Which cert for career path?
I have a BS EE degree and have been working as an application engineer for a
few years. Working in the IT field is always my dream and I am thinking to
get myself prepared for it. At this beginning point, I am wondering which
path (Microsoft MCSE / Cisco CCNP) should I take to get my foot in the door.
I like to deal with both hardware and software rather than just pure coding.
In 5 to 7 years time, I hope I could become a network/system administartor
or as a consulant. However, my eventually goal is to get an MBA degree and
work in the business/management side at some IT firms. Since every single
step is very important in a career path , I would really appreciate if you
could give me some guildline and job duties explanation for both MCSE and
Given your interests in both hardware and software, and your longer-
term interest in obtaining an MBA, you will probably find that the
Cisco path offers a longer certification ladder for you to climb (all
the way to CCIE and related specializations, in fact) and therefore
more career development and advancement opportunities.
On the other hand, there is more demand for MCSEs (who make about
the same as CCNPs, but significantly less than CCIEs on average) than
for Cisco certified professionals, just in terms of sheer number of
opportunities. Job duties differ greatly between the two organizations'
programs. Without going into too much detail here, suffice it to say
that Microsoft professionals tend to deal more with LAN system and network
administration and Cisco professionals tend to deal more with LAN and
WAN links, infrastructure, and switching issues. For more details on
the programs themselves, please visit the Microsoft and Cisco Web pages
for the certifications that interest you; you can start your Microsoft
search at www.microsoft.com/mcp/ and your Cisco search at
This was first published in February 2002