CIAC – Certified Ignorant And Curious

Madrid Is a beautiful city
Madrid Is a beautiful city

Speaking and learning about other people’s ideas at a conference is an incredibly energizing activity for me. The reason, I believe, is the fact that I am naturally very curious; people’s thoughts and ideas generally satisfy my curiosity at least for a few hours.

On Wednesday evening, in Madrid, I was involved in the ExpoQA “Great debate” where speakers, sponsors and the conference goers discussed various topics in an open session.

Inevitably the topic of “Professional Certification” was touched.

I briefly made my point by saying that I am not one for certifications because I believe that what the Greek philosopher Socrates said: “I’m the smartest man in Athens because I know that I know nothing”. For me learning is a continuous activity and the most important element is the acknowledgement of ignorance rather than the certification of knowledge.

The discussion went on with the sponsors making some good points pro certifications and some interesting insights from the conference participants.

On the flight back from Madrid I thought about it a bit more and eventually decided I am going to start certifying Ignorant people. What I mean with ignorant people, is:

people that are aware that learning is a continuous activity and can never end. People that, no matter how much they know about a subject, have the humbleness to listen to all voices, including the ones that they don’t like, because they believe there is always a chance they might learn something. These people, know that they don’t know and are driven by curiosity in their continuous search for knowledge.

The certificate
I started by certifying myself

I had a quick chat with with Socrates on Skype, he liked the idea and that’s why I am here presenting to you the CIAC certification.

Do you want to become a Certified Ignorant And Curious professional?

Add a comment to this post or mail me directly with one sentence where you clearly demonstrate you are a humble ignorant in search of knowledge. You can also tweet your sentence using the tag #IknowThatIdontKnow including my twitter handle (@augeva)

If you are successful, you will receive a prestigious certificate signed by me and Socrates.

No industry benefits, no costs associated, it doesn’t need renewal, you can print the certificate, frame it and proudly display it in your office!


35 thoughts on “CIAC – Certified Ignorant And Curious

  1. I’m currenly going through setting up a continuous integration factory on my laptop because I’d like to have hands-on experience with it and understand it better. Yet, I have no immediate need for it as I’m mostly managing manual test activities. Would that qualify me for the CIBC certificate ? I’d be proud to display it on my desk !

  2. Wow. Please, please, please, let me be certified as ignorant and curious. I was told that there are three types of buttercups. I have read the articles and books that explain the differences and spent about 2 weeks inspecting buttercups to find the different varieties. In doing so I noticed many other different plants, including an orchid, and that dandelions were profuse in one field but almost non-existent in the next field. Books and Google can only help for some things. I find that asserting my ignorance enables the other person to explain things I never knew and express their passion for the topic. That’s why I love walking my dogs and asking questions to complete strangers.

  3. Augusto, nice post, but I don’t know (yet or ever) if I deserve a certificate 😉 but if I want (and get?) a text on my certificate, I want to propose : “People who think that they have reached to point of knowing everything, will never reach that point anyhow” or is this a better one “I do not care about the book (and knowledge) that I have read, but care about the books I haven’t read” (paraphrase of what Umberto Eco once said. Pick your choice

    And nice meeting you in Spain, hope to meet again!

  4. Hello Augusto,

    Wonderful post!

    I’ve been a QA past couple of years now and everyday when i start my work that i love so much i start with a fact that it’s a new learning day as i know nothing and today i’ll add some value to my learning. The curiosity of knowing new things and listening to my peers keeps me motivated to learn, learn and only learn.

    I am not expecting this certificate because i am still not sure if i deserve 1 but may be one day (fingers crossed) 🙂

    Just wanted to say that this is really a wonderful post and no institution can certify if the person has learnt everything as you rightly said its an ongoing learning process.


  5. Learning about Python now, learning technical web testing tools and how to use it. Don’t have time for the books I bought, which are patiently waiting on my book shelf. Not so patient myself, but trying to be. Time is limited. Still thinking that I know too little of testing and all the skills needed. I am amazed by the knowledge of other testers, and get the feeling sometimes I know nothing. But confident in knowledge I have and will gain today, tomorrow, next week, as the search for it continues Thanks for the post!

  6. i was ignorant enough to just read it to summary first time as I always do humbly and then got curious to understand more about it. Excellent idea..

  7. I’ve been involved in IT since 1982, and have switched from programming to testing seven years ago (not saying I did some testing in my programming days) and I know I have to keep looking for what’s going on, because the world won’t wait for me. The more I get to know this testing/checking business, the more I realize my journey is just beginning. Your post and all the reactions just proves that I’m certainly not alone 🙂

  8. Hello Augusto,

    ¡Great post, I enjoyed it very much!

    Every day I seek to learn something new, to improve my skills, to add new tools to my utility belt, and the more I learn, the more I notice how little do I know, and how much knowledge it’s out there, and that… that only fuels my quench for knowledge.

    In a line of work in which so many are confident and believe knowing it all just because they have mastered a book with 500 answers to a certification, it sure is great knowing there are more crazy ones challenging the status quo.

    ¡Here’s to the crazy ones!

  9. Augusto, great read (as always).

    One point I wish to make:

    In my career in QA and Test, I’ve learned that no one worth learning from, has ever questioned my need of asking a question.

    But then again, as in testing, we learn from from both positive and negative testing.

    So I guess, I really had two points to make (and I just learned that and admit to it).


  10. Tweeted you: #IknowThatIdontKnow @augeva A rule has exceptions, many times these exceptions becomes a rule; I don’t always know the one from the other!

    Reminder of my days struggling through Organic Chemistry class…. I guess I never knew enough to pass it!!!

  11. I know I have lots of learning as everytime, I enter a discussion at least one person will tell me I don’t understand the complete picture. Iy is why I am always asking that one question that stops the flow of the discussion.

    I know that some of the time I should not have, however I would like to know the answer. Plus learning a new environment at each client keeps me real curious about what I will learn next.

  12. What about non-QA related?
    Not getting into details. I got tarantula as pet because it was interesting… Then I got 2 more of the same type, from the same parents (all 3 are siblings) to see how much different their behavior and reactions in the same conditions are. And when one of them does something different from others, i research why.
    To continue… got one more tarantula of different type to compare.
    And now i have several month long log of their differences.

  13. Whenever someone wants to ask me a question, my first reply is “I know nothing, but let’s hear the question, because I am curious as to what you want to know”.
    Sometimes I do know the answer after all, but other times we search for the answer together.

  14. I sometimes feel tired interacting with people who say things should be exactly one way because they are experts and because they know. I want to know more about “how?”, or find some answers to the question, “What happens if…?”
    For my work as well as in conversations with friends, I delight in being able to collaborate by asking questions, picking things apart by asking “why?” or “how does that work?” and I try to devote myself to being able to know more and ask better questions. I like being able to be a student of life and to attempt being a little bit better, even if small changes happen in small increments of one day, one week, or one month.

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