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Formation of a Mac Certification Body

The problem as I see it and I believe @danj agrees is that no one at iFixit has the expertise to certify us in Macs as we are the experts. It would be ludicrous for iFixit to be presumptive enough to even suggest that they are the teachers and certification authority to the Professors Emeritus. They really don't know what to do with us. I have made a suggestion to @kaykay a while back to see if Cal Poly Tech would be in agreement in awarding Honorary Doctorate in Education status. The massive volume of the bodies of work with references is certainly there. Just the views on my questions, probably average 150.000 per week, validate it. Those answers and the guides and their validity and professionalism has placed iFixit as the defacto worlds authority on Mac repair.

In today's world everybody has to get certification and you are used to it. In the past, when a technology emerged there were no certifying bodies. so when the need arose there was a gathering of eagles. That was a group of the top professional in a field recognized by their peers. It's easy for one real pro to recognize another from someone just putting out BS. In the case of iFixit, they have unwittingly already done that in their naming of the moderators. So I believe, it is up to the top answer providers on iFixit to form that certification body with the advice and consent of the iFixit staff. I feel this should be one of our primary objectives at the September conference. I believe this action would solidify iFixit's status as the world authority on Mac Repair. We already have many university teaching courses on repair work and we also need a way to certify those instructors.

@rany @oldturkey03 @danj @mactechplus @kyle @kelsea @kaykay @reecee @zzz @jessabethany

I have contacted a research pro at the Texas Tech University Library and requested his assistance with this.

UPDATE 7/29/17

I have looked at the Apple Certification things for probably the last twenty-five years. I did it again for about six hours yesterday.

Here's what Apple is offering:

Service Fundamentals

Cost $1400 2 days

Apple Certified Mac Technician (ACMT) Certification

Cost $4200 6 days

So to become a ACMT takes a total of eight days of training, and costs $5600. If either Dan or I had a guy come to us with eight days of training for a job, we would laugh them out of the office. I think I may have opened up not just a can of worms here but a whole pallet load.

There's no way to cram 35 years of experience into a course, it's just to massive a body of knowledge. I've worked with Ken @mactechplus for over 20 years. I've seen the same type of relationship develop between Dan and I on answering questions that I have with Ken. He or I will answer a question and then the other will drop in with a reminder about a detail that the other missed. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dan because I recognize him as a true master of his craft.

How to go about imparting this type of mastery into a course is beyond me. It's a journeyman type of project. Maybe that's why it takes so long to become a Master Plumber:

Plumbing, like most trade occupations, has a formal structure for career advancement and professional titles. Those who want to become plumbers either enroll in a plumbing technology program at a vocational school or community college, or apply to join a plumbing apprenticeship program. After two to three years of education or apprenticeship, plus another year or two of plumbing experience, you can become a journeyman plumber. After another one to five years of professional plumbing experience, depending on the state, you are eligible to sit for the master plumber exam.

So if it takes about 10 years of experience in a relatively static profession like plumbing, how do you do it in an ever changing and rapidly accelerating profession like Apple Computer Mastery? Now I can sit down with a guy and in 10-15 minutes tell where he's at with probably 5-10 questions So testing is not the problem for Dan or I. Kind of like if you ask a guy who claims to be a veteran what his MOS was and he can't answer, he's not.

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This discussion was promulgated by the discussion posed on another question: How to add Business to iFixit Local?


@mayer I do agree with what you are saying but look at things a bit different. Certification in any profession does not teach you anything but is for the applicant to prove, that they have the knowledge to obtain this certification. Becoming certified in my profession did not teach me anything but had me prove that I know my stuff. So with 35 years of experience there should be no issues with "passing" a certification.


@oldturkey03 Mike, the problem is that there are no certification standards to test on except for those short course from Apple that cost a fortune. You can go to school for years and pass a lot of tests but until you've done it in the field you haven't done anything. I spent two years in lab school and three years doing it before I even attempted taking my Certified Dental Tech exams. The computer industry has nothing even close to that. And i was Magna Cum Laude.


@mayer absolutely right. So why do we continue to let industry giants like Apple dictate certs? Again, I think it is up to you @danj @reecee and very few select others to really sit down and hash things out. You guys are the experts and know what consumers are needing and looking for. I think it is wrong to look at it from a corporate perspective but needs to be approached from an end-user perspective. Make it useful...


The nut as I see it is certification only gets you so far. Just like a doctor you're just book learned, you don't have any practical skills. This is were the rubber hits the pavement doing an internship at a hospital. Sadly, we don't have that option,

Back in the day the way a Swiss watch maker learns was so much better! He would be an apprentice to a master watch maker learning the skills. Today it's so sterile as there are very few apprentice programs in any of the handcraft trades.

