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Ruby Certifications

By  Nov 3, 2008

Topics: Certification

If you are a software developer, then you most likely already know all about Ruby. For those of you who are more interested in systems administration, let's talk a moment about Ruby, because it is an extremely important technology that's not going away anytime soon.

Wikipedia defines Ruby as "a dynamic, reflective, general purpose object-oriented programming language that combines syntax inspired by Perl with Smalltalk-like features. Ruby originated in Japan during the mid-1990s and was initially developed and designed by Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto."

You might have also heard about Ruby on Rails. Nowadays most programming languages are focused on Web application development: Ruby is no exception. Rails is simply the Ruby programming language applied to a Web application development framework.

Here are a couple helpful links for you to get started in your research:

Let's Get to the Certifications!

Frankly, friends, there isn't a heck of a lot of standardization out there when it comes to Ruby programming credentials. Here is what we are looking at:

Ruby Association Certified Ruby Programmer

Of the three certifications that I'm presenting, this is the one that appears to have the most industry legitimacy. According to their Web site, "The Ruby Association LLC is an organization to help development of the programming language Ruby."

The Ruby Association's plan is to deploy three Ruby certifications to denote three ascending skill levels:

  • Ruby Association Certified Ruby Programmer Silver
  • Ruby Association Certified Ruby Programmer Gold
  • Ruby Association Certified Ruby Programmer Platinum

However, as of this writing, the only certification that is currently live is the Silver title.

Check out their certification page to learn the relevant metadata concerning the Silver exam; it looks to be a standard computer-based exam. Registration is handled through Prometric; the fee is $150 USD.

JavaBlackBelt Ruby Basic Certification

According to their Web site, JavaBlackBelt is "a community for Java & open source skills assessment. It is dedicated to technical quizzes about Java related technologies."

You know what JavaBlackBelt reminds me of? BrainBench. Have you ever heard of BrainBench? Many IT staffing firms require that their candidates complete online assessment exams through BB in order to validate their skills. Interestingly, BrainBench does not offer any Ruby certification or skills assessments.

Here's the deal: JavaBlackBelt is an insular community. Visit their Ruby Basic Certification page and read up on it. You register as a member of their community, you take exams, and you develop your skill set using the colored belt metaphor similar to how this is done in the realm of martial arts.

The potential problem? Industry buy-in. How many HR managers know about JavaBlackBelt? How many hiring managers? Frankly, how many programmers out in the field put stock in a colleague or potential new hire's belt rating?

Most working developers I know are too busy to both with twiddlin' their online profiles. Please don't get me wrong--I don't mean to come off as being sarcastic. I suppose I am relatively "old school traditional" in terms of IT certification. However, this certification program appears to be a little to "rogue" for my taste. Your mileage may vary, and all that.

ExpertRating Ruby on Rails Test

ExpertRating is an ISO-9001:2000 organization that earns its bread and butter offering online skills assessments to employers and job-seekers. They also offer certifications. In many ways, ExpertRating is very similar to BrainBench.

Anyhow, ExpertRating does sell a 40-minute, 40-question online Ruby on Rails test for the bargain price of $9.95. If you take the test and didn't like your initial score, ExpertRating will allow you a retest for the even more bargain price of $5.00.

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