!!

  10. Pouncer says:

    Seems to me you might do very well to invent for yourself the credential of “certified system generalist” (CSG), find three or four likely prospects to agree to join you in the founding association of the professional group, sign off on each others’ qualifications, and like old Calvinists, determine who will be recognized among the newly “elect” of the novitiates with whom you may in contact.

  11. Zeke says:

    Another example of loss of freedom through increasing control of who you can call to do a job:

    “Every American has a right to earn a living at a common occupation. The government can’t reign in animal husbandry workers like Jerry, just to protect the financial interests of veterinarians. The outcome of this case could have far reaching consequences. The government’s interpretation of the law could end small scale animal agriculture as we know it. Washington’s farmers and ranchers have never had to hire a vet to provide their herds with basic animal husbandry services. But if the courts rule against Jerry Schmidt, the cost of raising livestock could go through the roof, even as the quality of animal care diminishes.”

  12. Zeke says:

    An electrician tells a Russian that someone will be by in 10 years to repair his wiring. He says, “In the morning, or in the afternoon?” The electrician says, “What difference does it make?” And the Russian says, “Because the plumber is going to be coming by in the morning.”

  13. Graeme No.3 says:

    I once took over preparing a submission to a government authority to get regulatory approval for a resin. I realised that the structure drawn by the previous chemist involved a polymer based on pentavalent carbon. (Not really his fault as the Drawing program was hopeless).
    I changed the drawing and prepared the other stuff – 72 pages in triplicate – and somehow the original drawing slipped back into the final version and I didn’t realise it until the day after the whole lot had gone off to be examined (with hefty fee).
    The Regulatory Authority employed around a dozen PhD’s and I expected it to come back quickly with a sarcastic comment. No way. Several queries (all of which held up the approval process) of little significance to do with the safety or pollution aspects supposedly being checked came followed by approval.

    I have often wondered what they actually did, and what real purpose they performed. I quickly decided on what value for money they represented.

  14. philjourdan says:

    It depends upon the organization. You are going to bigger ones where they have the luxury of silos. I have had the opportunity to be there, and also where we crossed the lines because there were only a few of us.

    It is very difficult in a large organization to get from one silo to another, but in a smaller organization it is not only easier, but encouraged. Even if they have a DBA and App guy, they need backup, so often they back each other up. THen when one or the other moves on, they can move in either direction.

    I started as an Assembler programmer, moved to networks (out of necessity) as a Server Admin (Novel). Then moved to MIcrosoft, and then to a WAN Engineer. All because I was in small organizations (well, the IT side was small). I got my certs while I was doing both jobs at each. ANd they get you in the door, but they cannot get you hired if that is all you have. I have been on the other side of the desk in the hiring and I will listen to you if you have a cert, but I will not hire you. I will also listen to you if you do not, but you have been doing the job.

  15. M Simon says:

    The generalist who learns a new area in a week, and does it very well.

    Takes me two weeks. But I’m a little slow.

    The guy who parachutes in to a company and ‘fixes what is broken whatever it is’ even if never seen before.

    That is the fun stuff. Except when your diagnosis is correct and the company is not. Out of that come war stories.

  16. Power Grab says:

    I didn’t know it was so bad. Pity.

    I guess I’m somewhat spoiled. I’ve been in an environment that can best be described as “herding cats” for a couple decades now. There are a few more fences these days than there used to be, I guess.

    Back when I had my first taste of programming (Fortran on punched cards), there wasn’t even a major in computer science. I heard tales that companies who came to interview graduates for computer programming positions were particularly interested in interviewing music majors.

    Things sure have changed.

  17. John Robertson says:

    The solution is self evident, time to create our own “credentials”.
    As a former farm boy with 35 years in the paid work force, I can fix just about anything.
    I can’t fix stupid.
    Stupid rules.
    In the name of safety.
    As the whole charade is about covering the butts of the credentialed nitwits, any official appearing documentation with the right buzz words and lots of ornate artwork will satisfy the fools.
    Evidence for my claim can be found in the fake credentials of so many of the academic and political creatures.
    Time to form the guild of unusually competent persons, which along with accreditation in uncommon sense and constant education in the school of hard knocks actually means something.
    As our universities have demonstrated, anyone with a computer and printer can give themselves or others astounding credentials.

