Q

Do you think that either the SCNA or SCNP would be a worthwhile addition to an existing IT education

A college I used to teach at has asked me for my opinion on a new program for their IT department which will be focused on Network Security. They currently teach the CompTia Security+ as a part of a Net+ course and have identified the SCNA and SCNP certifications as the focus of the new course. My opinion was that they would be serving their students better by offering any of the Cisco Security track or the SSCP. Do you think that either the SCNA or SCNP would enhance the employability of these students or be a worthwhile addition to an existing educational program? The students in question are generally entry to mid-level skilled and may hold their MCSE 2000 and/or CCNA, as well as Comptia certs.
You're right to be skeptical about the Security Certified Program's SCNP and SCNA certifications. Despite 2-plus years in the marketplace and plenty of hype from an organization that knows how to sell certifications, I see little or no evidence that these credentials are achieving substantial uptake in the marketplace, or that they've earned the kind of name recognition and value that you'd like them to have. I think you're right to push them toward the CCNA/CCSP direction, and believe that Security+ can provide a good foundation, if taught properly. I'd also urge you and your institution to look at offering CISSP prep stuff as well (though that may be a bit too high-level for your target population since it requires 5 years of security-related OTJ experience, or 4 years plus a degree -- the CISSP Associate may be just the thing, however). It is a highly fragmented market right now, and you're to be applauded for proceeding with caution in this situation.
This was first published in July 2004

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