Are CWNP certifications worth the effort?

HaroldGHaroldG Posts: 9Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I don't see much activity for CWNP certifications on any study site including CWNPs own forum. Are these certs worth the time and money to get? Does any employer ever ask for them? Maybe the knowledge gained is great for on the job stuff? Anyone have any thoughts about CWNP certs?


  • ThePawofRizzoThePawofRizzo Senior Member Posts: 380Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    For my money I say "yes" they are. I should be taking CWTS soon, and am starting studying for the CWNA. While my primary position is not network administration, rather server support and engineering, studying for the certs is giving me the terminology and basic design considerations to talk with our network team. Our server group works hand in hand with the network team on deployments, RADIUS server, etc., so the knowledge for me is valuable. Also, I intend to work on some more advance security certs in the future, so understanding some wireless security better for me means a head start on studies.

    As for jobs, there are some out there that want a CWNA, or better, albeit it's certainly not a requirement found as frequently as Cisco certs. I think for network admins and engineers who want to work in that field, the CWNP certs could be very helpful, and even valuable for their careers.

    And I think at least the CWTS and CWNA certs are doable using self-study and some job experience, so one can spend a few hundred bucks to gain some credentials and some knowledge for the job. If the certs required a several thousand dollar course, and a really expensive test, then I'd definitely say it's not worth it, but the price really isn't too bad.
  • FreeguyFreeguy Posts: 23Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I think they are gaining traction, but I don't see a large amount of employer demand in my region either. Maybe occasionally a wireless specific job will list them as a "nice-to-have," but the majority of networking jobs still ask for the good old CCNA CCNP CCIE track.

    I've cleared the CWNA and CWSP so far and I personally love the curriculum. My job makes me branch into a lot of different technology paths - some more fun than others - and I'm always happy when I get some breathing room so I can dedicate my time to a CWNP track. The CWNP has done a lot for my "on-the-job" skills and a lot for my career, but it's been less because of the acronym on my LinkedIn profile and more because of the knowledge gained that I can put to use. Which, honestly, is the way it should be IMHO.

    And to echo the poster above, CWTS and CWNA and completely doable with self study. CWSP was mostly self study, with a little bit of hands-on experience with Aruba ClearPass helping out. CWDP is supposed to be fairly easy. CWAP is the only one that I've heard is rough and that might require some hands-on experience, but there are some budget options out there to capture wireless packets even if you have a Windows machine... spectrum analyzer will set you back a couple hundred minimum though.
  • ThePawofRizzoThePawofRizzo Senior Member Posts: 380Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Freeguy, if you don't mind, how did you prep for CWSP. I'm about to take CWTS, then should do CWNA by Spring or early Summer. I don't work with wireless regularly since my duties are more around server administration, but have considered the CWSP to get familiar with more security concepts in order to beef up my resume with some advance security certs over the next few years. I see there is one book out, but am concerned that for a guy like me with not a lot of wireless hands-on that I would want some other reading material.
  • FreeguyFreeguy Posts: 23Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hey ThePawofRizzo, sorry I am just now seeing this! The nice thing about the CWNP program IMO is that most of the knowledge gained is theory - not CLI minutia. This means that hands-on experience is not as critical as it would be to something like the CCNP track.

    For reading, you absolutely will want to grab the new CWSP study guide by David D Coleman, David A Westcott, and Bryan Harkins. It goes into great detail, much more detail than you'll need to pass the exam. Be sure you can run through all the practice questions included in the software package and come out on the other side with a high score.

    For practice, find a way to capture wireless packets. If you have a Windows device you'll be at a disadvantage because it can't natively listen in monitor mode (grabbing all the management and control frames), but I found a good budget alternative in Acrylic's Wi-Fi Professional product. Their NDIS drivers can allow a wireless NIC to operate in monitor mode even on a Windows laptop.

    If you can sniff packets to see all the juicy RSN goodness and scour the latest official book you should be fine.
  • ThePawofRizzoThePawofRizzo Senior Member Posts: 380Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks Freeguy. No biggie on the later reply as I just passed CWTS yesterday, so now am working on CWNA. With the coursework I'm doing for some college classes I suspect I won't be ready for CWNA until later Spring. Then, may tackle CWSP. The packet scanning is actually partly why I'm most interested, and I can get a Linux laptop set up if need be.
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