Certification Process: Out With The Old!

The certification path in IT is a touchy subject; everyone has an opinion on how certs should be obtained and what step comes first or which is more valuable; experience, degree or certification. Even if someone can honestly study and pass an exam without any hands on experience they are sometimes deemed a “paper cert.” Why ridicule this person I ask? He simply has met all the requirements set forth by this particular vendor to be declared “certified.” Instead of ridiculing this person for passing the exam, the arguments and opinions should be shifted to the actual vendor who sets the standards.

The ultimate IT disgraces are those who use the braindumps. Microsoft and countless other vendors are pursuing the invisible **** sites with little or no success. Instead of spending millions or even billions of dollars chasing these sites, they should put that money into revamping the certification process thus eliminating cheating by means of certification. Include more prior requirements and hands on labs, eliminating braindumps once and for all. As bad as the college football’s BCS needs a playoff system, IT needs a huge change in the certification process.

For example: Currently anyone can obtain an MCSE; it has been the down fall of MCSE since the bubble burst. Instead of revamping the certification process, vendors have created trickier questions with strange wording and sims leaving even the most seasoned veteran scratching his head. To avoid this dilemma, I have heard of experienced professionals illegally turning to braindumps to “brush up” on skills to ensure a pass. People argue there is no excuse for cheating and that “it’s simple; study hard and you will pass.” This is true and I do not condone cheating and I myself have not cheated but I understand why some feel the urge to ****. People **** because it’s easier, readily available and it works. There needs be no more second guessing someone’s list of proud certifications because of his prior work experience, how fast he acquired the certification or because of his age. It should be known when seeing a resume that the certifications listed cannot be faked, easily passed or was acquired simply by studying braindumps. Sadly, this is not the case.

I would like to see all certifications rated and controlled by a third party company which would endorse the certification, similar to what state universities have done with degrees/diplomas. This would separate any vendor trying to circumvent this process and in turn validate and endorse accredited vendors for national attention. Currently any vendor can award certifications to any person they feel fit; it is a free for all. Some of those who are not in IT cannot distinguish between a Dell certification and SSCP. The third party would help regain the status of certifications, create a standard for certifications, educating those who will be hiring IT staff. The third party could separate the certifications into categories based upon vendor, the achievement process of the cert and what skill level must be reached to successfully complete the process. There are too many websites, magazines and so-called pay scales for certifications that are off the mark.

Vendors with multiple level certifications (ex MCP/MCSA/MCSE) should have a written exam and a lab. For example 80% of the MCSE exams should be available for anyone to sit but a handful of the exams should have experience requirements before an individual is allowed to even sit that exam. Once those experience requirements are met, the individual can now sit the exam. Once all the written exams are completed for MCSE, the individual will now be faced with one last task; a full blown, hands on lab covering everything learned in his prior written exams. Once the individual successfully completes and passes the lab, they are now MCSE....Sound difficult? It should, only knowledgeable, experienced staff should be able to pass. The only difference between an experienced windows/system engineer and experienced MCSE should be a matter of taking the exam.

Look at how successful CCIE and CISSP are. CCIE boasts an extremely tough written exam and lab that will leave a highly experienced network engineer hoping for a pass on the next attempt. CISSP is a brutal written exam equipped with mandatory on the job experience. These certifications rank high on the pay scale and are on a lot of IT staff’s must have list. These certs take experience, personal time, along with blood, sweat and tears. I believe three people lost their lives in 06’ while preparing for the CCIE lab….j/k

These are just thoughts, not necessarily perfect but one thing is certain the process needs a change. We need a standard, something that puts an end to braindumps, cheating and paper certs. Deserving people should be placed into deserving jobs.
«1

Comments

  • jwlazarjwlazar Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    To me certifications are a means of acquiring knowledge; nothing more, nothing less. I have encountered both people who braindumped their way trough certification or simply refused to certify citing the former. I regard both with indifference as I purely seek the educational aspect without demanding compensation based on a few letters under my name. Ultimately, people who **** usually get theirs anyway, so there is a degree of parity in terms of compensation.
    The ultimate IT disgraces are those who use the braindumps. Microsoft and countless other vendors are pursuing the invisible **** sites with little or no success. Instead of spending millions or even billions of dollars chasing these sites, they should put that money into revamping the certification process thus eliminating cheating by means of certification. Include more prior requirements and hands on labs, eliminating braindumps once and for all. As bad as the college football’s BCS needs a playoff system, IT needs a huge change in the certification process.

