Recently, I was on a CompTIA-related message board, and I noticed a disturbing trend. Most people posting were directly asking which multiple-choice questions other testers had on their exams and what PBQs they had. I was under the impression that sharing that information violated CompTIA's NDA. When I brought it up, I was met with derision and mockery.
There were also a lot of posts recommending 16-hour free video series and questionable practice exams. When I suggested taking a class, using CertMaster resources, or getting a decent book from Amazon, I was again met with mockery and ridicule.
There seemed to be a pervasive culture of encouraging cutting corners and taking shortcuts to "check the box" to get a cert and a tech career. They seemed to be mostly younger people with no experience whatsoever. It felt like a bunch of high school kids trying to share secrets on how to scam the system. None of them wanted to hear from an old geezer like me who told them they needed to study hard to have practical applied knowledge of the information and not just memorize and exam cram. My suggestions fell on deaf ears.
Does what we do as trainers really matter? Even in my 20+ years of being a trainer, I've encountered the occasional student (or class) who didn't care about learning as they did about "checking the box." I know I can't make people want to learn, but it's challenging to help them when they have a poor work ethic and attitude. There will always be people who try to cheat the system to get a certification that, quite frankly, they don't deserve. Even if they get certified and get past the recruiters and hiring managers, they'll struggle to perform the most basic tasks because they took the easy way out. Employers will see them struggle and start to believe the certifications have little value in the real world.
Maybe I'm just an idealist, but I strongly believe that certifications, or any education for that matter, have incredible value. They show that a person has a baseline mastery of a topic; for years, I've been preaching that the A+/Network+/Security+ trifecta should be the baseline level of certification for any tech job. Those three certifications are the broadest, foundational knowledge areas to cover how things work and basic troubleshooting. From there, a person can pivot into numerous different specialty areas.
Why do we do it? Why do we choose to be technical trainers? Does anyone care any more?