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How would CCSP relate to network design and implementation?

I went ahead and got into IT and now I want to move ahead. I'm considering Cisco security certifications but the certs are very expensive. I am greatly interested in network design and implementation -- how would the CCSP relate to this?

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Information security in general, and Cisco-based information security in particular, are both growing by leaps and bounds right now--often in stark contrast to other areas in IT that are either flat or declining. According to my sources at Cisco (their security exams and courses are developed here in my home town of Austin, TX) the CCSP is the fastest growing of all the Cisco Professional certs (CCNP, CCDP, and CCIP also included, therefore) and job opportunities are looking pretty good.

Also, given that the security component of networking is increasingly important as well, I have to speculate that security savvy is a very desirable characteristic in somebody who wants to keep designing and implementing networks in the future. Given your interests, after you finish your CCNA, you might want to go after CCNP and/or CCDP in addition to CCSP. Plan on keeping the door open for the CCIE later on (an "average CCIE"--an oxymoron, if I ever wrote one--has 8-10 years Cisco-related work experience anyway, so it'll be a while before this is really an option for you), which also offers a security specialty?

I think this could be a good move for you, particularly if you want to work in a Cisco environment and plan to do "security stuff" as an important part of your job. You might also consider pursuing Security+ and CISSP to round out your security smarts and knowledge base, and make yourself an even more attractive employee (or employment prospect).

This was first published in March 2004

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