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Is an engineering background a must for a career in routing and switching or network security?

I am form India and I have degree in computer science. I have done MSCE 2000 and now I am looking for a certification that covers routing and switching. I also have an interest in security. I am considering the CCIE, CISSP and CWNA. Is an engineering background a must for a career in routing and switching or network security?

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If you are thinking of pursuing the routing and switching track (especially up to the CCIE level), an engineering background is not necessary. The Cisco track does not require or audit x amount of years experience in the field to become certified like the CISSP examination. However, Cisco (and I) "recommend" a certain amount of Cisco experience before attempting the exams, especially the CCIE. For instance, to tackle the CCIE, you should have at least 6 years of intense Cisco exposure and experience before beginning to even study for the exam. Although not a requirement, I would recommend taking baby steps in this certification track by going from your CCNA to a CCNP or CCSP level (depending on which track you prefer) to gradually get you up to that level of confidence and knowledge for the CCIE.

This was first published in August 2005

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