Shopping for certification products can be quite confusing. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of companies, dozens of different training formats and wide ranges in price. So how do you narrow down the selection?
In this article we are going to show you how to quickly narrow down your product options while at the same time making ethical choices and improving the value of the certification you plan to achieve.
The solution is very, very simple. Do not buy products from companies that offer or claim to offer the exact exam questions. Here are the reasons that you should avoid these types of companies:
What you are buying is essentially a braindump (which are no good either). These companies often repackage freely existing questions from braindump web sites. Some of these companies may also obtain their questions from testing centers, whether it be with or without the knowledge of the testing center. The questions may be obtained by an employee of the testing center, by a candidate photographing the questions with a miniature camera or simply writing the questions down in testing centers where security is weak. It doesn't really matter how they do it, the end result is the same. You just paid $20, $30 or even $50 and gave it to a slum-lord of the certification industry; A person who spent a fraction of the time putting together their site and product in comparison to the many excellent companies that have spent months or even years developing quality products that will help you LEARN the material. The product that you purchased might help you pass your exam, but it will teach you nothing.
Those that use and produce these products, know somewhere in the back of their head that what they are doing is wrong. It is simply a choice. For those that choose to use and produce these products, there are always rationalizations that allow them to sleep at night despite the fact that they are selling out the rest of us. Common excuses include:
Argument: Microsoft retires certifications too often and I am constantly in a state of studying for certifications. Response: Deal with it! MS recently decided to not to retire the NT 4.0 certification. If your company is requiring you to continuously get certified, then that is an issue that you should take up with them. Staying certified represents a willingness and ability to stay on top of current technologies.
Argument: Microsoft exam questions have nothing to do with the everyday job responsibilities of a systems administrator. Response: Irrelevant! It is not your place to decide what Microsoft should test you on. If you don't like the content of the exams, complain to Microsoft or don't get certified. MS recently released the MCSA certification that should partially address this issue.
Argument: Certification Exams are too expensive. Response: Tough! There are plenty of people making very little money that find ways to pass the exams ethically. Many companies will pay for certification expenses and there is even financial aid available. If you are doing things the correct way, then you already have a job in the I.T. industry and should be able afford the cost of the exams and preparation products. Not to mention that there are hundreds of free certification study guides and thousands of free practice questions available on legitimate sites like ours. If you can't afford your rent, is it OK to rob a bank? Sell heroin?
By using these products you not only cheat your way into a certification, you also allow a thief that stole the questions from the testing vendor to make a lot of money. This is money that should rightfully go to the companies that dedicate their existence to helping you learn. By funding these rogue businesses you enable more and more unqualified individuals to pass certification exams, which makes the very certification you achieved worth less. If you have never taken an economics class, it is a simple case of supply and demand.
What comes around, goes around. There are countless stories of those who have memorized the exam questions and then failed miserably in the real world because they did not know how to perform any of the job functions that their certifications implied that they could. If you are already an accomplished I.T. professional, why tarnish your slate? If you are incapable of displaying ethics while getting certified, how will you do so on the job?
There are enough companies making really great certification products that it seems silly to use anything else. We have listed a good number of them in our Training Directory.
Another very good option is to check the URL of the company you are considering at CertGuard