I’ve had several conversations with students from the past and colleagues of today on the validity and impact of Cisco certifications. I can recall back in my early days of networking when the Cisco certification was the grand puba of any cert you could get. If you were a CCIE people treated you like you were a celebrity. I think that hype is what got me really engaged with the Cisco certification program. But as time has gone by there’s been a big shift in how networking is approached. And it’s that shift that’s caused many to question whether they should pursue Cisco certifications at this time.
While I dont plan on dragging this out I’ll simply say this. If you think that you’re career can ride on getting Cisco certs, you’re probably correct. But you’ll be behind the curve and working on equipment and operating systems that are a bit behind, unless you work for a very progressive organization. The majority of organizations that use Cisco gear are being deployed based on what certified people have worked up, often designs that are several years old. Certifications don’t keep up with todays network capabilities.
I’m not going to attempt to tell you what certifications or learning paths to pursue at this time. I think much of those decisions should examine multiple factors and I dont have all those variables at this time. What I will say is that a networking professional needs to understand how to read and write scripts in some of the common languages used today. This is a skill that I am personally giving extra attention to as I know its an area that I lack in. Too, todays networker should be focused on business goals and viable vendor solutions, rather than being locked into a specific vendor because you sport their digits on your email signature.
Be versatile. Be willing to learn. Be willing to fail. The skills you learn doing that will last a career, even if vendors come and go.