In the nearly twenty-three years since the administration of the first Certificate in Data Processing (CDP) examination in June of 1962, the role of professional certification in the information systems disciplines has expanded dramatically. For a number of reasons, however, it has not yet realized its full potential (although signs of increasing acceptance are common). This paper will explore the evolution of certification in computer-related subject areas -including the recent initiation of certification for end users of software packages and environments -and attempt to show that certification is no longer the "stepchild" it was for many years. Although still short of its potential, information systems certification (IS certification) has in many respects matured or come of age, The rites of passage leading to this maturity have been painful, and in fact are not yet fully developed; within the next few years, however, there should be a stabilization in both the philosophy aid the structure of certification programs.
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