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Job prospects in CCNA or MCSE

I am a final year student of electronics engineering. I want to make my career in the field of networking . I am confused about which certification should I go for CCNA or MCSE. What are the job prospects in this field and what are the pre-requisites for this field.

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Given that the MCSE requires seven exams and the CCNA one, obtaining an MCSE is more of a sign of drive, knowledge and ability than obtaining a CCNA. To compare certs at the same level, you'd have to pick the CCNP or one of the more demanding Cisco Specialist certifications (like Security).

That said, job prospects for either CCNAs or MCSEs are kind of limited right now, owing to the slow economy. I urge you to talk to your university's placement office, to friends, family, fellow students, and peers or colleagues to find out about job opportunities in your field. Right now, pay and prospects are down in the US for network administrators. I can't speak to your part of the world, since I don't know where you're located.

But please, look around and weigh your options carefully before deciding on any particular certification. To me the CCNA is best treated as a stepping stone to other, more senior Cisco credentials, while the MCSE is usually most beneficial when it can be combined with 2 or more years of meaningful work experience when seeking employment.

I hope this answers your questions. If not, please post again! --Ed--

This was first published in February 2003

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