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How NetApp Protects the Value of Your NetApp Certification

[ Edited ]

A quick introduction. My name is Liz Burns. I joined NetApp in October 2014 as the Director, NetApp University Marketing, ALP and NetApp Certification Programs. Prior to NetApp I worked at EMC and most recently Juniper Networks. I have over 20 years’ experience enhancing personnel performance through development, implementation and management of innovative education programs. These last nine months have been a whirlwind of learning, planning, implementing!!!

 

NetApp is a great place, and the NetApp technical community is an awesome group to work with! As I approach my one year anniversary here – and as we prepare for some exciting events at Insight 2015 – I want to take a minute and talk about something that is very important to me – and one of the first things we implemented here at NetApp after I came on board - exam security.

 

Exam security is a passion of mine as it is so critical to the integrity and value of a certification program. Many of our candidates and stakeholders say the same thing. Those of you who have worked so hard to achieve certification do not want to see others "short cut" their way to certification, negatively impacting the value of the certification you carry. NetApp has implemented several new exam security programs, in recognition of the investments all of you make to acquire your NetApp certification. We are very proud to say that we protect this investment with a comprehensive and robust exam security program. I like to call it our “piece of the PIE” (Protect, Investigate, Enforce)!

 

PROTECT

 

At the beginning of this year NetApp launched a comprehensive set of exam security policies and procedures, along with a strong Candidate Agreement. These are available on the NetApp Certification website and provide detailed information on what NetApp defines as exam fraud as well as the actions we take when violations are identified. A critical part of these policies is the NetApp Certification Candidate Agreement that all exam takers must agree to before taking a NetApp exam. I encourage all to read this agreement as it provides information on how we investigate report and enforce against exam fraud.

 

NetApp exams are uniquely built to identify when a test taker has had prior access to the actual exam questions/answers and does not truly understand the exam content (and therefore should not be certified). This is critical as there are hundreds of websites making lots of money charging exam takers for "actual" questions or "practice tests". Our certification process assumes the exam taker has not seen the exact questions/answers when preparing and has not had assistance during the exam. Therefore, prior access to the exam questions/answers does, by definition, invalidate an exam attempt. It is important to note that the exam taker does not have to be aware that they have seen the actual questions. Intent is not required for exam results to be invalid. So please be very careful where you get your exam prep materials from! The best place to get exam prep materials is from authorized NetApp training – via NetApp directly or from our authorized learning partners. Other resources are listed on our NetApp Certification website, which is continuously updated as we refresh existing exams or publish new exam.

 

INVESTIGATE

 

Every exam attempt is analyzed for possible violation of our exam security policies before a final pass is awarded, and a certification granted. This analysis will identify, within 1 in 1 million chance of error, when a candidate has had prior access to the exam content and benefited from that prior access (i.e., they would not have passed without seeing the exam questions before sitting the exam).

 

In addition, we conduct regular web searches to identify any websites selling our exam questions and answers – in violation of the NetApp copyright. We identify where exam content is being offered – either free or for a cost. Takedown notices may be sent to the 1) web service provider, 2) payment processor and 3) owner of the content. This is a bit of a “whack-a-mole” process as these sites are always popping up. However, the objective is to be vigilant and make sure these sites know NetApp is serious about pursuing those who violate our copyrights.

 

ENFORCE

 

When exam security violations by individuals are identified we take action. Candidates who pass an exam by using the actual exam questions/answers to prepare have not shown the required knowledge and skills to be NetApp certified. These individuals misrepresent themselves as knowledgeable about NetApp technologies and solutions. They can be harmful to their employers/customers. When we identify such individuals we will revoke their exam results, and any associated certifications. If a “first offense” we allow them to retest. Individuals who do this on a regular basis are banned from participating in the NetApp certification program.

 

When testing centers are identified as security risks we take action. Testing center violations include, but are not limited to, stealing exam content, providing candidates “assistance” before and/or during the testing process, and allowing “proxy test takers” to take an exam for someone else. NetApp has a zero-tolerance policy related to testing center exam security violations. Any testing center identified with an exam security incident is removed from NetApp testing. Our testing partner, Pearson VUE, has a high quality channel, robust security policies and technologies and a secure testing application. They work with us in these efforts to keep the testing centers secure.

 

As you can see, we at NetApp are PASSIONATE about protecting and promoting the value of the NetApp certification you work so hard to achieve and maintain!!! You do not want to get an email from me with subject line “Exam Security Incident with Your NetApp Exam” so be careful where you go for exam prep materials. The NetApp Certification Program web page is the best place to start when preparing for your certification exam!