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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 CCNP/CCIE.
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 https://www.cisco.com/warp/public/10/wwtraining/certprog/.
This was last published in February 2002

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