    I have another proposal (three actually). Either publicize the people or companies that condone cheating for advancement, or eliminate the certification process altogether. I suspect that Cisco, Microsoft, etc. have already considered this, but nixed the idea when they considered the loss of revenue that such an infrastructure generates, regardless of cheating.
    For example 80% of the MCSE exams should be available for anyone to sit but a handful of the exams should have experience requirements before an individual is allowed to even sit that exam

    CISSP is a brutal written exam equipped with mandatory on the job experience.

    Experience, much like test results, can be doctored and/or fabricated. Padded resumes aren't a new phenomena these days..."mandatory experience" is in the eye of the beholder. The CISSP cannot be lumped in the same category as the CCIE simply because of this and the fact is an exam based on intangible and not hands-on experience.

    The solution is to implement one standard for improvised testing that leaves little to luck or advanced knowledge ahead of time, much akin to what is required for the CCIE. Such a solution would require significant investment, but at least you won't encounter people doling out loads of cash just to be a paper cert as you find is the case with the CCIE...
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Here is Microsoft's answer to the CCIE:

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/overview/default.mspx

    The Microsoft Certified Architect Program.

    For Messaging, you are required to spend 25 grand for a 5 week intensive course (like 12 hour days, 6 days a week), pass 3 out of 4 tough written exams, pass a lab test, then go before a review board. Pre-req's include:

    Minimum of three years experience architecting Microsoft Exchange solutions.

    • 300 level knowledge in the following: Active Directory, DNS, SMTP, Exchange Server 5.5, Exchange 2000 Server, Exchange Server 2003, Windows 2x OS, TCP/IP.

    • Current MCSE with at least one Exchange elective course.

    • Recommended 1-2 years experience in operations or network administration OR Certification in MOF / ITIL.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • jwlazarjwlazar Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    BTW, please don't misinterpret my skepticism regarding the CISSP as a dis. I plan on going for it myself once I've fulfilled the reqs and look forward to expanding on my knowledge of security with regards to that.

    I just don't see the CISSP as an infallible testing solution in comparison to the technical acumen that is required to be able to configure hardware in the CCIE testing environment. To me, the CCIE is the only test that ensures first-hand knowledge of all the concepts needed to pass the exam.
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    sprkymrk wrote:
    Here is Microsoft's answer to the CCIE:

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/overview/default.mspx

    The Microsoft Certified Architect Program.

    The majority of people outside of IT do not know this, the most well known certification from Microsoft is MCSE.

    @ jwlazar I know what you are saying about CISSP. Even though work experience can be forged, it takes greater lengths to do so and is a step in the right direction. With that concept a vendor will have a majority of legitimate exam takers, weeding out dumpers and ultimately leaving braindump sites with little if any braindump information. These loop holes in the certification process allow any schmo off the street to pose as an IT guru and gain potential access into this field.
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,353
    garv221 wrote:
    sprkymrk wrote:
    Here is Microsoft's answer to the CCIE:

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/overview/default.mspx

    The Microsoft Certified Architect Program.

    The majority of people outside of IT do not know this, the most well known certification from Microsoft is MCSE.

    Everything takes time. It's a start and hopefully the program becomes more known in the industry. The only problem I see is that it is so much more expensive to obtain than the CCIE that people who are actually qualified for the MCA will not be able to achieve it.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    icroyal wrote:
    garv221 wrote:
    sprkymrk wrote:
    Here is Microsoft's answer to the CCIE:

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/overview/default.mspx

    The Microsoft Certified Architect Program.

    The majority of people outside of IT do not know this, the most well known certification from Microsoft is MCSE.

    Everything takes time. It's a start and hopefully the program becomes more known in the industry. The only problem I see is that it is so much more expensive to obtain than the CCIE that people who are actually qualified for the MCA will not be able to achieve it.

