Back to... Normality?

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 12/01/2010 - 14:20

For the past month, I got disconnected from basically all of my usual activities. Not only from Debian work (well, yes, I followed up on a couple of important bugs and releases, but I was in a very low power consumption mode of sorts), DebConf organization/following (some people have contacted me regarding the DebConf 12 venue decision, for which we should start working and have a presentation soon) — Even the always-so-important Real Life got pushed aside. I barely participated in this year's EDUSOL (On-line Encounter of Education and Free Software). Even work suffered — I asked my boss to hold any incoming requests for me (save, of course, for urgent stuff).

I am now shyly coming up from the hole I dug myself in for this time.

Why did I do such a thing?

I do not have a formal education beyond high school. Due to several personal issues, I was accepted to the best university in my country, and to the first generation of the study program I would definitively love to have followed, but didn't attend.

Of course, I had a fair bit of computing background, enough to be competitive and start working. After amazingly few years, I didn't only get a decent job, but I got a job precisely at the very university I wanted to study at (and where my father has worked for the past 40 years). And, even with some changes along the years, here I am with 10 years of laboral history in this university, with an academic position (although the smallest academic position, but still). It is one of my life's achievements, one of the things that makes me proudest of.

Still, I don't want to stay at this level for the rest of my life. And an institution such as this one has rules – Yes, flexible enough to allow me in, but rules whose importance I cannot deny. I aspire to become a professor/researcher at some point, and that is just not possible without filling in the prerequisites. Besides, I want to try my hand at teaching at a universitary level.

So, what choices did I have besides devoting at least four years to full-time study? Well, there is a government entity that evaluates and regulates formal education given by smaller universities — CENEVAL. For probably around ten years now, they have offered the ACREL (Acuerdo 286 Licenciatura) program to validate professional knowledge acquired through work experience – And I'm writing this detail as several people have asked me for details on it. So, once you are accepted in the program (basic requisites: Having a high school certificate, over 30 year old, and with over 10 years of provable work experience), they can grant a Licenciatura degree (i.e. the equivalent to a four-year study program). So, in order to get it granted, I have to:

  • Present a written exam, covering all of the areas of study. In my case (it varies depending on the program you are presenting), it was a 12 hour exam (over three sessions — IIRC I finished each session in around three hours of the four allowed). Questions are all multiple choice. For the Software Engineering degree, you are allowed to enter each session with up to five reference books. Rules vary depending on the area. The exam was long, although not too hard. And I'm proud to say that I reached outstanding level on each of the areas of the exam ☺
    If this information intersts you, do take a look at the links under the Study guides bullet at CENEVAL's information page. The areas to study, the style of the questions, and the general information on the exams are very close to what you will actually receive.
  • The second phase (oral exam) is split in two sub-phases. The first one, the one I have just finished, is the longest one: I was assigned a practical case to develop. In my case, I was requested to write a document detailing the methodology for writing a request-tracking system for a restaurant. I was given a month for this task — And in part, the reason that kept me so busy is that I subscribe to the idea that the best methodology to write an application is to write it, not just to document what you are about to do (and then fail to recognize you missed so many details). Then, there is yet another period (between one and three months, assigned randomly AFAICT) during which I would have to develop the application and a presentation, and defend it against a jury.
  • Some study areas (mainly those related to health) have a third step: A practical exam. Of course, I cannot go into details on this one.

Anyway... Enough of a blog posting. I hope this is useful for somebody. And I hope it explains why I have disappeared so much lately. If everything goes as planned, I expect to be receiving my "licenciatura" title around March, and afterwards... Well, we shall see!

Now... Back to work. And back to life. And back to my huge backlog of other pending things :)

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Roadmaster's picture

Congrats!

Well it's nice to see you're moving forward with this project. It's stupid to think that the "piece of paper" carries so much weight, but at the university it does (and I saw a friend with over 20 years of experience get rejected from a job offer there "just because" he never graduated).

Congrats on doing so well on the exam, but given your experience and preparation, despite all the time it's taking, I think it's just a formality.

