The agile community is talking seriously about how to benchmark a developer's skill set. Another alternative is to support an apprentice-type system, like Corey Haines is doing, but the problem is--how do we fund this type of accreditation?
I have a very bad feeling about the certification efforts. It seems like a money making scam. I have similar opinions about Scrum Master Certifications etc. I have yet to hear someone that would make me change my mind on this. So who certifies Bob Martin, James Shore, Ron Jeffries and the likes? Do they get certified just because they have been thought leaders in the agile movement, or do they have to do the same as everyone else. XP and other movements have survived this long because of the Thought leader aspect to them. Certification seems a bit of flexing of powers to me. My .002 cents on the matter
I hope that the journeyman OR certification choice is not exclusive. It does not have to be only one path. Both are equally valid. Both have a context.
I have taken a couple of technology certifications in the past because I thought it was a fun and challenging way for me to gain knowledge and learn something new. Today, I keep on reading books and learning new programming languages, building mini apps and releasing them... I like to mix both worlds: apprenticeship and certifications.
The journeyman path is more involved than the certification. There is no goal, the journey is never finished. On the other hand, an exam or a piece of paper certifying you on a concrete date is quite different. It represents your knowledge at a certain point in time.
But I always wanted to know why. Why do we feel that we need a certification? Is it because the developers don't have the basic skills to perform they work? Is a certification really going to help with the developers that are "in it for the money"? Or because "it's just a job"? Or because this is just another fad?
If the Developer certification becomes true, a lot of companies are going to rush to send all their developers to the courses, but you know what? I am not sure we will see a difference...
Your continuous education belongs to you, not your employer. If you are waiting for your employer to educate you, you are missing out.