Which One Would You More Likely to Hire For These Job Roles?

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Oct 14th, 2009
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Hi folks,

I just have these thoughts on my mind these days and I think it might be an interesting idea to start a survey in this forum.

1) If you are the hiring manager and need to decide on which of the two finalist candidates to recruit for an appointment as senior network engineer in the network operation/project team, which one would you prefer?

Both candidates A and B have equivalent academic background and working experience in the networking field, however :

-> A is holding CCNP, CCDP, CCIP, CCSP and CCVP certifications, and

-> B is holding CCNP and CCIE Routing and Switching titles

2) If you are the hiring manager looking for someone to fill in the Pre-sales support/consulting engineer position, would you prefer B than A, and why? (Remarks: Both A and B have no prior experience in Pre-sales support role)

3) Is CCIE a compulsory requirement for Pre-sales consulting position(assuming no previous experience in this role), what are the chances of A securing this job offer?

Any opinion would be helpful and valuable to me for the above discussion. Thanks all in advance :)

Best Regards,


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Overall Rating: 4.2 (8 ratings)
abioyetaiwo Thu, 10/15/2009 - 11:38
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why would u compare a ccie holder to any kind of ccnp/vp/sp or whatever.

if ccie is easy the np/sp/dp guy should try doing it.

ssi_admin Thu, 10/15/2009 - 12:07
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In term of certification, CCIE should hold much more value than P level as it was designed for.

However, from cost/experience matter, P level may be close match to the job role than certain ccie holders, esp. when P level with 10yrs+ real work experience vs. CCIE with only few yrs experience.

Regarding hiring decision, experience is first option which proves whether you can or cannot handle the tasks. Cost/compensation is 2nd. Then certification 3rd.

avillalva Thu, 10/15/2009 - 17:02
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The difference for me is that many people use passforsure and the like to pass 'P' exams. So the P certifications have less credibility and the employer has no guarantee that the candidate has any idea what they are talking about.

Certainly, a 'genuine' candidate who has earned all those P certifications through hard work and study would be very knowledgeable. But how can the employer be sure that this is the case?

It's about risk management for the employer so the CCIE would win in my book.

ssi_admin Fri, 10/16/2009 - 12:44
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Generally speaking, CCIE stamp can show potential employer your accomplishment in such tough certificate. And it can get your name outstanding in pool of job hunters.

However, based on my own experience, I saw some ccies have no real work experience but only study hard on CCIE LABs and tried 3,4,or even 5 times then finally pass. For these guys/ladies they might not have clues about some simple helpdesk level questions.

For instance, one CCIE r/s guy don't understand that ping test fail can be due to fail of return route path therefore cannot fix the routing problem in far end. One CCIE V guy don't know how to unlock IP phone settings. Yes, such simple things not been tested in CCIE LAB, but most likely you have to deal with them during work.

With money, many enough attempts and long preparation time say 2 years, I think anyone can pass CCIE lab.

If someone tell me he is CCIE something but cannot prove his real work experience in the field, I won't get him in. I saw one guy with triple CCIE but know little about real work. Of course he couldn't even pass some intermediate position interview as I heard. Also I saw some high-end guru don't even bother to go for any certificates and always be the go-to person in the team.

Real work experience is 2nd to none. All certificates lead u to the gate. CCIE may get you closer but not guarantee in.

jamesfang98 Tue, 10/20/2009 - 05:53
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However, how HR know you have proven experience other than just certificates?

virverma Tue, 10/20/2009 - 18:13
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I think if you have knowledge you will go through all interviews,

certifications are material to prove that you have worked in a field and have expertise but again real thing is in showing how much knowledge you have.


jim_berlow Wed, 10/21/2009 - 13:19
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The CCIE is nearly worthless today (well...its Cisco's version of the MCSE). The CCIE isn't what it once was - a master of everything Cisco & networking. I know that salary survey's still show them making gold, but the truth is these people would be making that money with or without the certification.

Today, experience is king. I see that Cisco released a new certification called the Cisco Certified Architect in an attempt to recapture some of the previous value once held by CCIEs. Only time will tell.

Employers are looking for people who have experience. Period.

yclee_peter88 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 21:54
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Hi there,

I do agree that experience always comes first in getting a job offer, however I think work attitude is equally important as well, and sometimes carries more weights than just experience alone.

Oftentimes, when the technical interview is over, the interviewer will do a final judgment of how well you can fit into that role based on whether you possess all the right attitudes for the post. I know job seekers can get tricky questions like : 'What would you do when there is a severity 0 incidence, and the usual escalation procedure/process fails to take effect?" just to see how smart you would react to a nasty situation.

