"To re-certify, or not to re-certify that is the question?"

cjthedj45cjthedj45 Member Posts: 331 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hi Folks,

I wanted to get some opinions\advice here.

I have 9 Cisco certs in total CCNA, CCNA Security, CCNP Security and they will in expire in June 2016.

In my current role I work as a Security Analyst and don't have any exposure to Cisco technology that I manage.

Previously I worked as a network Engineer, but for the last 8 years I have been in security roles.

Going forward I'm planning to get my CISSP and continue to grow in the security field.

I have worked hard to get my Cisco Certs and feel reluctant to let them go, but not sure if there is any value in keeping them. The Cisco certs have certainly helped me to get in the position I'm in now. Also understanding networking is really important in security, but just not sure if taking the CCNP switch exam for example would be a good move. I don't need to logon to switches and setup vlans, VTP, STP etc. However I do have a say in the build standard of the switch and how to secure it.

Any thoughts

Comments

  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Member Posts: 471 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I don't currently have any Cisco certs, but I'm proud of the certifications I've worked hard to get and would have a hard letting them expire even if they weren't necessarily helping me out in my current job. You never know when you might want/need to switch job roles and having the active certs would definitely be beneficial for that. If it is a matter of time and money then that's a whole different matter completely but if that's not an issue I'd try to keep them active.
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • cjthedj45cjthedj45 Member Posts: 331 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Hi Anderson,

    Thanks for the reply. Yeah Im kinda having a hard time letting them go. I did really enjoy configuring and working with Cisco security technology. I still manage firewalls, but they are Fortigates. Time and money is not an issue. I think the switch exam could be a good bet as it still dealing with a lot of the fundamentals which is good for security folk. However it is also a lot of configuration which I dont do at all now.
  • MowMow Member Posts: 445 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If time and money aren't an issue, then I say go for CCNP R&S. The more you know, the better, from what I understand about the security field.
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Member Posts: 1,647 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I was in your exact same position... and I let them expire. I think it was a mistake. I am now looking at the possibility of needing to ramp back up on some Cisco stuff and having those certs would have been great.
    AZ-203 [ ] AZ-400 [ ]
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  • cjthedj45cjthedj45 Member Posts: 331 ■■■□□□□□□□
    @=Mow

    Yes it certainly helps to have the networking side down as a security professional. I also would like to explore Linux and do some more studying around hacking/pentesting.

    @=powerfool

    Its good to hear from someone in the same position. Why do you think it was a mistake to let them expire?

    Its always good to be strong on the networking side because I have been in situations with network engineers where you need to fight your corner. I have retained a lot of the information I have learned on the Cisco side, but some of it has also gone a bit stale. There are some advantages to refreshing my knowledge, but I really don't think I will be logging back on to switches and making config changes.
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    @cjthedj45,

    Your avatar is about Cisco, yet you want to drop your Cisco cert? ;) Up to you, but it would seem easier to maintain them long term then let them expire and hope to never need them.

    If you can look to your 5 and 10 year goals and you do not foresee the benefit of retaining the certs than let them go and do not look back. Worst case, you'd have to retest? If you did it once, you could do it again. If you are seeing yourself growing in management/admin and not the guy/gal doing the work, stay up on the technology by reading/light study but skip the exams.

    I do believe it would be difficult to let them expire, but if you do not see yourself working directly with the technology, you likely have other areas you should be focusing your attention on.
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • kiki162kiki162 Member Posts: 635
    I'd maintain those. Will be good to have once you get your CISSP for CPE credits.
  • NOC-NinjaNOC-Ninja Member Posts: 1,403
    I wouldnt let it expire. Lots of people that I know let it expire and they regret it. Its icing in a cake no matter what.
  • stlsmoorestlsmoore Member Posts: 515 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm on the Juniper side now and I'm thinking about letting my CCNx's expire. I have a solid foundation so it would take no time to re-certify again if I absolutely needed. Looking at gathering some low hanging Juniper/F5 certs in the time being though.
    My Cisco Blog Adventure: http://shawnmoorecisco.blogspot.com/

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  • cjthedj45cjthedj45 Member Posts: 331 ■■■□□□□□□□
    @=stlsmoore

    If you are in the network field which sounds like you could be then it probably good for you to hold on to them as well? Its good that you have juniper as well as some organisations operate with juniper and Cisco so someone with both would be a good catch.

    @=NOC-Ninja=

    Thanks I think Im probably going to hang on to them. Just need to decided which Cisco Exam now

    @=Plantwiz;

    Great response. There could still be a need to use them in the future. Having a deeper knowledge of networking is never going to hurt a security professional either. Think Im going to maintain them

    Thanks all for the responses. I think I'm going to maintain my Cisco certs as I do enjoy the networking side and I think it will help me as a security professional. Also there is a lot of blood sweat and tears that have gone into those certs over the years.

    I'm thinking the CCDA, CCDP track could be quite good for me. I currently get involved in a lot of projects and end up leading a lot of design work. This could be advantageous for progression into security architect role as well.

