25 thoughts on “Passed one more BrainBench test”

  1. Thanks :)

    BTW, I would strongly advise everyone to look at Brainbench since they have some free (sponsored) test and it is a whole fun to take those tests and see how well you can go. It also helps to see your strengths/weaknesses.

    Personally, I really like their tests and I constantly monitor if they have something new offered (for free).

  2. Heh, it reminded me an old movie “Genius”, when the guy couldn’t find better implementation of his diplomas except using then as wallpapers in the toilet :)
    My Congrats!

  3. Actually, I am not looking a lot on implementation of my certificates. My view is:
    1. It is a fun to pass tests and see some tricky questions there
    2. It is useful to see the after-test review of results and to see weaknesses and strengths
    3. No matter on how well one passes the test, at least the person does something to learn and improve, which I believe is very critical (especially in IT)
    4. I don’t see a point of using certificates as a toilet wallpaper. I just store all of them in one place and maybe one day I will refer to them just to show that I have at least some idea on the topic.

  4. Certificate does not guarantee any knowledge of the subject. It just means that you manage to pass the test. Brainbench certificates particularly are very weak.

    I remember back then I got “Project Manager” certificate. But it was one I specifically chosen because I knew nothing about it. I picked my answers totally randomly and I got enough points to get through. No brain attached…

    Try doing the same with something like Red Hat Certified Engineer – good luck. Many people study hard for it and still fail. And RHCE isn’t that hard either. I’ve heard that CISCO has some really nasty tests. Oracle is also well known in this regard.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to stop you from getting these. I’m talking about something totally different. If you like passing these – by all means, please, do. :)

  5. I’m way far from IT, but I’m fond of continuous improvement of my qualification and also have some professional certificates obtained through web-testing.
    Shall I make some comments then:

    1. “It is a fun to pass tests and see some tricky questions there” – это называется немного адреналина и не растекаться …опой по своей суперкомпетентности, а быть alert.
    3. “No matter on how well one passes the test, at least the person does something to learn and improve, which I believe is very critical (especially in IT)” – in EVERY profession, my friend, if the one considers him(her)self a professional.
    4. I don’t see a point of using certificates as a toilet wallpaper. – Ñ‚Ñ‹ нет, а другие (как показывает отзыв) – да :)

    Leonid Mamchenkov wrote:
    November 7th, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

    “Certificate does not guarantee any knowledge of the subject. It just means that you manage to pass the test. Brainbench certificates particularly are very weak.” – вообще-то мне казалось, что настоящий профессионал уважает других, даже если они weaker than him. А вообще-то само слово guarantee is weak and doubtful в этом контексте.

    “I remember back then I got “Project Manager” certificate. I knew nothing about it. I picked my answers totally randomly and I got enough points to get through. No brain attached…” – а кому тогда нужен такой brainless certificate? Леня вроде бы уделяет время self-appraisal, так это и есть его самооценка – No brain attached? Вряд ли…

    “Try doing the same with something like Red Hat Certified Engineer – good luck. Many people study hard for it and still fail. And RHCE isn’t that hard either. I’ve heard that CISCO has some really nasty tests. Oracle is also well known in this regard.” – ага, вот профессионал уже выпускает свой certificate of approval для тех, чьи сертификаты имеют ценность! его approval ценно по умолчанию…

    Все таки сильна, сильна конкуренция в рядах спецов… Даже неспецам читать интересно :)

  6. Dear Leonid,

    Referring to the fact that you consider the Brainbench certificates to be very weak, what do you have to say about the next issues:

    1. You have been taking brainbench tests yourself (can assume that maybe you just wanted to try them)

    2. You have at least 7 certificates (BTW expired) from brainbench, so even after you took some tests and you have seen their level, you continued taking the tests

    3. You have 7 certificates (even though again – expired) from brainbench listed in Your CV (may assume you haven’t updated the CV for a long time), but

    4. You have also listed the brainbench certificates you have in your (not so far ago created) LinkedIn Profile under the Honors part

    5. Your last certificate from brainbench is dated year 2000 and I really doubt you have checked their tests after that. Are you still sure they maintain the same level?

