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Today’s must-read story on the job market is from Fast Company, which takes a look at corporations leaping into the field of digital credentials or “badges.” There’s a lot to be said for this idea, which attacks two problems. One is that employers need a more precise way of determining whether potential hires have the skills they need. In many cases, employers seem to be using rough measures, like a bachelor’s degree, as a proxy when they really need a precise indicator for what a candidate can do.

The second is that these credentials can be earned in short training sessions, which is both quicker and cheaper than a traditional degree.

But there’s one point worth considering, which our CEO Matt Sigelman made in the Fast Company story: there may be far more certifications out there than the job market either needs or wants. The Burning Glass database tracks thousands of certifications, but only a handful are commonly requested.

That issue of diluted value extends to certifications more broadly, says Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass, which uses data analytics to better match people and jobs. “There are only a couple hundred that get mentioned in job postings,” he says. “Are we just creating a different kind of noise?”

That’s something to think about for both companies entering the field, and for workers considering whether to invest the money: does the certificate you’re seeking provide real value?

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