  18. Another Ian says:


    Around this area. SDA has run a series in Canadian Standards – if you follow there is more earlier


  19. p.g.sharrow says:

    I think John Robertson has a point. “The University of HARD KNOCKS”. I have attended all my life! 60 plus years to date, and still learning. pg NDD (no damn degree)

  20. John Robertson says:

    Actually having slept on it, the situation is even more bizarre.
    Another Ian, good connection, Restore CSA, CSA is an government sanctioned extortion racket.
    The skilled generalists problem is simple, the HR flack cannot conceive of our existence.
    How can they check the box?
    The (promoted beyond its competence) mini-manager fears exposure so competent persons will not be intentionally employed.
    And the CYA crew are afraid of anyone who operates outside of Standard Operating Procedure.
    Here in Canada we are repeatedly told there is a serious shortage of skilled tradesmen, funny most competent trades persons do not see it.
    What we do have is a stunning mass of ignorant, government empowered regulators who ensure we cannot practice our skills.
    What I can do in 1/2hr in the real world takes between 2 to 6 hrs in the corporate/govt realm.
    Reducing productivity to one job/8hr day from 16.
    And never ever suggest accomplishing 3 tasks at once.
    Paperwork galore, mostly speculative BS as in troubleshooting one never knows what they will find, hence the anticipated hazards and remediation are pure rote, play the role, repeat the mantra, then go do the job as you must.
    I used to enjoy my work as an honest occupation, but this safety religion has elevated occupational dishonesty to an art form.
    Makes an interesting field when you know everyone is lying and they know it too.
    Except for the government wonk, who insists that the paperwork must be true…

  21. Hamish McDougal says:

    from the EUSSR

    We used to have a wonderful (although expensive & not really concerned to honour warranties &c.) plumber+. Certificated in electrics, gas and everything &c. Had the ability to sort out any problem tout suite. Used him on (unexpected) problems and new ideas (re-modelling). I believe the previous owner of the house (25 years ago!) used him. He’s now retired. BUT he gave up doing the other things (gas, electrics &c.) because the cost of required certification wasn’t worth it!

  22. Hamish McDougal says:

    instead of ‘certification’ read ‘re-certification’. Qualified? In spades.

  23. R. de Haan says:

    It’s just another rip off system exploited by parasites.

    Rip off systems need to be burned.

    It’s called REVOLUTION.

  24. gallopingcamel says:

    I loved the comment from “Another Ian”

    ” THE TWO DAY COURSE” by Peter A Barton

    Especially this bit:
    “Now a course must be attended or I’ll risk a whopping fine”

    As George Bernard Shaw remarked, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t teach.”

    Now that I am too old to do real work, I teach. A high percentage of my students attend my courses to become “Certified” or “Certificated”.

  25. Gary says:

    This sort of thing is what feeds the underground economy. And certification mills. Any thoughts about historical examples where this situation eventually resolved as the “industry” matured? Tech can only get complicated to a degree, then it must get simpler through convergence and consolidation per the Constructal Law.

  26. E.M.Smith says:


    As industries “mature” they look ever more to ways to establish local monopolies, preferably with the help of government agencies. It gets worse, not better.

  27. Jeff says:

    Add another silo to the, er, farm – look up “Common Core” and “Pearson” – yep, Pearson, the outfit that benefits from MCSE and other certification (n.b. Bill Gates is also a backer of CC). So, this certification madness is filtering down into school systems, and the “Ed Biz”.

    Funny how 40 years ago “Interdisciplinary Studies” was all the rage; now there’s no more
    “inter” between the disciplines…we’ll be raising a generation of “not my job, man” kids…sigh….

  28. M Simon says:

    p.g.sharrow says:
    30 June 2014 at 2:26 pm

    pg – I became an aerospace engineer. NDD Education has become a racket.

    Education is only good for those mildly interested in a subject. Take #3 son. He has an EE degree, understands the subject well, and he wants to be a musician. But he has racked up some debts – getting a degree he really wasn’t interested in. He doesn’t even like electronics well enough to apply it to his music.

    Then there is #1 daughter with a ChemE major (I love discussing thermo with her) who wants to be an actress. She has been a little more careful so her debts are not too high Still…

  29. p.g.sharrow says:

    @M Simon; Over the years I find far too many young people feel going to school IS their JOB. A life style that they are part of and don’t want to leave. “Student” as their profession. AJOB is a 4 letter word to be avoided at all cost.
    We have discussed this on another thread and observed that no one should be able to attend higher education without 4 years of work experience first. Maybe then they might be better consumers of the higher education opportunity and cost.
    There are times that I feel blessed that I avoided higher education brain washing and learned independent of professorial prejudice. My opinions may be lame but at least they are my own ;-) pg

  30. Larry Geiger says:

    Then there are the in-house requirements. I just finished HIPAA training. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…. At KSC I avoided the ELSA training for 26 years. Never went anywhere hypergolic. Then of course there is TIME CARD training. Ouch! Comply or die. Or something like that. Fear the DCAA like you fear the IRS. Such fun. Let’s see, what else was fun? Oh I know, IT security training. They never tell you much about real threats but there are surely some out there and if you mess up just right, even though you have no idea what might constitue truly messing up, then you end up severely messed up. Except for Lois. How in the world did she escape the DCAA, OIG, IT Security, CIO, etc. Woman must be as slippery as an eel. I’ve seen people fired for less. Good grief.

Comments are closed.