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Is everyone welcome to reply to requests for help? And other forum questions


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#1 Ron Wolf

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 02:52 PM

Have to say that I like to tone of this site a lot. Not sure which forum to post a few questions/thoughts that I have, so will try here first:

- Bleeping's security training program (I saw a post on this somewhere & can't find it now, you know the program with the sophomore, junior, senior, ... ranking) seems really well thought out. Kudos for that. This leads me to ask, is everyone welcome to post to requests for help with tech issues - security, OS, web development, and such? Or do you prefer to have only your vetted users reply to those sort of questions?

- did I miss seeing an explanation of this reply protocol?

- which forum would this sort of question best be asked in?

- getting into this issue of helping others, I was quite surprised to find that programs to license computer techs are non-exisitant. At least this google search on "computer technician licensing" comes up nearly empty. Look, I can understand why a question like this would cause a negative reaction. On the other hand, plumbers are licensed and they are just looking at your toilet. Computer techs have access to much more private stuff, find themselves in more delicate situations, and the customer has a need to know who is reasonably competent. Seems like a licensing program would be of benefit to all. Anyway, my question is which forum would this best be discussed on?

- I was a bit surprised that a forum to discuss this sort of thing - career and professional issues of interest to computer techs, admins, and other practitioners is not on the site. So, in general, where would this sort of thing best be discussed?
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#2 Galadriel

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 03:10 PM

Hello Ron Wolf,

- Bleeping's security training program (I saw a post on this somewhere & can't find it now, you know the program with the sophomore, junior, senior, ... ranking) seems really well thought out. Kudos for that. This leads me to ask, is everyone welcome to post to requests for help with tech issues - security, OS, web development, and such? Or do you prefer to have only your vetted users reply to those sort of questions?


How do I get help? Who is helping me?

Malware Removal Training Program, Learn how to use HijackThis to remove malware!

I think these two links above will give you answers to some of your questions.

As for certifications, there are many out there, but they are mostly aimed at specific areas of interest. For example server management and administration or general IT courses, but what we provide here is somewhat different. At least the malware removal training programs out there (we are not the only ones that offer such) are really aimed at that specific task. Mostly to grow the numbers of helpers qualified to respond to such requests on the forums.

Hope this was helpful to you.

Regards,

Gal
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#3 KoanYorel

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 03:26 PM

Hello Ron Wolf,

Anyone May post any question. No guarantees on the answers though.

Just post your question. If it's not the proper forum, a Mod here will move it over.

You can discuss anything here - and maybe even get some direction
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#4 garmanma

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 04:44 PM

Other than not replying to HJT posts and following the guidelines in the links Galdriel provided, If you see someone asking a question and you think you can contribute, by all means post an answer.
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#5 Ron Wolf

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 05:52 AM

Thanks Gal & others, very helpful stuff. I just ran ccCleaner and will shortly run TN's PageDefrag - both of which I took notice of in the referenced links. Just mentioning this. Amazing what one still doesn't know even after years of informed use of these systems. Just getting rid of the old messes of incomplete uninstalls was worth the price of admission!

As for certifications, there are many out there, but they are mostly aimed at specific areas of interest. For example server management and administration or general IT courses, but what we provide here is somewhat different. At least the malware removal training programs out there (we are not the only ones that offer such) are really aimed at that specific task. Mostly to grow the numbers of helpers qualified to respond to such requests on the forums.



I'd like to continue this discussion on licensing as it is a quite different animal than certification and I'd like to explain what I am thinking and get your feedback. Not to be snide, but of course I'm familiar with certification programs. Having been forced by various work circumstances to sit thru some really horrible and mostly useless classes in an experience that is difficult to forget. Especially the MS and Adobe classes which cover work around after work around after work around for program features that were poorly designed - assuming that they were designed at all... How anyone can keep their sanity thru Exchange training? Well, its beyond me....

Anyway, these certification programs provide plenty of necessary tips, but they don't provide much in the way of useful practice or any really deep understanding that could lead to creative solutions. That all comes thru trial and error (mostly error...) on the job.

I see your training program as something quite different as it provides increasing responsibility with increasing experience and practice under mentorship. It is much more like an apprenticeship. And therefore potentially provides far more practical real world value. Also, I would think that the graduates are far more vetted. I know many idiots (excuse my French) who have been certified in this or that. I would guess that anyone who gets thru your training program would be a quite useful practitioner.

But beyond the technical, I would see a licensing program as dealing with many other facets of practice - legal, social, even psychological. For instance, giving practitioners the skills to deal with a freaked out user who is resistant to listening to sound advice. Or what to do when, for instance, encountering items of questionable legality on a customers computer.

I could go on. Maybe that's enough to reveal what I have in mind and to find out if this would be an interesting topic of conversation to the BC community? Of course, if something is really going to happen in this space, then all sorts of non-tech people would need to get involved. I have contacts in, for instance, the CA legislative and the VC community who, I'm sure, would at least be interested in discussing this. However, I thought to start (and maybe end?) here as I see your program as something close to the right way to do useful training.
____________________Ron

#6 Ron Wolf

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 03:23 PM

The silence is deafening. Understandable that this might not be a topic of interest. Would be too bad. But I'm quite interested in pursuing this techie licensing idea and can take it elsewhere.

However, giving it one more shot, perhaps I'll try reposting with a more relevant subject description. Also this relevant article just came across Tech Republic (another good site if you don't know it) - Do you have the consulting skills IT managers want?

