The popularity of networking vendor certifications has continued for 10 years now with millions of networking engineers attaining the Microsoft Certified Professional Designation (MCP) and hundreds of thousands obtaining the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). There are alot of benefits whether you select the Microsoft or Cisco network vendor certifications. Developers often select the Oracle or Microsoft programming certifications. The benefits include salary increase, job promotion, learning new skills and improved marketability. The Cisco Wireless Administrator certification, as an example, is a great way to learn wireless network skills if you have no on the job experience. If you do have experience you will find there are always new things to learn as you proceed through the study process.
The most popular networking certifications today include the MCTS, MCITP, MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, Network+, CISSP, MCAD and MCSD. The MCTS and MCITP are the basic Microsoft networking certifications while the MCSE is comprised of additional more difficult exams focusing on advanced network administration, troubleshooting and design topics. The CCNA is the Cisco entry level certification that covers basic network engineering topics such as troubleshooting, routing, switching, protocols, osi model, wireless and security. the CCNP is much more difficult focusing on similar topics with increased depth. Microsoft developer certifications including the MCSD .NET developer course while the MCAD covers programming and software engineering topics.
The process most often involves the use of study books, courses, practice exams and forums. Vendors publish study guides that describe what topics will be tested and the exam format. Practice exams with a question and answer format using similar questions found on the exams have been proven to work however best suited to those with experience. Candidates must register with Prometric (Microsoft) or Pearson VUE (Cisco) as the approved vendor testing sites.
Shaun Hummel is author of Network Planning and Design Guide available at amazon.com and CiscoDesignBooks.com featuring Networking Books, eBooks, Certifications, Articles and Design Tools.