    I think this means that I will have to pass the CCDA and a CCDP exam for all my other certs to be re-certified.
  • KrekenKreken Member Posts: 284
    Since you don't have much time, it probably makes sense to take Arch exam first to renew your certs and then take CCDA exam to get CCDP.
  • cjthedj45cjthedj45 Member Posts: 331 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Removed unnecessary quoted reply

    Ah! it looks like I will actually need to do a CCNP first because the following is required.

    Prerequisites

    Valid Cisco CCDA and CCNA Routing and Switching or any Cisco CCIE certification can act as a prerequisite.

    Probably go for the switch exam
  • GSXR750K2GSXR750K2 Member Posts: 325
    Glad to see you decided to keep them going.

    I've wanted to post this question myself but since I have more time than you I've let it slide. CCNA, CCNA-Sec, and CCDA here and mine are up in February 2017. The networking knowledge I've gained from them has been invaluable in many aspects of my job and in consulting, but in the past couple of years they've just been conversation pieces on my resume' as I rarely apply the Cisco-specific aspects anymore.

    Plantwiz, kiki, and NOC-Ninja make some good points. I think I'll do the CCNP SWITCH exam as well to keep mine going...never hurts to have a couple of superfluous feathers in the cap and it's easier to maintain by taking one exam instead of taking three or more over again to get back to the same level. My MCSE is up for renewal in November too, so it looks like I'll be busy in the latter part of this year.
  • AverageJoeAverageJoe CISM, CISSP, SSCP, CYSA+, SEC+, NET+, A+, LINUX+, PROJECT+ Member Posts: 268 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Looks like you already worked it out, and you got great answers from others. I'd just add that there's no real downside to keeping any certification, but there could be a downside to letting them lapse. You never know what trick life will throw at you, but I can't picture too many scenarios where one would say "Darn, I wish I didn't have this certification" but there are numerous situations where you could wish you still had them.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • stlsmoorestlsmoore Member Posts: 515 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I've been in a network engineering role using Cisco for the last 6 years. I just moved to a new company that primarily uses Juniper between their access and core layers, I have no plans on leaving soon. I was about to begin studying for my CCDP regardless but a lot of it appears to be based on design's using Cisco technologies that doesn't correlate directly with Juniper tech.

    I feel comfortable enough with Cisco CLI and general networking fundamentals that I can always re-cert back up to CCNP R&S, it's just a matter of a little more money and time if it comes down to it.
    My Cisco Blog Adventure: http://shawnmoorecisco.blogspot.com/

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  • ThomasITguyThomasITguy Banned Posts: 181
    A IT guy once told me this about certs and letting them expire...

    "its better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it"

    just my 0.02

    icon_study.gif
  • DustyRackDustyRack Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Just to add my experience. I once was a Cisco CCNA instructor at a local college and then moved on to another role which does not use Cisco equipment. I let mine expire and I regret it and I am now looking to redo CCNA I am just struggling to start. If I was in your shoes now I would maintain it. You never know when you might need it and it is always nice to have. I would look to progress with CCNP Switching and routing or as mentioned above, look at the design path.
  • danny069danny069 Member Posts: 1,025 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'd feel really sad if I let one of my certs expire. It's a personal challenge to keep getting them and not letting them expire. It's like having a championship belt, then not defend it for a long time and have someone else be the new champ. I really like the idea of taking a more advanced cert to recertify the ones below it.
    I am a Jack of all trades, Master of None
  • varelgvarelg Banned Posts: 790
    I let my LPIC-1 expire as I did not see a point in taking more exams from LPI. I am still with Linux though, as I will soon be sitting RHCSA. Yes, I put an effort into preparing for the exam as there weren't many guides available for those exams at the time. It was a stepping stone. I don't feel like that effort was in vain. Although I let that particular cert expire, I am still following the same line of certs.
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Member Posts: 1,990 ■■■■■■■■□□
    cjthedj45 wrote: »
    I have 9 Cisco certs in total CCNA, CCNA Security, CCNP Security and they will in expire in June 2016.

    If you do let them lapse, I think expired Cisco certs still hold a lot of weight with employers. After all there hasn't been radical advancements in Cisco equipment for several years. If I was hiring someone, I give an application a lot more attention with expired CCNP security cert than someone with just a current CCNA cert.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • joebannyjoebanny Member Posts: 84 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hi,

    I'm a little confused by your questions, do you have to re-take exams to keep the Cisco certs or just taking CPEs and paying the required fees enough to keep your certs? If paying the fees and CPEs is enough, I will say do that to keep your certs- although I wouldn't advise you pay for all 9 certs (usually I know with most vendors, keeping your higher certs is enough to meet the requirement for the lower ones- not sure how Cisco does it). However, if you have to retake all 9 certs, that will be plain ridiculous, in which case I would advise you ficus on just the higher and most valuable ones and let the lower certs expire.

    It takes time and huge resources to get these certs and since you plan on getting Security certs like CISSP, I wouldn't focus too much trying to renew lower Cisco certs that may not be required to move your career forward at this time.

