ITCC Advocates for Wider Adoption of Digital Badges
In the classic adventure film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, banditos pin down Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt and Walter Huston by pretending to be federales. When Bogart asks to see their badges, the angry bandit leader famously exclaims, "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges!"
Just as badges are an essential signifier of trust and authority in society at large, they have an emerging and important role in the IT certification realm. IT certification badges, more commonly called digital badges, are image files containing various metadata that IT professionals can display on websites, digital documents and social media sites.
One important element of digital badging is verification of certifications. Anyone can claim a given IT credential without actually having earned it. Some certification providers offer online or phone verification of credentials, but even that process, when available, is not always fast or convenient. An authorized digital badge, on the other hand, enables verification in seconds.
Verification can be important for a variety of reasons. It's vital for IT employers who want to confirm the professional qualifications claimed by a potential employee. It can also be important for clients who want to be assured that various contractors have the qualifications needed to complete a particular job.
For these and other reasons, the IT Certification Council (ITCC) is a strong advocate of more widespread use of badging among certification providers. The ITCC lays out its reasons in a new white paper. The ITCC is an industry association that includes such certification heavyweights as IBM, Microsoft and HP, as well as GoCertify.
The new badging white paper from the ITCC lays out its case in seven sections, beginning with an introduction that details the history, methods and benefits of IT certification badging. For example, digital badges can be created and delivered much faster and more cost-effectively than the ink-and-paper credentials that have been the standard for years.
There are a number of existing platforms for digital badges, as detailed in the second section of the ITCC's white paper. Among these, Mozilla Open Source tools are available to any organization free of charge. Cost savings and other immediate and ongoing benefits of digital badging are addressed in the third section of the ITCC paper.
The fourth section of the ITCC paper considers how certifications and badges are both similar and unique. The real meat of the paper, however, comes in the fifth and sixth sections, which deal with the potential risks of badging, as well as the mechanisms for ensuring the security of badging.
Digital badging has enormous potential to make IT certification more transparent, more secure, and easier to manage and track for both individuals and organizations. Anyone with an interest in certification would be well served to consider the ITCC badging document. Unlike faux federals, certified professionals do need badges.