    6. Companies/Organizations like IBM, NASA and some others a mentioned at brainbench Case Studies?

    In addition I would like to place to notes:

    1. I currenty just don’t have chance to take RHCE or CCNA (and further CCNP) certificates, though I am planning for at least CCNA in the nearest future.

    2. I am not telling that getting a certificate from brainbench tells that you are a complete Pro/Geek/Whatever – it is not true. On the other side taking a test quite truely shows where you probably should study more as well shows where you have a clue (not necesseraly though you know everything).

    And finally I would like to give comments on some of your expressions:

    1. “Certificate does not guarantee any knowledge of the subject. It just means that you manage to pass the test” – does RHCE/CCNA/CCNP/MSCE or any other certificate then actually guarantee the knowledge? They only guarantee that you manage to pass the test (the question is a complexity, credidability and validity of the test)

    2. “Brainbench certificates particularly are very weak” – is it your opinion or a fact accepted globally?

    3. “Many people study hard for it and still fail” – many people do study hard for many things and fail. Sometimes (most of the times), just styding is not enough.

    4. “I’m talking about something totally different” – unfortunatelly I can not really get what you are talking about. From what I can see is that you are trying to show that brainbench certificates are totally useless and thus (probably) want to influence my decision on whether to take one more test from Brainbench or not.

  7. Wow! Now that is getting into a long conversation :)

    I’m way far from IT, but I’m fond of continuous improvement of my qualification and also have some professional certificates obtained through web-testing.
    Shall I make some comments then

    So far this is just a friendly discussion, and, last time I checked, you don’t have to have any special credentials to join, so – welcome. :)

    1. ”It is a fun to pass tests and see some tricky questions there” – это называется немного адреналина и не растекаться …опой по своей суперкомпетентности, а быть alert.

    Well, your statement about staying sharp is true only if there is any intellectual value in the test. But it’s not always so.

    ”No matter on how well one passes the test, at least the person does something to learn and improve, which I believe is very critical (especially in IT)\” – in EVERY profession, my friend, if the one considers him(her)self a professional.

    While I do agree that learning is important for any profession, I find the use of tests as learning materials quite questionable. Tests, I think, are good for testing (and not always so, even). For studying (learing?) there are a number of other methods, like research, reading, lab works, etc. Most of those other methods are much more efficient for learning. I think.

    ”Certificate does not guarantee any knowledge of the subject. It just means that you manage to pass the test. Brainbench certificates particularly are very weak.\” – вообще-то мне казалось, что настоящий профессионал уважает других, даже если они weaker than him. А вообще-то само слово guarantee is weak and doubtful в этом контексте.

    Lana, can you please point where exactly in that quote I showed disrespect to anyone? Bonus for pointing out those words, where I call myself a professional and someone else less so. I re-read that quote a few times and still fail to see how it could be interpretted that way. In any case, that was not the meaning.

    ”I remember back then I got \”Project Manager\” certificate. I knew nothing about it. I picked my answers totally randomly and I got enough points to get through. No brain attached…\” – а кому тогда нужен такой brainless certificate?

    The point here was not to get a certificate, but to see how Brainbench testing system works. If I can pass an exam without knowing anything about the subject, then I personally consider such testing system very weak.

    Леня вроде бы уделяет время self-appraisal,

    Who in the world told you THAT???

    так это и есть его самооценка – No brain attached? Вряд ли…

    The process of passing that test in “with no brains attached” mode. I was just selecting random answers from multiple-choice and typing in random strings, where asked.

    Note, I am talking about one particular test I took, not all tests, and not Brainbench or my life as a whole.

