cisco certifications .......

Unanswered Question
May 11th, 2008

Hello everyone,

I have been thinking about following the cisco carrier path, but there are a few thinks that I would like to know, wich I have not been able to find.

1) what are the certifications equivalent to ?

Are the CC*A - CC*P - CCIE equivalent to College - University, diplomas - degrees ?

I'm asking this because I'm trying to understand what these certifications are seen as in real life education levels.

2) I am personaly interested in not only the configuration/administrative aspect of networking but also the design and implementation side of it, would persuing both CCNA/CCNP & CCDA/CCDP paths to then get to the CCIE something worth doing? Or is it better to just stick to one of them?

3) This question is linked to question 2.

Since you have to recertify every three years, if you had the CCNA, would taking the CCDA exam also recertify your CCNA? or would you have recertify separately for that?

Thanks in advanced for any clarifications that you might be able to give me.

I have this problem too.
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celticfc2007 Sun, 05/11/2008 - 03:03


Others in the industry, can provide you with a more detailed response, but here's my stab at it.

1. Its kind of like comparing apples and oranges. But, I'd say a CCIE is similar to a masters degree, some might say phd =) Maybe to answer the context of your question, you should compare the specific cert from here:

with the info for the degree program, your referencing.

2. Personally, my long term 5-7 year goal is CCIE R/S, but I want to create flexible options, so once I reach CCNP, I'm going for CCVP, before pursing CCIE.

Some people will say, stick with one track all the way to the top, then branch out, others will say pursue the track you want from the start. The only thing that *really* matters is the prerequisites. I say pursue what interests you, what currently benefits your work or an area you'd like to work in.

As far as the design certs, people involved in design tend to have practical, technical experience from the other tracks.

3. The short answer is no. The link provided above, includes the specifics.


If you like typing commands instead of GUI interfaces, if you like troubleshooting, if you have a core interest in how networks operate, you'll enjoy pursuing Cisco certs, if not, theres always an MCSE =)

Good luck in your pursuits.

scottmac Sun, 05/11/2008 - 06:17

There is no equivalence between a certification and a college degree at any level.

Certainly how each is viewed is also a function of the local culture and skills demand, but IMHO, the bottom line is this:

Even if you were a multiple CCIE (and no college degrees ), if, for whatever reason you leave the computers / networking market and try to go to any other discipline, it means virtually nothing.

Outside of the networking community, networking certifications are nearly worthless, even the high-level ones.

An AS, BS, MS,{etc} will always have value and , with rare exception, always be recognized as advanced education (i.e., beyond high school), even outside of the studied discipline.

Many companies (Motorola, for example) will not hire you unless you have a degree ... any degree, even if you had every CCIE certificate offered ... no degree, no job.

In terms of what level of certification might be associate with what job levels, that is also variable. I'm aware of a company that has some arbitrary rules regarding promotion based on certifications ... some jobs do the same thing with college degree levels ... to be a manager at the next level, you must have the next higher degree.

Regarding question #2, it is actually fairly common for engineers to get both the NP and DP tracks. Many of the people that I used to work with (I moved job recently) were NP/DP (or VP/DP).

If you're intending on pursuing a Professional level cert, then those tests will also re-cert your NA/DA, and so will the re-certification for the Professional level.

Do one track at a time (finish NP, then start with the Design track); don't get the NA, then the DA, then continue with the NP studies.

Good Luck


jim_berlow Mon, 05/12/2008 - 08:14

I completely agree with Scott on this. No IT certification is equivalent to an educational degree from an accredited school.

If you do not have a degree in the US, you will be at an extreme disadvantage in the job hunting process. The fact is that when HR receives a pile of 500 resumes for a job posting, the very first thing they do is sort those into two piles - those with a degree and those without. From the "degree" pile, you know look at the experience. Again, two piles - those with the required experience and those without. Now, you take this stack of resumes which have the right education, the required experience and you look at what technical skills the individual has (does any candidate offer "extra" or "bonus" skills beyond what is required).

Now it is usually at this point that employers take a look at which certifications the applicant has. Again this is done to reduce the stack of resume's to a workable amount. Keep in mind this is all done at the HR dept (a technical person has not even looked at the stack yet). To a HR person, they don't know what a Cisco certification is and for the most part they do not care (unless the job description specifically calls out the cert as a requirement).

