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Microsoft goes after cheaters hard, and catches smart students

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by Chopperchand, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. Chopperchand

    Chopperchand Nibble Poster

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    Hi All

    Just wondering what everyone thought about the article below

    http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/33458?nlhtmn=rn_100208&nladname=100208microsoftal

    Does it make people who know there stuff uncomfortable, that they are being questioned about there ability??

    Chopperchand,
     
    WIP: MCSA Sql Server 2012
  2. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    I think this can only be seen in a positive light as I personally work hard for each MS exam not just knowing the abc answer but the practicality.

    I think Microsoft should do more in light of this as this would give well deserved MCSE holders some credibility and a sense of achievement on obtaining the MCSE through hard work and experience.

    Lastly, this would also make recruiters and HR personnel view the cert with some respect as to advertising 1st line helpdesk role and MCSE holder for 15k to 18k. Yes check www.jobserve.co.uk and you'd see it for yourself.

    I'd say do more please, Microsoft.
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  3. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    For me "No", even though I do not like being testing (contrary to the amount of exams I've taken). I know the subject(s) and while I may not be as prepared for a springed phone call as I would be for a scheduled exams, I'm most certain that I'd pass anyway.

    Yes, while achieving 100 in school your congratulated, I have seen a few MCSE's (in the 2k route) who have problems joining a XP machine to a 2k3 domain, even though it's done in the same way.

    These high level professional certs are there to reflect your job role and responsibilities and I'm tired of those people who cheat to pass the exams because they think (or have been told) that it's a short-cut to a high-paying job. They only devalue the certification program, once that's done, we're into the cycle of employers asking for these high level certifications (MCSE, MCITP: SA, MCITP: EA, etc) for tier 1 (helpdesk, junior/trainee tech, etc) staff.

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I think this happens anyway, certain employers like to 'Try it on', so to speak. Only yesterday I had an agent phone up and offer me a position with half my salary, sometimes they offer a third !

    I'm not sure who writes the job specs but many are poorly written and the agents aren't qualified to correct the position, and generally make things worse. The recent title changes from Microsoft are only going to make this worse in the short term, I can imagine candidates getting dropped from interview because they don't have MCSE and 'only have MCITP:EA' and similar !

    Also there is a tendancy to recruit the replace the person that left, rather than to fill a position. This can lead to some fairly bizare job specs. Its easy to imagine a junior working for a couple of years and getting more qualifications, if the employer knows about these they might think its suitable to put them on the job spec, even though they are qualifications of someone leaving the position, not entering.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  5. Gary B

    Gary B Nibble Poster

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    It all depends how they determine you're worth a call.

    If you get just above the pass mark would you be tested, there's a fair chance you'd get answers wrong but it wouldn't mean you were a cheat. You're asked 50/60 questions to get a better assessment of your knowledge and 3/4 answers simply won't do that.

    Also, I'd hope they weren't asking typical MS exam questions over the phone as they're a page long and full of irrelevent info and by the time they'd finished I'd have forgotten everything else.

    There's always an upside and a downside, we know the upside but the downside could be if they wrongly label people as a 'fraud/cheat' based on a few questions over the phone
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003
    WIP: You tell me
  6. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I can only hope that Microsoft, Cisco, or CompTIA would someday contact me to verify my knowledge about a subject!!! One... I'd be flattered. :oops: Two, I'd realize that they actually ARE doing something about suspected braindumpers in an attempt to salvage the integrity of their certification programs!! How can that be ANYTHING but good?

    Microsoft, I eagerly await your call. You've got my number. :wink

    I did want to address a couple of snippets from the article...

    That's because...
    1) there aren't braindumps for school exams,
    2) you aren't given a certification at the end of a school test, and
    3) at the moment, nobody is concerned with maintaining the integrity of a school diploma.

    Not only that... but a teacher who has spent weeks with his/her students is GOING to know who really knows their stuff and who doesn't. Microsoft doesn't know me from Adam. Even with the large number of exams I've taken in the past, there's no way for them to know whether I *really* know my stuff or not.

