Author Topic: RANT: Professionalism  (Read 10843 times)

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Online Zero999

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2015, 11:07:37 am »
If the test is that easy to pass and all the questions and answers can be found on line, then it's not a very respectable qualification.

It is almost as if the business model is cranking out as many certifications as possible (and making as much money as possible), not testing knowledge.
That's often the case.

If someone is required to take the test by their employer, they should just do whatever it takes to get the best score because that's what they're being paid for. Of course they can raise their concerns with their employer, if they want to but at the end of the day, their boss has the final say.
 

Offline madires

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2015, 01:48:38 pm »
It's sad, but it's the way it is. You even can't rely on certifications which aren't easy to achieve and also include lab tests, like CCIE for example. At one ISP we had a dedicated CCIE assigned by Cisco to support the network engineering team. One day I was asked if I could have a look at a rather simple task and in about an hour and a half the job was done. Later on a colleague told me that the CCIE worked on the same task for two days and didn't accomplish anything. At another ISP I re-engineered the backbone network originally designed by a Juniper engineer who had all their certifications. Guess what, it was not the prettiest design, much room for improvements. I'm not saying that there aren't good CCIEs or whatever around, but it's the person and not the certification you can rely on. The certification gives some indication of some knowledge, but nothing more. Unfortunately a lot of people, expecially in HR, haven't learned that yet.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 03:07:57 pm by madires »
 

Offline smjcuk

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2015, 02:24:52 pm »
It's sad, but it's the way it is. You even can't rely on certifications which aren't easy to achieve and also include lab tests, like CCIE for example. At one ISP we had a dedicated CCIE assigned by Cisco to support the network engineering team. One day I was asked if I could have a look at a rather simple task and in about an hour and a half the job was done. Later on a colleague told me that the CCIE worked on the same task for two days and didn't accomplish anything. At another ISP I re-engineered the backbone network originally designed by a Juniper engineer who had all their certifications. Guess what, it was not the prettiest design, much room for improvements. I'm not saying that there aren't good CCIEs or whatever around, but it's the person and not the certification you can rely on. The certification gives some indication of some knowledge, but nothing more. Unfortunaly a lot of people, expecially in HR, haven't learned that yet.

That's about right. Microsoft certs are even worse. There's a sharp divide in our company with respect to can do and can't do. This correlates almost 1:1 with certifications. The cants are the certified people almost universally.

Its down to an differing approach to things which I suppose could be classified as both professionalism and differing motivations for working. If your motivation is purely hard cash, you tend to trade off certification investments. For the rest of us, cash is a side effect of having fun.

Also you can't tell a shit person in an interview; you have to hire them and work with them for a bit before that conclusion can be made.
 

Online free_electron

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2015, 04:07:24 pm »
Not a brick wall, but a concrete wall built to military specs. One part gravel, one part sand, one part high strength cement, with steel reinforcing every 15cm buried at 15cm under the surface. I have seen that survive unscathed, the vehicle collapsed to half it's length.
i can see the youtube video.  flaming idiot shot out of cannon into military grade wall..

 that should get a few million hits.

too bad we can't link the youtube click to the firing of the cannon.

that way the title would read : click here to shoot a flaming idiot out of a cannon into a concrete wall.
Every time someone looks at the video the cannon fires the aforementioned flaming idiot.

that would give a whole new meaning to 'live videostream' ...
Professional Electron Wrangler.
Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2015, 04:47:42 pm »
The driver survived the impact.............. His passenger did not.

Though he did not survive more than a few minutes more. The fire brigade got there, and he was still breathing. Before they could figure out how to get him and the entire steering column, which was pushed through him, out as a unit he died. They placed that wreck on the main road intersection for about 3 months as a warning not to speed and not to drive drunk.

