This is a guest post written by Kevin Cevich who is specialized in Computer Networking Industry, in his post he will answer the questions, is Cisco Certification Worth it?
As an IT instructor, one question that always comes up is if Cisco certification is worth the effort. People are interested in obtaining certification, but they don’t know if it will actually add to their bottom line or make it easier to find a job. The question is somewhat complicated and the answer will vary based on a few different criteria.
If you don’t have any experience, certification is nearly mandatory to find your first job. You have to show your employers that you have the knowledge, if not the experience, to allow you to be productive in your new job role. This is incredibly difficult to convey if you don’t have something to show them. Without experience, the only way to validate your skills is through certification. This is especially true for Cisco certification as opposed to a vendor neutral program. Most other certifications validate your knowledge of computer networking in general, but don’t speak to your knowledge of specific equipment. Even with associate level Cisco certification, you should be able to handle basic changes and rudimentary troubleshooting of an actual live network.
On the other hand, if you have over 10 years of experience in large scale Cisco networks, it will be difficult to see an actual return on investment. Simply, anything less than CCIE knowledge is already assumed and following the entire path to a CCIE is expensive and time consuming. The only possible exception to this is if you are limited in your job search due to companies requiring CCIE certification. This does happen, but most companies require the CCIE or equivalent experience. Right around the 10 year mark, you have equivalent experience. Going for a lower level certification without the intention of going all the way is probably a waste of time and money for most of us.
If you are interested in management positions, the high level certifications are probably not necessary. You may choose an associate level certification such as the CCNA, just so you can communicate and understand the problems your team is working on. However, much beyond that isn’t necessary as you will most likely not be expected to troubleshoot difficult problems. At the management level, you would be expected to find someone to fix an issue, not fix it yourself. Of course, at any level, Cisco certification can’t hurt your chances of finding a job and you will likely never regret spending the time and money to obtain it. However, strictly from an ROI perspective, it is likely not going to be profitable.
The only exception to this is if there ever comes a time where it is difficult to find a management position. You can always fall back on your technical skills and do consulting projects until your next position comes along. In this example, the certification is worth its weight in gold. If you are laid off or lose your job for whatever reason, you will bounce back much quicker if you have a few different types of jobs you are qualified for. This could mean the difference between maintaining your income level, or subsidizing unemployment with your personal savings.
To summarize, the Cisco certifications are always a good thing to have. However, based on your experience level and career path, it may not always produce a positive return on your investment.
Guest Post by: