You probably have heard about Certified LabVIEW Developers (CLD) and Certified LabVIEW Architects (CLA), but do you need one for your project? That is a very good question, and the answer has been evolving over the years. As described in the last article: “What is All This About LabVIEW Certification?”, it takes considerable talent, time, and money to achieve these certifications. In this article I’ll talk about some advantages of earning these certifications. Then I’ll discuss why you may want a CLD or CLA on your project.
National Instruments (NI) has done such a good job of promoting the certification program that many clients now insist that anyone working on their project must have some level of certification. In rare cases, some even insist that the person have a CLA. So, if a developer is an independent consultant, getting certified opens up the market for their skills a bit.
There may be perks for an employee of a larger company, too. But unfortunately, most companies do not help their employees get certified, or reward them for doing so. At CSL, we believe strongly in certification, and highly value it. For example, we provide paid time for our engineers to study for the certification, and advice on how to perform well. We also pay for the exam, provide paid time to take it, and increased pay once they pass each level.
Why do we value the certifications so highly at CSL? First and foremost, we want our clients to know that we have highly trained and qualified engineers working on their projects. Every one of our consultants are at least a CLD, and some have a CLA. Also, we have found that studying for, and taking the certification exams significantly helps us be better LabVIEW developers. The process encourages reviewing alternative architectures, and heightens awareness of a broad range of templates, architectures, and coding styles. That in turn provides us each with more tools to tackle test, measurement, and control challenges.
If your project is extremely small, and you are confident it won’t grow beyond that, you could get by with an uncertified developer as long as you are reasonably sure they have at least the basic skills, background, and experience needed. But, if your project is larger, or could grow to be larger, then you want to be sure the developer(s) have the skills needed to do a quality job. You can evaluate them through viewing code samples and interviewing them, or you can let NI do some of that through the certification program.
Still, certification does not in itself guarantee the developer has what you need. So, even better is to use a systems engineer that works for a company like CSL that has only certified developers, does a thorough job of vetting anyone they hire, and provides rich on-going training for all their engineers. Ideally, the company also has a Certified LabVIEW Architect to provide leadership. All of that combines to nearly guarantee your project is successful.