Most just don’t know how to think thorough the problem or to rationalize the ways to figure out the problem at the deeper level.

When we where working on the BICSI CTS/RCDD training and tests it took us over two years! But remember we had to work with three different groups and to add to it the standards were (and still are) changing! So that also complicated things.

Just focusing on the Apple product space will be a big job, when you add in the fact Apple most likely won't offer us any help.

I don't want to be a downer here as @kyle stated it took quite a bit of time just doing the iPhone alone.


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The problem we face is the breadth of the different hardware within IFIXIT. While I am more focused on answering Mac related stuff, there is the full gamut of PC's from Dell, HP, Lenovo and all of the others. Some of the basic designs hold true across all of the them but the way one repairs things can be very different do to the nature of the design of one product Vs another.

This is where the skills of a given product need to be focused on. Within BICSI we realized the skills of different operations of installing a cabling system needed different levels of skills and in some cases a prerequisite of skills needed to be obtained to then get to the next level.

Unlike BICSI we have a bigger tangle of skills needed and we don't have the support of the hardware makers. While CompTIA is a very good framework on general skills it doesn't get in the finesse of a given products repair.

To be clear here we are talking about how to validate if someone has the skills to fix a given product from a business perspective. We may also need to have levels within a given product as well: basic & advanced skills . I think it wouldn't we wise to imply someone had the skills to diagnose down to the component level because we offered an all-encompassing certificate.

This leads to the bigger question on how far we can go and if we need to join up with some other groups to build something. Then the question is how big could this get!

And lastly, are we getting off mission of IFIXIT message of reuse and recycling? Or is this the next logical direction?

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@danj Since our host primary is a parts supplier for Mac, iPad and phone repair, I feel it would best served to stick to those certifications. Apple again has had a monopoly on this and wants huge sums of money for their programs and keeping them current. But just try to get a repair guide out of them if you are outside of their control. They even banned the iFixit App for tearing down their stuff. I feel this certification program would help break that monopoly and legitimize the independent repairman. This goes right along with the Right to Repair legislation programs. I feel it will be a major draw for other highly skilled Mac professionals to join us, they certainly use us for answering their tough problems and use the guides.


@mayer - Any word on @oldturkey03 joining us at SLO in Sept?


@danj last I heard from him he is flying out of Galveston. So YES, he'll be there.


The phone repair certification was developed by a committee of expert technicians like @jessabethany who have far more expertise than me. This sort of thing is best developed by a group of experts. It's a huge amount of work — the phone certification took us six months or so.


@mayer @danj what I hear @kyle saying is, if you want to get certified you'll have to create that certification. :-)

I should make it to SLO and trying to fly out of San Antonio.....


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Certification is tough because the nature of it implies that you have a knowledge of standards and certification is a simply a testament that you can pass a test demonstrating technical and diagnostic competency applying those standards to solve problems.

The problem that precedes certification is an agreement of what those standards are, and deployment of training materials to educate folks on those standards.

For iPhones at least, no such standards exist. Without ratification of a set of standards from a wider community of folks operating in the field, there will never be any buy in for any certification across the industry.

This is what I learned from working on a phone certification from ifixit.

So the first step is a gathering of people committed to developing those standards for a community since those standards are either not issued from the manufacturer or the ones that are--in the case of iPhones at least--are laughable.

My suggestion is to pull together people that have experience running successful repair businesses and challenge them to battle it out to develop some basic standards for diagnosis and repair of common problems.

For example--what is the best way to change iPad broken glass? Right now, you'd find a range of answers to this question with significant disagreement on adhesives and methodology.

If we could get agreement on even just a few standards we could begin to develop a set of tools, parts, and instructions that form the basis of a standard that could be tested and a certification to those standards created.

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Jessa, thanks for throwing in your expertise. First we need to form ratifying body of well established known professionals and specialists. This has been done in many professions. I personally saw it done in the Dental Laboratory and american academy of osteopathic surgeons. In the lab business it removed the strangle hold dentists had on the labs. I believe the Pharmacists did the same thing. The question becomes how to identify and gather the eagles. While most of these people could care less about a certification. as their reputation does the talking, the up and comers may well want a path to it.


@jessabethany - First, Thank You for putting in the long hours pulling it together!

Are you going to be able to join us in SLO in Sept? Even though your focus is on iOS devices, I'm sure your knowledge could help us in the Mac space.


