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Certified Experts

Let's put certified computer experts under the microscope for a moment by comparing them to some other professionals. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, social workers and others have all entered into a special relationship with their employers and customers and, in fact, with society in general. This relationship is based upon the understanding that each professional has attained a certain level of knowledge and is thereby able to perform the necessary duties, and, perhaps just as important, is willing to perform them in an ethical manner. Simply put, society places trust in their character as well as their skills. The licenses or certifications of these professionals carry so much weight that the general public would be very reluctant to visit a doctor who does not have an M.D. or a lawyer who is not ABA certified. These professions clearly benefit from the high respect that their professional credentials and certifications carry. Here is how the American Nursing Association describes certification on its http://www.ana.org Web site:

Certification is a process by which an individual licensed to practice a profession is attested to have met certain predetermined standards specified by that profession for specialty practice. Its purpose is to ensure various publics that an individual has mastered a body of knowledge and acquired skills and abilities in a particular specialty.

The ANA has a sound understanding of the value that certification and professional credentials carry:

Certification protects the public by enabling anyone to identify competent people more readily. Simultaneously it aids the profession by encouraging and recognizing professional achievement. Certification also recognizes specialization, enhances professionalism and, in some cases, serves as a criterion for financial reimbursement. It may also foster an enlarged role within the employment setting.

Similarly, in its Code of Ethics, the Association of Computing Machinery talks about the professional standards it expects from its members. The code of conduct talks about honesty and trustworthiness, about giving proper credit for intellectual property, about honoring property rights, including copyright, and about giving access to computing resources only when authorized to do so. The association even dares to highlight members' contributions to society's well-being and remind about avoiding harm to others.

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