And hopefully that will let you achieve what you want, be it a long-term position at the university or anything else that strikes your fancy.

Keep it up and don't forget to post pictures of the graduation party and dorky hat in a few months ;)

petrohs's picture

Excelente

Excelente noticia.

Grillo's picture

¡Perfecto!

Pues esperemos que todo marche bien. Quién no quisiera recibir clases (por lo menos en Chapulcalli) del "radical del Software Libre" con "look de profeta" ;)
Pues ahora que ya te liberaste, a ver si por ahí echamos el café y la platicada (ahora falto yo de liberarme de este semestre para que eso sea posible). ¿Sabes? con tu larga travesía, que desconozco a detalle, para llegar a un título de lincenciatura, me haces considerar dejar de renegar de mi educación acá en la Facultad de Ciencias y ajustarme un poquito al sistema (mientras termino). Pero si hago eso ¿seguiría siendo "El Grillo"?

¡Saludos!

Mike's picture

Good on you, Gunnar!

Good on you Gunnar, and I'm sure we all wish you all the best!

vicm3's picture

Well, as said before congratulations

You got what it's needed, I didn't know you wanted to go for professor/researcher way, and neither I suspected you wanted to do teaching at University, that will be interesting. I wanna go as listener at least :)

BTW your gravatar settings are in safe for family and for the bottle that mine carries (I suppose) doesn't show on your blog ;).

Anyway good work and you know, all our best wishes and vibe are with you.

Do or do not, there is no try. Yoda.

Kevin Mark's picture

congrats on your pending professorhood!

Hi Gunnar,
great to hear that you are on the path to complete a long sought after goal. I'm sure you'll be a great professor.
best of luck,
Kev

kero's picture

congratulations

congratulations

Rodrigo's picture

¡Felicidades!

Me sumo tanto al coro de felicitaciones como a la lista de espera que ya se está generando de oyentes para esos cursos ;-)

Fernando C. Estrada's picture

¡Gracias!

Es de gran ayuda la información, ¡muchas gracias!

Saludos ;-)

P.D. También me sumo a la lista de espera para ser oyente en Tus cursos.

chiunti's picture

ayuda con ceneval

Hola gunnar:

Estoy realizando también mi acreditación de estudios de forma autodidacta por el acuerdo 286, tengo 20 años de experiencia en programación, y estoy por presentar el examen oral en la ingeniería de software. Aún no me asignan caso práctico, de hecho apenas voy a pagar por el derecho de examen, pero me asalta una duda, cuando te asiganan caso practico que es lo que te indican? te obligan a usar algún tipo de lenguaje en especial, alguna plataforma de desarrollo en especial y alguna metodología? o puede uno libremente usar estas 3 cosas (lenguaje,metodología y plataforma de desarrollo)? ojalá pudieras despejarme la duda ya que me interesa saber sobre que es el documento que debe uno proporcionar... acaso es un paso a paso como fuiste desarrollando el proyecto?....
gracias por cualquier tipo de ayuda que puedas proporcionarme, mi correo chiunti_abc@hotmail.com
gracias

chiunti's picture

ayuda ceneval

Hola gunnar:

Estoy realizando también mi acreditación de estudios de forma autodidacta por el acuerdo 286, tengo 20 años de experiencia en programación, y estoy por presentar el examen oral en la ingeniería de software. Aún no me asignan caso práctico, de hecho apenas voy a pagar por el derecho de examen, pero me asalta una duda, cuando te asiganan caso practico que es lo que te indican? te obligan a usar algún tipo de lenguaje en especial, alguna plataforma de desarrollo en especial y alguna metodología? o puede uno libremente usar estas 3 cosas (lenguaje,metodología y plataforma de desarrollo)? ojalá pudieras despejarme la duda ya que me interesa saber sobre que es el documento que debe uno proporcionar... acaso es un paso a paso como fuiste desarrollando el proyecto?....
gracias por cualquier tipo de ayuda que puedas proporcionarme, mi correo chiunti_abc@hotmail.com
gracias

gwolf's picture

Por correo...

Respondo por correo, como me lo indicaste.