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Macro- and Micro-Credentials

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The terminology of Macro-Credentials is not as often used as Micro-Credentials in the industry. Google shows only 392 matches compared to more than 99000 for Micro-Credentials (August 2018). Looking into both helps to understand the bigger picture. And this will help you. Today it is important to be able to decide which learning and credential approach is right for you, for your role or your company.


You know what University Master or Bachelor Degrees are. They are typical examples that everybody needs to know. Role-Based Certifications are the other very important macro-credential in the industry. Large companies are driving the decision which roles are important from their view. Then they push our certifications for those roles.

Academic degrees and professional certifications are now used for years to assess or verify our skill sets. Some companies started to issue now certifications that are shorter and not covering a full role. But even this approach (I’ll call them Micro-Certification) can’t cope with some fast-changing markets. Gartner discussed already in 2010 that some SaaS vendors need only weeks between two releases. Even the shortest micro-certification cannot sustain this speed. Don’t get me wrong: The usage of certifications is still valid dependent on the subject. But in fast-changing industries, something better is needed.

Digital Credentials and Badges

The solutions that the market found are the less formal “digital credentials”. They are bringing lots of flexibility and a fast way to set them up. Of course, this also results in the disadvantage that they only do have a value if the issuer takes care of this. However, there is no question that digital- or micro-credentials are today the solution in all areas that require a possibility for quick change.

The Information Technology industry led by IBM introduced some years ago the best known Digital Credential: Badges. This was done primarily to measure skills for a certain product. IBMs motivation was based on the need to attract, engage and progress talent around the globe. Especially taking into consideration the above mentioned fast-changing product cycles.


So, what is the best way to prove that you’re having the right skills? There is definitely more to consider than just having a university degree. This may be good depending on a certain job role or industry you’re working in. But you need to consider what is really needed. Therefore have a look at how roles are structured. Maybe Badges can help much more in your specific area of interest.

You can learn more about IBMs Badges on IBMs Skills Gateway




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