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Why the RFID Industry Needs a Certification Program

A robust program that could replace CompTIA's RFID+ courses is important, because it would help the industry to develop the human resources necessary to deploy RFID systems on a grand scale.
By Mark Roberti
Apr 23, 2012Approximately five years ago, IT industry certification body CompTIA gathered a group of subject-matter experts to create a certification program for the radio frequency identification industry. RFID Journal supported that effort, resulting in CompTIA's RFID+ certification test (see RFID Journal Launches Online Training for CompTIA RFID+ Certification).

Unfortunately, CompTIA decided to retire the program in December 2011, due to low numbers of people signing up for certification. This left the industry without a credible method for ascertaining whether those hired possess basic knowledge of RFID systems. So I called a meeting of some of the leading training companies, solutions providers and end users following RFID Journal LIVE! 2012—our 10th annual conference and exhibition, held earlier this month in Orlando, Fla.—to determine if the industry could come together to create a new program.

I'm pleased to report that we received a strong response. Three of the leading training organizations—Academia RFID, OTA Training and RFID4U—attended the meeting, as did representatives from several solutions providers and a few consultants involved with training. We have since begun working to create an independent, nonprofit association to support a new industry-wide certification program, as well as testing requirements.

Our goal is to create a foundational certification test that would replace CompTIA's RFID+ program. Unlike the CompTIA testing, however, this program will include an option enabling a person to renew certification, in order to show that he or she is up to date regarding changes in RFID technologies and products. In addition, the plan is to build on top of the existing foundational layer, so that there would be other, more advanced certification tests. What exactly those would entail has yet to be determined, but there might be certifications for proficiency in using specific hardware products, active RFID systems, software and so forth.

I consider a robust certification program to be essential. At present, there are a limited number of skilled RFID professionals. I have been in the industry for 10 years, and have seen the same individuals move from one company to another; that's because there are not a lot of RFID experts for vendors to hire. We need to create more experts, and training is the key to accomplishing that goal. Certifying those who have been trained allows potential employers to know that a candidate has met a certain threshold of knowledge and skill.

CompTIA thought that early RFID mandates would drive the demand for skilled RFID professionals. That didn't occur—but now the industry is finally seeing large-scale deployments in retail, manufacturing and other areas. If we fail to develop the human resources necessary to support more large-scale deployments, RFID adoption will suffer. I will keep you up to date about these efforts, as they are vital to everyone who sells, uses or plans to deploy RFID technology.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.
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Alvaro Ruiz 2012-04-23 07:12:46 AM
RFID BlueStar and RFID4U has team up to increase RFID Educat Thanks Mark for this information, I do agreed on this topic RFID BlueStar a major RFID, AIDC, POS Distributor is helping educating and support to the growing at a fast pace channel of Value Added Resellers VARs; I do believe we need more professional and companies to invest on those trainings, we have seen vendors like Alien, Motorola, Impinj enforcing their education programs and trainings, also increasing restrictions and making support for those companies really commited and compromised to the technology. RFID is not suitable to everybody, however everybody wants to do it, if your company is not ready to invest on training, hardware and tags kit, create labs internally and create RFID solution proof of concept we won't see the right succes and we will be damaging the name of e technology at the end. RFID BlueStar and RFID 4U has team up to sponsor a free education portal for its VARs to star educating themselves as their first approach go review www.teamrfid.com/bluestar If you are willing to learn more about the right support needed on the channel please do not hesitate to contact RFID BlueStar at aruiz@bluestarinc.com http://la.bluestarinc.com/rfid_es Twitter RFID_BlueStar
Richard Carpenter 2012-04-27 05:59:57 AM
Certification + Robert; I hope you do not forget those of us who graduated from the CompTIA program. I follow your articles and try to stay abreast of all the developements. I would hope that whatever you decide as a replacement that you would offer it as a self study version also .
Minglu zhan 2013-05-22 04:15:10 AM
Agree with your opinion, we also need the RFID course and certification Systemsin our area. Could you contact me by my email zml@sist.gov.cn?I need your support to make a solution for using the certification sysstem in China. Thank you very much
bill sam 2017-02-09 02:33:53 AM
The plan is to build on the current foundation layer, so that there would be other more advanced certification tests. What exactly are those that are still involved to be identified, but there may be degrees of skill in the use of specific hardware products and active RFID systems, software and so on.

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