Is it worth it?

Unanswered Question
Oct 18th, 2007

I'm sure this question gets asked all the time, and I know the answer is certification with experience is worth more than experience and certif. without experience is almost worthless.

I have a bad taste about certs because I got into networking with an MCSE that cost a lot and ended up being worthless. I now have 10 years experience, all routing and (some) switching. It's been several years since I've done any BGP or ATM LANE but I have done a lot of stuff - including SNA/DLSw ISDN etc. I run a fairly big hub and spoke cisco network right now but it doesn't require super-fancy configuration. I've been interviewing and so on, yet i'm still wondering, is it worth it to get certified? Obviously tacking on a CCNP would be better than not having it. But then again, CCNP wasn't on the Global Knowledge top 10 that popped in my email the other day, even if CCIE was. and, to my ire, the MCSE is now #1.

So it appears I'm bad at timing the market. While I think I'm qualified to go after CCIE as I'm sure I've explored some obscurities many CCIE's never did in the real world before or even after getting it, I just don't have the time to devote to it right now.

I could probably swing the CCNP, time wise, but I'll have hell to pay to my wife if it doesn't translate into something :) So, does anyone have any good insights on the current value of the CCNP routing and switching?

Another thought was, has anyone tried taking the CCIE written and holding the lab tentative? I've seen employers looking for the "CCIE written" even though it's not a cert.

So if anyone out there with experience has a story about how the CCNP makes a difference, I'm interested.

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Overall Rating: 5 (1 ratings)
flash2200 Thu, 10/18/2007 - 13:04

Most Cisco jobs I see want at least a CCNP as a minimum.

Of course they also want "X" number of years of "design and implementation" experience which rule out a whole lot of candidates... sigh.

I don't think any cert constitutes a magic ticket to a job any more. You really need to be careful here because you can spend a lot of time and money developing a "niche" skill set based on where you think demand is going to be in the future. Choose well and you're employed. Choose wrong and your career can bluescreen.

That being said both cisco security (CCSP) and VoIP (CCVP) are hot right now but most employers also want CCNP in addition to one of these.

Bottom line... I'd get it but recognize it as a start... not an end.

NoCertGuy Thu, 10/18/2007 - 15:53

Thanks Martin and Flash.

I had actually seen that salary survey. That was one reason I started thinking about it again. That and the fact that I've missed interview opportunities for not having it (ones I know about in addition to ones I don't know about). However, in those cases, the ones I know about, the hiring managers didn't seem to know anything at all about certifications and one of them was looking for an acronym that didn't even exist in the certification world.

But like anything else, I suppose, perception means as much as anything else, had I had it, I would of had two more interviews.

I get quite a few interview opportunities as it is, with no cert, but I wonder about the ones I might have missed not to mention salary bargaining chip. I will say in the interviews i've had with company people directly, the ones that are two or three hours, I'm almost 100% positive that certification has nothing to do with not getting call back.

I know employers search for it, I've tried tests where on my resume, I leave out any talk of certs, and then sometimes I'll put in, "pursuing CCIE" or "blahblah" comparable experience and I get huge numbers of hits probably because of the keyword search.

A benefit I've derived from going over practice tests is that networking is so implicit to me, i have a hard time talking about it. And in interviews i've waffled on questions because it's just stuff i never think about or talk about. I've even been reading config guides a little on stuff I've not used to get the buzz words down and ability to field basic questions.

I'm leaning in the direction for it and have been "studying" for the CCNA.

As far as putting myself in a nich, it's too late for that, i have 10 years routing and switching experience with virtually nothing else in the computer industry. :)

NoCertGuy Thu, 10/18/2007 - 17:08

Oh, *cough*, I forgot one other thing. Discounts. Isn't it true that resellers and I suppose large customers who use a lot of cisco gear get discounts for having certified employees? CCIE's resulting in the biggest discounts?

I've heard from colleagues that some companies can pay their CCIE's salary from the discounts they get by employing him.

I'm not really knocking it, honestly, it gives Cisco an extra incentive to keep it valuable. And I'm no idealist. I don't care if certification adds anything to my skill set or not, it's the $ that matter, however they come.

rgodden Fri, 10/19/2007 - 00:54

as well as a cert prospective employers will look at what training you have had to get the cert. If your current company values you then should have had some formal training, and you are not a cert collector .

rayroyaleverest Fri, 10/19/2007 - 04:50

The need for a certification seems to vary depending on the employer and the position. I have found that certifications help me do my job better.

NoCertGuy Fri, 10/19/2007 - 08:22

well yeah, you know I had thought of that :)

Point taken of course, that every job I apply for or that I get a call on from monster makes some mention of cisco certs. And just to have that out of the way, it might be beneficial. the jobs I have interviewed for so far, according to the HR person, I was their #1 candidate, first to interview and no certs (and when certs came up it's like, "well you know HR doesn't really know...). i don't think they were just looking to low-ball cuz they had money to burn. i haven't been called back and so the ego trip is long over.

I suppose if anyone lurking here had a career already going, and then got the CCNP and found it highly beneficial, it would help motivate me.

Danilo Dy Fri, 10/19/2007 - 07:47


First, don't read and believe those Top 10. It depends on whom they interview during the survey and what are their agenda.

The most important is if you are happy and satisfied with your current work and remuneration. Some companies are crazy about certifications (beside being forced by their partners), so if you work for those type of company, you better get the certification that they are aiming or requires. Certification is not always equivalent to promotion or salary adjustment, alas, it is more equivalent to additional job for those getting more certifications :)



rayroyaleverest Tue, 10/23/2007 - 10:34

I have found that certifications help me get interviews and do better in interviews, and also help me get a job offer.

bbayer Thu, 10/25/2007 - 21:48

Yes, the CCIE cert is worth it. It is extremely difficult and takes years to complete.

With ten years of experience and a R/S CCIE you can expect a minimum of $120K per year, and that is in a secondary or tertiary market and making silly demands like "I won't travel" or I want a laptop with a 17" screen. In a primary market you can expect at least $140K per year.

A premier partner gets about 40% off list. They cannot compete with a Gold partner. Gold partners get 48% off list. To become a Gold partner, a company must retain 4 CCIEs. There are only 14000 CCIEs in the world. That makes the competition fierce among Cisco partners.

I did it, at my company they treat me like a franchise player. They ask me which project I want to do. All the places I worked before I became a CCIE treated me like a dog and TOLD me what projects I was going to do.

I am very satisfied and plan on becoming at least a double CCIE.

Brian ": )

CCIE #14105


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