Certified Teaching

Certified Teaching

I would like to propose a radical idea to help new learners of ultra-modern web development: Certify the teachers, not the students. The technology ecosystem has lots of available certifying bodies (Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Google, CompTIA) that award all kinds of 'proof of ability' of dubious quality. Some are fantastic measures of a persons ability and others are low-quality toilet paper. I read all kinds of testimonials online on both sides of the value of the certification. In web development, the closest certification that's attainable is from Microsoft and it even abstracts away core knowledge by testing on jQuery skills. Oh, and I guess there is the old-school CIW certification which looks like it hasn't been updated since 2006.

What if we flipped it around and, as a community, developed a baseline certification process for the teachers of ultra-modern web programming? I propose that the base knowledge that should be demonstrated is 100% vanilla HTML5, CSS3, & JavaScript (2016 ES6 flavor). The certifying process could look like this: The community decides on exam challenges for candidates that test certain required skills. The candidate then produces training content (lecture notes, sample code, cheat sheets, etc.) They then create a video of themselves teaching the material. All of their 'answer' materials get pushed to GitHub & then submitted to the community for review. Each test could result in a badge until they have completed all tasks whereupon, they will be certified by the community and awarded something tangible.

Once they have completed the baseline skills certification process, they can then specialize in different abstraction tool sets. The specializations can include:

  • CSS frameworks (Bootstrap, Foundation, etc.)
  • Templating (React, Angular, Vue, etc.) the list is EXTENSIVE
  • Express, Koa, etc.

I believe the hardest part of this will be community concensus on what constitutes best-practice, whether its style, methods, or what's necessary and what should be abstracted away. Perhaps a voting system on various ideas will allow us to solve that?

So, why only certify teachers and not the students? Well, there's evidence-based research that to learn something better, you should teach it to others. If the students want to demonstrate their competency, what better way that to show us that they can teach it?