Red Hat rebranding effort aims to eliminate certification confusion

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Red Hat is changing the names of its "certificates of expertise."Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions to the enterprise community, is taking the bold step of rebranding several certifications. The goal, according to Randy Russell, Director of Certification, is to “communicate more clearly to others what Red Hat certifications represent as well as convey the training and skills of certificate holders.”

Effective December 1, all Red Hat Certificates of Expertise will be rebranded as Red Hat Certified Specialist. For example, the Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Deployment and Systems Management will become Red Hat Certified Specialist in Deployment and Systems Management. Other titles will use this same convention.

“For several years Red Hat has been working towards simplifying the structure of our certification program,” said Russell. “There was some concern that, with the number of acquisitions over the years, we had developed a too complicated picture of our certifications, and wanted it to be more straightforward.”

Rebranding a successful brand isn’t done on a whim — Red Hat leadership had been pondering such a move for some time. The decision was made only after internal discussions with stakeholders and informal external dialogues with various industry professionals, including one with CertMag’s very own Todd Kerby. Kerby shared a recent CertMag survey that showed people associated certificates with something easier to achieve than a full-blown certification.

The perception across the industry was that certifications and certificates are different in the sense that a certification is more difficult to earn and retain. A question in CertMag’s latest Salary Survey asked respondents to choose between a handful of options describing the difference between a certification and a certificate. 83 percent of respondents chose, “One is a professional credential that requires testing and is subject to renewal, while the other is a course completion acknowledgement.”

“This was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Russell. “It confirmed to me that we needed to be a lot more clear about what we are offering.”

One result of the rebranding anticipated by Red Hat is that it will generate more interest in their credentials from people who are thinking about improving their careers. “We expect that they will look at some of the credentials previously called certificates of expertise through a different lens,” said Russell.

The changes will also make it easier for consumers of certifications (recruiters, hiring managers and team leads) to comprehend the structure of the program with a clearer understanding of what a Red Hat certified professional is presenting in terms of their skills and training.

Other changes 

Red Hat will also change the titles of Red Hat Certified JBoss Administrator (RHCJA) and Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator (RHCVA) to Red Hat Certified Specialist in Enterprise Application Server Administration and Red Hat Certified Specialist in Virtualization, respectively.

They will also be making a few tweaks to titles to provide greater clarity. For example, the Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Hybrid Cloud Storage will become Red Hat Certified Specialist in Gluster Storage Administration. They also plan to provide greater specificity by converting the Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Performance Tuning into Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Performance Tuning and more clarity by renaming the Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Platform-as-a-Service as Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Administration.

According to Russell, existing Red Hat Certified Professionals need not worry about the changes. “The Red Hat stamp of approval is as recognized as ever. The change is a just way to communicate even more clearly to the industry that your certification means you are a highly skilled Red Hat professional.”

Anyone holding a current Red Hat certification will not need a new electronic certificate showing the new title. But if you would like one, simply log in at redhat.com, then go to Certifications to get to your certification profile. If you previously mapped your certification ID to your redhat.com username, then you should see a download link in your profile next to each current certification. These links will provide you with certificates bearing the new titles. This capability is available for all your certifications, not just the ones with changed titles.

If you have questions or concerns about certifications earned or exams taken, then you should contact the certification team.

Red Hat will also be expanding their electronic badging program. While the program doesn’t currently cover the certificates being renamed, Red Hat will be providing badges for all their credentials early next year.

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Calvin Harper

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Calvin Harper is an associate editor of Certification Magazine.

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