Which certification is best for you?
One of the best ways for IT professionals to legitimize their professional expertise is through certification. With a nearly endless supply of certifications in existence and only 24 hours in a day, it is important that time is spent getting the certifications that will have the greatest possible impact on your resume.
Two of the best-known names in the IT industry are Microsoft and Cisco. Read on to learn more about the most popular certifications that are offered by these two tech giants.
Cisco certifications are quite straightforward. The CCNA Routing and Switching certification is a good ”catch-all” for demonstrating skills with Cisco products and procedures.
The CCNA Routing and Switching Certification has no prerequisites. Candidates can either take 100-105 ICND1 and 200-105 ICND2 exams or the 200-125 CCNA exam. The certification needs to be updated every three years.
This can be done either by retaking one of the qualifying exams (with the exception of 100-105 ICND1) or by going for certain higher level Cisco certifications. Find out more about Cisco certifications on their website.
If you are interested in working with Cisco hardware and systems, you go with the CCNA certification. However, what certification should you go for if you work with Microsoft programs and systems?
MCSA and MCSE Certification
Because Microsoft has such a wide range of products and services, their certification scheme can’t be as straightforward as Cisco’s. There is no catch-all certification.
However, if you want to become certified with Microsoft, you probably want either an MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) or MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert).
Candidates can choose between eleven different MSCA certifications. All of them have different requirements in regards to exams, but expect to take between two and five exams to get certified.
Microsoft currently recognizes twelve different MCSE certifications. However, in March of 2017, all but four will be retired. Anyone who was certified before September 26, 2016 will remain certified for the life of the certification. The four remaining MCSE certifications are:
- MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure
- MCSE: Mobility
- MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
- MCSE: Productivity
Whether you choose the CCNA or an MCSA or MCSE, you can be sure that employers will understand what they mean and know that they can expect a certain level of expertise from someone who has been able to pass the requirements to receive one of them.