Don’t believe every certification you see

Professional certifications have become a common tool for IT managers to use when deciding who to hire for their departments. But experts warn that a competitive job market may be leading many applicants to claim phony certifications.

Job applicants can cheat to get certifications in many ways, such as paying someone else to take the exam or by buying stolen tests online to easily learn the correct answers.

Most people in IT believe that cheating is rampant, according to a recent survey conducted by Network World — 72% of IT pros said they thought certification cheating was common among their peers. And 12% have personally witnessed someone cheating on a certification exam.

The majority (58%) believe that using stolen tests to “study” for an exam is unethical. But that still leaves more than 40% who apparently have no problem with it.

Cheating is up by about 10% over recent years, according to the folks at CompTIA, an organization that offers several top certifications. That’s mostly due to increased competition for jobs.

While applicants who simply lie about certifications can be easily found out with a simple phone call, those who pass an exam but do so using unethical means can be tougher to stop.

One method is asking pressing questions during the interview to make sure people actually know what the certificate says they do.