12 Achieving your future
We are all in a lifelong learning loop. As we iterate around the while loop of life, we continually develop new skills and knowledge. As you loop your own personal loop, you will also collect evidence of your personal and professional achievements. Some of these achievements can be certified or “badged” in various ways. This evidence can be collected as part of your professional identity and reputation, that’s the jar called
ME shown in figure 12.1.
Evidence is a key part of your “Context, Action, Result and Evidence” (
C.A.R.E.) story described in section 6.7.2. So what evidence can you collect and how you can certify or badge these credentials, sometimes known as micro-credentials? 📛 (Horton 2020)
12.1 What you will learn
After reading this chapter you will be able to:
- Describe some the evidence and micro-credentials you can collect and badge to show your achievements:
- during University
- after University and throughout your professional career
- Identify any gaps in your personal and professional achievements
- Plan activities and set goals for future achievements that will help you to continue grow professionally and personally
12.2 Academic badges
One kind of badge you get when you finish University is your degree certificate like the one shown in figure 12.2. A degree certificate is an important offline physical (paper) badge that marks a milestone in your career. If you like gaming, its a huge
achievement unlocked that will take you to the next level. Your certificate also tells people that you were a member of a particular University community and that you mastered your chosen discipline to some level, Bachelors, Masters or PhD.
Degree certificates are an important badge, but they don’t give very many details of your professional and personal story while at University. You could give more details by providing:
- your overall degree classification: first, second, third etc
- your individual module grades, for example in an academic transcript or by listing them on your CV, see section 6.6.2
- your projects, see section 6.6.4
- your portfolio of work, if you have one
This data give a bit more detail that a degree certificate does not but it is limited to purely academic achievements. You are much more than your grades, because there’s a lot about your character that is difficult or impossible to measure, see figure 12.3.
Employers will often want to see more detailed evidence of your character and your softer skills than those provided by degree certificates and grades. While academic achievements paint some broad brushstrokes of your professional identity shown in figure 12.4, they don’t help employers see the finer details or much of the evidence.
12.3 Digital badges
Digital badges provide a solution to this problem, just like your degree certificate is a verified badge of your achievements, a digital badge does the same but in a digital way. Rather than being physical, a digital badge is virtual and transferable. It’s just a
*.png graphic file which has been digitally signed and contains metadata. This means it can be displayed on your CV, on social media such as LinkedIn or “stacked” into a digital portfolio collection as shown in figure 12.5.
The Mozilla Foundation have defined an open standard for digital badges (Anon 2019b) so that badges can be issued, hosted and certified by different organisations. (Belshaw 2019)
A digital badge has certified data locked inside (shown in figure 12.6) which details the achievement it has been awarded for including:
issuerthe organisation awarding the badge, e.g. Poppleton University
badge namee.g. PASS leader badge (see figure 12.7)
badge imagee.g. a digital logo
evidence URLa link to evidence
All this information is coded so that only the recipient and issuer can manipulate it, for example by associating an email address with it.
Anyone such as your University or employer can issue badges, so for example, the University of Manchester issues badges for leaders of its Peer Assisted Study Scheme (PASS) www.peersupport.manchester.ac.uk. An example of a PASS leader badge is shown in figure 12.7.
Badges can be used for a wide range of different kinds of achievements shown in figure 12.8.
- Membership being a member of an organisation or group
- Participation participating in communities
- Capability demonstrating capability with some skill
- Mastery mastering a set of skills
12.4 Other digital badges
There are other digital badges for evidencing your achievements besides the open ones described in this chapter. Like open badges, they also provide certifiable evidence of professional and personal achievements, see figure 12.9:
- Amazon Web Services badges credly.com/organizations/amazon-web-services/badges
- Certificates from Microsoft and Google, see section 11.4.1
- Certificates from edx.org cs50.harvard.edu/x/2020/certificate
- Certificates from coursera.org coursera.org/professional-certificates
- Certificates from redhat redhat.com/en/services/certifications etc
We have focussed on technical achievements here, but there are non-technical achievements too.
Let’s pause here. Insert a breakpoint in your
code and slowly step through it so we can examine the current values of your variables and parameters.
* PAUSE ⏸️
- Besides the badges and certifications already discussed, what others exist?
- For the skills and knowledge you already have, what evidence do you have for it?
- Where are the gaps in own skills or knowledge?
- What evidence can you collect that you are developing these skills and knowledge?
- What parts of this evidence are you able to badge and certify?
* RESUME ▶️
12.6 Summarising your achievements
Too long, didn’t read (TL;DR)? Here’s a summary:
Open digital badges let you take your achievements from the many places you learn, and combine them into a portable portfolio that tells a digital story about your learning. The data inside a badge is shown in figure 12.10 and gives an employer a more detailed and evidenced view of your professional development than traditional physical badges like degree certificates.