    But that's the point... they don't automatically assume the tester has cheated... they are simply verifying that the tester is, in fact, legit. In truth, the author is guilty of assumption as well by automatically assuming that Microsoft thinks the worst. Is it so unbelieveable that Microsoft might hope they've got a smart candidate, but they realize that they have a responsibility to the other certified individuals to ensure that the candidate is, in fact, genuine?

    Pffft. I'm thankful that Microsoft's TRYING to take steps in the right direction. Go back to the old days if you wish... I'm looking ahead to what I hope are brighter days.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  7. Dullage

    Dullage Byte Poster

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    As a noob to certification I feel comforted that company's are beginning to take actions against brain dumpers as this can only strengthen their appeal to both candidates and employers.
     
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: Network +
  8. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    It's a nice first step

    I keep envisioning the day where virtualisation has changed the way exams are administered forevever

    Cisco CCIE level exams are currently big old proctored events that require huge cost on both sides, the MCSE is rather easy to give the slip to in comparison

    But whats the middle ground? MS already have technology in the form of the advanced sims that can check for 'required state' results for a pass/fail scenario, so how long before we see you walk into a testing room with one screen, and have to actually do this stuff for real? you can even deploy a 2k3 box and test them on the upgrade process!

    Install windows
    configure ris
    install windows from ris
    dcpromp
    gpo, linking, etc
    remote access, the whole shebang!

    seriously, how far away could it be? with technology such as VMWare Lab manager, you dont even need the local horse power, this is where I see the future of interactive testing going, and its going to be a promising development for all of us who slogged our guts out for our certs year after year

    Edit: Hell even brandumps wouldnt work then, 'ok to pass the test you need to do this step by step' cool, the braindumps just showing you how to actually do what you want to say you can do, braindump now = training material (however poor it may be :)
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
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  9. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Still, even simulations (INCLUDING the CCIE) can be braindumped. Simply know how to do the 3, 5, 10 things that are on the exam, and you'll pass.

    Increase the number of simulations, and you'll make it more difficult to braindump... but at present, that's prohibitively expensive.

    What would work even better is if there were randomized variations... slightly different scenarios, different topologies, different company names, different server/router names, different usernames, different IP addresses, different variables. I believe one vendor is already catching on to the basics of this, though I cannot yet confirm.

    Not far away at all... Microsoft's been using virtual sandboxes for training labs for a couple YEARS now. Only a matter of time. :)

    Well, again, the only downside is that you wouldn't have to study much of anything... just the few simulations that you're gonna see. If/when there are a BOOKFULL of simulations, THEN one can say that there's no benefit to braindumping. Won't THAT be awesome? :)

    Still... there is one problem that seems to get overlooked when we start drooling over all-simulation exams: techs will begin to learn ONLY the practical application to the exclusion of the theory. It's great to know HOW to do something... but in my opinion, it is EQUALLY as important to know the how's or the why's or the facts behind something, which a simulation simply cannot provide.

    Only by providing BOTH the theory AND the practical application can we truly test techs. Split up an exam into two parts: a theory-based multiple-choice exam like we've got, AND an in-depth practical-based set of simulations (a BUNCH - not the weak 2 or 3 simulations they currently provide). Take the lowest score, and that's your final score for the exam. Thus, you'd have to pass BOTH parts - the theory and the practical - to pass the exam. THAT is the best case scenario, in my opinion.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  10. Big_nath

    Big_nath Kilobyte Poster

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    This frustrates me so much, i look for 1st/2nd line jobs and they ask for MCSE! It puts me off applying. As i only have MCP.
     
    Certifications: MCP, MCSA, MCSA:M, MCSE, MCTS
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  11. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    i have a question for you mike and anyone else out there - what if you get "caught cheeting" and you havent? i mean they cant prove you used braindumps? ok whizzing though the exam would say something but taking 2 1/2 hours and saying you cheated - and you didnt? I think more should be done at the recruiting level to avoid giving these people jobs!! :twisted:
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  12. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    It's easy for non cheaters to prove they know there stuff, its not so easy the other way around

    It's been a while since my Cisco certs expired, I'm technically no longer qualified, but I can hold my own with the best of them still


    In response to Mike
    The CCIE is a two part theory and practical test
    and I'm not talking about simulations as they are currently implemented, I mean true vanilla systems that you have to configure to the desired state, whatever way you like, CLI, GUI makes no matter, the results are whats judged

    I didn't mean to imply that theory would be left in the dirt, I think the two pronged theory / practical assault is the best course, and it could allow MS to move the theory back to actual THEORY like a Cisco exam

    'What is the port number that LDAP operates on' as opposed to 'Your name is Jenny. Jenny is an IT admin somewhere. Jenny wants to allow LDAP communication between two servers but is confused. Whatever should little Jenny do?
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
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  13. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Did you read the article? If you get caught cheating and you haven't, then like the guy in the linked article, you have nothing to fear.

