One suggestion for reducing the number of IT cheats is for the industry to become more professional overall. Northcutt points out that unlike doctors, lawyers or accountants, IT workers are not licensed and do not have a standard of practice or a code of ethics. Other professions have trade associations and state licensing boards to provide a level of deterrence for ethical lapses such as cheating on certification exams.
"If you go to the Defcon-type events, the attitude is it's OK to do things because you can. There's a view that just because you have a certain amount of knowhow, that lets you get away with some unethical behavior," Northcutt says. "At some point, we're going to have to hold ourselves accountable to the business as professionals."
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