A new company has popped up offering an Esports certification program which for $300 (currently discounted from its $400 standard price, apparently) will help you prove that you know about the Esports business, understand its economics, marketing, and statistics, which will reportedly help you get a job in the industry.
Although this sounds like an easy way to milk a lot of money from kids chasing their dreams of working in any capacity related to video games, the program has a number of important backers from within the industry. The Esports Certification Institute was founded by Ryan Friedman, who previously worked in the Dignitas, Clutch, and Immortals Esports organizations in various capacities. He claims that he only got into the industry through an unpaid internship, which he says is unfair and creates a barrier for entry that those with dependents or a need to pay rent, can't pass.
I wouldn’t be in esports today if not for luck and privilege. I got lucky with my timing – I created a statistical model and pitched it to Noah at IMT right as 1) IMT was a new esports org and wanted to expand and 2) Overwatch had just come out.
— Ryan Friedman (方仁宇) (@RyanWFriedman) April 27, 2021
He's backed up in this endeavour Cloud9 VP Donald Boyce, who is acting as an advisor, and claims that the certification gives organizations "an objective way to cut through what Plato would call 'mere opinion'" about what it takes to work in esports."
Fellow adviser and Esports professional, Anthony Wong, described is as a good way to spot good talent early on in the hiring process.
But there has also been a lot of criticism of the project. Many suggested that the price tag of this certification creates its own barrier for entry, with no guarantee that it will make any difference to someone's job prospects. Team Liquid digital producer Patrick Coyne called it a "shameless and predatory cash grab," as per PCGamer.
Interested in learning more or taking the certification process? You can find more details here.