    Microsoft cannot regulate recruiters, nor can they count on them to do what needs to be done. If Microsoft wants to fix their problem, they have to tackle it themselves.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  14. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I know that... but currently, both parts are braindumped.

    Yep, that'd be great, provided the configurations and requirements are shuffled up.

    Agreed. Unfortunately, with the release of that Microsoft beta exam that consists of nothing but simulations, I fear that Microsoft may be moving towards an all-practical-no-theory mindset. I can only hope that's not the case. Only time will tell.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  15. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    School and University exam boards around the world seem to have already solved this problem no ?

    For high volume certifications, why not create a yearly exam paper, that gets released at the same time and date globally and exams can only be sat for a few days ?

    Why not abandon multiple choice ?

    Why not abandon computer based testing ?

    Why not pay professionals to mark said papers ?

    The cost per exam is generally more for certifications than school/university, so I don't see the 'high cost' as an issue for a vendor that really cares about their cert programme, in fact as has been mentioned Cisco and some others already run higher cost testing programs.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  16. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Because they give their exams only a few times a year, and they switch the questions up so they're not braindumped. In contrast, you can take a Microsoft exam at any time, and you'll get many of the same questions in 2008 as you get in 2004.

    Because it is expensive to create exams every year. People like me don't come cheap, bro. 8)

    If there were a few days every year that you could take an exam, how in the world would anyone complete their exams in a reasonable amount of time? I don't study at their pace. Sometimes I am faster; sometimes I am slower. I guarantee I wouldn't have been able to knock out 61 exams had I been limited to one testing opportunity per year (because that's the number of times you could offer the exam before it becomes braindumped - you couldn't offer it multiple times throughout the year).

    Do you want to pay the cost?

    You don't see it as an issue... but as someone who works in the certification exam industry, I can emphatically state that it IS an issue. It is prohibitively expensive to do. Microsoft may administer a bunch of exams... but nowhere near to the same degree as the school boards administer them. Nor do the school boards have to maintain a certification program, nor do the school boards have to create hundreds of exams.

    If it were cost-effective to implement your suggestions, I guarantee you, they would be done. Do you honestly think that they haven't already considered what you propose? :D
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  17. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    This is irrellevant, who says you need to pass 61 exams ? People get awarded a degree or masters by passing 8-16 exams per year, all at the same time in a similar fashion.

    It would probably be cheaper to run because you would not need the betas and the large question pool no? They could save this money and spend it on more exams per year if they wanted.

    I don't think we really need hundreds of exams, does anyone even know how many Microsoft exams there are ? Add to that all the other vendors, IBM, Redhat, Sun, Cisco...

    The MCSE provided a simple metric for employers who wanted IT staff, who says they want hundreds of exams ?

    It rather depends on your definition of 'cost effective' doesn't it ? The microsoft Master and Architect programs already show different approaches. I must agree the cost of the Architect program seems too high.

    I'm sure people who write and mark physics and maths degree papers or MBA exams aren't cheap either. Or the people that accredit professionals in medicine or other professional professions.

    'Cost effective' all too often seems to be mean what makes the cert program profitable for the vendors and the test centres, everything else seems secondary. Its a massive global industry thats been created overnight, nobody wants to kill the golden goose...
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  18. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I do; I did.

    You're misdirecting from your original viewpoint about certifications vs. standardized exams. Exams for masters degrees aren't standardized. The instructor gives whatever exam he/she creates.

    You'd need a MUCH larger question pool - one set for each appearance of the exam. Thus, the cost increases.

    You always need betas - technology changes or becomes obsolete quickly. Plus, with a standardized exam, you'd have no opportunity to test betas before they're introduced.

