Due Out Soon – The Google “Qualified Developer Program”

A blog post on the Google GeoDevelopers blog last week announced:

Currently we are in the process of piloting certifications for several new APIs. We are building out certifications for KML, Google Earth Enterprise, and 3D in preparation for our first master certification, the Google Qualified Geo Web Developer. We’re also working on certifications for the AJAX Search API, Enterprise Apps, and Android.

(It seems like I was a little ahead of the curve when I blogged this almost 4 years ago: Google/Yahoo/Amazon Certified Professionals…;-)

There are already certified programmes for Cisco and Microsoft, of course, so it was only a matter of time before we started seeing badges like this one:

I wonder when we’ll be seeing a Google curriculum for computer science degrees too, building on the resources collected as part of the Google Code University? It seems they’re already trying to compete with the OU’s new short course Linux: an introduction with their Tools 101 tutorials, which includes intros to the Linux command line and grep;-) (It would be no loss to HE, of Google did take on compsci education, of course, because Computer Science degrees are ever harder to find, and much harder to do (too much reliance on logic and algorithm design) than Computing degrees… (Hmmm, a case of HE dumnping the academic in favour of the, err, more practical?!;-)

Of course, it may be that the Goog will get into delivering teaching qualifications?

One school subject area I think they could drive curriculum development is in geography – you do know they have a Geo Education website, don’t you…?;-)

Why does this matter? The internet based communications revolution hasn’t yet had a huge impact on the way we examine, assess and validate learning in formal academic education or on the curricula that are delivered. Maybe it shouldn’t. But whilst corporates have always produced educational promo packs, their reach has been limited to those students studying under teachers who have made use of those materials. And now we have search engines, and students will be coming across learning materials with corporate branding in the course of their own research. Maybe the kids will discount these materials as ‘tainted’ in some corporate way? Maybe they’ll see them as training materials and discount them as irrelevant to their academic educational studies? Or maybe they’ll see them as part of that userguide to the world that they’ll be referring to for the rest of their lives?

See also: Education, Training and Lifelong Learning, and Towards Vendor Certification on the Open Web? Google Training Resources.

Towards Vendor Certification on the Open Web? Google Training Resources

Earlier this year, Google opened up a Google Apps Authorised Reseller programme (announcement) that encourages third parties to support, and sell, Google’s online applications.

For some time, I’ve been suggesting that there may be an opportunity for HE to start innovating in the area of open web and cloud app vendor certified training schemes (e.g. Google/Yahoo/Amazon Certified Professionals…) in the guise of IT professional development courses. (We already do something similar in the OU in the form of our “Cisco course”: T216 Cisco networking (CCNA), which wraps CIsco’s training materials with an additional layer of academic support and assessment; and the course TT381 Open Source Development Tools, which focusses on how to use CVS and LAMP stack. T320 Ebusiness technologies: foundations and practice looks at web services and APIs, I think, though I’m not sure of the extent to which it actually does (or should) provide ‘training’ in how to use actual third party APIs? )

So for example, I don’t find it too hard to imagine that we might rejig our web certificate courses to include an element of formal appraisal of how to use javascript frameworks such as JQuery, or YUI, or webservices from Amazon or PayPal, finessing the creation of vendor or foundation recognised ‘vendor qualifications’ along the way…

With Google just announcing that they are going to launch a “dedicated Google cloud for government customers in the US” (Google Apps and Government) I thought it might be timely to do a quick survey of the training materials that Google already provides, to see whether there was enough already in place for us to produce a quick wrapper and get a course launched.

Here’s what I found:

There are also various API libraries that don’t (yet) have training associated with them; e.g. Google visualisation API, (see a list of all the available Google Developer “products” here: Google Code: Site Directory), as well as things like the Google Code University.

For web-based, hands-on activities, these playgrounds could be really useful:

  • Google Code Playground – an interactive playspace for tinkering with Google APIs
  • KML Interactive Sampler – mess around with KML code and see how Google Earth treats it. (I notice that the Google Earth API is also available in the Google Code Playground… so maybe this sampler is deprecated?)

Google code playground http://code.google.com/apis/ajax/playground/

For more general user interface and javascript training, I’ve always found Yahoo to be pretty good… For example, there are plenty of resources on the Yahoo User Interface libraries site, and I’ve always thought that the Yahoo Design Patterns site would be a great resource for teaching web design. (There’s also the YUI Theater, which I’ve dipped in to from time to time…)

Just by the by, on the UI design front, the flickr Design Patterns collection is worth a look, as is UI Patterns; and Product Planner is a handy resource if you want to get into the right state of mind for thinking about user flows through a website.

PS as this post has largely turned into a round-up of Google stuff, it’s probably also worth adding these in: Google Research publications and Google Talks.

PPS if you like the interactive Google code editor, you might also like: