In the classic adventure film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, banditos accost prospector Fred C. Dobbs and his companions, Howard and Curtin. The bandit leader, Gold Hat, attempts a crude truck, telling Dobbs, “We are federales. You know: the mounted police.” To which Dobbs replies, “If you’re the police, where are your badges?”
Caught off guard, Gold Hat famously blusters, “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.
Badges offer a number of benefits, both to professionals who earn them, and the certification organizations that issue them. Badges can be more conveniently stored and shared by individuals who earn them, while badge issuers generally find it far easier to verify these digital credentials to employers and other interested parties.
It’s no wonder, then, that many in the IT certification realm are leaving behind the era of ink-and-paper credentials and going digital.
A Blueprint for Success in Badging
The process of changing over from traditional certifications to digital badges is perhaps straightforward in theory, but can be both intricate and arduous in practice. Those more apt to leap before they look are likely to land in a minefield where each next step could blow up into an unforeseen complication.
Thankfully, there’s no need for anyone to go blundering off into the digital wilderness without a map or a clear destination. The IT Certification Council has a number of participating members who are old hands in the brave new world of digital badging.
With the benefit of the ITCC’s Badge Program Checklist, you can start at the very beginning — a very good place to start — and carefully design and build exactly the program that suits both your badging needs and the individual character of your organization.
For example, the Badge Program Checklist can help you determine the business objectives of your program, always an essential step in pitching any new direction to the bean counters and purse-string holders who will be providing the funds required to make the change.
The Badge Program Checklist also helps you work through key specifics like launching your new program. In the classic baseball movie Field of Dreams, farmer Ray Kinsella throws away his harvest by constructing a ballpark in his cornfield after a spectral voice promises him, “If you build it, they will come.”
Badging ventures, in spite of their obvious benefits, don’t come with the same guarantee. When everything is ready, you’ll want to both make a splash and be prepared to show the ropes to eager professionals, guiding them through your new arrangements.
Essentially, if there’s something that you need to think about while putting everything in place, it’s covered in the Badge Program Checklist.
The last thing you want is for the IT professionals who devote their time, energy, and finances to your certifications to become frustrated and decide that they don’t need your stinking badges. Become a member of the ITCC, get the Badge Program Checklist, and everything will unfold just the way it should.
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