Why extra certifications matter in today’s time – overview and trends
By Dr. Pratibha Jain,
( Scholar in Child Development, PhD in Child Development , Delhi University )
International Education Counselor
Life-long learning is increasingly becoming an essential component of a person’s work-life today
. With the dynamics of job profiles changing with new demands, there is a need for
continuous “re-learning and new learning” to remain competitive. In this scenario, certificate
programs are meeting the need by providing relevant learning in a short duration. Most
programs do not have stringent entry criteria or pre-requisite knowledge. The content is usually
developed and approved by industry experts. Flexible timings, skill based capsule approach,
easy access and abundant variety enables Certification courses to cater to a wide spectrum of
learners of all ages and backgrounds.
Multimedia tools, videos and simulated games give the certificate providers the freedom to
design their own content and delivery methods . The “blended” teaching often includes a
combination of onsite learning as well off-site virtual classrooms. Modern pedagogy tools allow
adaptations according to capability making the courses appealing for people with varying
abilities . Thus, certification courses provide ideal opportunities for self motivated people to
learn “any skill , any time at any place” .
There are three emerging models of the additional certifications designed for different target
audiences. The first most popular model has a vocational focus with practical training relevant to
a specific skill . The second model which is fast gaining importance is for the conventional
student who takes additional courses to supplement the degree as evidence of interest,
indicative of capability to go that extra mile and to differentiate the resume. The third
model which is emerging as a response to market need caters to the professional who needs
continuous upgrading of skills to keep in sync with changing work demands.
Certified courses have become a risk free way of exploring non-traditional or inter disciplinary
learning . Courses in music, art, crafts, multimedia design, interior design , film making,
dance, photography , animation, culinary arts, baking, chocolate –making etc. attract students
from all backgrounds, feeding their “urge to learn” . The vocational nature of many courses
develops practical competence in areas not offered by regular degree programs. These courses
designed and delivered by experienced professionals directly lead to employment. Training
courses in Beauty care, spa masseurs, health care , dietetics, horticulture, gardening, digital
marketing, event management, cake crafts, auto-mechanics, robotics, waste management and
many more offer options to suit every person .
The academic curricula in most Indian universities is slow to change according to new
demands . Private and government institutes cover the ‘skill gaps’ by offering Certificate
courses with specialized domain knowledge .The Information Technology sector has been the
first to start the trend with an abundance of certifications in computer languages , cyber
security, web design, ethical hacking , games design , android applications , data mining and
more.Other disciplines too have been quick to recognize the value of contemporary
certifications which reduce the training time and cost of new job entrants. So , a number of
courses are offered by the industry itself supplementing theory with ‘real world’ skills . The
range becomes wider by the day with courses in project management, inventory management,
quality control, six –sigma, supply-chain management, Cyber law , Intellectual Property Rights,
Media and Entertainment laws etc. Short courses that teach writing a project brief, analyzing
case studies ,managing dependencies in a complex environment and so forth are in abundance .
Online courses offered by international institutes are a cost effective route to gaining
international insights . Globally accredited certifications like CIMA, CFA, ACCA dominate the
roster , closely followed by courses like International Marketing Communication, Business
Analytics, SAP, ERP . Coursera , the online learning collaboration between top global
universities like MIT and Harvard, is now offering certificates of completion for a range of
Continuous learning is the current buzzword among aspirants aiming to rise to the top
echelons of their world. Certification courses at most Business schools and universities across
India and the world are being tailored to meeting specific objectives whether it's learning
to implement strategic change, building new competencies, improving operational performance
or enhancing leadership skills. Right from Harvard , Kellogg, UCLA, Wharton, IE in Spain,
INSEAD in France to ISB in Hyderabad and IIMs of India, all schools offer “modular
certificate programs” valued for their sharp, crisp and relevant learning .
Thus, achieving an industry-recognized certification offered by local and international bodies has
become valuable in every profession.
There is no doubt that in the competitive work scenario every additional skill counts. Hence,
Certificate courses will continue to gain in popularity as they enable people to acquire a variety
of different skills, knowledge, and proficiency on a continuous basis without
disturbing mainstream education and even regular work life. The greatest advantage is that the
focused , skill –based, blended delivery approach allows people to customize their learning,
choosing “what” they want to study, as well as “how and where”. These courses are a vital
tool that allow people of all ages to keep themselves on a track of continuous learning for work,
for pleasure or for self development .
An indicative list of Certificate courses
Certified Financial Planner gives a holistic view of all aspects of financial planning like Risk
Analysis & Insurance Planning, Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits, Investment
Planning, Tax planning and Estate planning.
Event Management essentially deals with planning and managing events like conferences,
meetings, conventions, marriages, etc. It includes skills in detailing logistics for events, minute
planning, negotiation for prices , client liaison and communication . National Institute of Event
Management facilitates work on actual events giving students the vital hands-on experience .
Nutrition and dietetics involves the understanding of the nutritive value of different
foods. Students develop diet plans to improve health and to control diseases. Certified people
may find work in hospitals, research centers, healthcare centers, sports centers or in consulting
Spa Therapy and Spa Management : The training qualifies learners to practice varied aspects
of spa-therapy largely related to the Ayurveda methods of healing mental and physical ailments
through pressure point massage .
Media and communication courses include Animation, Graphic design, Public Speaking,
Photography , Creative Writing, Journalism , Public Relations , Corporate Communications,
Digital Video Production, Digital marketing and Search engine optimization . Beneficial for
those looking for a career in advertising, PR, print, broadcast & web based journalism.
ERP and SAP certification equips students to develop and use software to manage the
Functional Areas and Business Processes of small and mid-size organizations. SAP is an ERP
system that handles almost all department of an organization like Finance , Controlling, Human
Resource, Sales, Distribution, Material management, Warehouse, Production, Security, Research
Hacking and Cyber Security Courses develop competence to use software for the protection
of sensitive data . Modules cover Ethical Hacking, Web Application Security, Network
Security, Penetration Testing and forensics . Hackers attempt to find loopholes in the security
systems of companies and individuals . Students learn to prevent others from attacking the same
account and obtaining sensitive information.