Cisco TAC Engineer disgusted at the level of cheating in Exams

throwawaytodaythrowawaytoday Posts: 2Member ■■□□□□□□□□
edited February 11 in General Certification
Hi everyone,

I've created a throwaway account because I want to protect my identify of my main account. I work in the Cisco TAC, I've worked here for now 24 months and I've become absolutely disillusioned at the number of my colleagues who are cheating on either the CCNA, CCNP or CCIE (Written & Lab). I thought that working at a vendor there would be some type of pride to the company and the brand, that cheating would be a dirty word. After I became friends with most of the people I work with I found that cheating is absolutely rife in the TAC culture. Not only is pirated INE content freely passed around, single accounts are used for many staff which breaks the terms of most training vendors contracts. Many of the staff internally are paying upwards or $3,000 for high quality dumped material. Training for the exam is literally a chore of rehearing the **** over and over until it becomes second nature. 

Every time I mentioned to my colleagues I'm looking at progressing onto a new certification (legitimately), I'm bombarded with requests if I want a copy of their "dumped" content a request I always deny. I'm not sure if the issue is systemic or not, but most of the managers appear to be oblivious, some seem to be savvy to this as sometimes someone will rack up a few CCIEs from unrelated tracks in a short time and a comment will be made at the speed of their conquests. But for the most part the managers of the TAC Engineers appear complacent as one of their performance indicators as a team is to have more CCIEs on staff.

This is really disappointing to me and actually makes it harder to find the motivation to the pursue these certification or at the very least obtain them and move far away from Cisco. I'm disappointing at Cisco Learning for not catching a single one of these Engineers especially those who are able to knock out a few different tracks in quick succession. 

FYI: There is a $10k bonus for each CCIE obtained 

Does anyone have thoughts on this?
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Comments

  • mactexmactex Posts: 79Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Based on my last two SRs with Cisco TAC, I am not surprised. Terrible experiences with Cisco TAC, and our account reps want to keep selling us Cisco products. No thanks.
  • shochanshochan Senior Member ARPosts: 785Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Yeah, it's outta control...you can pretty much search anywhere on the web...ppl are creating shady websites, youtube videos, etc to market questions pulled from the exams.  It's a shame how corrupt society is, the saying is...if you can't beat em, join em...at least in their minds...I rather keep my integrity.   
    2019 goals -> CEH (Feb), RHCSA (Dec)


    "It's not good when it's done, it's done when it's good" ~ Danny Carey
  • MontagueVandervortMontagueVandervort Senior Member Posts: 303Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    If it's really affecting you that badly then move on; otherwise, find a way to work around it.

    Cheating was rampant when I was in college several years ago. Some of the instructors not only ignored it but encouraged it. It was all around me in the Technology Department. There was one instructor in particular that used to leave the room during exams so everyone could ****.

    They were loud too because of all the cheating, exchanging answers, various people looking through the book, others googling trying to find the answers. It was very difficult to test under these circumstances, and att first it drove me crazy!

    Then I realized I was wasting time and energy by focusing on it. I changed my focus back onto what *I* was doing and what *I* wanted to achieve. I also got myself a pack of earplugs. :D

    We had another instructor who showed the class where to get the answers to the exams. I saw no point in this as it would mean I was weak in my knowledge if I went there.

    And on and on. Too many situations to list.

    Long story short... most of the times I scored higher than all them cheating together, and that was because I studied and knew my material.

    I got hired before I even graduated and you know where all of those guys (and girls) ended up after graduation? Some are working fast food, others I've seen in retail. I think out of them all the most successful one is the one I saw working in OfficeMax.

    So the point to all of this is:
    Concentrate on you.
    Ignore what others are doing or not doing.
    Keep the focus on you.
    And remember, you will end up going much farther than all those people you see cheating right now
    because they end up knowing absolutely nothing in the end and that becomes very, very obvious during the interview process.
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    edited February 10
    Howdy Throwawayaccount, 

    It sucks that they're pirating INE considering there's a corporate account they can be added to for free... Along with Safari Books, CBT, etc. But cheaters aren't smart, are they? 

    As far as the bonus for the CCIEs, that's only for the first two if they're FTEs. If they're red badges, they get nothing. 

    Sadly, I doubt it's just a problem specific to Cisco. Almost every company I've worked for had people who openly or subtley admit to **** or ask for them. That's where your responsibility comes in to report them. I've had ZERO shame about reporting internal Cisco folks who hit me up on social media or through Teams for **** or to break NDA or share copyrighted material and you really shouldn't either. 