    When you consider that a true CCIE lab candidate spends upwards of $5000 on more than one occasion to attend 1 week CCIE courses, and then they usually have several grand worth of their own equipment, there's not really much difference.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,353
    I didn't take it into consideration that if you fail CCIE (which I hear you do on average 2-3 times) then the costs escalate quite a bit. Also, you have to take into consideration that everyone is not going to pass their MCA on the 1st try. $10,000 each attempt can be quite the chunk of money. Now that's just for the MCA. Next is MCA:M which alone is $25,000. Take into consideration the costs of servers as well? Many IT guys do not like virtualization technology. They want the actual boxes. I still think net cost for MCA is quite a bit more expensive than the CCIE on a 1:1 exam to pass ratio.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Maybe so, but look how special and unique you would be:

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/messaging/default.mspx
    There are currently 77 Qualified Messaging Architects worldwide.

    icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,172 ■■■■■■■■■□
    You have to figure a great deal of those 77 work at Microsoft. The program hasn't been out for that long and they accept very few as candidates at any given time.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • int80hint80h Member Posts: 84 ■■□□□□□□□□
    The cert industry is a cash cow for MS, Cisco, Redhat, etc. so braindumps make these companies money.
  • KaminskyKaminsky Member Posts: 1,235
    The only real solution to the problem of short-cut certification is a company's interviewing skills. If they don't test the candidate thoroughly before employing them then it's their own fault and the interviewers should be held accountable.

    I can't see any other way and, to me, it seems like common sense to thoroughly test the technical knowledge of each candidate applying for a techie job. You are going to be letting them loose on your companies vital infrastructure after all.
    Kam.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Kaminsky wrote:
    The only real solution to the problem of short-cut certification is a company's interviewing skills. If they don't test the candidate thoroughly before employing them then it's their own fault and the interviewers should be held accountable.

    I can't see any other way and, to me, it seems like common sense to thoroughly test the technical knowledge of each candidate applying for a techie job. You are going to be letting them loose on your companies vital infrastructure after all.

    That's only one side of the problem. A lot of dumpers are already employed in help desk and admin positions. They **** in order to get raises or promotions within. There is little or no interview process involved.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • KaminskyKaminsky Member Posts: 1,235
    sprkymrk wrote:
    Kaminsky wrote:
    The only real solution to the problem of short-cut certification is a company's interviewing skills. If they don't test the candidate thoroughly before employing them then it's their own fault and the interviewers should be held accountable.

    I can't see any other way and, to me, it seems like common sense to thoroughly test the technical knowledge of each candidate applying for a techie job. You are going to be letting them loose on your companies vital infrastructure after all.

    That's only one side of the problem. A lot of dumpers are already employed in help desk and admin positions. They **** in order to get raises or promotions within. There is little or no interview process involved.

    Surely thats even worse. When they are your own staff already and the IT/Network manager has no idea of their skills. Surely working in house would give them a better chance to be thoroughly checked out.

    Saying that... I once had a guy hired full time to help me out with workload. When I arrived back on the site on his first day I introduced myself and asked what he had been up to so far. Now bear in mind this was for a Novell / NT/2k server admin / 3rd line job supporting about 5.5k users. He replied that "He had been on the internet that morning and had sent his first ever email......" icon_eek.gif I asked the boss what the hell was going on and it turned out this guy was going out with his fiance's best friend. He was a burlar alarm engineer the week before.
    Kam.
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    Like my original post, certifications need to be more recognized, carry more weight and hard to obtain. The only answer for the certification problem is a new certifying method. How do feel about a third party controlling certs and endorsing them...Hands on labs??
  • elover_jmelover_jm Member Posts: 349
    sprkymrk wrote:
    Maybe so, but look how special and unique you would be:

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/messaging/default.mspx
    There are currently 77 Qualified Messaging Architects worldwide.

    icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

    That program is like going back to University.......... Don't think many IT professionals will be intrigued by such program that also cost $25g. Unfair considering if u fail there's no discount on the next attempt.

    Update: I definitely believe it's just another strategy for MS to cash in. Nature of their business guys, to make more and more money.

    And i think we as professionals should be careful not to fall for those traps..
    stonecold26.jpg
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    elover_jm wrote:
    sprkymrk wrote:
    Maybe so, but look how special and unique you would be:

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/messaging/default.mspx
    There are currently 77 Qualified Messaging Architects worldwide.

    icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

    That program is like going back to University.......... Don't think many IT professionals will be intrigued by such program that also cost $25g. Unfair considering if u fail there's no discount on the next attempt.

    Update: I definitely believe it's just another strategy for MS to cash in. Nature of their business guys, to make more and more money.

    And i think we as professionals should be careful not to fall for those traps..

