Is it time to establish registers or state exams for the qualification of web or IT professions? - ­čĆć Managed Server

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July 9 2024

Is it time to establish registers or state exams for the qualification of web or IT professions?

The time has come to evaluate the establishment of registers or state exams to certify skills in web professions to protect customers.

Dear readers and colleagues,

today I would like to bring to your attention a crucial and very current topic for our sector: the enabling of web professions. Too many times, in our professional career, we find ourselves faced with "professionals" who, despite presenting themselves as such, show obvious technical gaps that put the integrity and quality of the work carried out at risk. These shortcomings not only compromise the projects they are involved in, but also undermine client trust and harm the entire professional community.

The time has come to seriously ask ourselves whether it is not necessary to establish professional registers or state exams to certify the skills of those who wish to operate as IT experts. A formal certification system could guarantee a minimum level of competence, thus protecting both competent professionals and clients.

Some might rightly argue that the registers and state exams represent a constraint in a libertarian context where the market should regulate itself. It's a valid criticism: in theory, the market should naturally weed out incompetent professionals. However, reality shows that the absence of minimum standards of competence allows unprepared individuals to operate, often causing significant harm. Is it legitimate and right to let anyone, without a skills check, operate freely at the risk of causing irreparable damage?

A worrying picture

Consider the case of the web developer who creates sites by assembling plugins with WordPress and Elementor, without having any in-depth knowledge of PHP, HTML or CSS. This scenario, unfortunately, has become so common that it is accepted as the norm. However, can we really define someone who ignores the basics of web programming as a "professional"? This superficiality not only diminishes our profession, but sets a dangerous precedent in which quality is sacrificed on the altar of speed and ease. The lack of technical knowledge not only limits the ability to solve complex problems, but also reduces the possibility of innovation, leading to repetitive and ineffective solutions. This attitude does nothing but fuel a vicious cycle of mediocrity, where the bare minimum is mistaken for competence.

But that is not all. Think of the system administrator who relies exclusively on Plesk or cPanel to manage servers, unable to properly configure permissions on files and directories, or use the most basic SSH commands. These individuals not only operate in the market, but often offer their services at rock-bottom prices, creating an illusion of low-cost expertise that, in reality, hides serious shortcomings. These pseudo-professionals are capable of seriously compromising the reliability and security of IT infrastructures. The consequences of such incompetence can be devastating: from easily exploitable security vulnerabilities to service disruptions that can cripple business operations. The use of simplified management tools, if not supported by solid technical knowledge, can lead to misconfigurations and a lack of resource optimization, negatively impacting both performance and costs.

Furthermore, the presence of these pseudo-professionals in the market not only harms customers, but also erodes trust in our industry. When a customer suffers a negative experience due to the incompetence of one of these individuals, they are likely to generalize this experience to the entire category, questioning the professionalism of us all. This makes it even harder for true IT professionals to demonstrate their value and get the recognition they deserve. Competition based on price rather than quality leads to a race to the bottom, where survival is reserved for those who cut more corners, at the expense of quality of service.

Irreparable damage

The consequences of such incompetence can be devastating. Imagine a website that suddenly disappears from the network due to a poorly managed migration, or a robots.txt file incorrectly configured with a ÔÇťDisallow AllÔÇŁ command, copied from some online tutorial without understanding its real meaning. These examples are not just hypothetical, as you can see from the following image indicating a poorly managed migration, but represent scenarios that occur all too often, causing real and sometimes irreparable damage to customers. An offline site is not simply a temporary inconvenience, but can result in lost sales, damage to your company's image and frustration for users, leading to reduced loyalty and the loss of potential new customers.

Collapse-SeoZoom

A website is often the beating heart of a company's activities, the main point of contact with customers and the market. A technical error can mean lost data, compromised security, and ultimately damage your company's reputation and finances. For example, the loss of critical data can disrupt critical operations, forcing time-consuming and costly recovery efforts. Compromising security, however, can expose sensitive data to bad actors, with legal and financial consequences that can last for years. It is unacceptable that these risks are the result of incompetence and superficiality, often the result of inadequate training and a lack of checks on the actual abilities of the so-called professionals.

