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Is the CCNP or the MCSE more in demand?

I got my CCNA a few months ago and currently am going for a masters degree. I don't have a job or one lined up; things are not looking too promising out there. I think I'll go for another certification, but can't decide between CCNP and MCSE. I want to get the CCNP because I already have the CCNA, but I'm also am interested in the MCSE because it will give me exposure to a different side of networking. Any suggestions? Which is more in demand?

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Thanks for your recent posting. CCNP is probably less work (and costs less) than the MCSE, but it may be about even-steven as to which one helps you get a job most quickly. A lot depends on where you live and what the local job market is like. My advice is to do some local job searching (or even just Web surfing) and to count the number of job postings that mention CCNP and/or MCSE. A simple-minded approach would be to go for the cert that gets the most total hits but you'll probably want to look in more detail about the kinds of jobs, benefits, pay and so forth that are involved.

My suggestion about which way you should go, irrespective of the job market, is to follow your interests and enthusiasms. They will keep you happy at work and motivated about your job long after the thrill of a new job and a regular paycheck become old hat. Thus, if you like working on and around Cisco stuff more than on Windows clients, servers and networks, take the Cisco route. Reverse that course if the vice is versa.

As for which of the two MCSE or CCNP is more in demand, it seems to be a pretty even trade, according to some rough counting I just did at Dice.com, CareerBuilder.com, Yahoo jobs and so forth.

So it's really up to you to decide what works best in your immediate vicinity, and ultimately, which of the two programs interests you most.

Good luck in your certification and career planning.

-- Ed

This was first published in November 2005

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