The vehicle left an imprint of the front grille, complete with an image of the number plate, in the paint on the wall, as a lighter image against the drab brown paint. the gate guard was rather shocked by the accident. He saw the lights come over the hill 1km away, picked up his rifle and turned towards the door. then the impact, and he picked up the phone to report it as opposed to pressing the panic button, which would have brought an entirely different response.
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2015, 07:57:13 pm »
If you have open access to the questions on a test (ie you didn't steal them) then you would be a fool not to study those exact questions.  Seriously.  It has nothing to do with professionalism.  When you took your drivers test at the DMV, did you refuse to look at the practice tests there too?  What are you supposed to do, go back to traffic studies and legal cases and derive all the driving laws that way?
A person is either terrible at their job and the only way they will ever be considered for employment is based on their certs, or they are competent and the certs are mostly a waste of their time. 
 

Offline at2marty

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2015, 08:21:25 pm »
If you have open access to the questions on a test (ie you didn't steal them) then you would be a fool not to study those exact questions.  Seriously.  It has nothing to do with professionalism.  When you took your drivers test at the DMV, did you refuse to look at the practice tests there too?  What are you supposed to do, go back to traffic studies and legal cases and derive all the driving laws that way?
A person is either terrible at their job and the only way they will ever be considered for employment is based on their certs, or they are competent and the certs are mostly a waste of their time.

I have to disagree with that.  Taking a practice quiz or exam is one thing, but taking a "practice test" that I know is the test is another.  The book that I am studying has practice quizzes at the end of each chapter.  After reading/studying a chapter, I'll wait a couple of days, refer to my notes and take the quiz to gauge where I'm at and see if there are topics that I might need to research further.

Call me silly or whatever, but I want to gain the knowledge required to pass the test, regardless of whether or not it pertains to what I actually do.  It's not about just passing a test or getting a cert, it's all about actually learning the material.

I don't know if it's because I'm an "older" guy, or if it's because maybe I'm kind of "wired differently".  I view most tests as challenges, and I want to overcome the challenge of being able to not only pass the test, but also do my best to ACE the test based on my knowledge.
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #32 on: April 17, 2015, 08:46:51 pm »
About testing specifically:
If, as you say, the test is actually a good measure of your understanding of some subject then knowing the answers to the test questions implies you have understanding of the subject.  It doesn't matter how you got those answers, by that definition passing the test = understanding.  Either that or the test doesn't mean as much.  If they wanted you to have a deeper understanding then they would have all that material on the test, but they don't. 

Generally:
A good rule that I've always found to be true, so far at least, is that as long as you know where to look something up you shouldn't spend the time to memorize every detail.  That said there is an exception of stuff you do ALL THE TIME, but that's a really small subset of everything you can possibly know.  Being able to mentally throw up enough material to pass a test isn't understanding anything.  You are never going to be able to hold the depth or breadth that a text book (or the internet) can hold so your memory will always be inferior.  As a working engineer you will never be asked on the spot to come up with a complete solution by yourself without any resources.  That just doesn't happen, and if it did that company isn't long to live.  "I'm not sure, I'll get back to you on that", is a perfectly valid response to pretty much any engineering question, which gives you time to go look stuff up and give the right (and complete) answer with confidence.

I think the part of this thread that tweaks me is the fact that it's trying to say it's unprofessional to use available resources to complete a task.  If you have to get something done you use all the resources available every time.  Only a terrible engineer artificially limits their resources for anything and they are the ones being unprofessional since it wastes your and your companies time.  Passing tests is in no way a measure of how well someone will perform in the real world and the real world is the only thing that matters anyway.
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2015, 08:54:53 pm »
After reading through this entire thread, I have to ask: what does everyone think of the standardized tests that are being pushed on school kids these days?
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2015, 08:57:38 pm »
If you have open access to the questions on a test (ie you didn't steal them) then you would be a fool not to study those exact questions.  Seriously.  It has nothing to do with professionalism...

I am afraid I may disagree with you.  It depends on if the test is supposed to be available to test-candidates.  Similar to if it is an open-book exam or a close-book exam.

Assuming access is not suppose to be available. then regardless of whether the test was stolen and by whom, looking at it is wrong.  Using such unauthorized access to the test for personal gain (better score) increases the degree of the wrongness.