Now with this information in mind - why would you apply without a degree? Get the degree, then the experience & job skills, and lastly get the certification to validate the skills you already have. There is no shortcuts to this process. If you don't have a degree you will find that there are few jobs you qualify for and the ones that are available will be very low end with low pay grades.



jacqueline.starr Mon, 05/12/2008 - 10:02

It seems, that people seem to have very little faith in certifications. I do agree that college education is important, however, in the networking field, degrees play a small role. Companies when they hire network engineers base it upon your experience and knowledge. Just because you have a degree doesn't mean that you know what you are doing. I know quite a number of people who had degrees and couldn't find a job and as soon as they got a certification, they got hired. So question is, what is you ultimate goal. If you want to stay in the networking field, certifications are a way to go. If you're looking for something else, then go for a degree. I am a prime example that degrees didn't have a big role in my career. I was hired completely based upon my certifications. I am now a lead technical trainer with 4 certifications and no degrees!

jrensink78 Mon, 05/12/2008 - 11:48

Unfortunately in today's business world, you will be at a great disadvantage if you do not have a degree. Look at job postings and a degree is almost always mentioned as a requirement. Certifications are rarely requirements and are often categorized as "desired".

I wouldn't be in my position that I am now in my company if I hadn't completed my degree, even though I had a proven track record and certifications.

antarius1 Mon, 05/12/2008 - 12:53

Thank everyone for you answers and opinions,

they sure gave me enough food for thought :)

Then again I just wonder if the work positions you are talking about, where a degree far outweighs certifications, are in the management field.

Personally I can't see why a company would hire you to be a network administrator or similar and look for a degree, a CCIE should be the first thing to look for and if then you can also write and read that's a bonus lol

Lets face it, the best computer "geeks" have problems counting in decimals and probably never heard of Shakespeare, but they are the best when it comes to computers.

Aren't those the ones that have created the computer/network world as we know it now ?

And yes, I agree that having a degree is an advantage and with it you can get a nice managerial position with a great salary, but I'm not a management sort of guy, I like the technical aspect of things and if that pays less, well so be it. I'll never be rich anyway :)

I was just wondering about the cisco certification value from the point of view of classic degree education, because you see often that companies ask for like “University level education” or similar, as they are not asking for a specific degree, bachelor/master or whatever, but only that level of education, would therefore something like a CCNP/CCIE be considered as being at that level.

Again, thanks for you replies.

jim_berlow Mon, 05/12/2008 - 16:02

The work positions that I was referring to are Information Technology positions not necessarily management jobs (where it is also important to have advanced education / degrees).

I like the humor you bring in your post, Antarius, but I disagree that the best computer "geeks" are not versed with mathematics, literature or other tenants of basic education. The fact is that most of us will work in supporting roles within our respective companies. The best engineers in my opinion are those that can recognize business constraints and appropriate technologies that can enable better business performance. This is one reason why higher education is so highly valued by management. Most hiring managers know that they can hire any number of people to configure their routers, but they REALLY want someone who has business acumen and can help the company to do more with their investment in technology. Degree programs teach you these "basic" skills and give you a base to relate to those who are writing your paychecks. A lot of companies consider IT as a "cost to do business".

With regards to your question about the value of Cisco certification from the view of classic degree education. Again, employers want workers who can learn their business. Not necessarily a CCIE who can configure MQC with his eyes closed. Companies want to hire employees who have an understanding of things like business, accounting, mathematics, communication & writing skills - things typically learned through some sort of degree program. A CCNP / CCIE is NOT considered on the same level as a college graduate for these reasons.

Someone on here pointed out that college graduates do not know anything. That is total B.S. as college graduates have been taught business and workplace skills (which last time I checked is not a requirement for the CCNP or CCIE certifications). A college education does not have an expiration date, it does not become obsolete, and teaches you the skills you need to be successful on the job. I know there are some exceptions out there, but I would venture a guess that most of those folks were hired in the dot com time - things have changed dramatically today. Take a look at any job board and you will see almost a universal degree requirement.

sirdudesly Mon, 05/12/2008 - 16:50

Totally agree with you there mate.

While I'm only CCNA certified I also attend university earning my bachelors in IT (at Monash university)

The sorts of things that you do in university are different but no less applicable to IT. A degree in IT yes is probably more suited to a managerial role but by the same token that doesn't mean elements like time planning aren't important to a regular IT guy. Here at Monash University (Australia's largest for those not familar with it) most subjects are taught in a fairly conceptual manner so that what you learn is as applicable now as it is in ten years time.