    If you're looking for legit study partners or people inside Cisco that are studying for an IE but not dumping, I know plenty of them but I leave it up to you if you feel comfortable enough to reach out. 
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • dontstopdontstop Posts: 566Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited February 11

    I've had ZERO shame about reporting internal Cisco folks who hit me up on social media or through Teams for **** or to break NDA or share copyrighted material and you really shouldn't either. 
    This right here is some real good advice from Iris. It might be difficult to report them because their most likely your teammates but at the end of the day their devaluing your certifications and your skillset. Getting an unfair advantage and most likely being a boat anchor to the team. One would assume aside from the $10k bonus, their going to be either taking less cases or less switched on during shift plus their skillset is not going to be representative of their certification level. 

    Great advice!
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    Agree with dontstop. They work at Cisco, they sign the same code of conduct we all do, and if they can moan and whine about it but it's not cool. Especially if they're asking you to help them ****. You can't weed out all the bad folks but anyone blatent enought to come out and ask you should be prepared for the consequences. 
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • TechGromitTechGromit Completely Clueless Ontario, NY Posts: 1,855Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    edited February 11
    I work in the Cisco TAC, I've worked here for now 24 months and I've become absolutely disillusioned at the number of my colleagues who are cheating on either the CCNA, CCNP or CCIE (Written & Lab).
    Wow, Thanks for reporting this. I had a TAC case open last week and Cisco's support wasn't helpful at all. I had a 4507 switch that would drop network connections every few hours, nothing in the logs, it had me puzzled. I failed over the supervisor card without any improvement on the problem. I just replaced my core distribution switches 6 days before with four 4500X switches, all new SFP modules, the issue ended up being on the 4500X side, one of the SFP modules had a lot of CRC errors. My thinking at the time was New Switch, New SFP's, all official Cisco products, that can't be the issue. Apparently Cisco's quality has been slipping, some of the equipment new out of the box doesn't work as well as it should. I always thought calling Cisco for assistance I was getting top of the line help, If there is rampant cheating on the certification exams, can't help to wonder if the TAC help isn't any better then my company network support. One of our Corporate network guys identified the issue. Replacing the SFP module solved the problem. 
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    Techgromit - 

    The CCIEs or cheating in general probably has little to do with your TAC cases. The reason being  is (as the OP can probably back up) that TAC engineers are laser focused on a specific product or sometimes a feature of a product and typically can be very siloed. For example, there's not just an ASA team that covers ALL parts of the ASA. There's are separate teams to cover VPN, firewalling, hardware, IPS, etc and while they're on that team, they seldom stray to different technologies or functions. The training they go through is VERY different than any certification. It's typically a deep dive into that specific product or technology and goes down to the code, bugs, and ASICs. It's not the stuff you learn on certification and, if I must be honest, most of the time CCIEs don't do really do much to make or break a TAC engineer. 

    There are lines of support - such as tier 1, 2, backbone, etc and if they find a new bug or an issue they can't solve, it can escalate up to developers or the business unit itself. If you're not getting help in the time you want help, you have to ask to escalate it. You can keep it at a P1 or P2 and someone has to stay on the phone or ask for the duty manager. Not all TAC engineers are made equal but that's also because it depends on where you land and if you're escalating it if you're not with the person who can promptly find the answer. Also, if you're down to P3 or P4, the SLA to find a resolution typically is longer. 

    There's been some good AMAs on Reddit by TAC engineers. They're good reads. 
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • DZA_DZA_ Untitled. Posts: 295Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Cheating was rampant when I was in college several years ago. Some of the instructors not only ignored it but encouraged it. It was all around me in the Technology Department. There was one instructor in particular that used to leave the room during exams so everyone could ****.

    They were loud too because of all the cheating, exchanging answers, various people looking through the book, others googling trying to find the answers. It was very difficult to test under these circumstances, and att first it drove me crazy!


    I know a family member who teaches here at one of the local colleges me and it totally baffles me about the cheating culture and how it's so dominant in the classroom. There are select group of students that always **** by using electronics even though they signed a cheating academic policy. I've heard from this one family member who had students use apple watches to ****, write definitions at the back of water bottle papers, etc.  I can only say that once they enter the field and get called out or get fired for incompetency is karma. 
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,209Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    Considering what we pay for Cisco support that's sad to hear, but not shocking if there is such a large financial motivation. 

