What Are Credentials Anyways?

Yesterday I was in a graduation ceremony. With my last name starting with a 'W' I was at the end of the line. As I watched others go before me, the speaker called their name and stated what their future plans were. There were 100 of us. 96 of them are going to college. 3 of them are joining the military. And I am starting Praxis, a 6-month education boot camp + 6-month entrepreneurial apprenticeship career launching platform. What I am doing is innovative while the others who are going to college, for the most part, are going to college to try and find themselves. They have automatically assumed that they must go to college, and therefore they didn't even explore other college alternatives. So why were my classmates thinking this way? They all believe they must receive a third-party credential to succeed. But what is a credential anyways?

A credential is a "formal" signal that is accredited to an individual after they have completed a set amount of tasks. It is a piece of paper that is supposedly going to show future employers that they have what it takes to succeed at their job. However, a credential is nothing more than a testimony. Now, testimonies might be good, but only under certain conditions. A testimony from an institution that you paid to go to, isn't very valid. On the flipside, a testimony from a client who you created value for does mean something. Your client isn't controlled by the government under that transaction. Your client doesn't necessarily have to choose you just because you got a good grade. Your client doesn't have to write a testimony if they choose not to. Your client doesn't have to deliver a testimony if you just go by with mediocre performance. A testimony from a customer is raw, it is truthful, and therefore speaks so much more highly than a third-party institution does.

So what does this all mean?

Well, it means that instead of chasing after a diploma or a credential or a testimony from a college or government controlled third-party institution, you should instead go out and work. Go out and create value for others. Go out and get real-world feedback of your work. At that point, you become your own credential because you develop a reputation as more and more customer testimonies pile up. If you do good work and truly create real value, you'll never have trouble landing a job.

So get out there, and be your own credential.