Not to say I always succeed in adherence to my own standard, but I firmly believe the saying: "Good character is to do the right thing when you know no one is looking and no one will ever know."

If you manage a guy, would you want to the guy to "break the rules a little" if that means he got the sale, helping himself and help your department reaches sales quota?  Very tempting, but that is a slippery rope.

We may not be able to always withstand the temptation of the gain.  I cheat a little, I lie a little, but I am not going to say those were good and smart moves.  Those gains should come with regret and sense of guilt.  If not, one lost one's compass in life.
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2015, 09:22:20 pm »
I specifically stated that my post was assuming you didn't steal the test questions.  The OP said the questions were available.  His arguments weren't about how you came to posses the questions, but that just having any access to the test questions AT ALL is unprofessional.  That is silly. 

If the questions are available online then they are available to all the "test-candidates".  Not being able to search the internet is not an excuse to not having the questions.  If the organization giving the test did not want the questions available but continues to give the same test after the questions become available, then that is the only unprofessional and unethical (and lazy) thing going on here.   Once again, the most professional thing you can do is (ethically) use all available resources to complete a task.  I had assumed the (ethically) part before, but I guess I have to say that explicitly.
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2015, 09:29:41 pm »
I specifically stated that my post was assuming you didn't steal the test questions.  The OP said the questions were available.  His arguments weren't about how you came to posses the questions, but that just having any access to the test questions AT ALL is unprofessional.  That is silly. 
...
Smokey,

Just to make sure you don't think I am attacking your character...

That is why I said (quote from my reply with bold added now)  "I am afraid I may disagree with you.  It depends on if the test is supposed to be available to test-candidates.  Similar to if it is an open-book exam or a close-book exam.
Assuming access is not suppose to be available..."

I understand he said on the web.  It was unclear whether it was suppose to be or not.  It could be someone posted an unauthorized copy.
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #37 on: April 17, 2015, 09:53:46 pm »
All good.  I'm just ranting.  It's a slow news day.
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2015, 10:25:52 pm »
After reading through this entire thread, I have to ask: what does everyone think of the standardized tests that are being pushed on school kids these days?
Bassman59,

You pressed my hot button!!!  Two part answer: Standardized test for kids is a good thing, but NOT the tests they are pushing today.  I have nothing good to say about the new PSAT and the new SAT.  The same can be said for PARCC, the State tests made in the same form of the new SAT/PSAT under Common Core - Horrible.  Common Core was formerly called "Race to the Top".  (Called "Race to the Middle" by the Pioneer Institute, a Boston public policy "Think Tank".   I think they were too kind in not calling it "Race to the Bottom".)

According to Washington Post, only 26 states in 2010 aligned to common core PARCC.  With only 50 states in the USA, 26 is hardly common.  The article cites "now the consortium has fewer than a dozen states..."
"Mississippi withdrawing from Common Core PARCC consortium" By Valerie Strauss January 16
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/01/16/mississippi-withdrawing-from-common-core-parcc-consortium/

The new SAT and the new PSAT are horrible.  Mathematics and science should be objective, not subjective.  Furthermore, a test's goal is to rate the student on knowledge and not to make sure more student passes.  The role of ensuring more students passes the test rest with the teacher.  It is not the role of the test designer.

I have a high-school age daughter.  I review all available material I can get my hands on.  I wrote the principal to excuse my daughter from the PARCC test.

News paper reports that many parents refuse the test because it is hard.  To dispute that, I must share more information than I normally would: My daughter already took SAT twice before age 13.  Each time she exceed the scores of college bound seniors.  New Jersey's average SAT is 1510.  She was 1800's first SAT, and 1900's second SAT at age 12.  She achieved High Honors at Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY).  Less than one in three at CTY achieve high honors and she got it with both language (read/writing) and math.