    How come when Cisco makes a tough test that costs a lot of money, it's good for the industry. When MS does it, it an evil cash cow money making scheme? Just asking....
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    garv221 wrote:
    Like my original post, certifications need to be more recognized, carry more weight and hard to obtain. The only answer for the certification problem is a new certifying method. How do feel about a third party controlling certs and endorsing them...Hands on labs??

    I'm not sure. How do you guarentee the third party remains neutral and doesn't use this new "power" to become a money making racketeer themselves?

    Cisco and MS could use their $$$ leverage to ensure they remain on the "good" certification list pretty easily.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • elover_jmelover_jm Member Posts: 349

    How come when Cisco makes a tough test that costs a lot of money, it's good for the industry. When MS does it, it an evil cash cow money making scheme? Just asking....

    Think abt it Sprk, Ms already has specialization module for Messenging..... So now they want to Restructure their Module to add more value to their cert, Fine with me....But not fine when the things that are gonna be taught is very much similar to the original MCSE (messenging) Module.

    Just like the way they structure their exam questions. they just make the process longer to make it appear more valuable.....

    i very much would rather spent 25g Pursueing a Master Degree than a specialization course MCA.....

    just my view
    stonecold26.jpg
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    sprkymrk wrote:
    garv221 wrote:
    Like my original post, certifications need to be more recognized, carry more weight and hard to obtain. The only answer for the certification problem is a new certifying method. How do feel about a third party controlling certs and endorsing them...Hands on labs??

    I'm not sure. How do you guarentee the third party remains neutral and doesn't use this new "power" to become a money making racketeer themselves?

    Cisco and MS could use their $$$ leverage to ensure they remain on the "good" certification list pretty easily.

    The same way a state endorses universities. When I mentioned a third party, I already considered your question to be resolved as the third party would remain neutral. Comprised of many entities or foundations.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,172 ■■■■■■■■■□
    elover_jm wrote:

    How come when Cisco makes a tough test that costs a lot of money, it's good for the industry. When MS does it, it an evil cash cow money making scheme? Just asking....

    Think abt it Sprk, Ms already has specialization module for Messenging..... So now they want to Restructure their Module to add more value to their cert, Fine with me....But not fine when the things that are gonna be taught is very much similar to the original MCSE (messenging) Module.

    Just like the way they structure their exam questions. they just make the process longer to make it appear more valuable.....

    i very much would rather spent 25g Pursueing a Master Degree than a specialization course MCA.....

    just my view
    Have you even looked at the requirements for MCA?
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    blargoe wrote:
    elover_jm wrote:

    How come when Cisco makes a tough test that costs a lot of money, it's good for the industry. When MS does it, it an evil cash cow money making scheme? Just asking....

    Think abt it Sprk, Ms already has specialization module for Messenging..... So now they want to Restructure their Module to add more value to their cert, Fine with me....But not fine when the things that are gonna be taught is very much similar to the original MCSE (messenging) Module.

    Just like the way they structure their exam questions. they just make the process longer to make it appear more valuable.....

    i very much would rather spent 25g Pursueing a Master Degree than a specialization course MCA.....

    just my view
    Have you even looked at the requirements for MCA?

    Thank you blargoe, I was going to ask the same thing. icon_cool.gif

    That didn't even answer my question - how is this different from Cisco? They "already" have CCNA and CCNP. Why stretch it out longer with the CCIE to make it appear more valuable?

    As to your second point, many may want to spend the 25K for this even if you or I wouldn't. I might even venture a guess and say that the MCA could net a better ROI. How many people spend that same 25 grand for several years of schooling and come out making tons of money? Some do and some (teachers, social workers, Law Enforcement, English majors, etc) do not. But I bet an MCA can pick his salary and location the same way a CCIE can. Anyway, we can compare examples pro and con all day, but the bottom line is the MCSE:Messaging is actually a base requirement of the MCA:Messaging, along with a lot more.

    Anyway, I posted this as an example of MS heading in the right direction along with Cisco CCIE. I didn't mean for it to sidetrack the topic.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    MCA does not impress me. CCIE will always be the benchmark simply because Cisco networking is a desirable, tough field to break into. I think if MS's lower certs (MCSE) were obtained differently, it would give this certification more credit.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    garv221 wrote:
    MCA does not impress me. CCIE will always be the benchmark simply because Cisco networking is a desirable, tough field to break into. I think if MS's lower certs (MCSE) were obtained differently, it would give this certification more credit.