In the end, it all boils down to how best you can convince the employer that you are the most eligible candidate for the position, and the employer's impression of you during interview before you have your dream job landed :-))

Nowadays some people can even braindump the entire CCIE lab exams. It is just amazing feat that they managed to dump in a highly secured lab environment....

andrew.fedyszak... Thu, 10/22/2009 - 07:43
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Hi Peter,

I agree with Jim that CCIE is no longer what is used to be with the numbers growing (not quite) exponentially every year.

I met few CCIEs in my time and they were all excellent in terms of technical knowledge and willingness to share it out.

Mind you they all gained their "numbers" many years ago, so I can not comment on current crop :-)

You mentioned your candidates credentials but it is less clear to me what the job scope is. If it is mostly pure networking then your CCIE should have an obvious advantage. I may be unfair to candidate A but I would wonder how current are his certifications and experience of particular areas?

In many businesses you either work in security or networking or design but not all of them at the same time.

So someone could be CCVP or CCDP on paper but he recertified this with passing CCSP exams because he has not been doing CCVP or CCDP work in the last few years.

On the other hand if the job is more about the breath then depth of technologies, then someone with experience in different areas backed up by CCxP certifications may be a better candidate.

thanks and regards,

Andrew (CCSP, thinking about doing CCIE Security, while being distracted by other vendors technologies :-) )

jamesfang98 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 12:10
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Personal experience about the value/cost of CCVP and CCIE Voice together with real work experience -


Took 8 months (study about 1hr every day, total around 240hrs) to clear with 4.5yrs real work experience in CCM/VGW/Unity/IVR. No external/outside training taken. No even difficult compare to CCNP.

Cost is US$750.

CCIE Voice -

Took 12months to clear (study/lab like crazy - 14hr/per weekend day, 4~5hr/per weekday and I still work full-time job, total tick in around 2200 hrs). 6yrs around real work experience on IPCC. Bought workbooks, took bootcamp, rented lab, bought home lab and trips to LAB sites. Total cost: 16,000



cost: $750 vs. $16,000

time: 240hrs vs. 2200hrs

stress: none vs. hugh

value: some vs. a lot & in-depth

With above hugh different, so if HR pick one with CCIE (something), I think this guy/lady is deserved for that.

mmolina10855 Sat, 10/24/2009 - 20:39
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We have a couple of folks stating that the CCIE is nearly worthless and others insisting that "real" experience is what counts. Well, I'm not sure I really agree with either.

In terms of experience, I have been throwing a football around with my friends for over 20 years. Why are kids half my age playing in the NFL while I am stuck in my local park ? Ability is the answer. Natural ability always trumps experience. I have seen folks with 10 or 20 years of network experience who are absolutely horrible because they are limited by their lack of ability.

Long story short, a CCIE (or several mid-level certs) coupled with natural ability will/should be the person hired every time in my opinion. In terms of the CCIE being "nearly worthless" or "Cisco's version of the MCSE", that doesn't make much sense to me. The CCIE has been offered since 1993 and look at the number of certified people. Compare that to the nearly 700,000 MCSE's and I think you can make your own determination on which certification holds more value.

andrew.fedyszak... Mon, 10/26/2009 - 05:35
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Hi James,

Your figures are interesting, so I did calculations for my CCSP.

I took 14 months to clear 5 exams. Some of them like MARS and IPS definitely easier then current CCNA "one exam" option.

No external training.

Experience: 18 months direct hands on, but studied cryptography and networking as MSc modules. Lucky to have access to hardware like MARS controllers via work.

Cost: books and exams fees for 5 exams about £800 in total.

I had access to some video training which would have cost another £500-600. I used Cisco course notes as well.

Time: I di did not keep exact track but a week of annual leave for each exam with 10 hrs studies and hands on a day i.e. about 70 hrs per week just before taking exams.

This was preceeded by doing video and hands on training plus reading books, course notes and manuals for about another 40-60 hrs per exam.

I would say about 600 hrs in total.

I did preliminary research about doing CCIE Security and I arrived at nearly the same figures i.e. £10k and circa 2000 hrs, but spread over 2 years in my case.

I am surprised how anyone can do 4-5 hrs a day and all this weekend studies and still work full time: top marks here James !!!

In conclusion: there is no comparison between one CCIE certification and even 2-3 CCxP level certs.



jamesfang98 Tue, 10/27/2009 - 07:30
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For CCVP, I might take much less hours than CCNP which I though much valuable than ccvp.

Regarding your Q:

"I am surprised how anyone can do 4-5 hrs a day and all this weekend studies and still work full time: top marks here James !!!"

I would say I couldn't believe it either until I looked back and wrote down the hours. 3 key things kept me up - family support (actually sort of sacrifice), concentrate mindset & on-the-job VoIP tasks. At some points, I even thought I torture myself for ccie pursue.

Overall, I saw I even hand wrote down more than 400 pages text notes for ccie, but only 20 pages for ccvp.

Generally speaking, ccie means a lot - skills, time, money, mindset, family.... you name it.


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