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Wow gone for two months and your starting a school . What else has been going on while I was gone. Well Id like to throw in my two cents if its still welcome. Standardization ... there is none , at least not here in Canada. we have it in all the other industries like auto repair, accounting, cooking , nursing just to name a few here in Canada, Red Seals are the industry standard . I have a Red Seal in heavy truck repair and with that I can get a job fixing trucks anywhere in Canada. All an employer needs to know is I have that cert with the Red Seal and its given that I received the same training in Ontario as a another mechanic from Alberta . Theres a standard in most other disciplines here as well . That is until you get to computer repair or IT work in general. I personally have a Cisco A+ certification which 10 years ago was a big deal but now its just big deal so what . Now there CompTIA A+ Certification , which breaks down into about twenty sub categories. My son has 4 years of IT engineering his cert "degree " is referred to as CTNY which can be broken down into CT ,CTN and CTNY. depending on how much time you put in . Go to a different collage or university and its called something else . There is no standard ,no red seal in IT, at least not here. And as far a apple ,Mac are concerned. there classes are usually side notes . I learned more from @mayer and @danj than any of my teachers . My sons schooling was the same next to nothing was said about Macs . I work now in Robotic farm equipment and have just recently branched of into mining as well which is why I havent been around for a while ..but that's another story.. I recently had to hire new help for a job site and I wanted IT experience and some kind of experience with pneumatic and hydraulics. Common assets for work with robots. I interviewed over 20 applicants . The number of certificates I saw for the same kind of education were unreal . I had to google most of them to find out if they were actual certs. It was without a doubt one of the most frustrating things Ive ever had to sort through . I ended up making a test to test the knowledge level of ones I called back for a second interview . I had one fellow that had a BA in computer engineering. and he didnt have a clue how to assemble a computer. My experience left me with one good employee and two that I let go as soon as we returned , but I still had to try to get along for two months with help that should have and could have been better if there had been some sort of standardized teaching along the way . I do have to admit my field right now is sort of a nitch market.

Standardizing, making a consistent learning experience in IT , Mac repair , networking will eventually happen . It will take people like you,@mayer @danj , @kyle and @jessabethany to get it done . This isn't that young a field anymore and should have some sort of consistency to its teaching . Yet here we are still struggling along .

IT is such a broad field and constantly growing . I try to stay current in as much as I can but what I know compared to what my son knows is so vastly different . His field is rendering movies and doing server work having huge arrays or storage and digital projection . My field is in command response and laser referencing , robot location awareness , proximity sensors . We both started from the same basic point but had to learn on our own because really the only way to get anywhere in IT is to constantly be bettering yourself. The Old dog has to continue to learn new tricks or else hes just an old dog.

Its nice to be home and be back online , hope to here from you all in the coming days . Good luck with your school .

P.S. Just a side note to @mayer did you ever get that irrigation system app working . If so I now may have an application for it . The work Ive been doing the past 2 month is in a dust suppression system in a mine. Very similar to irrigation in a way

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wow that was a little long . Didnt notice till i posted it


Jim, good to have you back, you've been missed. Thanks for the affirmation on the idea. Looks like this is going to take a lot of work and research and organization. I stopped the irrigation idea when I saw the app being advertised on TV out of Florida. One less iron in the fire.


@jimfixer - I agree the IT field is quite broad! And some areas are supported much better than others.

It took a lot of effort to get people educated with networking skills at the beginning.

3Com, ChipCom, Cisco, IBM, Protein, & UB all put in large efforts at the network hardware level IEEE 802.x standards. ATT, Belden, Litton & Seimans put the effort in to defining the TIA standards just to name a few of the many who were involved.

Knowing standards within them selfs won't be enough they rolled up their sleeves and working collectively with a group similar to where we are today, helped establish the BICSI training & certification which is now worldwide seen as the gold standard!

They saw the investment as a way to sell their products and did they! Look at were we are today.

Sadly the PC industry which had been more open in the past is becoming more closed some of it is the competitiveness of the market the other is costs.

Many years ago we had trade shows were the different vendors would showcase their stuff, most are gone! Today, we have a once a year where a very small group are lucky enough to meet up with the developers (i.e. Apple & Google). These are still very superficial, they don't often get deep into the hardware only the software. If you're lucking enough you can meet up with someone who might be more informed and can get some answers or clues in the mind set of the design or even access to someone for a deeper question.

While some field training programs do exist they tend to be only open to authorized shops and they often don't get into the in repairing, more on diagnosing to a major assembly.

The failure as @kyle has pointed out for years, is the failure at the middle where the cost of replacing the major component is too costly and the fix is so easy once you know whats needed and can get the part, keeping the equipment working longer, saving if from the land fill!


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