Ask the Expert: CCNP Vs. CCSP
I’ve got a long and extensive Telecom and IT background that spans more than 20 years. I’m working as a contractor for the US military installing and configuring Cisco Network equipment and specialized IP-based Crypto gear. My Certs include a recent CCNA, plus an MCSE (NT4) and an MCP (2000). I enjoyed studying for the CCNA exam but I am having a rough time deciding on which track to follow: CCNP or CCSP. Since I have both an installation and Security background I could go either way. What are your thoughts about which might offer the best overall return?
-George P, Eau Claire, WI
Having recently met the folks who work in Cisco’s security training and certification efforts to write a Cisco Professional certs study guide for Certification Magazine, I am very impressed with the quality, coverage, and focus of their security training and certs in general, and with the CCSP in particular. Given your background and the hot prospects for information security contracting and employment right now, versus the somewhat lukewarm opportunities on the network infrastructure/administration side of the street, it seems pretty clear–at least, to me–that a CCSP might represent the better opportunity to maximize your returns on the time and effort you’ll spend getting credentials. That said, it’s as important to follow your interests and abilities as it is to follow the money, so please consider this advice in the light of that certification subject matter which interests you most!