Hire Certified Professionals

By Mark Roberti

The RFID Professional Institute is helping companies be sure that the employees they hire for RFID projects have the knowledge they claim to have.

During the past 16 years of covering radio frequency identification, I have heard about several deployments that have gone awry. This usually happens because a company with little or no knowledge of RFID hires a systems integrator that has worked with bar codes for years and claims to know how to deploy an RFID system, but actually does not.

RFID and bar codes are very different, and when a deployment inevitably fails to deliver under such conditions, it gives the technology a bad name. One way to avoid this is to hire RFID Professional Institute-certified candidates or use systems integrators that have certified technicians on their staff.

What is the RFID Professional Institute? It's a nonprofit organization launched five years by a group of industry professionals who wanted to replace CompTIA's RFID+ certification, which was pulled from the market in 2011. (I am one of the Institute's founding directors and served as chairman for two years.)

The Institute has created an RFID Associate certificate, designed to ensure that a holder has a fundamental knowledge of RFID—that is, he or she understands the different frequencies, protocols and standards involved, as well as how RF behaves at different frequencies and how the different types of RFID are applied. Those becoming certified are asked about the basic regulations governing RFID systems, along with other knowledge that is essential for anyone working on an RFID project to have.

RFID4U recently ran a one-day certification training course in London, in conjunction with our RFID Journal LIVE! Europe conference and exhibition. Eleven people took the exam. Seven passed and three passed with distinction. RFID4U also offered training this week in conjunction with our RFID in Aerospace and Defense event, while another group of end users and RFID solution providers were certified.

It's important to note that the failure rate for the Institute exam is higher than that of the CompTIA exam, which about 96 percent of takers passed. The exam is difficult by design, since we wanted to show that those who hold the certificate know their stuff.

The Institute is presently working on a professional-level exam that will determine whether someone has the knowledge required to analyze the business case for a deployment, determine the right type of RFID system to use, and then deploy and troubleshoot the solution. This should give end-user companies confidence that when they hire an RFID Institute Certified Professional, they are hiring someone who can manage an RFID deployment—and that when they hire a systems integrator with Certified Professionals on staff, they can be sure that company has the knowledge necessary to deploy a successful solution.

Those of us who have donated many hours throughout the past five years to develop these exams believe that the Institute's work is critical to fostering professionalism in the RFID industry, and to ensuring that companies do not invest in projects that cannot succeed. The next training course will be held at RFID Journal LIVE! 2018, on Apr. 10, and the exam will be delivered on Apr. 11 and 12. I encourage you to sign up and become certified, or to focus on hiring candidates who are certified.

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 or the Editor's Note archive.