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Making Progress

A lot of progress has been made over the last few years to gain the necessary professional respect for the new breed of certified IT experts. Many certification vendors are working hard to raise the bar. CompTIA, best known for its vendor-independent, entry-level certifications, is reminding candidates that they, too, carry responsibility for the recognition of the very certificate that they are pursuing by sitting down for a CompTIA test. Each exam candidate has to agree to a confidentiality agreement before taking any exam:

...you acknowledge that all contents of this test including, without limitation, all instructions, test questions and responses, are the proprietary, confidential and copyrighted materials of The Computing Technology Industry Association, Inc. ("CompTIA") and may not be duplicated without the express written permission of CompTIA. Any disclosure of the contents of this test is strictly prohibited. ...you agree to maintain the confidentiality of all instructions, test questions and responses contained in this test and not to duplicate, reproduce, republish, post, distribute or otherwise disclose, in any way, any of such instructions, test questions or responses. Please be aware that violators of federal copyright law are subject to injunctions, civil liability, forfeiture of profits, punitive damages and other legal sanctions.

Other companies and organizations have taken a similar approach. Microsoft, the largest issuer of certification certificates in the IT industry today, is starting to exact harsher penalties for anyone who divulges exam details.

If a test-taker is caught cheating, disclosing exam questions or "otherwise compromising exam integrity," they will now be suspended permanently from being able to take a Microsoft certification exam as well as obtaining any Microsoft certifications. (Certification Magazine, October 2000)

Similarly, the Certified Network Professional (CNP) certification conferred by the Network Professional Association (NPA) is closely guarded by a professional Code of Ethics. Its candidate agreement expressly states the NPA's "right to revoke any Certificate which has been awarded by it in the event that the recipient violates the Codes, or engages in conduct which is a discredit or disgrace to the network computing profession"(http://www.npa.org).

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