LONDON Processor intellectual property licensor ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England) has signed up Prometric Inc. (Baltimore, Md.) to design and deliver the ARM Accredited Engineer certification program for software and hardware engineers.
The program was scheduled to launch first in Mainland China and Taiwan in mid-2012 before being extended to the United States, India and Europe. The program has similarities to an IT worker certification scheme that has been run by Microsoft for many years.
Prometric, which runs training and accreditation schemes on behalf of a number of companies and organizations including Microsoft, has been asked to supply test development and secure administration of the ARM examinations through its network of computer-based testing centers.
Candidates to become ARM Accredited Engineers have to attend a test center with government supplied ID such as a passport or driving license and take a computerized test. There is a fee to take the exam that varies by country. It is £125 in the U.K. and $200 in the United States and $160 (US dollars) in Taiwan, according to the Prometric website.
Gaining the ARM Accredited Engineer (AAE) status is not necessary to work on ARM-based projects but it is expected to provide engineers and students with an advantage over their peers when seeking employment.
To say that only those three are in the microprocessor 'space' shows a lack of knowledge of what is shipping out in the real world. All the older 8 and 16 bit cores are still shipping in high volume, and the fpga/asic IP cores are also shipping in high volume. And most are NOT based around Arm and Mips. I designed high volume products for over 20 years before using an ARM part and that was based on the cost benefit, not any architectual superiority. Certification only has meaning IF the person can apply the knowledge used to gain his piece of 'paper' in the real world.
Well the good news is engineers are not compelled to take the test.
But if employers and HR people start asking for AAE certification as a pre-condition for certain jobs and work then those that have it will get the work.
But engineers with 20 years experience should be able to schedule a test and pass easily, right?
So then it will be back to a level playing field with the experienced engineers beating out the recent grads that only have the AAE.
I believe that this is a good step by ARM, not because it will generate lot of good programmers but it will certainly proliferate ARM's architecture among the student community and be helpful as a guide for employers in ascertaining a candidates profile. The certification has multiple levels so it's not just about processors but includes software, hardware and systems knowledge which makes for an all round skill for intending to go all the way.
It would probably also help in increasing the arm talent pool in the job market and also aid free lancer embedded programmers who are new to ARM.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for todays commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.