So, "hard" tests is hardly an issue; besides, the tests does not count anyway (read on).  I encourage her to take every opportunity for tests, but not in this case.  These new SAT and new PSAT are not tests.  In my opinion based on reviewing the practice test available on line, they are not tests, instead, they are psychological evaluations using math.  And when even math is that bad, you think about how much worst is language and history.

--- this was the actual letter send with personal and school information XXX out ---

Dear XXXXX,

I am the father of XXXXX, a tenth grade student at XXXXX High School.  This letter is in reference to the PARCC tests this week.

At the current state of readiness of the PARCC tests, the New Jersey Assembly saw fit to pass the bill to delay PARCC requirement by three years.  However, at this time, they are still working on the actual bill(s) regarding non-participation.  With the test being this week, there is little time remaining for the legislature to come to resolution.  The lack of clear policy at the DOE on non-participation, and the lack of information on PARCC at (xxxxx school's) web site leave parents like me with little guidance.

While PARCC may in the future become a strong and welcome indicator to student performance, however at its current state of disorganization and confusion, it is clear that PARCC is not yet ready for prime time.  I am concerned that rather than being an indicator of performance, instead, it may be a source of confusion to the student, and a de-motivator for the student.

While the legislature continues its work on pulling back from PARCC and/or Common Core, but we are all aware of the speed of politics.  I have little confidence that additional clarification will come out of Trenton this week.  I must therefore act to protect the interest of my daughter.  I have therefore instructed XXXXX (my daughter's name) to refuse to take the PARCC test(s).
 
I hope XXXXX (the school's name) understands the well meaning motives of this decision to refuse the tests.  I hope arrangements have been made for students like XXXXX who will not participate: so they are not singled out for embarrassment or discomfort.  I understand and I rely on your devotion to the students to ensure that this event will be as uneventful as possible.  I can be reached at (123) 456-7890 or email at XXXXX.


Thank you and sincerely,
 

Rick & XXXXXX Law

Parents of XXXXXX
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2015, 11:19:31 pm »
...
Thank you and sincerely,
Rick & XXXXXX Law
Parents of XXXXXX

Even if you named your daughter after your wife, "XXXXXX Law" is a pretty unique name!  I guess she still gets to line up before "YYYYY Jones" and "ZZZZZ Smith" :)
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2015, 11:25:38 pm »
...
Thank you and sincerely,
Rick & XXXXXX Law
Parents of XXXXXX

Even if you named your daughter after your wife, "XXXXXX Law" is a pretty unique name!  I guess she still gets to line up before "YYYYY Jones" and "ZZZZZ Smith" :)

I am trying to keep up with the Jones...
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: RANT: Professionalism
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2015, 12:08:25 am »
In this thread you can see the elements of the battle over standardized tests.

"Why memorize anything if you can look it up"

"Teaching the test"

If large scale memorization is too difficult, no one can pass a standardized test without "teaching the test".  Fifty to one hundred years ago in the United States there were no serious complaints about mass memorization.  Most can with enough effort.  If you couldn't you just weren't consider material for the educated classes.  Then came variations on education which emphasized creativity, self worth, and diminished the importance of memorization.  Most professional educators will tell you that the newer methods are better, developing children who are more able to think for themselves.  That may be true, but somehow the old system produced some pretty good thinkers also. 

I personally think that there is great benefit to having a large mental toolbox to work with.  You can't know that something is applicable to the problem at hand until it is in your head.  If you "just go look it up" you may never figure out the need to consider some factor because it isn't mentioned in your search path.  It is also faster to retrieve something from your head than it is from the internet, and much faster than retrieval from a library or technical journal.

For a mundane example.  Youth of today have no idea if they are receiving correct change.  They never memorized arithmetic, and no one would think of looking up how to do it each time they receive change.  The result is they just stuff it in their pocket, throw it away - or throw the receipt away if it is a debit card or credit purchase.

So after that tirade, yes I am for standardized tests, along with a comprehensive education system that doesn't require teaching the test to get passing results.  Both are possible.  Many baby boomers took Ohio standard tests (something like that name, my memory has faded over 50 years), and most passed.
 


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