So I just wanted to share that after reviewing inbound marketing (and specifically how HubSpot’s inbound methodology informs how you should use their software), I recently became HubSpot Certified. As more and more industries realize the effectiveness of inbound marketing, non-academic credentials like software-specific certifications are growing in number and (sometimes,) in value. HubSpot’s exam and practicum approach to certifications makes it more substantial in my mind, at least. I’m not a guru or rockstar at anything (and feel nauseous when anyone refers to me as one). The FAQ section makes it clear what its certificates are not:
“Does being “Certified” or holding a badge mean someone knows how to do great marketing, be an awesome agency, create great web design, etc.?”
That’s pretty clear. It’s important to know what these certificates mean and don’t mean.
“When a person becomes HubSpot certified, they’ve passed the test which demonstrates inbound knowledge, along with a practicum which demonstrates their ability to use the HubSpot software to do inbound marketing to see results.” That’s pretty clear. That knowledge and demonstrated ability are necessary but not sufficient prerequisites to a higher level of performance. Does that mean companies should only hire people already certified in a tool for a position that requires it? No. But everything else equal, it could break a tie.
One reason I think this certification has some merit is that having another human review and ensure you know how to use the tool sets it apart from other test-only certifications. Here’s a list of the practicum requirements. As you can see, passing the test doesn’t make you amazing, it just means you know how the software works because you’ve used it before.
As there have been arguments about the value of measures of ability in new tools (think Klout). As more companies are in need of people with experience with these new tools and the evidence of one’s experience with a tool often being considered proprietary information by another company, independent third parties play an important role in ensuring a baseline knowledge with a tool.
Just as having a driver’s license doesn’t make someone a good driver, passing a test doesn’t ensure you have in-depth knowledge of or extensive experience with a tool. Whether valid or not, software certifications offered by companies are more and more being prefered by those hiring people to use online tools.
As Mark Schaefer, consultant and professor of Marketing at Rutgers, mentioned, being immersed in the social web leads naturally to a higher Klout score. I think as time passeses and more certifications require experience while nothing will replace the proven performance of say, Google Partners, the value of the certificates will increase.