I actually find it somewhat offensive when people suggest that graduates "don't know anything"

shane.kearney Fri, 06/06/2008 - 05:00

Hi guys, I would just like to comment on the Degree v Certification discussion,

I currently have a Diploma, CCNA and A+ not in that order but anyway College is important it helps in all areas of life, it helps you grow and paints a broader picture and helps you find direction, but it doesn't give you business acumen and savvy, these are only attained through hard work and experience, also please don't knock back Cisco certifications they are hard to pass and you need to work hard at doing so, I live in Ireland and experience hugely outweighs a Degree, businesses want to know you are able to do the job and keeping your CV/Resume up to date with Cisco certifications reinforces the fact you can do the "job". America is not the world its only a small % of it and Cisco is universal degrees are not!!!!

So I say yes to certifications and lots of them, the more the better.

chull6509 Mon, 05/12/2008 - 15:55

I have been in this business almost 30 years. I got my first job out of college at Rockwell International. In our department, they only hired people with a college degree, no matter what the experience. I worked my way up into management, and then back out. I prefer the working side to the management side. But, if you want to be a senior person, they want you to have a degree. The dream that high school drop out geeks fueled the Silicon Valley is just that, a dream. Most top people have a degree because they see that it is needed in the modern work force. Slackers want the quick and easy way to the good money. Hard work, study, going the extra mile is what it takes. Get the degree, get some experence, then a cert. Without the degree you will watch younger, less experence workers pass you by. I saw it often. Think of it as a game. You either play the game, or go home.

jonmo2578 Tue, 05/13/2008 - 00:54

Hey guys... interesting discussion going on here..

I remember when I was first starting out in IT, i found it really difficult getting that first position.. Despite having an engineering degree, companies were only interested in experience.. it was like the "chicken and egg scenario "..

Anyway, I went anyway for a month got the basic A+ and Network+ certifications and started attending a Cisco Academy course in the evenings.. I reapplied for similar type jobs and ended up getting a 2nd line support position..

once I got my foot in the door, I found jobs easier to move into based on my work experience and certifications getting me to the interview stage, where it is then down to how you come across.. funnily enough, I've only just completed my CCNA earlier this year, having taken the course way back in 2003 !!.. Its been manic at work and I struggled to find the time to revise and keeping up with the syllabus changes.. Got the study buzz back now and Im now working towards getting certified in the area I am now supporting.. VOIP..

Personally, I think that degrees still look great on a CV ( although I dont think they are held in high regards as they were say 10 years ago ) but certifications backed up with actually working in a live environment is more important..

arnautucisco Fri, 06/06/2008 - 23:08


You make a reference to people who want the "quick and easy way to good money" to "slackers". Does CCIE look like a "quick and easy way" to you? Do I have to point to you how much desire, passion, brainstorming, skills and so on it takes to get that certification? I mean really, do you live in a cage or you are just being ignorant?

There are many networking jobs in the US especially California, that will not even look at you if you do not have CCNP; almost all of the jobs that require you to have CCNP will prefer CCIE's over people with bs/masters/phd. Do your homework before making any statements and check the job market as it is right now.

I am disturbed by the low amount of credit some people posting here give to CCIE's. In the networking world there simply isn't anything more valuable then CCIE in your credentials along with experience. If you combine those two together, you can take that PhD diploma of yours and wipe yourself with it. There is no company in this world that will prefer a BA/MS/PhD over an experienced CCIE for a networking position.

If we are talking networking here, nobody will care about your masters in biology when you are going to an interview. The only case you will need that BA degree is when you go for an IT management position in a corporation that goes by policies and so on. IE motorola as it was stated before in this discussion.

The CCIE IS the PhD in Networking. If networking is your passion, you can forget about those graduate degrees.

celticfc2007 Tue, 05/13/2008 - 00:13

Hmmm,hot topic.

I tried to answer the context of the first question, but I stated from the get-go... "apples and oranges".

Anyway, I agree 100% its better to have a degree than not, and I agree that brand name companies like IBM, HP, etc are gonna require a degree.

But not all companies have the same HR process, especially outside of the US, specifically in the UK, a degree is not important at all, just skill/certs and experience.