    ”Try doing the same with something like Red Hat Certified Engineer – good luck. Many people study hard for it and still fail. And RHCE isn\’t that hard either. I\’ve heard that CISCO has some really nasty tests. Oracle is also well known in this regard.\” – ага, вот профессионал уже выпускает свой certificate of approval для тех, чьи сертификаты имеют ценность! его approval ценно по умолчанию…

    Please, stop trolling.

    I am not making any “certificate for approval”. I’m just saying that in my opinion Red Hat testing system is much stronger than that one of Brainbench. And that I’ve also heard enough about Oracle and Cisco to consider their testing systems stronger than Brainbench. I’m just comparing things that I had experience with, and things that I’ve heard a lot about. What’s wrong with that?

    Все таки сильна, сильна конкуренция в рядах спецов… Даже неспецам читать интересно :)

    What competition are you talking about? Me and my brother? We are not competing at all. As a matter of fact, we are woking in different areas of the industry altogether.

    And, also, my brother doesn’t have to get all certified for me to know how good he is. Trust me, I know. I respect him as a professional and, beleive it or not, quite often seek his advice on matters that he knows better than me (examples? no problem – hardware, Windows platform, Linux/Windows integration, office maintenance stuff, like printing, faxing, telephone systems, cabling… enough?)

    It seems that you’re looking for something which isn’t there. ;)

  8. Alex,

    You have been taking brainbench tests yourself (can assume that maybe you just wanted to try them)

    Yes, I’ve been taking those tests indeed. That just makes my opinion about Brainbench testing system more credible, no? I mean, at least I used it, and did so several times.

    You have at least 7 certificates (BTW expired) from brainbench, so even after you took some tests and you have seen their level, you continued taking the tests

    Yes. What’s wrong with that? You know that smoking is bad for your health, but continue to smoke… :)

    You have 7 certificates (even though again – expired) from brainbench listed in Your CV (may assume you haven’t updated the CV for a long time), but

    4. You have also listed the brainbench certificates you have in your (not so far ago created) LinkedIn Profile under the Honors part

    Yes, I did put those certificates in there, and I did so on purpose. Many people that I work with (or used to work with) take Brainbench certification seriously (Cyprus immigration department, for example). But it does not necessarily mean that I do so as well.

    In the same way as a lot of people take age, gender, race, or nationality seriously (meaning, their decisions are affected by this factors). But I don’t. Or, at least, I like to think that I don’t.

    Your last certificate from brainbench is dated year 2000 and I really doubt you have checked their tests after that. Are you still sure they maintain the same level?

    I have checked thrie system a few times since 2000. They often remind about themselves by emailing everyone who ever passed a test for certificate. I have to say that quality of tests varies a lot between tests (different levels, different subjects), but, overall, I find it weak. On the other hand, I think it’s nice to have that many tests on so many subjects in one place. Even if the testing system is weak…

    Companies/Organizations like IBM, NASA and some others a mentioned at brainbench Case Studies?

    Good for them. I understand why Brainbench is such a valuable resource for those companies. Mainly, there are two problems:

    1. Some industries, like IT for example, are very young and very dynamic. Such characteristics make it very hard to measure the “professional level” of a (potential or not) employee. Things are changing too fast. Compare, for example, daily changes in the life of, say, system administrator, and, say, cook. System administrators have to constantly improve their skills and expand their knowledge. Otherwise their value drops very quickly (5-10 years?). Cooks on the other hand, should improve their skills and expand their knowledge, but if they don’t, they won’t have such drastic changes to their careers.

    2. Companies like IBM, NASA, etc are huge. And no matter how hard they try to be fast and dynamic, they are still slow to move around.

    If you put these two problems together – fast industry and slow company – you have a doubled tripled and quadrupled product of the powers of … ok, I’m getting to mathematical here, but you get the idea. Suddenly, there is such thing as Brainbench which takes away a lot of the pain…

    But, as I said, I understand the value of Brainbench to those companies. But the value of Brainbench to individuals is questionable. If you find it valueable – good, I’m glad for you. I used to too, but not anymore.

