Ethics, Integrity, and the CWNE ProcessBy Lee Badman On 04/10/2018
What does it take to be a CWNE? According to Lee Badman, a lot more than just submitting the application.
For most of us who have achieved the CWNE-level certification, it's a substantial accomplishment. The individual certs that lead up to CWNE, the experience gathered along the way, and the growing confidence in our abilities to create and support successful enterprise wireless networks are things that we will carry with us throughout our careers. We are influenced by others, and whether we realize it or not, we ourselves also help to shape the greater wireless world. But I'm here to tell you, just having strong technical chops isn't enough.
For those who don't know, I'm Lee Badman, CWNE #200 and a member of the CWNE Advisory Board. While I don't claim to speak directly on behalf of the Board, I do know that what I'm talking about in this piece is a shared sentiment among my fellow board members. Just as accomplishing our own CWNEs was something we each took great pride in, it's also an honor to be able to weigh in on each new CWNE application that is submitted. It's an honor- and a profound responsibility. Each of us knows what being a Certified Wireless Network Expert is to us, and what it likely means to those submitting their applications. We also know the amount of work that goes into the process, and the impact that this achievement can have on careers and self-esteem.
As meticulous as most applicants are in gathering their endorsements, writing their essays, and providing their blogs as part of the submission package, the members of the board try to be equally thorough in our analysis of each application. The requirements are the requirements as, outlined by CWNP. In addition to those stated requirements, there is one aspect of the process that is implicit without being spelled out on the application: you have to be honest with what you submit. As with pretty much any facet of life, dishonesty will usually catch up with you.
Please- for your own sake- if you are pursuing CWNE, make sure that every aspect of your submitted materials passes the smell test. Are your blogs really YOUR blogs, or did you take liberties with cut-and-paste? Are your essays genuine summations of your own projects, or did you poach content from a vendor's how-to-guides? Thankfully, the CWNE Board of Advisors doesn't see a lot of these unethical behaviors, but on occasion it happens. As easy as it is to lift somebody else's content, it's not much harder to identify that an applicant has decided to take the less than honorable path to putting together the CWNE application. When that happens, it's game-over for that applicant, with no chance of CWNE. To let these behaviors slide is to cheapen every CWNE ever awarded.
Beyond the CWNE candidate doing the right thing, I would also encourage any potential endorser to also do some soul-searching. How well do you know the applicant? Can you vouch for their wireless knowledge? Are you really willing to go to bat for the individual, or are you just being polite and filling a square? The CWNE program is only as strong as we collectively make it, through integrity. If you don't know the applicant's true capabilities, don't be afraid to politely decline to endorse.
To close, I'll take off my CWNE hat and speak as a human being. Whether you are at a conference on your employer's dime, away from your spouse at a job, or quoting a work for a prospective customer- just be a decent person. There's enough sleaze and fraud in the world these days. Each of us can balance that just a little by simply being honest and ethical in all of our dealings.