If I thought for a minute *I needed* a degree to build a successful Networking Career, I wouldn't waste my time or money with Cisco or any other cert. I'll eat my words if I can't find a quality Networking Job, when I return to the US =)

I would say spend your time and money to get college degree-it is for all time and all jobs.

IT certifications are much like useless if you dont have experience and also in the same field which you are certified.

Certification I feel is tricky things. I personally feel that Certification looks good on Resume but don't help you much- unless you have following:

1. Good College Degree

2. Good Job Experience (Directly related to Cisco routers)

Without above two- I don't advice anyone to waste their time and money on these certifications because after getting certified without above two will bring more frustration and misery.

I would say spend your time and money to get college degree-it is for all time and all jobs.

IT certifications are much like useless if you dont have experience and also in the same field which you are certified.

Certification I feel is tricky things. I personally feel that Certification looks good on Resume but don't help you much- unless you have following:

1. Good College Degree

2. Good Job Experience (Directly related to Cisco routers)

Without above two- I don't advice anyone to waste their time and money on these certifications because after getting certified without above two will bring more frustration and misery.

Now you might ask me- What is then use of certifications when you have 2-Good job already?

I don't know the answer. I would like to know answer to above question myself.

jonmo2578 Tue, 05/13/2008 - 04:54

yep.. this is what I was trying to get at..

Certification are all very good but if you have not got the experience to back it up then its pointless.. Ive sat in a few interviews were the interviewee has all the qualification on their CV but hasnt got a clue when quizzed..

In regards to getting certifications in your current job.. I currently studying for the CCVP because it will help me with my day to day job and I would like something to go alongside my work experience. No job is safe and this will improve any future prospects if that time comes..

:-).. I feel we have deviated slightly from the original post !!.

Kevin Dorrell Tue, 06/03/2008 - 23:14

"What is then use of certifications when you have 2-Good job already?"

For me, the real value of the certification is not the certification itself, but the study you have to do to get it. The college degree is good, but it usually does not cover the proprietary stuff that you will have to know for the certification. The job experience is fine, but no network can include all the technologies you need for a cert. So the three approaches are complementary.

I recently got my CCIE after 4 years of study, including a full year of weekends in the lab. I still have the same job, and the same chartered engineer status. No pay rise. No promotion. No change. I'm not even looking around.

So was it worth it? Yes, sure it was. I am passionately interested in the subject, so it was worth every minute. The benefit was the study, and the fact that I can do my job with more confidence now. The digits were the icing on the cake.

Kevin Dorrell

CCIE #20765


antarius1 Fri, 06/06/2008 - 05:40

I am glad to see that there are still people that value knowledge for what it is, personal growth.

I do know that at this point in time, more and more companies look at "the piece of paper" more then they look at what someone really can and realize that it is come to that as a consequence of the way things have evolved. But the idea of pursuing knowledge for personal growth is still (at least for me) to be valued.

This brings the flow of this discussion back to my post from: - May 12, 2008, 1:53pm PST. I still think that there are areas of every profession where the few “unconventional” people, are the ones that make the difference and are not only accepted, but also looked for by many, because of their unconventional approach to problems.

Just to give an example, (and there are many of those). Recently, a friend of mine, which as qualifications go has done nothing more then two years of Communication technology. But because he has spend the best part of the last 15 years of his life, (since he was about 10 years old) working with Computers/Linux. He is now working as a consultant for a company that develops and implements personalized Linux solutions for medium/large corporations. He now makes more money than anyone I know with even a doctorate degree.

And no, this is NOT to say that a classical education is useless but just to show that it isn't the only way to go for a good carrier.

And this was the point of this thread to begin with. What are the CISCO qualifications to be seen equal to? ……. Obviously there are many ways of seeing this and many more opinions about it. But at the end of the day I guess that only, everyone's personal experience, in its personalized context can answer that.

For some it will be nothing more then an addition to the already gained knowledge, while for others it might be “The” thing that made a change in their carrier path. I was just curios about the real life value of such a qualification. After all, if someone has worked for a number of years in the Networking industry and has achieved a certain CISCO level of knowledge, this has to be seen as being somewhere on the “Standard” ladder of education/knowledge.

Then again, all is relative :)

scottmac Fri, 06/06/2008 - 06:49

Congrats on your CCIE Kevin! I didn't notice it until I read your post.

Glad to see you back and participating.

Good Luck



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