    CCIE is not handled by a third party, so why is it a benchmark? MCA is VERY hard to obtain. Why does it not impress you? I really think I am seeing a double standard from a lot of folks on the CCIE vs. MCA certifications. I understand Microsoft has a past reputation to overcome, but now that the MCA is an option an honest look at the requirements and labs and testing and interview process should show that you got what you wanted - a hard to obtain respectable certification that cannot be dumped.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    sprkymrk wrote:
    garv221 wrote:
    MCA does not impress me. CCIE will always be the benchmark simply because Cisco networking is a desirable, tough field to break into. I think if MS's lower certs (MCSE) were obtained differently, it would give this certification more credit.

    CCIE is not handled by a third party, so why is it a benchmark? MCA is VERY hard to obtain. Why does it not impress you? I really think I am seeing a double standard from a lot of folks on the CCIE vs. MCA certifications. I understand Microsoft has a past reputation to overcome, but now that the MCA is an option an honest look at the requirements and labs and testing and interview process should show that you got what you wanted - a hard to obtain respectable certification that cannot be dumped.

    Yes, you are correct CCIE is not handled by a third party. However, it is an exam that has earned respect over the years for truly testing an individual and being non-dumpable, making it a benchmark. Not every exam can be as grueling as the CCIE so there needs to be third party help for those other exams. The MCA does not impress me, like I implied in my original post and you also commented on; MS DOES have a past reputation to over come. Until that reputation is over come, MCA does not carry any weight or classify graduates in an elite club like CCIE does. I can think of better ways to invest my time and 25K than MCA, ALOT better investments. MS should have re-vamped the well known MCSE, re-gained status and then moved forward with this MCA as icing on the cake. Now, they have an unknown cert and no matter how on track and right the certification process for the MCA is, it just looks like MS is trying to solve the problem by charging 25k...Bad move in my opinion.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    garv221 wrote:
    I can think of better ways to invest my time and 25K than MCA, ALOT better investments.

    Personally I'd rather buy a new car. icon_lol.gif

    garv221 wrote:
    MS should have re-vamped the well known MCSE, re-gained status and then moved forward with this MCA as icing on the cake. Now, they have an unknown cert and no matter how on track and right the certification process for the MCA is, it just looks like MS is trying to solve the problem by charging 25k...Bad move in my opinion.

    They have tried revamping the MCSE ever since NT4 and no one has cared. To create a testing process akin to what you want costs money, and then everyone complains that they are just trying to milk more money out of the industry.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    sprkymrk wrote:
    They have tried revamping the MCSE ever since NT4 and no one has cared. To create a testing process akin to what you want costs money, and then everyone complains that they are just trying to milk more money out of the industry.

    What have they done to improve MCSE besides certify millions of people? I don't see any hands on labs, still Q&A and crappy sims. MS is not milking the industry, they are only asking 25K! icon_eek.gif
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    garv221 wrote:
    sprkymrk wrote:
    They have tried revamping the MCSE ever since NT4 and no one has cared. To create a testing process akin to what you want costs money, and then everyone complains that they are just trying to milk more money out of the industry.

    What have they done to improve MCSE besides certify millions of people? I don't see any hands on labs, still Q&A and crappy sims. MS is not milking the industry, they are only asking 25K! icon_eek.gif

    If you can't see the difference between the old NT4 exams and today's, then I suppose I can't convince you they have moved in the right direction, though not quite enough. It still compares favorably with CompTIA, actually better IMO.

    Don't forget that the 25K includes 6 weeks of classroom training. How much for a week of CCIE training? A week of SANS? A week of crappy New Horizons training? Multiply by 6 and throw in the cost of the exams and it's not too far off.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,675 Admin
    sprkymrk wrote:
    garv221 wrote:
    I can think of better ways to invest my time and 25K than MCA, ALOT better investments.

    Personally I'd rather buy a new car. icon_lol.gif
    For 25K I'm keeping my old car and getting a Masters degree. Then I'll buy a new car...eventually.
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    Buying a new car in full is a horrible move. Give me 6 months with 25K, I will double it.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    garv221 wrote:
    Give me 6 months with 25K, I will double it.

    Yeah right. Talk to the hand garv.... icon_rolleyes.gif :P

    icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
    All things are possible, only believe.
Sign In or Register to comment.