Team Certifications?

Our team is considering certifying team members to different levels in Designing, Building and Programming. Do an other teams organize their members like this? How do you set up your certifications ?

Do you mean like designating how good of a designer, builder, programmer each member is? Or do you mean designating who is a designer, builder or programmer?

I don’t agree with the former because it seems subjective and does not make for a constructive atmosphere in the team. It has a level of competition, but I think collaboration and teamwork are more important and beneficial for success.

If you mean the latter, I’d say it’s true that you can’t always have 5 pairs of hands on a robot or on a keyboard and that everyone will be intrinsically better at some aspect of robotics. However, I feel like everyone should at least get their feet wet in every aspect of robotics, but some members will feel more comfortable or be more successful when focusing more on a single aspect.

In our team we make sure every member can work on anything, be it presenting a design, getting their hands on the robot, trying out programming, etc. We have both extremely specialized members as well as floaters. We don’t rank members nor say any member absolutely has to do only one aspect of robotics.

We tried to to that (sort of like military ranks), with all sectors being equal to each other, and ranks withing the sectors being hierarchical. It didn’t really last long, because nobody really adhered to it. I think it would work well if actually followed. I think it’s a good idea for more experienced members to have a higher “rank”, because it gives newer members (a somewhat superficial, I admit) goal to get to. We had it set up where you had to complete a certain set of tasks to get the next rank. It shouldn’t impede on creativity and designs being considered though.

(assuming ranking individuals in each sector based on their ability)

I’ve never really thought about a system like that before. The thing is that in clubs where everybody knows everybody else (as is the case in most programs), it just feels obvious whether someone is specifically better at building than someone else. There’s no real way to rank them (if it is possible to rank them at all for something like this) on a predetermined rubric made by those teams alone because you don’t have a lot of reference as to what makes a level. It is possible to say that someone is a better programmer than X, but not better than Y, but that’s all informal and probably isn’t what you’re going for.

I suppose if there were a large enough program, with maybe 100 people in it (I think the Exothermic program only has 50+ in it), then it would be possible to get an idea over the years of how good people tend to get at a skill (design, programming, etc). Unless you have a large enough pool to figure out what is normal and where different “levels” might divide though, it’s really hard to figure out any sort of meaningful system. Of course, you could just guess, or use a smaller sample group, but it’d be more arbitrary and I don’t think people would be too happy if they feel they’re in the wrong level.

An entirely different argument is whether you should actually be categorizing people into levels and what benefits it has.

Let me try to clarify my original post. Our team is pretty new. Last year was our first full season. And this year, I see very different levels of “expertise”. We were considering different levels of certification (novice, intermediate, advanced and master) for both Building and Programming. Much like military ranks or Boy scout badges. We are looking t see if anyone else has played with this ideas and if so how did they differentiate between levels. I noticed that a lot of team designate titles like master builder, or lead programmer. I am trying to come up with a list of tasks that must be done to advance to the next level. Example Novice Builder might build a bot from instructions (Squarebot, Protobot, etc.) where as a Intermediate bullder might build a drive train built for speed (gets from point A to B) in a set time and one built for strength (able to carry X number of pounds a set distance).

Hope this helps you all help me a bit.

I also appreciate all the insight that this is a load of pooie and I am barking up the wrong tree.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

We do something somewhat like this. We hold classes which we call seminars. In order to be a “core” member of a team you must complete a minimum of two different seminars with a passing grade (above a 75). It’s not really “ranks” but since it is a requirement necessary to be a core member it does offer some feeling of being higher/more accomplished than others.

Seminars seem like a very interesting option.

I am thinking of three possible organizational set ups.

  1. Seminars

  2. The Boy Scout model (badges and advancements)

  3. Certifications

  4. Oh and then there is nothing at all except let the student learn what they want to learn. That’s the model we have used so far. But we are losing a loy of experience to our seniors this year.

Our team has thought of it, but it never really came into play. Everyone all ready has jobs but we never told anyone what they had to do. though it might help if you have a large team. If you have a large team mabey break down into smaller groups and give them each a task. One last thing it helps alot if you have kids on the team that dont alaways listen well. Hope this helps. :slight_smile: