Certification body Comptia has suggested that a single qualifications database across all IT certifications is the answer to reducing abuses of the existing system.
The company has set up Career ID, which offers a single reference number for candidates who take IT exams, and a one-stop shop for prospective employers to verify the skills being touted by job seekers.
Steve Gilroy, sales director at Comptia International, told vnunet.com: "We've ended up with a situation where there's a different database held by each vendor.
"If a candidate wants to prove that they have a particular certification, the system is open to abuse. And as an employee it can be very difficult, time consuming and, in some cases, impossible to get duplicate certificates.
"In Asia, we know that there is significant abuse. It's not well documented in the industry, but vendors agree that it is an issue.
"Validation is one issue but there is also the sheer logistical nightmare of all vendors holding databases. We want to take cost out of the industry and make it easier to do business."
Career ID would also offer the potential to host candidates' CVs as well as up-to-date records of their training and certification history.
Job seekers could give potential employers their ID number allowing them to access a trusted record of their qualifications.
Some 700,000 Comptia students have already been allocated Career ID numbers. But Novell is to date the only industry heavyweight to have signed up to the career passport.
Industry analysts agree that industry-wide support, including commitment from IT certification heavyweights Cisco and Microsoft, will be key to the concept taking off.
"Long term we would link that to support and information about further training from vendors," said Gilroy.
"It raises the bar for professionalism in the industry. Both Microsoft and Cisco are looking at the issue but handing out control of their data is a significant thing. There are all sorts of security issues."
Comptia will take responsibility for developing the use of Career ID within the IT industry, although the database is being managed by Integral7, a company that provides information management services to the training, testing, licensing and certification industries.
Terry Watts, chief operating officer at skills body e-skills UK, welcomed the concept but warned that it would only go part way to tackling certification issues.
"It's definitely a step in the right direction, but the problem is that it will only be for vendor qualifications. The public qualifications won't be recognised and, in that respect, it's only part of the solution."
John Eary, head of the NCC Skills Source consultancy, added that pulling qualifications together in some overall framework that links qualifications to job requirements would be of more value to employers.
"The concept of an all-round IT professional should be promoted, but I'm not sure you'll get there from a scrapbook collection of vendor qualifications."
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