Predictions on Credentialing: The Five Biggest Certification Trends of 2017!

Oct 20, 2016

2017 is going to be the year of career leaps – so pull up your socks today! Almost every single survey and research carried out in 2015 and 2016 point out to the one important career development aspect that outshines all others – Professional Credentials, Capability Validation, Certification, call them what you will; they are what will set you apart from the herd, no matter what your profession.

Here’s a quick look at the biggest trends in credentials for 2017:

In a research by one of the world’s leading IT security training companies, a rising trend reported is of employers sponsoring third-party skills-validation and credentialing of their internal talent pools. According to this extensive research conducted on over 4000 respondents, 80% said their employers had either completely sponsored (65% of employers) or at least partially sponsored (15% of employers) their employees’ certification programs. These also include financial aid for training and higher-education programs in their respective disciplines. Such trends motivate talents and professionals to constantly upgrade their professional capabilities through acquiring latest and specialized certifications in their areas. For professionals today, getting credentialed by a global certification body is the surest way to benchmark their professional proficiencies skills and knowledge with an established global standard in their respective professions. Ranking at #1, we foresee this as the dominant trend for 2017 in certifications.

The top 3 popular areas of professional certifications are expected to see a further spurt in numbers, spurred on by industry demand. These are:

Project Management – With an annual demand of 1.2 million professionals and growing, the PMP certification rests comfortably at the top of the list in 2017. While project managers are required in almost every industry, the highest demand for these lie in Information Technology itself, with a ComputerWorld survey showing 40% of IT executives plan to hire a project management professional in 2017. Given the number of IT companies in the world, it’s anybody’s take what a staggering number that can be.

Information Technology – Information Technology itself, across computer software, hardware and telecommunications, account for the highest number of specialized certifications in any industry. This trend also looks all set to boom in 2017. New technologies and integration functions will require specialized knowledge and efficiencies beyond the average computer graduate’s scope – and will, hence, require professional credentials for certain jobs. The fact that 94% of HR managers expect to hire professionally certified talent in 2017 as opposed to 84% over 2015-2016, amply demonstrates the growing importance of specialized certifications in the IT space.

Big Data – The all-pervasive technology discipline of the 2010s. Just consider the projected investment in big data analytics by the largest technology employers in the world, $20 billion for 2017 alone, and you will see why this discipline makes it to our list of the top three professional certifications for the coming year. In fact, technology behemoths like Microsoft, Software AG, SAP, IBM, Oracle, EMC and Dell have placed Big Data and Data Science hiring in their highest priority in the coming year. Needless to say, this will only set the ground for more technology professionals choosing to get certified in Big Data.

Another important development in the area of professional credentialing forecast for 2017 is government legislation in some fast-developing economies that will make skill validation mandatory. Case in point being India, which is one of the early movers in this process, projected to implement a National Skill Qualification Framework by 2020. This will make it mandatory for every applicant to obtain a certification to apply for Public Sector Units (PSU) or Government Jobs. This increased focus and sectoral development is likely to impact professionals globally, as more and more countries adopt these frameworks to prove their talent pool is better than the rest. The sheer scale of this impact ranks this at #3 in our list of the top 5 trends in certifications in 2017.

Google was the first mover in this space, offering certifications to both web analytics and PPC advertising professionals through its Google Analytics and AdWords credentials platforms. LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, offers its proprietary certifications for recruiters in its platform.

This trend will be playing out at a whole new level altogether, with the Global Digital Marketing Institute (GDMI) introducing a one-of-its-kind professional credentials for marketers on its platform. Digital is one of the highest budget spend areas for marketers today, and it will be interesting to see how popular this becomes in the New Year. GDMI, with an expected impact on 20,000 professionals by 2020, makes it to #4 on our list of top trends in certifications in 2017.

Certifications have always added value where they mattered the most: in the interview. Hiring managers have appreciated applicants who had taken the time and effort to get their skills validated. 2017 will see a higher degree of iteration of this fact from Human Resources departments in companies. In fact, studies show that 94% of HR personnel will make some form of professional certification mandatory for new talent in specialized areas such as digital marketing, software development and analytics. The impact generated from such a move will be massive, and is the fifth ranker in our Top Trends for 2017.

Skill Validation today is not just a value addition, it’s a necessity. Employers and governments are laying an increased emphasis on professional credentials, if the facts and figures are anything to go by. Should you be ignoring it?

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