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8/6/2008
11:24 AM
Randy George
Randy George
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The CCIE Is No Longer The Holy Grail

In the 2008 IT Skills and Salary report released by TechRepublic and Global Knowledge, the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert now ranks 5th on the list of most valuable certifications to hold. So if you have the experience, and money is your motivator, consider PMI's Project Management Professional certification (PMP).

In the 2008 IT Skills and Salary report released by TechRepublic and Global Knowledge, the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert now ranks 5th on the list of most valuable certifications to hold. So if you have the experience, and money is your motivator, consider PMI's Project Management Professional certification (PMP).As a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) myself, I've always held CCIE's in high regard. It's one of a handful of certifications you simply can't earn without really knowing your stuff. When I meet a CCIE, I call him (or her) doctor, because earning your CCIE number makes you a Ph.D. in network engineering in my eyes.

But earning the IE isn't cheap. You need access to expensive equipment, you need a lot of extra time to practice, and you need to memorize lots of useless theory which you will most likely never use in enterprise IT (please don't argue this point with me, it's true). And given the nature of routing and switching technology, if you're not working as a Cisco consultant or support tech, your skills will erode quickly. So for MOST people, the cost/effort/benefit argument for pursuing a CCIE becomes difficult to justify from a payback perspective.

What the results of the TechRepublic/Global Knowledge Survey reveal is that the most valuable certification is no longer solely technical. If you're a business-savvy, midcareer IT staffer who's looking for the biggest payback and career boost, consider adding one of the Project Management Institute's professional certifications to your repertoire.

I know plenty of talented engineers who would make terrific PM's, but some are worried about losing their technical edge by allowing themselves to be absorbed into management. They feel it will hurt their marketability. Others simply aren't interested in dealing with the headaches that come with project management.

But I submit to you that nothing will make your head hurt more than trying to practice for and pass the CCIE lab exam.

So take the easy way out and get paid for it, allow yourself to be absorbed into management!

Want to read the full report? Follow this link -- http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tr/downloads/home/tr_2008_salary_report.pdf

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