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Tired of interviewing “certified” engineers that look great on paper, but don’t actually have the skills to match their certifications? In a 2015 CompTIA study, 91% of employers believe IT certifications play a critical role in the hiring process and that IT certifications are a reliable predictor of a successful employee. But test takers have long figured out ways to cheat certification exams in order to appear more qualified. And in 2020, it’s become a huge problem.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, a professor of engineering at Purdue University said that there was a “massive number” of students who had used online resources like braindumps to get the answers to their exams, with as many as 60 students out of 250 doing so in one class. A brain-dump occurs when an individual takes an exam and then publishes all of the details online for other students to cheat. Unfortunately, this problem isn’t isolated to academia.

A 2019 investigation in Tampa, Florida, revealed an entire company that shared the exact certification exam with their staff the day before the test in order to maximize the number of team members certified. Quite frankly, it’s only getting worse as more and more exams move online…

Since the majority of testing has gone virtual in 2020, the rate of cheating has risen more than 8x, according to the CEO of ProctorU, a service which provides trained proctors to watch test-takers. This is common to see when the economy goes down, as people become desperate to find work and rationalize that it’s ok to cheat. But that doesn’t make it right.

Skills vs. Theory

This exposes a larger truth… Traditional IT certification exams are broken. Cheaters can exploit a number of loopholes in the current testing environments, from buying braindumps online to hiring proxy test takers. The result is that you can no longer rely on traditional certifications alone. That is essentially why we built NexGenT. We wanted to create a new standard of certification that verified a candidate’s true skill set. NexGenT students are a great place to look if you are trying to find and hire IT professionals. 

NexGenT founders, Terry Kim and Jacob Hess, were IT instructors in the U.S. Air Force and have over 40 combined years of experience in information technology. Their military backgrounds inspired them to build a unique training program with a curriculum unlike any other. Think about it, our military trains hard to learn skill sets that are needed on the battlefield. They go through rigorous bootcamps so that when they get out into the real world, they can hit the ground running. As IT instructors, Kim & Hess trained hundreds of young adults in a matter of months how to set up and deploy networks in the field. 

After separating from the military, both founders worked in the private sector for companies like Cisco Systems and Arista Networks. After getting to know CIOs of major companies across industries, it became obvious that the issue of finding skilled engineers and cheating on certification exams was a real problem.

That’s when we decided to take the “military grade” instruction from the Air Force and incorporate it into a new training approach – the FSNE program. FSNE stands for Full Stack Network Engineer, an evolution to network engineering that is critical in today’s IT landscape to address the entire IT stack we see across the infrastructure. Our certified FSNA & FSNP engineers now encompass the full set of skills across routing, switching, wireless, voice over IP, and network security… Everything you need to build out a functional enterprise network. NexGenT certifications are taught by industry veterans via both live training and real world projects that teach actual skills, instead of focusing on theory, book reading, and bubble-filling. The beauty of this approach is that these skills cannot be circumvented by online braindumps. To learn them, you actually have to put in the time and effort and to gain the certification, you actually have to perform the skills. 

When someone is tested on skills, cheating is not an option.

Training Skilled Engineers

If you are seeking to hire top IT talent, you should be looking for skills-based knowledge instead of certification based knowledge. 

Our FSNE advanced training includes 3 hands-on projects…

  1. Full Stack Networking Project – designed to provide an understanding of a complete HQ/Branch network and the project build-out process. In this project, students design and deploy a robust full-stack network with a headquarters and two branch offices.
  2. Cisco ASA SSL VPN Project – which walks students through the design, deployment and support of Remote Access SSL VPN on a Cisco ASA.
  3. Colocation Data Center Project – which enhances the existing Full Stack Networking Project by adding High Availability and dynamic routing with EIGRP at the HQ site.

In just 22 weeks, students are transformed into certified professionals equipped with three certifications: the Full-Stack Network Associate (FSNA) certification, the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification, and the Full-Stack Network Professional (FSNP) certification. But our engineers do not receive their certifications until they’ve passed a Skills Qualification Check that’s administered live by a NexGenT Instructor. That means you can rest easy knowing that the NexGenT verified engineer you’ve hired is capable of doing the job on day one, just as if they were ready to hit the ground running in the battlefield. 

Don’t just take our word for it. After securing a role as a Network Support Analyst at CarMax, one of the graduates from our FSNE program was told by his manager, “You knew more in your interview than other people I’ve interviewed with 10-15 years of experience.”

If you are ready to level up your team with an NexGenT certified engineer, fill out the type form at the bottom of our Employer Relations page to get in contact with our team and set-up an interview with NexGenT verified candidates that are ready to get started today. OR upskill your current team with one of our live education programs, which are enrolling now