    I currenty just don’t have chance to take RHCE or CCNA (and further CCNP) certificates, though I am planning for at least CCNA in the nearest future.

    I understand. And I am not by any chance insisting that you should drop everything and work towards RHCE or CCNA or anything else. I’m just sharing my experience – I think that preparing for those exams will teach one much more than passing half of the Brainbench tests.

    Note, that’s just my opinion – feel free to disagree.

    Also, note, that I am not suggesting that you should pass those exams. But since you mentioned the educational value of Brainbench tests, I suggest that you at least look into course materials and sample questions of RHCE and CISCO tests. Those are available from the web in great variety. I’m just giving you a pointer, if you want to learn something. If you don’t, or you have done so already, or if you don’t agree with me on the value of those materials – please, ignore the pointer. I’m not pushing anything down your throat. I’m over that period. Or, at least, I like to think that I am. :)

    I am not telling that getting a certificate from brainbench tells that you are a complete Pro/Geek/Whatever – it is not true. On the other side taking a test quite truely shows where you probably should study more as well shows where you have a CLUE (not necesseraly though you know everything).

    I agree. And the better the test, the more obvoius your strenghts and weaknesses to you. By the way, by “better test” I am not suggesting “difficult test”. :)

    “Certificate does not guarantee any knowledge of the subject. It just means that you manage to pass the test” – does RHCE/CCNA/CCNP/MSCE or any other certificate then actually guarantee the knowledge?

    No. I was talking about ANY tests. Be they Brainbench, Red Hat, Cisco, or final exams in the college. Even driving license tests don’t guarantee that the person can drive properly – only that he/she did enough correct actions and not enough incorrect actions to pass the test.

    “Brainbench certificates particularly are very weak” – is it your opinion or a fact accepted globally?

    This is my personal opinion.

    “Many people study hard for it and still fail” – many people do study hard for many things and fail. Sometimes (most of the times), just styding is not enough.

    I didn’t make it clear enough, sorry. What I meant was that from my personal experience, there was no way I could pass RHCE test without studying hard for it. But I could easily pass a few tests that I knew nothing or very little about at Brainbench. For me personally that means that Red Hat’s testing system is supereour to Brainbench’s.

    I might be wrong, of course, but this is what I think.

    From what I can see is that you are trying to show that brainbench certificates are totally useless and thus (probably) want to influence my decision on whether to take one more test from Brainbench or not.

    1. I am not trying to show that Brainbench certificates are totally useless. I am only saying that they have no value to me. And that other testing systems do have value to me. If that is different for you – that’s OK by me. To each his own, they say.

    2. I am not trying to influence your decision. I’m just sharing my experiences and thoughts on the subject. You are welcome to ignore them. If I sound too annoying, just let me know and I’ll shut up. And by all means I don’t mean no disrespect to anyone around here.

    Peace. :)

  9. “I suggest that you at least look into course materials and sample questions of RHCE and CISCO tests” – unfortunatelly I have not checked RHCE yet, but I have quite a good view on CCNA exam since I was not only checking some published sample parts of the test, but I also got to read a lot of CCNA related studying materials (and that is actually what helped me with passing Cisco Routers Fundamentals exam). The point here is that in most of the cases Brainbench is more like a general certificate for a non-very-advanced people, while CCNA (and I suppose RHCE) is focused more on a very advanced and rare topics. To pass brainbench you need to know basics and better have some expirience, while CCNA and RHCE require you to know ALL the internals and in addition they give you a lot of non-standard problems to solve.

    “Peace. :)” – just can’t imagine anything else here :)

  10. Dear Leonid,

    I hate to interfere your high-voltage brothers conversation, but since I’ve got such an elaborate and emotional response from you on my modest comments, I cannot leave it unattended.
    And of course, the topic is very interesting :)

    Just let’s put aside a personal stuff, ha? Great minds discuss ideas. Small minds discuss people. Shall we stick to “ideas” then?