    There are 163 exams listed on Microsoft's Web site... each of which they'd have to be responsible for (except for the ones that just retired).

    It's simply not cost-effective; you're either going to have to believe me based on my experience in this area, or disagree with me.

    I'm not talking about the MCSE, mate... I'm talking about every single certification Microsoft offers. This isn't just an MCSE problem... this is a problem with every Microsoft exam out there.

    And few people are pursuing the Architect program. If I had to guess, few will pursue the Master program.

    Not profitable... "break even". Honestly, they're not raking in money hand over fist. So why do they do it? It's simply free marketing, creating an army of people who are certified to support their technologies.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  19. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    There weren't always this many exams, you shouldn't frame the question based on the status quo, its about what could be not what is. Why this number ? Why not 10 or a 1000 ? Thats magical about 163 ?

    This seems to be the biggest problem, wouldn't it be better to have one well run non brain dumped cert than a hundred brain dumped ones ?

    I find this very hard to believe, its easy to 'break even' just by using accountancy practices. Why run training courses then, do they not run at a profit ? Why develop 163+ exams if they aren't profitable? Why not develop fewer more generic exams like Comptia ? Do the books not run at a profit ? Why would Vue and Prometric operate if not for profit ? Do test prep providers not make a profit ? Do training providers not run at a profit ? Ok so maybe microsoft part-subsidises their exams, what about the other vendors ? What about EC Council ? Do they not make a profit ? Their entire business is certifications !

    If profit is not related why have they dropped exams that were not popular, why not continue to run them ?
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  20. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Okay, I'll play your game: there could be - and should be - 163 exams... or more. Again, this isn't just about the MCSE. If it were, then I agree, 5-7 exams with no electives would be fine.

    How can Microsoft have only one certification? There are dozens of job roles, not just "server administrator"... :rolleyes: Come on, DMarsh, you're a programmer; don't tell me you're not logical enough to understand the need for a programming certification, a server admin certification, a desktop support tech certification, a database administrator certification, etc.

    I have no idea whether their training courses run at a profit. The training courses would exist with or without the certifications. I speak only with regards to the certification program itself.

    I told you why they would develop 163+ exams if they only break even on them: to create a free marketing program, complete with an army of techs who can recommend and implement and support their technologies. That's one of the reasons Microsoft is as successful as it is and why Microsoft servers are implemented as often as they are - they may not be the best or cheapest technologies out there, but they're supported and recommended by more people than the others are. It's not the only reason, but it is a reason.

    I never said anything about books or testing centers; I speak only about Microsoft's cost. Publishers ARE in the certification business to make a profit. Books are created only if there is profit to be made, because there is no other indirect benefit for book publishers - they aren't selling an OS or an app. If they don't make a profit from certification books, they stop creating them.

    Vue and Prometric are in more than just IT certification. That said, they are in business to make a profit; they make their money off of Microsoft and Cisco. Like book publishers, they have no way to indirectly benefit from certifications. If they didn't make a profit from administering IT exams, they'd stop administering them.

    Similarly, test prep providers are in the certification business to make a profit. If there's no profit to be made from the creation of a practice exam, it is not created. Like book publishers and test providers, they have no way to indirectly benefit from certifications.

    Microsoft, on the other hand, DOESN'T have to make a profit. They pay to create the exams, they advertise the program, they pay the test providers (who in turn, pay the testing centers), and they maintain the program... which ain't cheap. The main difference between Microsoft and the aforementioned companies is that Microsoft DOESN'T have to make a profit on this aspect of their business to stay in business. They profit from the sale of their software and hardware, which is recommended and supported by their legions of certified techs. The more certified techs, the more product ends up being sold.

    In contrast, CompTIA *does* have to make a profit, because they DON'T have indirect benefit from their certificiations. Aha... notice how much more expensive CompTIA's certification exams are? Plus, CompTIA doesn't hire trained technical writers to create their exams... they give "SMEs" (who are really just people who have passed their exams before) a couple hundred bucks to come (at the SMEs expense) to write questions for them. THIS is why CompTIA's questions are so poor! They can't be profitable AND hire qualified writers AND keep exam costs low.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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