[OT] Why 10 hours for a newbie and 30 days for a "programmer"

Brian Yennie briany at qldlearning.com
Tue Sep 7 18:09:47 EDT 2004

There is some middle ground of truth here. Public education is 
certainly not a lucrative market _in general_ as compared to dealing 
with the private sector. There are a few exceptions and a small handful 
of companies that pull in 90% of the revenue, because as you mentioned 
before, deals are often cut at the state (or even national level). In 
addition, budgets come and go and are at the mercy of politics.

The vast majority of companies competing in the SIS / testing business 
either fold or generate meager profits. A few are doing very well. I 
know this is not so different from many other industries, but it is an 
accurate description of this one. For example, there is an XML-based 
data exchange standard, SIF, for use in integrating SIS and other 
systems. In order to participate in an SIF setup, a school must 
purchase a compliant ZIS- "Zone Integration Server". There is currently 
1 vendor offering that, and they also have their own compliant 
products. I know of only one other vendor contemplating their own 
implementation, mostly due to the cost of doing so.

Also note that we get into serious apples vs oranges if we compare 
regular software licensing (i.e. Windows licenses for the lab) with 
software written for and only for schools.

There is a bounty there, but it's a very tough market.

- Brian

> I'm sorry to be so blunt, but then you're not in the know, Dan.
> Do all those student information systems (used by pretty much every 
> school district in the Western world to track and analyze student 
> data) create themselves?  All those companies that process and report 
> the billions of standardized tests scored worldwide every year?  Did 
> you know that the GRE is given almost exclusively on computers now, 
> worldwide?  I have no doubt that ETS will abandon the paper GRE 
> altogether within the next few years.  (The GRE is *one* test among 
> many.  They will *all* be moving this direction within the next 
> decade.)
> I doubt the wealthy owners and shareholders of the companies who 
> develop such products would agree with your assessment of the 
> situation.

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