While I agree that the martial arts terminology is unfortunate and even a bit silly, I also believe that professional recognition serves an important purpose. If the certification is rigorous (a big if, I admit,) then it signals mastery of a well-defined body of knowledge to prospective employers. The employers can then validate the certification with interview questions, their own proctored tests, project completion requirements within their own organization, etc.. But without the initial certification credential it’s difficult for the professional to describe their level of proficiency, and equally difficult for employers to assess the job candidate.

I’ve just finished reviewing a draft ISO standard on Six Sigma which, I believe, does a good job of defining the body of knowledge and curricula for Green Belt and Black Belt training. This is an important first step, and long overdue. Of course, the questions of training, testing, project completion and certification remain to be answered. I don’t think any third-party organization will ever be able to remove the responsibility of the student and the employer for carefully researching various training and certification providers and making an informed choice on their own.

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