In 2011, Marc Andreessen penned his famous “Why Software Is Eating the World” essay in The Wall Street Journal. Since then, it has become one of the most iconic phrases because software really did eat the world over the last ten years. According to Gartner projections, companies worldwide are on track to spend $671,732 billion on enterprise software this year.
Almost every company is now software-intensive, but we are still witnessing a dramatic increase in the pace of software adoption as new industries emerge, creating a significant skill gap and talent shortage among skilled workforces.
For Cloud technologies or artificial intelligence (AI) to be used effectively across organizations – from retail to banking to healthcare – there is a need for a large pool of certified technology professionals proficient in these technologies. These professionals will be involved in the implementation, maintenance, and monitoring of a plethora of software tools like enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), DevOps, and CyberSecurity.
Certification guarantees that these professionals have sufficient know-how to deploy different software and applications for operations, independent of whether they are employed by technology tool providers (like Snowflake, Stripe, or Splunk), system integrators (such as Accenture and Cognizant), banks or retailers using these tools, or are independent consultants.
With the increased need for professionals, organizations are relying on talent across the globe too, beyond traditional markets close to customers.
So, here’s how new tech strategies in credentialing will narrow the technical talent gap.
Credentialing Meets Applicants Where They Are
The world itself is getting more remote and digitized, with candidates applying for jobs and employees being based in different physical locations or time zones. Therefore, companies need technology professionals who have the right credentials to be verified overseas safely and securely.
Before, companies based in the US, for example, were only looking at technology professionals in key markets where their customers were, say Europe, Australia, or New Zealand. Now, as there’s such a demand for tech skills, companies are employing people who are not in the customer location, like in India, Africa, or Eastern Europe. These new employees need to be certified when they come through the learning process so companies can feel comfortable with them working with their customers straight away.
Luckily, the traditional world of credentialing and learning processes has changed; it used to depend on classrooms and assessment centers, but now most organizations have set up online universities to help professionals learn on the go. Leading technology companies are also partnering with remote proctoring solutions and credentialing platforms to remotely deliver certification exams.
Now, a candidate can log in on learning management systems (LMS), go through the authentication process, select an exam, pick a schedule, launch an exam, be monitored in-depth, receive exam results, and have their profile automatically updated.
However, many proctoring solutions still only work on Mac or Windows PC or laptops, instead of supporting Linux, Chromebook, iPads, and Phones. Expanding compatibility would make credentialing exams more accessible to those technology professionals who prefer Linux or college students with access to iPads. Proctoring software should also be designed to make it easier for people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive abilities to take exams, assessments, and certification on any device and at low bandwidth.
Some proctoring solutions require candidates to download or install applications too, which can lead to technical difficulties – education services and businesses alike should be looking for proctoring solutions that work on any modern-day browser. Education services of many leading companies who want to digitize their certification exams should be able to offer 24/7 phone, chat, and email support to professionals paying for an exam. All these aspects will further democratize the testing process, allowing tech companies to attract the best-matched candidates.
Increased Safety Around Credentialing To Guarantee No Malpractice
Companies employing professionals with certifications, or those companies who want to start their own credentialing programs, must ensure that the conducted exams, assessments, tests, and certifications are valid and trusted.
With any certification exam, preventing cheating is a top priority. Therefore, creating a secure test environment is vital, especially as studies show that dishonesty in online exams and cheating behavior is more likely to occur in an unproctored setting.
The lack of proctoring almost gives candidates the all-clear to use whatever resources they have available. Companies should not make the mistake of believing a signed statement or verbal acceptance of integrity is enough to stop dishonesty in online certification.
Proctoring solutions maintain the utmost data integrity by complying with global industry practices and adhering to a rigorous process for vetting and training all live proctors. There are also often multiple layers of authentication and fraud detection to protect the integrity of exams and test-takers.
Watermark or lockdown exam browsers can protect content IP, prevent unauthorized access to test browsers, and reduce unauthorized activities, such as screen recording, app switching, website browsing, and cut and paste.
Organizations Launching Their Own Credentialing Programs
When somebody displays a badge or a certificate that says that they are a certified technology professional, the idea is that any organization could trust that the exam was done in a fair manner.
Traditionally, the “Ciscos” of the world would have offline classroom training under the university programs where system integrators like Accenture or IBM, and companies’ employees would go and learn about a particular technology. Then, they’d deploy the solution across their company or for various customers, whether it was a database tool or customer relationship management (CRM).
Now, there are more cost-effective and quicker ways to verify online assessments through digitized certification exams with trusted proctoring platforms. More and more technology companies have their own certification programs, which are enabled by third-party proctoring tools. For example, take Salesforce’s Trailhead learning platform that claimed to propel “the growth of nearly 2 million new jobs by 2020.” The platform encourages people to “reinvent” their resumes with skill-based credentials, creating a trailblazer community and helping to fill in the tech talent gaps.
Smaller organizations are also rethinking their approach to employee training and development programs. Upskilling employees and candidates through internal micro-credentials offers benefits for employers and employees alike. There is an opportunity to better credential units of learning, open up individual learning pathways, and reduce friction in talent transactions.
To have digital credentials that are predictive of performance and persistence and ensure learner and exam integrity, companies need a recognized program and tools – that’s where talent measurement platforms and AI-powered proctoring solutions step in. They can help organizations identify the critical skills to upskill and reskill their workforce.
Overall, trusted credentialing and assessing the background and legitimacy of tech professionals is essential to ease the significant skill gap in our digital world. Credentialing platforms can meet applicants where they are, democratize previous credentialing processes, and allow companies to fully trust candidates applying for jobs.