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CompTIA Is Changing the Language Used on All Certification Exams: Here’s Why

  • 8 mths ago

Inclusive language has been a hot topic this year, and rightfully so. Leaders across all sectors are aware of this and recognize their organization’s use of language that is unintentionally exclusive and/or promotes bias. In the IT industry, as well as many others, the use of language that is not inclusive is changing.

“There’s a big adjustment happening in our industry toward using more inclusive language,” CompTIA Senior Director, Exam Services, Carl Bowman explained. “Large and small vendors alike are reconsidering what terms they use to describe technical functions.”

Exclusive language is wording that promotes inequality. It undermines humanity by minimizing the worth and capabilities of individuals from marginalized groups.  

Such language creates a culture of exclusivity and can lead to individuals consciously or unconsciously diminishing the contributions, talents and potential of individuals from underrepresented groups. By making the language used on certification exams more inclusive, CompTIA is ensuring every individual in IT is seen, validated and welcomed. 

Changing the terms used to describe technical functions isn’t an easy or quick process. The Academy of Software Foundation said that making code and documentation inclusive can be tough and that deploying change across entire repositories often requires a unified team effort.

“What’s more, without a certain level of self-awareness, it may be hard for some people to recognize terms that others may find offensive or disrespectful,” Barathy Rangarajan of DreamWorks Animation wrote. “Language that may not stand out to some people at first glance could provide discomfort to others, such as the formerly common naming convention of ‘master’ and ‘slave’ processes.”  

The Wired article “Tech Confronts the Use of the Labels ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’ stated these terms have been in use for more than a century in technical contexts to reference instances where one process is in control of another process.

“The ‘master/slave’ metaphor in technology dates back to at least 1904...organizations have more recently revised language that could be seen as rooted in racism,” Elizabeth Landau wrote. “Sometimes the metaphor is less precise: A ‘master’ may simply lead, serve as a primary resource, or be considered first.”

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