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What are your thoughts on CWNA, CWSP, CWNE certifications?

What are your thoughts on CWNA, CWSP, CWNE certifications? Are these certs getting attention in the industry? Do employers really look for them in a candidate?

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Thanks for a great set of questions. I'm pleased to say the folks at Planet 3 Wireless (the company behind the Certified Wireless Networking Professional, or CWNP, program) are doing a great job with the certs you mention, and have recently also introduced a new cert, the CWAP or Certified Wireless Analysis Professional, which deals with analysis of traffic and behavior off the air for all kinds of interesting security, tuning, and performance reasons. Indeed, the CWNP certs are gaining some real traction and are starting to be mentioned as prerequisites or requirements in more than 20 vendor programs, including switch manufacturers Aruba, Trapeze and Airespace, as well as analyzers from AirMagnet, WildPackets and Network Instruments, among many others. You'll also find some interesting stats in recent surveys from Computer Reseller News, which named the CWNA as number three in its "fastest rising certs" in a November 2004 certification study and the CWSP second only to the CCIE in the December 2004 CertMag salary survey.

That said, specific mention of CWNP certs in job postings is not an extremely common feature just yet. It does come up in job searches on some Internet employment sites, and so forth, but not in extremely large numbers. But since most wireless professionals (and those who hire them) are becoming increasingly aware of these credentials, I don't necessary see them as a "risky investment." But then again, I don't seem them as a "job guarantee," either—but that's hardly the case for the vast majority of certs these days anyway. If you can talk about what you learned, what you know, and what you can do as a consequences of wireless certification, your ability to communicate about such things and to show prospective employers that you understand the value of your skills and knowledge is probably worth more than a certification anyway.

This was first published in January 2005

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