Furthermore, these problems not only directly affect customers, but harm the entire industry. Every such incident undermines trust in professional IT solutions, creating a climate of suspicion and uncertainty. Companies that suffer such damage are often reluctant to invest in web services again, preferring less risky and sometimes less effective solutions. This slows down innovation and limits growth opportunities for all professionals in the sector.

The need for a state exam?

I am not necessarily proposing the creation of a mandatory professional register, but at least a state exam that certifies the skills of those who propose themselves as IT professionals. It is essential to distinguish between basic knowledge and specific skills. For example, knowing standard ANSI 92 SQL syntax does not automatically mean you are an expert in MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, or Oracle. Each system has its own peculiarities and requires specific skills that go beyond the theoretical bases. Understanding the differences between the various systems, the ability to optimize performance and manage the peculiarities of each database are skills that cannot be acquired simply by reading a manual.

A state exam could act as a filter, ensuring that only those with an adequate level of preparation can access the market as certified professionals. This would not only raise quality standards, but would offer customers a guarantee of competence and reliability. Imagine the tranquility of a customer who knows they can count on a professional whose preparation has been verified and certified by an official body. This would boost confidence in the IT sector and help reduce the damage caused by incompetence.

The complexity and variety of IT tasks require timely verification of skills, which is currently lacking in many areas of our sector. Activities such as server management, cybersecurity, application development and data analysis are disciplines that require continuous and in-depth training. A state exam could ensure that those working in these areas have an adequate level of knowledge, reducing the risk of costly errors and improving the overall quality of the services offered.

Furthermore, the establishment of a state exam could serve as an incentive for professionals to maintain and update their skills. Knowing that one's skills will be periodically tested can push individuals to invest in their ongoing training, keeping up to date on the latest technologies and best practices. This would not only improve the quality of work performed, but would also help evolve the IT industry as a whole.

Continuous training and professional responsibility

I conclude with a call for continuous training and professional responsibility. We accept assignments only if we are truly competent in the requested sector. Our professionalism must be based on solid skills, constantly updated and verified. Only in this way will we be able to guarantee a quality service and preserve the trust of our customers. Every project we undertake represents not only an opportunity to demonstrate our skills, but also a responsibility towards those who place their trust in us.

Continuous training is not just a necessity, but an ethical duty for those who work in our sector. Technologies evolve rapidly and what was valid yesterday may no longer be valid today. Staying up to date doesn't just mean following the latest technological fad, but deeply understanding new methodologies and tools, applying them effectively. Investing in your professional development means not only improving your skills, but also contributing to the overall improvement of the IT sector. Every step forward we make as individuals reflects on the collective growth of our field.

Furthermore, keeping up to date on the latest technologies and best practices is not only a competitive advantage, but a necessity to face the increasingly complex challenges of our work. The world of IT is dynamic and constantly evolving; what represents the state of the art today could be obsolete tomorrow. For this reason, it is essential that each IT professional dedicates time and resources to continuous training, participating in courses, conferences and workshops, and following developments in the sector by reading specialist articles and participating in online communities.

It's time to raise standards and protect our industry from the incompetent. Only in this way will we be able to build a solid and respected professional future. The adoption of high standards and commitment to continuous training are not only tools to improve the quality of our work, but also to strengthen the trust of our customers and consolidate the reputation of our industry. Protecting our profession from the incompetent does not just mean defending our interests, but also ensuring that IT services live up to the expectations and needs of those who use them. Only through a collective commitment to excellence will we be able to ensure a future in which our profession is respected and valued as it deserves.

A greeting,

Marco Marcoaldi
Founder and CTO of Managed Server SRL

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Managed Server Srl is a leading Italian player in providing advanced GNU/Linux system solutions oriented towards high performance. With a low-cost and predictable subscription model, we ensure that our customers have access to advanced technologies in hosting, dedicated servers and cloud services. In addition to this, we offer systems consultancy on Linux systems and specialized maintenance in DBMS, IT Security, Cloud and much more. We stand out for our expertise in hosting leading Open Source CMS such as WordPress, WooCommerce, Drupal, Prestashop, Joomla, OpenCart and Magento, supported by a high-level support and consultancy service suitable for Public Administration, SMEs and any size.

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