Perhaps there’s an issue that software developers don’t consider themselves masters of a general craft? Technological cycles move fast enough that any certificate from 4 years ago is already 4 years out of date. And if developers are too cynical, they’ll treat professional qualifications like a hurdle to overcome, as some necessary documentation to satisfy the bureaucratic requirements of some Human Resources directive.
I have a colleague who still signs their emails ‘Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts’ – and I used to think it was a bit excessive. They clearly treat it like a title, a little badge of honour.
What you probably want is a positive celebration of worthy efforts, without reference to a specific language or technology. Even if there isn’t a historical tradition of professional guilds in place, you can still stage awards through the government or some other outside organisation.
In France there are contests every four years, various categories of workers are put through professional trials, with the winners named best plumber/mechanic/electrician/baker/bricklayer/wine-maker, etc. These are taken very seriously, with the awards presented by the President and recognised by the Ministry of Labour. Of course, there are still issues of bias, most of the winners tend to be men…
Does Github democratise that kind of process? If everyone’s work can be seen, outstanding efforts should organically rise to the surface through the community?