Going to end well.
Citrix has decided to crowdsource some training courses and exam questions. The company says that its customers have clamoured for the chance to contribute want this and that its education programs will be strengthened by their contributions. “Citrix recognizes the value of including the very latest experience and knowledge …
I did once go on a vendor course where the design data being used had been taken from a customer's specification but without naming the customer. It was clearly a dumb and unworkable set of data which became apparent within 15 minutes of the course starting.
We, well I principally, pointed out a few of the glaring problems - cue a halt in the proceedings while a telephone call was made, followed by a door bursting open and the area sales manager bursting in. "I hear you have doubts about the X's customer data" He blurted out the name of the customer, and we, pointed out what was wrong, but it was then too late to sort out the mess, the hardware was being set up and went live a shortly after. Went live was a misnomer and huge rapid retrofit efforts had to be made to resize and rework the whole thing to allow it to work with more than about 10% of its originally planned links.
So, yes someone with field experience can verify Aunt Sally data, but shouldn't manufacturers employ skilled staff to check things out all the way through?
In the above case, the maker in question asked to hire in some of our staff to help them better understand the business workings of customers. We turned them down for a range of reasons, but at least they wanted to pay..
I frequently make use of - and sometimes contribute - to user forums, where you usually get accurate answers faster and cheaper than going to the company. It's rather a big jump from there to contributing to actual material for the company.
Surely they should be looking at some sort of reward - monetary might be difficult if the company is struggling, but how about product credit or free certification. At the very least there should be something intangible like credits in the material or forum badges.
...they've always done this.
Though they have their own, employed, authors in-house, Citrix have for many years invited individuals that they class as SME's (usually taken from the amount and quality of answers in their forums) to Florida for a week to work through the questions and improve them/contribute to them.
According to the email I got from Citrix, although they intend to continue this practice, they now understand that a) not everyone can or wants to take a week off to do this, b) not everyone can or wants to get to Florida and c) they're missing out a large talent pool because of this.
So it won't just be a case of allowing everyone under the sun to submit unverified questions.
Now as to the usefulness of these credentials...well that's a whole different story (my own experiences being - 54th CCEA...got access to a 'special' CCEA-only area of the Citrix website. The only content on it was a list of which exams you needed to pass CCEA!).
And, despite the fact I've worked with Citrix products since the mid '90's, since they sold out to VC's and ditched Mark Templeton, we're already seeing the death spiral...product design team, R&D teams either completely removed or cut to the bone. They were looking to offload the NetScaler product at one point (believe this is shelved as an idea for now),
The sad truth is, there's not much that XenApp does that RDSH cannot. VDI...well I've made my views clear on that many times.
One of the historical challenges to developing relevant, quality exams is the generation of large volumes of current, unbiased questions measuring individuals' ability, rather than simply determining that they memorized a bunch of "company approved" concepts. This is impossible to do wholly with dedicated exam item writers (they quickly lose their technical capability to match current technology), and is extremely expensive and time consuming to do by bringing in qualified people to write each exam. Opening up the funnel at the top end to source massive numbers of potential items is a reasonable, and respectable means of doing this; crowdsourcing items simply makes sense.
Anyone who has even a basic understanding of the process for developing pyschometrically sound assessments would realize that this will provide a rich source of relevant and reasonable items for Citrix exams and greatly improve the overall quality of their exams. Yes, they will get a great deal of questionable items, but that does not mean that these items will ever make it on an exam. Citrix is certainly not proposing to take un-vetted, unqualified questions and blindly put them on exams. Anyone who thinks developing certification exams is nothing more than making up some questions and publishing them is naive and misinformed. To even suggest this is not only disrespectful of the company, but the professionals they employ to develop exams.
Kudos to the Citrix. As a certification professional who actually understands the challenges and potential, I commend you for your initiative and wish you success. At the end of the day, improving industry-based certification will benefit us all.
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