Hello, I have several years experience, primarily with PIX/ASA and VPNs. Unfortunately, I allowed my CCNP to lapse. Given today's economy, I will have all the time I need next year to pursue CCIE Security. Should I pursue the path of CCNA, CCNA Security, CCSP, CCIE written, and then the lab, or would it be more efficient to begin immediately with studies for the CCIE written?
In my mind, it depends on several factors:
1. Level of knowledge/experience - There are no prerequisites for the CCIE. If you're very comfortable with the concepts and technologies covered on the CCIE written, go for it. However, many people find that taking the path through the associate and professional level certifications fills in gaps that they weren't aware of.
2. Your need for periodic rewards - The journey to CCIE can be long. Some people have the commitment to go directly to CCIE while others like to see progress along the way (i.e., other certifications).
3. Applicability of the associate/professional level certifications - Will the other certifications help you in your current position (promotions, raises, partner requirements) or help you with your marketability until you obtain CCIE?
Hope this helps.