Zorba the Hutt (zorbathut) wrote,
Zorba the Hutt
zorbathut

subject of the day: useless comparisons

Every few months we get someone coming into #c++ who seems to expect us all to have Microsoft certs, Cisco certs, and so on and so forth. The theory apparently being that you need to be certified to be good. Most of us in the channel have few, if any, of those.

For some reason this offends people. (Actually, I know exactly why it offends them - it's the miracle of cognitive dissonance.)

They spend hours explaining to us that we could be making thousands of dollars more if we took a test that said we knew stuff. They never give us any tangible benefits that a cert would give us - merely tell us, over and over, that we'd make more money.

Eventually, they inevitably end up saying something like this:

"I just got out of college with a Master's in CS and a bunch of certifications. If I didn't have those, I wouldn't be able to get nearly as high-paying of a job!"

So - who can spot the flaw in the comparison?

Here's the problem - they're comparing it to a version of themselves that apparently did nothing but goof off for the past (how many years does it take to get a master's? six? seven?) six years. If they wanted a *real* comparison, they'd have to compare to someone who went into the workforce six years ago, in a relatively uninteresting job, and worked their way up.

They'd also have to compare to someone with the exact same amount of motivation.

I finally got fed up with this latest one and explained this to him. His response? "Well, I don't know how to compare that, so it's not important!"

Uh-huh. Sorry, dude. Just because you don't understand how to compare things doesn't mean you're right.

Still, it's an interesting comparison. I wish I knew how to actually get a result for it.
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