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This blog focuses on an upwards trend we are experiencing in IT Certification. I already blogged about the number of badges going up. I received positive feedback and people agree. Badges are a new and interesting approach in our industry. Given the positive momentum for badges, some have questions whether certifications are still relevant. We will look into the background, and numbers and try to explain trends.
What is a certification?
According to the U.S. National Council on Measurement in Education, a certification test is a credentialing test used to determine whether an individual’s area of knowledge and experience is enough in a given occupational area to be labelled “competent to practice” in that area. This definition does not include the fact that most companies use formal proctoring for IT Certification. Which makes any test a reasonable complex project with the highest quality.
Are certifications still relevant?
In the IT industry, certifications are used for many purposes. Individuals earn them to progress in their careers and business partner resellers are required to have them for program benefits as well as to meet RFP requirements. We are also seeing an increase in consultants and sales engineers certifying to prove their knowledge around Cloud and other emerging technologies such as Quantum and Blockchain. However, a common question is – with as agile as technology has become, how can certifications stay up to date? So, are other credentials better suited for the rapid pace of change?
The Numbers around certification
When comparing 2020 to 2021, we saw a more than 50% increase in certifications. This means we even improved over 2020, when many people focused on learning during the quarantine of Covid. But what are the reasons?
People criticizing certification may speak of the reality, certifications cannot be developed fast enough to keep current with changing technology. But they forget that there are fundamental skills that do not change. For example, how to develop for the cloud or how to design a cloud architecture does not change every 6 months! As for product based certification, the underlying capabilities and structure of the product are not changing regularly perhaps only minor user interface changes or added functionality, but we always take that into consideration when developing a new exam.
The reality is that in today’s IT environment, everybody needs to learn constantly. Our belief is that there is a place for both certifications and badges. Certifications identify individuals who have mastered a broad area of technology. Badges help to identify individuals who are taking the initiative to expand their skillset. However, based on the current trends I predict that we will see a continuous trend for high-value credentials like certification.