    INTELLECTUAL & EDUCATIONAL VALUE OF TESTS is low, nobody will object it. Getting prepared to the test – yeah, here some value lays but, again, it might be low as well (it depends on what the test is, and you’ve said before that “there was no way I could pass RHCE test without studying hard for it” – so, there is a value then). Also, you would (and you did) agree that through passing on-line tests the one can make an extra check of his(her) competence, response time, practical applications of theories and rules, time-pressure management etc. May be that was a meaning of “learn and improve” – at least, this is how I got it and joined the conversation.

    That you are a PROFESSIONAL – this is implied for me. The other pros are those people who design and develop brainbenchlike facilities, so your rather agressive and intensive critics of the brainbench system weaknesses showed me some lack of respect. My position is that “I’ve also heard enough (sic!) about Oracle and Cisco to consider their testing systems stronger than Brainbench. I’m just comparing things that I had experience with, and things that I’ve heard a lot about(sic!)” is not sufficient to make conclusions regarding the system’s strenghths and weaknesses. What experiense did you have (design, development?)- imagine, if your opinion is taken by somebody outside your brotherhood, just by any average non-advanced user. You make impression, and it’s better to make it substantiated (IMHO).

    As regards continuous SELF-APPRAISAL – what’s wrong with that? Isn’t it an essential part of the one’s self-development and personal/ professional progress?
    By the way, testing is a useful tool to make a quick evaluation of your skills: if somebody “easily” passed some tests by randomly (and maybe repeatedly)ticking the points in multiple-choice answers when knowing “nothing or very little about it” – that shows a true value of those “skills” but not the system weakness in the first place. It’s not about you, ofcourse – I’d also passed that type of tests some time ago.

    As reagards a COMPETITION – sorry, but the last things I was interested to know is 1.that Alexander is your brother and 2.what do you think of him.
    For the outside reader (i.e. me) your conversation – being saturated by comparisons, counter-points and quick judgements – looks like a battlefield of two clever people who (deliberately or not) try to outperfom each other. I repeat – it looks like. Since the outsiders’ access is not banned here yet, let them enjoy the story :)
    So, what am I looking FOR – this is a topic of another conversation not with you and not here.
    But what am I looking AT is the interesting and fascinating exchange of opinions on the professional subject with a bit of personal touch. And that’s one of the benefits of blogging you taught me, isn’t it?

  11. Alex,

    The point here is that in most of the cases Brainbench is more like a general certificate for a non-very-advanced people, while CCNA (and I suppose RHCE) is focused more on a very advanced and rare topics.

    Exactly! And for me personally, advanced knowledge of few topics is much more valueble than generic knowledge of many topics. Hence the suggestion. :)

  12. Lana,

    your high-voltage brothers conversation

    There is nothing high-voltage about this conversation. Either that, or I am missing a large part of it. :)

    The other pros are those people who design and develop brainbenchlike facilities, so your rather agressive and intensive critics of the brainbench system weaknesses showed me some lack of respect

    I haven’t said anything about the people who designed Brainbench testing system. I am talking about the system not about the people behind it.

    What experiense did you have (design, development?)- imagine, if your opinion is taken by somebody outside your brotherhood, just by any average non-advanced user. You make impression, and it’s better to make it substantiated (IMHO).

    1. I don’t have to take part in design and development of the system to be able to compare it to another system. Example: if I can fuel two cars with 10 CYP worth of petrol, and can travel 50 km in one and 500 km in another – clearly, one car eats more petrol than the other. There! I don’t have to be a mechanic at all, let alone take part in design of any of these cars, to figure that out. Now, to answer the question “why this car eats more petrol?” – I should have a bit more knowledge. But just to compare their petrol consumption – I don’t even have to be in the automobile business.

