OpenBSD Journal

BSD Certification Group launches Task Analysis Survey

Contributed by phessler on from the pretty-paper dept.

The BSD Certification Group is running a survey to help describe the knowledge and skills necessary for successful BSD administration and to gain feedback for developing BSD system administrator certification. Pretty much everyone who uses BSD operating systems is invited to complete the survey. This survey takes about an hour, and is located at

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    Vaacum the printers

    []Never []Yearly []Quarterly []Monthly []Weekly [X]Daily
    []Not important []Somewhat important []Very important [X]Essential
    [X]Novice Admin []Junior Admin []Intermediate/Advanced Admin []Senior Admin

    1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      Make coffee for the Novice Admin. []Never []Yearly []Quarterly []Monthly []Weekly [X]Daily []Not important []Somewhat important []Very important [X]Essential []Novice Admin []Junior Admin []Intermediate/Advanced Admin [x]Senior Admin Do the Real Work the Senior Admin should be able to do but can't. []Never []Yearly []Quarterly []Monthly []Weekly [X]Daily []Not important []Somewhat important []Very important [X]Essential [X]Novice Admin []Junior Admin []Intermediate/Advanced Admin []Senior Admin

  2. By Erik Carlseen ( on

    The problem with certification (since the beginning of time, or at least the last 15 years) is the cert mills that grind out test-hardened individuals who can barely survive in the real world (if at all). Hence we have a great list of jokes like CNE == Certified No Experience, MSCE == Must Consult Somebody Else, etc, etc, ad infinitum. As far as I can tell, the only Cert anyone with a clue pays much attention to is the good old CCIE. Frankly, the industry would be better off if we ditched certifications entirely, at least those that are based on a 1 hour computer-administered test.

    This would force the HR types to actually understand the requirements of the people they're hiring (as opposed to merely checking blanks on a form), or for more demanding jobs, to use consultants in the hiring process. Yes, that's a great deal more effort but it actually, you know, works most of the time. As long as we have HR people and slave traders who rely on brain-dead certs, we'll continue to have an industry full of people that can barely remember how to add a user to an Active Directory domain. And security? Hey, we've got a firewall! We're secure! Woo Hoo!

    1. By Erik Carlseen ( You can find it with google easily enough. on

      Oh yeah, and by "firewall", I mean "Microsoft ISA running on their file & e-mail server."

    2. By Bert ( thrashbluegrass at antisocial dot com on

      If you had been reading the mailing list, you'd realize that a great deal of the chatter is about how to avoid just such problems.
      There's been discussion about avoiding braindump poisoning and practical application. The solution that seems (to me, at least) like it would work the best is to sit someone down at a terminal, set some tasks, and record them as they do it.

      1. By Sean Brown ( on

        What about if someone prefers to do something with perl instead of awk? There are almost too many different ways to do something it would either be next to impossible to test for them all, or you would require people to shoehorn themselves into performing a task one way when they are more comfortable doing it a completely different way.

        Not that practical isn't a good way to do it, its just difficult to create a good practical test for a BSD.

        1. By Bert ( on

          Example (and a horribly naive one, but works for demonstration purposes):

          Task #887: Parse firewall logs for connection attempts to ftp and web servers (listenning on standard ports) from unroutable addresses. Write parsed file to /foo/bar.

          Absolutely no tool-specific directions; just make a file that lists only lines from firewall logs detailing attempted connections from unroutable IPs.

    3. By tedu ( on

      it's not a one hour test. that's the survey to find out what should be on the test.

      a five minute survey about the SAT doesn't mean that your college admission is based on a five minute test.

      1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        Why am I not surprised you missed the point and went off on a tangent.


        1. By phessler ( on

          *you* should read the Grandparent. the guy was ranting about how bad a one hour test would be, and ted said that it is a one hour survey.

          1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

            You don't suppose that the grandparent's post was speaking about the problems with certs in general and not directly about the survey itself? Are you assuming the originator doesn't know the difference between what a test and a survey is? Or are you just jumping on the asinine bandwagon?

    4. By George ( george at bsdcertification dot org on

      IMHO, our aim is to make this certification impossible for those without at least a year of BSD sysadmin experience in a production environment, and a challenge for those with more than that experience.

      Things are moving in the right direction, and we're looking to have the roadmap completed during the next quarter of 2005.

      We are all well-aware of the jokes about certification. When I was full-time many years back in IT, we tossed all resumes that had addresses or MCSE, even though we had a mixed shop.

      So take the survey; be a part in making sure a BSD certification is taken seriously. This is a community-driven effort; it's not about MS or Cisco churning out certs and third-parties charging exhorbitant fees for trainings.

      Having some sort of confirmation of a sysadmin's BSD skills creates the basis for non-BSD using firms to see that there is a core of those able to support the operating system family.

      Join us.

      1. By James Carter ( on

        So... someone should have a year of experience with BSD in the enterprise? And someone who has more than that should find it challenging? So which came first... the chicken or the egg?

        I can't say I have seen the "Intro to BSD" class at the local University... nor really anything that caters to something other than M$, Ci$co, Novell... in fact if you want unix of any type you wait til 400 level courses.

        So let's say the BSD "community" has a certification and it really does catch on.... so now HR and recruiters are looking for this specifically on resume's. Well that is all well and swell for the old-hat hackers... but what happens when they die off and the young-pups went with Linux because it was easier to test into and get a job working with it in the enterprise. True enough the knowledge obtained in one helps the other, but I see BSD going by the wayside if you apply such elitist snobbery of someone attempting to gain access to your world.

        I would think a better route would be to actually look through your own resume's and tell HR to stuff it (1 in 20 are actually qualified?? is this ratio correct??).... then do your own interviews... you never know you may run across that brilliant mind that had neither the opportunity nor the direction to focus on BSD before.

        You then get to mold that brilliant mind with your own good/bad habits and perhaps.... just maybe learn some new good/bad habits from them. I was lucky, I had 2 such old-hat hackers which I have been able to work with and learn from.

        Just a small thought.... not meant to rile or ruffle feathers... I absolutely despise certifications and other secondary funding scams.

        1. By djm@ ( on

          If you did the survey, you would find that they are asking questions about skills that would be useful for companies looking to hire an admin. I was pleasantly surprised.


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