Why the ITCSC Is Important to You
The ITCSC Vision:
To eliminate practices or unethical activities that result in the granting of certifications to unqualified candidates.
The ITCSC Mission:
To promote and protect the integrity and value of information technology certifications for test-takers, employers and the industry through enhanced security, standards and public awareness.
For those who seek out certifications of value and invest the time and money, there is a well-deserved sense of satisfaction and achievement when one is obtained. Peers and businesses recognize this achievement as well.
Individuals who claim certification without having it, cheaters and people who use “brain dumps” diminish the value of your work. Companies that sponsor certifications recognize the need to keep an individual’s certification valid. So do companies that are in the business of providing certification-testing services. Creating large pools of test items and creating scenario-based questions are both ways to keep programs more secure and valid from a development standpoint. But these alone do not solve the problem.
As budgets remain tight in hiring and promotions, the validity of certifications becomes more important to businesses and individuals alike. This is where the IT Certification Security Council (ITCSC) comes into play, keeping your well-earned certification valid in the marketplace.
In the past, there was no central place or organization looking out for the integrity of the certification industry. Each program had to do the best it could to protect its own interests and the people who participated in the program. By pooling intellectual resources together and sharing best practices within the ITCSC, the certifications not only become more valuable, but they also can be protected better.
Within the membership of the ITCSC, best program practices are shared in frequent conference calls and face-to-face meetings. The team identifies and targets common exam fraud schemes and cheats. Then this information is passed back to the member companies for intellectual property follow-up.
The ITCSC also has an interest in educating HR departments about the proper use and validation of IT certifications. We are currently collecting data to provide more insight into the frequency with which HR departments verify that their employees’ certifications are real and are still valid.
How can you use the ITCSC? First of all, be sure you’re following the rules. The ITCSC suggests the following to be sure you’re a good test-taker:
- Use only legitimate materials and methods to prepare for exams.
- Take your own exams without assistance.
- Bring only your knowledge and experience into the test center.
- Remove nothing from the test center.
- Don’t share or talk about the content of the exam.
- Earn and be truthful about your exam results.
- Encourage others to do the same!
If you have concerns regarding activities around a certification test or program, visit the ITCSC’s Web site at www.certsecurity.org and use the “Contact” section to send e-mail to the ITCSC. You can also visit the Web site to see the latest activities and how your company can join the organization.
Another way you can help the ITCSC is to be sure that your employer’s HR department recognizes certifications correctly by verifying their existence and status. This way, the people still listing expired (or even fake) certifications get weeded out from the real certification holders.
There will always be individuals looking for a shortcut, and in the end they will be exposed if they don’t have the skills. However, these individuals can do far too much damage on many levels. If the ITCSC can help put an end to “unearned” certifications, the IT industry will be better served, as well as the individuals who put in the time, effort and energy to get certified.
Help the ITCSC help you protect the value of your certification.
Peter Manijak is the architect of the EMC Corp. certification program and has close to 20 years of experience in corporate training and certification. Stacy Gildenston is the director of business development for the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) and the chair of Marcom for the ITCSC.