NDA, the ITCC, and the responsibilities of test-takers

May 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Vendor news | Leave a comment
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(Editor’s note: John Shapiro, Vice President of Sales, is today’s team blogger.)

I believe it was an old American Express commercial that used the tagline “Membership has its privileges.”  While that can certainly be the case, more importantly, membership also has its responsibilities.

Transcender is a subsidiary of Kaplan IT Learning.  A couple of years ago, Kaplan IT became one of the charter members of the Information Technology Certification Council (http://www.itcertcouncil.org/).  This organization’s mission is to enhance the value of IT certifications. Transcender supports this mission wholeheartedly and enthusiastically (yeah!). At the heart of that statement is a collective desire by stakeholders in the IT certification business to make sure that we meet three vital goals:

  1. maintain the integrity of tests (i.e. reduce cheating)
  2. promote the value of individuals who have work/studied/sweated hard to achieve their certification
  3. help companies that hire IT professional understand that certified candidates are on the ball, understand the technology, and can be of great value to the company.

How do we do this at Transcender? We work to provide technically accurate test prep material that covers the published objectives without ever disclosing live questions. We support industry groups who promote certifications to employers, and support efforts to develop new certification methods (like performance-based testing) that better reflect a candidate’s real-world skills and work experience. And we strive to educate consumers (not just our customers, but all test takers) about the consequences of unethical test behavior.

Now, let’s talk about NDAs. All vendors have them in one form or another, and we’ve touched on this topic before. And, although we’ve had this particular post in the works for a while, there have been a recent flurry of reports across the industry that make it even more timely.

If you haven’t encountered the industry term “braindump” before, it refers to pirated live exam content sold online. Of course, people who buy braindumps think they’re paying for the correct answers as well, but there’s no guarantee the person who pirated the information even knows the technology; we’ve seen ludicrously incorrect examples come across our desks. (See our Top 5 Reasons To Avoid Braindumps.)

While buying a braindump is a blatantly obvious way to participate in NDA violations, there are others. Braindumps can also be forums where people post about specific questions they encountered on a test. This behavior might seem innocuous (or at least to fall into a gray area), but it’s very specifically prohibited by all NDAs (see the Citrix Candidate Conduct Policy for more examples of prohibited actions, and see Robin’s NDA post for links to other vendor NDAs).

There are some very real consequences to using braindumps and otherwise working against the integrity of the testing experience that can permanently affect your career – and the careers of others who depend on the value that certification adds to their job. Please, before you throw money (and possibly your reputation) down the drain, educate yourself about non-disclosure, braindumps, and safe exam study. If you’re not sure what does or does not constitute an NDA violation, you can always ask! Vendors are more than happy to answer specific questions on the issue.

Until next time,

–John Shapiro

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