Skip Links

Job Prospects Better for CCxP than CCIE?

By wendell on Thu, 01/08/09 - 11:54am.

Seems like most everyone these days is talking about jobs and job prospects. A friend of mine has even gotten in the habit of just asking "have you got a job currently" instead of the usual innocuous greetings. So, continuing on this thread for another post or two, let me ask the following question:

Are CCxP's better off in today's job market than CCIEs?

That's a pretty open-ended question. However, I didn't start out with that question, but rather, I started out with some other bits of input. So let me string some of those ideas together, and then get your opinions again.

First, I've heard from various places that the more experienced/skilled  - but more expensive - employees are in worse trouble than the medium experience/skill/salary or lower experience/skill/salary. (I'll term those junior, middle, and senior.) I heard something like this from a Network World podcast with Rich Milgram, CEO of job site Beyond.com. (It's worth a listen.) I've heard it from the newsies on TV. Anecdotally, yet another family member of mine is a senior guy at a big company in the financial industry - still employed- but he knows that if they do have layoffs, but he thinks he's got a higher chance of getting laid off than the junior and medium folks.

There's also potential pressure for senior folks to take less salary to get/keep jobs that could be filled by junior/medium folks. Rich Milgram made this point as well in his podcast interview, and I've heard it around town from others, but that's just who I happened to bump into.

So, while thinking about all these ideas in relation to certs, particularly Cisco certs, it made me ponder my question about CCxP vs. CCIE... Also, it's a good time to think about jobs and careers because of Network World's annual salary survey, and that always includes a look at salaries and compensation.

OK, disclaimer time. First, the idea of categorizing workers as junior, middle, and senior is just so we can make some comparisons. That doesn't always mean years of service, years in IT, etc. You might have 3 years experience and be senior level in skills related to the jobs you'd like to have, and you might have 30 years experience, but spent the last 10 years in "management", with little in terms of current skills in implementing today's technology. Also, CCxP (aka, any professional level certification from Cisco), and CCIE even, don't necessarily mean the person is skilled and/or experienced. So, when I say CCIE, think "person with skills and experience typical of a respected employee who is also a CCIE". Same kind of thing for CCxP. Also, when comparing CCxP to CCIE, think in terms of the same technology - CCNP compared to CCIE R/S, CCVP to CCIE Voice, etc.

So, are CCxP's better off - at least for 2009? Have you seen it happening? Let me know what you think.

Of course, I can't resist the urge to do a survey on this as well. Let's say you could say presto-changeo, and be one of the following:

  • CCNA, making $55K (US), spending 25% of your time on networking tasks
  • CCNP, making $75K (US), spending 50% of your time on networking tasks
  • CCIE R/S, making $95K (US), spending 75% of your time on networking tasks

Ignoring the long term, and focusing on 2009, if you could choose only 1 of these 3 options, which would you choose?