GIAC GCWN vs MCSE: Security

vitalvital Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
I am currently a Certified GCWN (Giac Certified Windows Security Administrator) and wondering if it'll make any difference other than another cert on my resume if I get the MCSE: Security cert? My long term goal is to go for the CISSP when I have enough experience and I don't want to waste my time w/ the MCSE: Security cert if employers will see it as the same value of the GCWN.

Also, the cost of GCWN was about $3600 including training class and exam. How much would MCSE: Security cost?


  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    As far as cost goes, this is what I do per exam:

    CBT Nuggets $200
    Transcender $159
    Book $50
    Exam $125
    Total $534

    Which would bring the grand total to $4272 for all 8 exams (and now I know why I could only afford a Corolla).

    I'm not that familiar with the GCWN, but it does not appear to be equivalent to the MCSE:S. I think you will gain a much deeper understanding of Windows networks with the MCSE:S. While security pops up here and there, it's not the focus of the majority of the exams. I think a better question would be, "Would adding the security specialization on to an MCSE be worth it?" I don't know enough about the GCWN to be able to answer that.

    It really depends on what you want to do. If you have no interest in setting up sites in AD or mass-deploying client operating systems, and you just want to focus on security, then you might want to spend your time on something else. Adding an MCSE to your resume will definitely not be redundant though. If you've got the security stuff down, maybe get the messaging specialization instead or take some of the other electives to broaden your skillset.
  • manny355manny355 Member Posts: 134
    I went through instructor led classes at one of my local community colleges and each class was about $1500 a pop. I decided to opt for the full MCSE experience with Security...that was about 8 I spent atleast 12 grand on those classes not including exam fees...or should I say the state of illinois showed its appreciated for my faithful service in the military and paid 12 grand for my MCSE

    I've spent roughtly $625 bucks out of pocket for exam fees (375 of which were given back by my employer...I failed a couple of tests the first time out)
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 12,878 Admin
    vital wrote:
    I don't want to waste my time w/ the MCSE: Security cert if employers will see it as the same value of the GCWN.
    To compare what employers want, search the popular job boards. For example, I just did a nation-wide search on with "MCSE" and came up with 1539 job postings. Searching with "MCSE+Security" and "MCSE:Security" resulted in a combined 20 postings. The same search using "GCWN" and showed only 11 job postings. As for which cert is more recognized and valued, draw your own conclusions.
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