I had some thoughts which I shared with Rushabh couple of weeks back and as he suggested to me to put it here so I am sharing the same below. In order to enhance the community contribution to ERPNext I suggest if a certification program gets introduced with different topics such as:
certified technical expert
certified functional expert
certified domain expert
Where certified people get certified after meeting some criteria such as:
Passing an exam,
X number of verified implementations,
Performing some work to the foundation (like 20 hours of UaT/Development/Documentation/User guides maintenance)
Paying some fees for the certification
To maintain the certification the certified people have to perform X number of hours back to the foundation every year in some form and have to pay renewal fees as well. In return the certified people could be referenced in ERPNext as certified expert so that users/companies can refer to them.
To achieve the above ERPNext have to arrange/partner with professional training providers to help them develop such program and manage the initial certification stage.
I think with such program the community engagement will increase ad help in promoting such technology faster in addition to securing some financial resources to support the foundation.
This is definitely a good idea, maybe we can think of executing this 3-6 months down the line. If anyone wants to take leadership in setting up the process, rules and running the program, they are welcome to propose it to the foundation.
I would like to take up a lead on certification initiative. However, I would like to be less ambitious about defining the certification program. I propose following individual certifications to begin with:
Certified ERPNext User
Certified ERPNext Developer
Certified ERPNext Functional Consultant
A certified ERPNext User will have full understanding of how ERPNext works as a functional or business executive. This certification will help him/her to get hired in ERPNext user company. Companies using ERPNext may also encourage their employees to undergo this certification to ensure that their employees are fully trained on using ERPNext. This certification will also be per-requisite certification for other certifications.
Certified ERPNext Developer will have knowledge necessary for customizing ERPNext by means of coding. This certification will help him/her to get hired by ERPNext service providers or by ERPNext user companies. It may also enable him/her to enhance his/her credentials as a freelancer ERPNext developer.
Certified ERPNext Functional Consultant will have knowledge necessary for customizing ERPNext by means of configuration. He/she will also have competency to play the role of business analyst or functional tester during customization of ERPNext by means of coding. This certification will help him/her to get hired by ERPNext service providers or by ERPNext user companies. It may also enable him/her to enhance his/her credentials as a freelancer ERPNext functional consultant.
To earn any one of these certifications, an individual will need to become a member of ERPNext Foundation and will need to pass an online exam consisting of auto-graded multiple-choice questions. The certification will be valid only till the person remains member of the foundation and will expire after three years of passing the exam. Needless to mention, the exam will be free for all individual members of foundation but can be taken as many times as needed with a gap of at least three months between two attempts.
Once we establish these three certifications, we can then start offering advanced certifications as mentioned by @tncbahrain.
Let me invite comments from all key members of the foundation, As a next step, we will need to set up volunteer teams to develop a question bank for each certification exam.
Can this idea of user certification be discussed in upcoming foundation call? If we have an “official approval” from foundation, then next step of creating a question bank can be initiated. I think we will need 3-4 months to launch a beta and then say 6 months to test the beta. We can plan to have public launch of user certification test in next ERPNext conference. After public launch, the certification exam can provide a new revenue stream to the Foundation. Additionally it can attract new users and perhaps new contributors!
I agree with @revant_one that “certification” should be linked to contributions rather than some question bank or exam.
Anyone wanting to get certification will be looking to earn a living off ERPNext. Tying certifications to contributions would be a good way of encouraging “good actors” in the ecosystem rather than those who solely take. If you make a living off the ecosystem, then paying into the ecosystem through contributions should be inculcated.
An exam bank will encourage people to get certifications and not give back. Yes there could be money involved, but contributions will help the product and culture more in the long run.
I think linking certification to contribution is just strengthen strong developers and does nothing for weak developers who need the course, the basics and the question banks. I would rather have trained/certified 100000 developers and hope to get a few good ones than a few developers and make them fellows) scholars.
Your suggestion only makes fellowship get certified.
I think what Revant is suggesting, is that there could be two paths to get certified (Contribution or taking a test). Also, basics are available in frappe framework documentation, in many replies on discuss, so it is a matter of just searching.
User certification will help ERPNext user companies ensure that their staff is well trained to use ERPNext. It will not necessarily improve contribution, definitely not the developer-level contribution. Hence the proposal is to conduct a paid test for this certification and candidate need not be a foundation member. I volunteer to take lead on this initiative as of now and can take it to completion by next ERPNext conference.
Developer certification should be based on paid test plus specified number of completed pull requests plus foundation membership. This certification will help increase pull requests and developer-level contribution. I do not have enough bandwidth and competency to take lead on this initiative hence my earlier posts focused only on user certification. It will help if someone picks up this initiative and take it to completion by next ERPNext conference.
While these two initiatives can run in parallel, we can exchange notes to share learning and to make decisions in areas such as exam format, testing platform, mode of testing, etc…
I’m not suggesting that there shouldn’t be a course or developer help or a question bank. Those can still be created.
The point is to tie the actual certification to contributions - and a contribution doesn’t just have to be code, it can also be documentation or helping others on discuss. If someone is a certified implementer, lets see how they have helped others implement solutions through practical implementation documentation. If someone is a certified developer, lets see how they contribute code.
I would posit that is a much more effective way of gauging whether an individual has the qualifications to be certified, and its also good for the ecosystem.
I am not sure how one can say that question banks become obsolete. Especially now we know for sure MOOC sites like Coursera give certification on complex topics like Machine Learning where the course is certified by no other than Stanford, and they use quizzes all the time.
The probably do not even change the questions depending on the users. We cant discredit the entire system because while the trend is in that direction & actually getting traction and credibility.
My hope is, that certifications will make in abundance the “average developer” and a rare number of “excellent developer” Same economics as a middle class society as opposed to an “elite society”.
Put more and more burden, and then you probably have only the latter.
The formal certification process at best will give some revenue to the foundation. There is no guarantee that it will increase the community contribution. There are already enough experts providing services/running businesses using ERPNext. However it hasn’t resulted in required level of contribution back to the community. So one could even argue that formal certification is unlikely to result in improved community contribution.
On that other hand, linking certification to community contribution is very likely to increase the community contribution. You get domain/functional certification by answering others queries, designing new features. You get technical certification by reviewing PR requests, fixing issues, adding features. It is very simple to implement as well. All that is needed to get this done is collecting some kind of metrics from discourse and github, which is anyway needed if we have to measure the community contribution objectively.
As erpnext is booming now a days, I think an official certification and training program for consultants and developers to address the queries of clients and it will be a value for the product as well as the clients.
I couldn’t see any erpnext experts providing a certification on the same.