I am CCNA qualified, have an engineering degree, and currently work for a reputed ISP. I am little bit confused about what my next certification should be: CCNP or CCSP. Which way should I go? What about job opportunities, future prospects, salary, etc. for both of these certifications?

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Excellent question. The answer, however, depends on the services that your ISP provides. Assuming you are planning on staying around with this ISP, I would imagine the CCNP would offer more potential career paths seeing that this certification is designed for larger networks and enterprises such as your ISP and their customers. However, the CCSP is great if you are incorporating many Cisco security appliances such as the PIX firewall, VPN concentrators, IDSs, and will also help you prove that you know how to harden a Cisco router configuration. Both jobs have an average salary around $78,000 and will entail in a position concerning networking infrastructures, so your choice will ultimately depend on what opportunities you foresee in your company.

This was first published in August 2005

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