IT Employment

Why can't employers see the benefit of having a Cisco qualified tech?

An IT pro in the UK is having trouble showing prospective employers the benefit of having a Cisco qualified tech on their staff.

An IT pro in the UK is having trouble showing prospective employers the benefit of having a Cisco qualified tech on their staff.

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I got an e-mail from a TechRepublic member who resides in the UK. He expressed his frustration that companies he's been interviewing with don't seem to recognize the benefit of having a Cisco qualified technician on the payroll:

"Albeit that I only have the CCENT at the moment, surely the Cisco benefits will be applicable to employers, and the further I progress the better the benefits get. Is that not the case or am I wrong? Could it be that they are not aware of these benefits, and if not, should I mention them at the interview stage, or should I just write them on my CV?"

Readers, what do you say?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

13 comments
escher
escher

I think the error that you are making here is that you are assuming that their failure to be impressed by an entry level cert can be interpreted as a disregard for Cisco certifications in general. I can promise you that a CCNP will get you noticed and a CCIE will usually land you a 6-figure job fairly rapidly. The truth of the matter is that employers DO care about certifications in general and Cisco certifications in particular; the latter being a very well regarded cert, especially as compared to an MCSE. (I can forgive an MCSE who doesn't know how to dual stack a router interface. I cannot forgive one who doesn't understand what happens on OSI Layer 3.) Having said that, they are far more interested in a track record. The first full time job is very hard to get. The second can be tricky as well. But once you get at least two jobs and 3 to 5 years under your belt, you'll find that work becomes dramatically easier to find. I should explain that by "jobs" I am referring to direct hire employment or contracts that last at LEAST a year, preferably longer. At the end of the day you need to keep in mind that certs are not a substitution for paying your dues. If you are lucky enough to be fairly young and still living at home, take advantage of that time by seeking out jobs/contracts that make for good experience. Focus more on the work and less on the pay. When you're done paying your dues, you will get your reward.

adrianjoshua
adrianjoshua

I think it's because Cisco administration isn't needed every day. Typically once you setup a router or switch it just keeps going, so there wouldn't be a reason to hire someone with a lot of Cisco skills, I'd rather have a systems admin who can assist me with Windows server, creating shares, users, mailboxes, and maintaining that sort of stuff.

rverges
rverges

I'm working on my CCNA right now, and working network engineers tell me not to try to use the CCENT to get a job - it's not heavy enough to persuade anyone.

pdch
pdch

Depends upon who you are interviewing with and their needs. If I were to be going the route of Cisco certification, I'd be focussing my efforts with ISP's whose infrastructure would more than likely include Cisco routers.

bnoonan
bnoonan

CISCO qualified Tech's don't have a corner on CISCO technology.

lesko
lesko

Large companies who are not resellers often does not see the value in certification. "If the staff can perform their jobs reasonably well, there is not value to the certification". Resellers often get discounts based on the number of certified techs they have.

skicat
skicat

As a fellow tech I completely understand your frustration so I believe one of two things must change. First, what companies are you interviewing at? Smaller to mid-sized companies cannot afford to have a tech on site who may make an occasional change to a router or firewall every quarter. Think about it, how often is the company going to need to separate out vlans on the switch? Your best bet is to try to get on with a large corporation. Your other option is to become more diversified with your skills. Beyond Cisco, learn and become proficient with Windows, Linux, web dev, security, etc. This broad range of skills is what small to mid-sized companies are looking for. More bang for their buck which translates to job security. A third option is to become a consultant and try and get several of the smaller companies on your payroll. This is what we did for our VoIP system. I have the skills to do it but not the time so we used a contractor who set the system up prior to my starting with the company. Win-win for all. Good luck!

rony
rony

I've attained CNE, MCSE and the experience I got in the work I did along with studying is what mattered. True you get knowledge while studying, but the new person in this industry that an employer will trust just on their brilliance will be rare. The wise employer will want a person with good judgment which only comes with a few bumps along the way. Good advice to young people!

jan_devos
jan_devos

The subject is just appropriate now. This morning, a nework pro from one of my bigger cutomers told me "my boss is not willing to pay for any Cisco certif. exam, as this will directly or indirectly increase the probability people will leave, causing to loose twice an investment (the training + exam + the pro...". There is much truth in this statement. One way around is to create a challenging work environment for the network pros - a good manager is not a guarantee to realize this, but is supposed to be at least a strong facilitator. The other aspect is remuneration : why not relate a certification to a direct or indirect salary increase? Performing a certification not only proves a guy's technical capabilities, but in my opinion, is also indicative for his leadership attitude.

Joe-Swanson
Joe-Swanson

In the US some contracts, esp with governments, may require a certain number of techs certified at various levels.

web4u
web4u

The easy answer, should they agree, is to sign a 2 year agreement to stay with the company. If the company is going to shell out $$$$ for training, then request something in return from the employee. As for salary, it should be competitive to the industry for the skillset. Keep it competitive, and generally the employee will be happy. Add the training...they are usually happier...

trent
trent

While at Cisco, in the Channel, I saw the tech's at small companies receive more Cisco cert's and leave for larger companies. More Cisco, more challenge, more money. Small companies got tired of footing the bill.

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