    Years ago I took a SourceFire training course, shortly after Cisco purchased them. We had a number of Cisco employees in the class, they were pretty vocal about passing around the USB stick with the answers to the cert exam. 
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    That Sourcefire course wouldn't be what TAC is trained with so they werent TAC engineers in your class  and they (the Cisco employees) wouldnt have any sort of bonus based on passing some non-IE exam. When I say the TAC training is highly detailed and highly siloed, I'm not joking around. It's not training from the perspective of how to administer to the device but how to dig into individual software and hardware modules to troubleshoot a root cause.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • Domm362Domm362 Junior Member Long Island, NYPosts: 23Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    It professionals that resort to this will end up getting their rear ends handed to them in the field eventually. The fact that you are taking the time to study and pass the exams with a greater sense of integrity, gives you a huge advantage. Ignore what they're doing and focus on your goals; karma will bite cheaters in the arse.
    "Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners."
  • PCTechLincPCTechLinc Senior Member King City, CAPosts: 587Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    As a former college instructor, I have had no issues reporting anyone for cheating of any kind.  Unfortunately, the school administration always played the "we can't afford to lose their tuition" game, so penalties were rather limited.  As far as certifications go, it really does suck when you spend a ton of time, effort, and money to do the best you can, and then Joe Shmoe **** a few certs and fakes it into a high-paying job where they don't even understand IP addresses.  :-/

    I just focus on me, and what I can do to better myself.  It helps me sleep at night.   :D
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
  • lucky0977lucky0977 Posts: 166Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited February 11
    It is very frustrating but think of it this way. Either they'll learn on the job (I don't agree with) or they will expose themselves when asked to perform a simple task. The joke I often hear in my environment is "I can Google it". I agree with PCTechLinc. Focus on yourself with the knowledge that you've done things the right way.

    There are complaints from recent college grads in STEM that cannot find themselves a job after graduating and complain about the foreign hires. Wonder if it has to do with the cheating epidemic and failing the job interviews.
    Bachelor of Science: Computer Science | Hawaii Pacific University
    CISSP | CISM
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Posts: 1,601Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Cheating sucks. Now don't take it personal. Make choices that are good for you.
  • MontagueVandervortMontagueVandervort Senior Member Posts: 303Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    DZA_ said:
    I know a family member who teaches here at one of the local colleges me and it totally baffles me about the cheating culture and how it's so dominant in the classroom. There are select group of students that always **** by using electronics even though they signed a cheating academic policy. I've heard from this one family member who had students use apple watches to ****, write definitions at the back of water bottle papers, etc.  I can only say that once they enter the field and get called out or get fired for incompetency is karma. 

    It's a culture.

    There were several situations where I was the only one not cheating. When you don't **** along with them, they don't trust you and tend to think you're weird.

    This causes you to never be accepted into the "group" and the fear of that alone causes a lot of students to go along with the cheating.

    Also, I'm sure a lot of people under a certain age don't read anything they sign and also don't understand the seriousness of whatever they are signing, unfortunately.

    It is what it is. There are all types of people in the world. You just have to go on with your day and keep the focus on yourself and your own decisions and goals.





  • SpetsRepairSpetsRepair Posts: 209Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I don't know how true this is but I have had the privilege of working with the worst engineer in my department. I am telling you guys I had to work with him directly on projects and he was not capable of doing the same type of work I ever was. He just couldn't do it and I could see his skill level was much lower than I first thought. The first few weeks on the job he told me he's a CCNP and I asked him for help on something to look at one of my configs and he flat out refused.. (wouldn't do it and just walked away). After a few months go by, he mentions he is now CCNP certified and it took him three weeks to study for it
    I am impressed he went from barely knowing anything when I had to work with him and fix his projects for him to being fully CCNP certified in three weeks

    I guess he played me and he is better than me at everything but he down played it since he passed the CCNP in three weeks
    I so badly want to quiz him at work.. trust me i really want to do this just to see
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    LoL. You should called it out in front of your boss and be like "Now you can help me with my configs. Can you take a look at this one? What do you think?" And start asking him technical questions related to the job or your config
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • SpetsRepairSpetsRepair Posts: 209Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    LoL. You should called it out in front of your boss and be like "Now you can help me with my configs. Can you take a look at this one? What do you think?" And start asking him technical questions related to the job or your config
    No, my boss likes the guy and he told me he's really good "isn't he"
    So idk what to say. He's loved in the company, I know the day before I leave though I need to ask him some questions if he is a CCNP you know.. I need to find out for myself because in three weeks he accomplished more than I could have in years

    HE went from ZERO knowledge on certain topics to being so good he passed the CCNP in a few weeks? I'm calling fraud thats all I'm saying!
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    Agree. There's no way he could go from zero to CCNP in 3 weeks. That's impossible. That's not enough time to even read the books. 
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • chrisonechrisone Senior Member Posts: 1,792Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Agree. There's no way he could go from zero to CCNP in 3 weeks. That's impossible. That's not enough time to even read the books. 
    ugh back in the day when I was in networking and hearing people pass any professional level "series" of certs in 3 months, then being underpaid at the same time really fueled my anger. 
    2019 Goals:
    Courses: Real World Red Team Attacks- AppSec Cali 2019 (complete), SANS Security West SEC660 (May), SANS Network Security FOR508 (Sept),
    Certs: SLAE, GCIA (in progress), GCIH, GXPN, GCFA
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    Heh... remember when they used to come here and say that? I had people downvote me saying I was too mean because I said that it was impossible with a full time job and without years of relevant experience to go from zero to CCNP. 
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Senior Member Posts: 2,372Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Wow some interesting war stories here.  I never experienced quite that level of cheating, I have seen technicians back in the day with comptia **** on their desktops readily available.  I honestly don't think they think it's wrong lol. 
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    Why would cheating not be wrong? 
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • Azt7Azt7 Member Posts: 87Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited February 12
    Why would cheating not be wrong? 
    I assume that we all agree that cheating is wrong. I believe that what @DatabaseHead is saying is that most people, who **** certs, think it is fine. 

