Professional Certifications – The Rising Tide

Nov 29, 2018

Professional Certifications as credible vetting mechanisms have been around as long as specialized professions themselves. Here’s a look at factors that will shape the future of this rapidly growing industry over the next few years.

Professional certifications, or 3rd party credibility mechanisms for professionals based on their education, experience and vocation, have been around since the early 1400s when it was largely based on acceptance in a fraternity of recognized professionals. That world is barely recognizable from today’s digitally transformed, social business era.

Professional certifications have firmly stood their ground against the onslaught of constantly evolving career trends, globalization, digital transformation and societal dynamics. With the inevitability that comes with a fast moving, dynamic industry on the brink of several innovative disruptions, we are prone to ask ourselves – what now?

The Eddies

Micro Credentialing – The newest kid on the block is increasingly becoming the most popular among higher education institutions. Micro credentialing of specialized skills is largely based on employment trends that complement college and university degrees. This includes boot camps, nanodegrees and premier online industry authority credentials. What was once a valuable addition on the fringes of tech-savvy post university education, is now a mainstream necessity, considered by employers as necessary in careers pertaining to domains like talent management, data science and blockchain.

Vendor Neutrality – With the overall democratization of technology that the internet has brought about, vendor specific certifications, which were aimed at popularizing a particular technology and company in the first place, are now passé. Vendor neutrality primarily refers to a holistic approach to skill upgrades in technical and functional roles of a domain, covering all major technologies, systems and practices that are superlative and considered next-gen by industry. Hence, the drivers are mostly non academia prospective employers and industry leaders. Vendor Neutrality runs deeper than orientation and overall expertise development and validation, though. Disruptive design thinking and rapid proficiency gains also make the incumbents future ready trend leaders, ahead of their peers.

The shakeup of the orthodox and rigid academia, combined with the technology disruptions that have come close on the heels of the online social revolution, have shifted the entire paradigm of advanced professional credentials.

The technology sector has been inaccessible as large companies manage specific technological functions. Recently we’ve seen a development of open source and community driven technologies that have been successful in challenging the status quo.

While micro-credentialing and vendor neutrality are the biggest trends where even the graduate degree is ‘losing its shine’, according to some, there are several other micro-trends like the growing preference of digital credential badges by certain employers and niche skill based certifications.

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