    Hope my little piece makes sense. Good luck!
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    joebanny wrote: »
    I'm a little confused by your questions, do you have to re-take exams to keep the Cisco certs or just taking CPEs and paying the required fees enough to keep your certs?

    To renew your Cisco certifications you need to take one exam at the same or higher level. The exam can be from the same or a different track. If you fail to renew with in the deadline (2-5 years depending on the certification), you would need to restart from the beginning. Depending on where your security interests lie, it can be advantageous to have fluency in networking. For the cost of one CCNP exam, and a few weekends' study, it is probably worthwhile to maintain the certifications.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • reload@[email protected] Member Posts: 44 ■■□□□□□□□□
    cjthedj45 wrote: »
    Removed unnecessary quoted reply

    Ah! it looks like I will actually need to do a CCNP first because the following is required.

    Prerequisites

    Valid Cisco CCDA and CCNA Routing and Switching or any Cisco CCIE certification can act as a prerequisite.

    Probably go for the switch exam
    Passing ARCH will still renew your certs even if you don't have the pre-requisites for CCDP. I think you're making the right choice by renewing your certs. You never know when an opportunity will come along later on where your Cisco certs will be beneficial.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    Passing ARCH will still renew your certs even if you don't have the pre-requisites for CCDP. I think you're making the right choice by renewing your certs. You never know when an opportunity will come along later on where your Cisco certs will be beneficial.

    That's the other bit about keeping the certs. They mightn't be that useful in your current job, but something might happen and you end up looking for another job, they can be a bit of insurance.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • dustervoicedustervoice Member Posts: 877 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Do a cost benefit analysis. If the cert is "costing" you more than the benefits your are receiving now or will in the future then let them expire. if not, renew them.
  • AverageJoeAverageJoe CISM, CISSP, SSCP, CYSA+, SEC+, NET+, A+, LINUX+, PROJECT+ Member Posts: 268 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The problem with a simple cost-benefit analysis is that A) one cannot accurately predict the value of the future benefit, and B) it doesn't account for the cost (time, energy, references, etc.) that might be necessary to re-certify in the future if necessary, especially since the future requirements for a certification may change.

    I think of a certification much like a tree. It doesn't just suddenly appear. It has to be grown over time. And just because you can grow one in a particular place in your yard one year doesn't mean you'll necessarily be successful growing the same kind of tree in the same spot next year if you cut the current one down.

    So sure, you can get rid of it and try to grow another one if you ever need it, but that does assume some risk. Keeping it, however, imposes no risk at all.

    We've seen threads right on these forums about folks who had certifications, let them lapse, and then, when needed, couldn't re-certify as easily as they expected or in time for whatever opportunity.
  • apr911apr911 Member Posts: 380 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I have to do at least 1 renewal exam a year at this point so I understand the frustration. My Microsoft exams expire in 2016, 2019, my redhat exams expire 2017, 2020, my cisco exams expire 2018, 2021, my F5 exams expire 2018, 2020 and my ISC2 expires 2016, 2019. I usually am able to credit some of my time for each renewal towards my ISC2 CPEs so that's something at least.

    I had a buddy who was convinced he wouldn't need his CCNP Security and let it lapse. The company then instituted a policy requiring a CCNP to be promoted. His CCNP Security would have fit the bill but because it was expired he was faced with having to recertify from scratch. He ultimately left the company over the ceiling placed on his job and his desire not to have to go through the process of recertifying.

    While the guy knew his stuff and wouldnt have had any problem recertifying, it would have delayed his promotion by 6 months to a year while he went through the process and I guess it was just a matter of principal for him.

    In most cases, its well worth the time and effort to renew your certificates. About the only exception to the my "rule" is lower level certs and things that are one-and-done exams that are relatively easy... For example, I allowed my Security+ to lapse into legacy status (I have a lifetime Security+) when they switched to the Continuing Education model. While I may need a Security+ by employer requirement, the single exam is not as problematic to complete as would be starting my MCSE, CCNP, CISSP or F5 certificates from scratch.

    My RHCE is the biggest question mark for renewal... At 2 exams, its not that much more difficult to reacquire if I were to let it lapse from an exam perspective but I'd argue that renewing keeps your skills sharper and fresher than letting it lapse and reaquiring.
    Currently Working On: Openstack
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  • AverageJoeAverageJoe CISM, CISSP, SSCP, CYSA+, SEC+, NET+, A+, LINUX+, PROJECT+ Member Posts: 268 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Even for the one-and-dones, there's some risk. Just in the last few weeks or so there was a fellow posting here that his company sent him to a boot camp for N+ several years ago, he then passed the exam, but let the cert lapse because the company never made it mandatory to maintain.

    But now, very recently, they did make it mandatory, so he took the exam and didn't pass. Last he posted, he was suspended from work without pay until he re-certifies and he was basically a wreck about it -- that's a lot of pressure riding on you to pass!

    Bottom line, though, is that he just never expected to need it... until he needed it. He didn't really do much network stuff... photocopier maintenance or something like that... but had he known, he would have maintained the cert. I say, you never know what you'll need in the future, so keep those certs from lapsing.
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