Recently, the American Evaluation Association’s listserve has been aflutter about licensing and certification for evaluators. Most professions have certifications, yet American evaluators do not. Canadian evaluators do, and so do market researchers. Certifications signal to potential clients, employers, and audiences that you have achieved a state of rigor in your field measured by an external party. Yet, for evolving fields and fields still being defined, such as evaluation, certifications don’t always exist. I find that in Arizona, our certification process is essentially our word-of-mouth reputations. This is doable and perhaps preferable because of the small community of evaluators in AZ, but it certainly doesn’t take the place of a national certification.
Another evolving and newly-defined field is that of data scientists. Not quite a certification, Michael Walker offers a pre-cursor to a set of industry standards in his 13 Commandments for Data Scientists. These include edicts that sound familiar to researchers, such as “data scientists shall not fail to use scientific methods; fail to disclose that data science results could not be replicated; and offer evidence that the data scientist knows to be false.” In other words, we should do no harm in reporting on our data.
To witness two fields in periods of growth is exciting. To see those in these fields creating dialogue surrounding industry morals and high levels of acceptable standards is more than exciting.