    I know quite a few IT professionals who have been using d.u.m.p.s for years and they think it is a way of just validating what they already know based on their experience. Even though I disagree with it, a lot of peple think that way. 

    I actually believe everybody should be tested to a certain extent before they get hired or prove that they are going through continuous education / testing after hiring. 
    Certifications : ITIL, MCSA Office 365, MCSE Productivity, AWS CSAA, Azure Architect, CCSK
    Studying for : CCSP 
    2020/2021 : TOGAF - CGEIT
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    Ohhh I misread that. My bad.

    Yeah, I have ZERO problem calling them out. I've done it so many times that the number of random PMs I get asking for **** over the years has drastically reduced. I guess my reputation proceeds itself now. 
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Senior Member Posts: 2,372Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Azt7 said:
    Why would cheating not be wrong? 
    I assume that we all agree that cheating is wrong. I believe that what @DatabaseHead is saying is that most people, who **** certs, think it is fine. 

    I know quite a few IT professionals who have been using d.u.m.p.s for years and they think it is a way of just validating what they already know based on their experience. Even though I disagree with it, a lot of peple think that way. 

    I actually believe everybody should be tested to a certain extent before they get hired or prove that they are going through continuous education / testing after hiring. 

    I couldn't agree more......  
  • McxRisleyMcxRisley Eye of Barad-dûr Posts: 439Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I also can attest to the absolute unsatisfactory and unprofessional service provided by Cisco TAC. I have been having an issue with their estreamer encore app since switching to RHEL 7 so I opened a case. Not only did the engineer never respond in a timely manner(if he even responded at all) to my emails, he was also very rude when dealing with him. In order to get any kind of response out of him  I had to call the cisco emergency support line THREE times. I even requested a new engineer for the case and the person on the literally just ignored my question. When I stated again that I would like to have a new engineer assigned to my case, they support person just toild me that the engineer would be available until 7pm. So I asked to have it esacalated to his manager, who by the way is in India. Long story short on it being escalated, the support person never escalated my ticket. Then to make it even better, the support person told the engineer that I had saod he was being rude and not helpful. So when I finally get the engineer to call me back he proceeds to argue with me about how he hasnt been rude. Unknown to him the other leads here where CC'd on the email chain and they all agreed the guy was a total ****. Now I am left with no answers or solutions to my case... just another drop in the bucket of why I hate cisco.
    I'm not allowed to say what my previous occupation was, but let's just say it rhymes with architect.
  • lucky0977lucky0977 Posts: 166Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    CompTIA exams have been severely compromised that I can't believe the SEC+ is equal to GSEC and CASP equal to CISSP according to DoD8570. I thought CISCO and Microsoft had started suing the companies providing d.u.m.p.s but I guess not.

    Wow some interesting war stories here.  I never experienced quite that level of cheating, I have seen technicians back in the day with comptia **** on their desktops readily available.  I honestly don't think they think it's wrong lol. 

    Bachelor of Science: Computer Science | Hawaii Pacific University
    CISSP | CISM
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Senior Member Posts: 2,372Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    edited February 13
    lucky0977 said:
    CompTIA exams have been severely compromised that I can't believe the SEC+ is equal to GSEC and CASP equal to CISSP according to DoD8570. I thought CISCO and Microsoft had started suing the companies providing d.u.m.p.s but I guess not.

    Wow some interesting war stories here.  I never experienced quite that level of cheating, I have seen technicians back in the day with comptia **** on their desktops readily available.  I honestly don't think they think it's wrong lol. 

    It's been years but while working on the help desk they were passed around a lot.  I remember everyone getting their d.u.m.p on for Sec + before the end of the 2015 year.  I just kept thinking what idiots.  I'd rather not put a target on my back in regards to something I know 0 about.  That's never been in my playbook, hell I leave active certs off because I don't use that information anymore.....  

    Oh...  And it didn't stop there while working as a tech lead I had to manage several techs and few of them had Comptia d.u.m.p.s....   I was thinking if you are going to d.u.m.p might as well be the server technology they were working on.

    Seriously guys/gals supporting RedHat and Windows servers were dumping CompTia's.  Just bizarre......


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