The Ethics of Braindumping

I've noticed that a number of members here seem confused as to why braindumps are wrong, or what they even are.
The following was not written by myself, but is an excellent essay on the subject, and I hope you will find it educating and enlightening.
The Ethics of Braindumping

The use of Braindumps is a very controversial and confusing subject. Part of the problem is the lack of an agreement as to what the term “Braindump” means. To some, it means emptying everything in your memory onto paper. This is actually a great thing to be able to do. When you go to take a test, if you can write your notes from your studies onto the sheets of paper that they give you for just that purpose, it will be a terrific help in taking the test. But that is not the most common definition of Braindumps these days, and that is where the problems lie.

“Real Test Questions From Actual Tests!”

When you take a certification test, you are asked to sign a legal statement that you will not divulge the contents of the exam to anyone. Some vendors of the less than savory kind will pay money to test takers who are willing to break their contract with the testing originator to get the actual test questions. So dishonesty is involved in the creation of these types of Braindumps from the very beginning. The creators of the Braindumps will then sell these “test simulators” that have “real test questions from actual tests” to those who are seeking the certification. What they will not mention is that if the test taker is identified as a user of these materials, their present certification will be revoked, and any future certification will not be allowed. Also, the person who sold the questions to the vendor will lose their certification, and any hope of future certification. And what about the vendors themselves? Recently, CompTIA has successfully sued a few of the Braindump vendors in court and has won the suits. Part of the settlement included lists of the customers that the vendors sold their Braindumps to.

“But the Tests Are So Unfair!”

Back in my freshman year of college, I took a class in ethics (it fulfilled the mandatory Philosophy requirement). In this class we discussed Situational Ethics, which is how do you behave ethically in an adverse situation. In the realm of certification tests, there are many complaints (many of them valid) that the tests are unrealistic and unfair. In Ethics class the question would have been phrased, “If a test is unfair, is that a valid reason to **** to pass it?” How you answer this question depends on the value you place on having the certification versus the value you place on your own integrity. In High School and College, most of us would never have even considered buying the questions and answers to an exam. Why is certification different?

When Time is of the Essence

I can understand, and to some extent sympathize with the temptation of the Braindumps. If you are under pressure from a deadline to take the test or lose your job, and you are not ready for the test, the temptation can be overpowering. But how many people in this predicament go to the boss and explain that they just need a few more weeks to study? If you scheduled the test, and then realize that you are not as prepared as you thought you would be by the time the test is a few days away, you can reschedule. I just called a very nice man at Prometric and rescheduled a test that I was going to take on Thursday, and he was ever so understanding and helpful. I am lucky enough be on no ones’ schedule but my own, but even if I was under pressure from my job, I would prefer to tell the boss that I was not ready than to feel that I would have to **** to keep my job.

Let’s Get Practical

If the ethical argument does not persuade you to avoid Braindumps, how about some practical observations? I have seen some sites that claim to guarantee that you will pass if you use their materials that include actual questions from actual tests. But what if you still fail? What if their answers are wrong? How do you go about suing a company that you bought stolen test questions from? That would certainly make for an interesting case! And that is something that these companies count on. Also, if you have time to memorize the questions and answers, why don’t you have the time to study and actually learn the material you will need for the job that the certification validates your skills and knowledge for?

Who Are You Trying To Kid?

Suppose that everything goes according to plan, and the use of Braindumps to get the certification goes unnoticed by anyone. If you have relied on anyone or anything other than yourself to become certified, you will not have gotten the knowledge you will need to do the job that you got certified for. Many companies have technical interviews that require you to demonstrate your skills and/or knowledge. If you do not really have the abilities that the certification claims for you, you will fail the technical interview. This will make it that much harder for you and for anyone who follows to get the job. Companies do communicate with each other, and if you do poorly in a technical interview, the word will get around.

So Why is There so Much Controversy?

If the only person to get hurt by the use of Braindumps is the person who gets caught using them, why is there so much controversy and anger over their use? The answer is that it is all of the tech community that suffers. If people can pass a certification by memorizing the questions and answers, the certification loses its value as a tool to demonstrate ability to do the job. This then, becomes a negative reflection on all who hold that certification. Unfortunately, the old adage that old adage that “Winners never ****, and cheaters never win” is not always true. Sometimes a person can get a job or a promotion by using Braindumps, and it makes the people who use traditional study and hard work angry. This is a very sad situation. The tech community contains a large number of people who stand ready to help newcomers to learn the tricks of the trade. The use of shortcuts instead of actual learning is so unnecessary, and so divisive.

Do the Right Thing!

From both an ethical and a practical standpoint, the use of Braindumps is a bad idea. Even if you do not get caught and stripped of your certification, if you do not really learn the knowledge and the skills you will ultimately fail. You may be found out by making a mistake that costs the company a lot of money and trouble, or you may be found out by your fellow employees. If you really want a place in the Information Technology field, you need to really work at it. The easy way out is rarely the best way. When you have really earned that certification through hard work, it is worth so much more than just the letters behind your name. As my mother always says to me, “Do the right thing”.

Good luck on the road to certification!

© Mary E. Robinson July 24, 2003
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