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Rockleigh, NJ, May 1, 2015 – Last week, Crestron hosted Masters 2015, an annual event held exclusively for Master programmers, who have dedicated 10, 20, or even 25+ years of their lives to programming Crestron systems. Master programmers hold the highest respect in the industry due to the rigorous training, extensive experience, and stringent testing required to achieve the status of silver, gold, platinum, or diamond-certified Master programmer. The conference kicked off with a keynote address by Crestron CEO Randy Klein and CTO Fred Bargetzi. More than 500 Master Programmers, who traveled from as far away as Dubai for the event, packed the Dolce IBM® Learning Center for professional development classes, new hardware and software previews, and networking opportunities.
"This is the greatest event Crestron has ever hosted" said CEO, Randy Klein. "Masters are a special, elite group in our industry, the best of the best. They came here on their own initiative, time, and expense so they can stay at the top of their game. They are totally committed to their craft and this industry. They are responsible for making all the installed products and systems work. The industry owes them a debt of gratitude."
6,000 years of industry experience in one room
Masters 2015 brought programmers with approximately 6,000 years of industry experience to one space to be educated by Crestron’s best and brightest engineers and instructors. The skills, talents, and knowledge these individuals possess are mind-boggling. Very few people in the world have the level of experience and understanding that they do. Even the attendees themselves were surprised at how many of “them” there are, and they were grateful for the opportunity to connect and establish a community of their own.
“We’re seeing that many consultants are putting ‘Masters – Silver’ in their specification requirements and corporate and residential customers are asking for master-level programmers for their projects, so achieving Masters-level certification truly impacts a programmer’s business and can set them apart from others in the industry,” noted Rich Sasson, Crestron Global Director of Technical Services.
Best of the best
To become a certified programmer and be eligible to attend Masters you must participate in and pass five levels of programming classes. It takes over one hundred hours of learning – online and in-person – to achieve this status. It is the equivalent of years of secondary education classes and thesis work. And programmers must continue attending Masters to maintain their status, as well as continue growing their craft and reaching the next level. These certification levels denote top programmers who are exceptionally dedicated to providing the best possible service to their customers.
The people behind the curtain
The fact is, no matter what products manufacturers develop, no matter what systems consultants design, or dealers install, nothing works without a Masters Programmer. They bring products and the clients’ vision to life. They ensure that the look and functionality of the finished system exceeds customer expectations. We all rely on them to flawlessly execute system designs, so clients are comfortable with our technology and supremely confident in our industry. There are currently 948 Certified Programmers in North America. Over 700 of them, the most dedicated and driven members of our industry, have attended Masters Classes. Those who attend receive a “Master Certified Programmer,” “Silver,” “Gold,” “Platinum,” or “Diamond” designation depending on the number of exams and coursework successfully completed. At present, there are 189 Silver Master Programmers (3 years of Masters Classes), 38 Gold (6 years of Masters Classes), 10 Platinum (9 years of Masters Classes), and just one at the very rarified Diamond level (12 years of Masters Classes).
I’m a firm believer in the value of Masters Classes,” said Jim Pope, President of Denver, CO-based Professional Videographics, and the first to achieve the “Diamond” certification level. “Masters is a great way to see what’s new, gain insight into what’s coming, renew relationships with Crestron employees that support us, get face-to-face time with other programmers, and trade tech tips as a group. There’s a good mix of participants. It’s our own forum.”
26 different topics, 106 total sessions, 30 different presenters
Masters offered attendees strong courses in programming, including Simpl#, Simpl# Pro, Crestron Fusion®, Smart Graphics™ , DigitalMedia™ diagnostics, Streaming Media with Touch Screens, Unified Collaboration, plus general sessions highlighting Network Configuration, Programming Scalability, and Looking Ahead Further into 2015. “This was 100% a technology education event for Programmers,” noted Sasson.
Every session was packed with eager programmers looking to perfect their craft, re-affirm tools and tricks that they’ve used in the field, and share knowledge and ideas with other programmers and Crestron engineers. Master Programmers typically operate independently, and behind-the-scenes so being able to convene in one location over three days provided countless opportunities to talk shop with their peers.
“This is probably the best event I’ve been to by any manufacturer or organization in my 22+ years in the business,” said John Clancy, Executive Vice President & CTO, Audio Command Systems, Inc.
Benefits of being a Master
Becoming a Crestron Master Programmer offers more than just bragging rights. Certification benefits include: a coupon for $350 toward any Crestron product; access to a Beta Test Site for all new Crestron software; authorization to use the prestigious "Crestron Master Programmer" logo on business cards and company website; the ability to meet bid specifications that require Crestron Master Programmers; and an invitation to the annual Masters Classes.