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Certified Final Cut Pro Professional... Why?

Fourteen units into my MFA in Film and Digital Technology, I passed the Apple certification exam for Final Cut Pro X 10.2 (Post-Production). As a believer in digital composition and new media, having the skills to edit audio and video — and the ability to teach those skills — was important to me.

But, as a colleague noted, credentialism is fading quickly in the technology industry. Finally, people have realized passing an exam is not indicative of having essential job skills. When I was in college, Novell NetWare certification was the golden ticket to many jobs. Networking was a mix of hardware and software, with little standardization. Testing assured a minimal level of knowledge.

Today we have the return of the Builder/Maker culture that started the PC revolution. People learn to build Raspberry Pi contraptions, with Arduino controllers and Java or C code. Networks are easy, relatively speaking, compared to building a home robot.

The reason to take any exam today is to prove you have those minimum skills that hundreds of thousands without the certification also possess. It is a resume thing, especially in education. That's about all a certification is today, especially when compared to the NetWare days.

Apple has slowly ended many (most) of its exams. Few people in tech have renewed their Microsoft certifications. Does anyone obtain a Linux/Unix certification anymore? Credentialing has faded, quickly.

When will the same occur in education? When will we start to question the value of a degree that emphasizes vocational skills that can be learned and mastered outside the classroom? If credentialing starts to fade away in more fields, schools will need to prove their added value.

I have certifications, which are more important to schools where I might teach than they are to any technical employer. What does that reveal about the nature of credentials? (I've long doubted the value of teaching credentials compared to mentoring and team-teaching experience.)

I'm glad to have the Final Cut Pro credential, though I realize it is not that important compared to what I can demonstrate in a portfolio.


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