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Lucene Revolution Day 1: Searching for the Value of Certification #lucenerev

lucidLogosmall.pngDay one of Lucid Imagination’s (news, site) 2011 Lucene Revolution has concluded. Lucene Revolution is the only conference dedicated to the popular Apache Lucene/Solr projects. This is the second year the conference takes place in the U.S., and interest in attending the open-source enterprise search fest continues to grow — like the data it interrogates.

More Sessions, More People, Definitely More Data

Lucene Revolution 2011 is occurring May 25-26 in San Francisco and was preceded by two days of intensive training on four topics:

Last year's Lucene Revolution 2010 event, held in Boston, attracted a respectable 300 attendees. The 2011 conference, however, has won bragging rights. Lucene Revolution 2011 is sold out and increased attendance by 150 participants.

IMG_0712.JPGLucene Revolution 2011 attendees — a packed room

The conference is an opportunity for Lucene adopters to network, ask questions, learn new techniques and benefit from the real-world challenges that other attendees have encountered. Lucid Imagination has produced a conference filled with content. Day one included four unnamed tracks, 16 sessions, two keynotes, a techie game “Stump the Chump” and seven minute lightning talks on various Lucene and Solr topics. I wonder if the other conference attendees are now fast asleep, preparing for an equally busy day tomorrow that kicks off around 8:45am with another keynote.

Lucene Revolution Conference 2011

Benchmarking Lucene/Solr Expertise

However, a few may be studying for the new Lucene/Solr certification, which Lucid Imagination is offering free on-site during the conference. This is definitely a win for testers that fancy saving $250.00. I decided to do some “guerilla” interviews of conference attendees to determine who plans to take the test and why or why not.

Surprisingly, in spite of my always awesome personality and the interview having a single question, several people declined to be interviewed on camera. A few brave souls, however, broke the mold and shared their thoughts.

The two- to three-hour exam is the first certification targeted at Apache Lucene/Solr developers. Given the rapid proliferation of resources offering Lucene/Solr services, it was only a matter of time before the market demanded some standardized benchmark of Solr knowledge, skills and experience. According to Peter Tait, VP of Marketing for Lucid Imagination, “The test is hard. We wanted to demonstrate real knowledge and not be a walk in the park.”

Grant Ingersoll, Chair of the Apache Lucene PMC, co-founder of the Apache Mahout project, and, last but not least, co-founder of Lucid Imagination, agreed with Tait’s assessment.


The majority of people I spoke with held similar views; in general, they believe:

  • The exam is hard
  • Merely studying for the exam has value as a learning tool
  • The certification will help the open source community mature
  • The certification is a valid measure of Lucene/Solr competency

Perhaps there’s a little bias. I am at a Lucene conference. However, I haven’t heard one person anywhere say that this certification is a rubber-stamp for developers. It might just be worth your time if you are one of the many embarking on the world of search or big data analysis.

 
 
 
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