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/project-...amp;tag=nl.e108

The answer is a bullet list:

1. Ethics and morals
2. Critical thinking and problem solving
3. Collaboration
4. Problem solving
5. Communication: Oral
6. Communication: Written
7. User relationship management
8. Creativity/Innovation
9. Managing expectations
10. Programming/Application development
11. Decision making
12. Functional area knowledge
13. Project leadership
14. Database
15. System analysis

Which some followup discussion. The top 9 items are the kind of thing that I'm thinking differentiate a licensing program from a mere certification program. And are also the kind of thing that a mentorship/apprecticeship model (like yours) would encourage.
____________________Ron

#7 Galadriel

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 04:01 PM

My apologies for the late reply Ron, it was not my intention to overlook this topic.

The thought of trying to get a program like ours certified in any official manner has been discussed before, and the problem is that this would likely be a logistical and legal nightmare. It is very interesting, but the way things are now, I don't think this is feasible for what we do. Mostly because we deal with lots of things that aren't necessarily academic in nature and hard to judge. Each of the training schools have their own standards and methods for graduating trainees, and they are adapted to each site's needs.

I'm not an expert on law or certs in any way, I have none. I am self taught in that respect. What I did learn, I learned by reading and following other helpers around and researching myself.

What we provide here is a controlled environment where trainees can ask any question and hopefully get the answers or be pointed in the right direction. It is this community aspect that makes the training we do, fluid and ever changing. The people who participate change according to their schedule. Everyone who works the training here is volunteer. We do it because we share a common passion for sharing the knowledge. And I think that is what makes it work.

I won't get into the details of the actual training, but we do have several exercises/practice areas, to get trainees familiar with different situations and see how they would deal with them. Some of them are technical, some of them are ethical, some of them are more aimed towards communication style. We try to get the best out of every student, and I do think this process has been refined quite a bit and works very well.

Like I said above, I am far from being an expert on legal/certification requirements and so on, so I can't really take this discussion very far myself. Perhaps someone with a bit more background in that area could chime in. But as it stands now, I like the training we do, and can't see any advantage to being "officially" recognized other than to add another piece of paper on a wall...
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#8 Animal

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 07:26 PM

Lets get your thoughts on the the legal aspects? Who will be the 'police' to track down offenders of said license? Who and what nation will have jurisdiction of licensing? Who will manage the international legal obstacles? Where will funding for the various financial hurdles come from? Will the financial income in any way have 'influence' of proposed licensing rules/guidelines? Who will have oversight and what are their international credentials? What are the penalties for licensing fraud? How does one get compensated for loss of intellectual identity due to fraud/theft?

Last but not least why do I/we care about a license at this point in time? Whats the ROI for participating in this undertaking? The ol, 'It ain't broke why are we fixing it', question?

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#9 Guest_fuzzywuzzy6_*

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 01:03 AM

A lot of states in the U.S. have a plethora of vocational schools, many of which have the mission of enriching the current owners through mining federal and state treasuries. Many problems with accepting government-insured loan funds from students who are either ill-prepared for the courses (some don't read or speak well in the languages the courses are taught in, yet they are eagerly sought-after by the schools) or are left entirely on their own after an indifferent education, despite advertisements of 80% placement after graduation. Some of these schools are national corporations, some are franchises, some are stand-alones. And they "teach" vocational skills in a lot of different technical and occupational areas. State and federal governments have done very little about this, despite the fact that eager young people and adults of varying ages returning to school after a forced job change are being victimized by having a sizeable mortgage placed on their future. Couple that with the fact that some employers are blinded by the certification/licensure requirements, which often do not reflect the amount of knowledge or experience which the applicant may have.

Community colleges are far more reliable than most of the private vocational schools. There is a very great need for vocational education that is fruitful and responsible. This is a need that is not currently being addressed.

As for international standards? Interstate standards? The U.S. can't even agree on a universal high school curriculum for general ed or college prep purposes.

Welcome to BC! And no, I'm not a tech, just a frustrated, broke consumer, who was very happy to find this site.

#10 Ron Wolf

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 01:50 PM

fuzzywuzzy6 and Animal,

Wanted you to know that I read and am putting together a reply to your questions. Not to put them down at all, but the questions you raised are obvious and they deserve a good reply. Without good answers to those questions there is no reason for me to continue to think about this. Hope that came across as respectful. :thumbsup:

On the question of whether something is broke (or not). I do think that something is broke. Well two things actually. One is that the typical plumber makes a much higher wage than the most computer techs. With all due respect to plumbers, that just ain't right. Second, there are many who depend on computers for many aspects of their lives but who just can't maintain their own systems. No different than expecting everyone to maintain their own cars (which used to be at least plausible....). So where to the masses go for help? At that point, with a near total lack of licensing or consistent credentialing, its a crap shoot.

On the question of what this might look like. Again, I'd just look to other practices - plumbing, electrician, and such and take the lead from there. Also, I'm an IEEE member and that could be a place to look for a model and guidance.

I am cautious/aware of the mess that getting gov't or other large organizations involved in something like this could create. There is a charm and high utility in the way that the net works. I'm thinking of open source for instance. Or what I see here at BC for another. That utility could easily be destroyed with a heavy hand. This is exactly why I wanted to discuss this before going off on a crusade. On the other hand, it will happen sooner or later and perhaps it will go better if driven by the right people?

And right, another reason for me to be cautious about getting started with something like this is practicality and chance of success - issues which you also raise. OK. I need to leave it at that for now. Hope you don't mind me having opened the discussion. I will get back to it.
____________________Ron




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