The lack of certainty about how much work actually goes into a skills badge appears to be the biggest source of skepticism by IT hiring managers. "If an applicant shows me a badge, how do I know he didn't cheat the test?" asks Dupray's Tremblay.
The right way to use badges
Despite the cautious reception hiring managers are giving skills badges, the experience of O'Farrill and others indicates that they can be a worthwhile investment for IT workers.
Think of them as a complement to a good résumé, a basket of certifications, and real-world job experience, says CompTIA's Stanger. Badges are great for continuing your education, he adds.
Even managers who are somewhat skeptical of the skills badge say they are worth showing to a recruiter. "They are a selling point," says Raxter.
Here are five key tips to help you get the most out of your skills badges, courtesy of Pierre Tremblay:
- Do not list badges that are easy to obtain. Anything that takes less than 30 to 40 hours to complete is unworthy of being on your résumé.
- Highlight courses that are particularly relevant to the position you are applying for; others can round out your application where applicable, but don't pad your résumé with irrelevant badges that could distract from suitable accomplishments.
- Pair your accomplished badges as a supporting component with real working experience or education.
- Do not overemphasize the importance of a badge. Yes, you've learned something valuable -- but so can anybody else. Real-world work experience and education still have precedent.
- Know your knowledge will be tested. If you can't demonstrate what you've learned, hiring managers will assume you skimmed through the course to get a certificate for show.
Dozens of IT skills badges are already available for you to earn. To get a sense of some of the possibilities, check outwhat IBM and Pearson VUE, a global learning company, have partnered to offer. You'll find a range of options, including badges based on Hadoop, cloud development, big data storage and retrieval, Watson analytics, and IoT, among others.
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