    2. This web site is not the one where people come for reviews of testing and certification systems. This is a personal web site, where (mostly) personal conversations take place. So, the level of being “substantiated” here is not defiend by “average non-advanced user”, but by my brother and people who participate in this conversation.

    testing is a useful tool to make a quick evaluation of your skills: if somebody “easily” passed some tests by randomly (and maybe repeatedly)ticking the points in multiple-choice answers when knowing “nothing or very little about it” – that shows a true value of those “skills” but not the system weakness in the first place.

    Once again, the test was not about the skills, but about the system. If the system says that the person is knowledgable in area X, when he is clearly is not – the system is weak, and pointless. At least for testing in area X.

    looks like a battlefield

    Again, maybe it looks like it, but I don’t see no battlefield, not war, and no weapons around here. Just a pieceful discussion, which is one of many.

    So, what am I looking FOR – this is a topic of another conversation not with you and not here.

    Lana, you are misquoting me, and possibly misreading too. I didn’t say that you are looking for something. I said: “it seems that you are looking for something”.

    But what am I looking AT is the interesting and fascinating exchange of opinions on the professional subject with a bit of personal touch.

    I’m glad that you can see it like that. ;)

  13. Dear Leonid,

    for me personally, advanced knowledge of few topics is much more valueble than generic knowledge of many topics

    but not for me. I would tell it this way:
    – It is good to know one thing professionally (have a specific in something) AND
    – It is good to know something (basics) of as many other things as possible, since first of all it allows you to more easily change you specific (by studying a lot one of the fields you know only basics about) AND it extends your point of view since you know how other things work. For example: if you are only Windows Administrator OR you are only Linux Administrator, you will probably not be able to explain in all details the [dis]advantages of one system with respect to other.

  14. This web site is not the one where people come for reviews of testing and certification systems.

    Don’t make it absolute. If you are coming here not for certificates review, it does NOT stops someone who values my opinion to check up about certificates (especially brainbench) here. Actually, I can see even some search queries with regards to brainbench that pointed to my blog. I know I do not give huge and good reviews on the subject, but still, there is some info here and one can find it useful (like this discussion at some point).

    This is a personal web site, where (mostly) personal conversations take place

    Though this site is called to be my personal blog and sometimes there are some personal posts, mostly all posts are technical, since I prefer to put some useful technical info here more that write something about my personal being, and thus, a lot of comments/discussions are technical as well :)

  15. Just to add to my last comment, here are some search queries from webalizer stats for the last month (October), which contain “brain\s*bench” and/or “certificate” in them:

    – brainbench certificate
    – brainbench certificates
    – brainbench certificates no good
    – brain bench certificates
    – brainbench
    – brainbench certificates useful
    – brainbench comments
    – brainbench router fundamentals
    – brainbench sertificate login
    – computer fundamentals winxp brainbench
    – free brainbench tests
    – network security brainbench test

  16. Alexander,

    What I mean is that this website is not an authority on anything except your personal matters. If someone decides to make an authority on, say, Brainbench certification, it’s his/hers own problem, and it’s he/she who should be careful about trusting such a resource, and not me, while expressing my personal opinions on such a resource.

  17. Regarding your statistics… Consider the fact that this page now has “sex animals goat ugly adult” string on it, and some people will end up here because of it. What does it tell you?

    To me it says that:

    1. Most search engines are stupid.
    2. Most people are stupid.

    That’s about it. ;)

  18. For example: if you are only Windows Administrator OR you are only Linux Administrator, you will probably not be able to explain in all details the [dis]advantages of one system with respect to other.

    As much as I agree with your statement, the example is way off. I think that System Administration is too specific by itself, to be further subdevided into Linux/Windows/etc.

    In order to see things differently, one should look at them from different points of view. Linux and Windows sysadmins look at issues from the SAME point of view, it’s just minor details are different.

    Now, if you take a sysadmin and photographer, or doctor and driver, or builder and diver – these are different points of view. But sysadmin and sysadmin are not. :)

  19. 1. It’s not a problem for me, I’ve learned to live with it. :)
    2. It’s not about people who surround me. It’s about all the people. Including myself. :)
    3. If you don’t see this, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. :)

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