The Value of Certifications – A Top Five List


I’m new to the blog writing world but have been in the networking industry for several years now.  When I got started back in 2007, I was working my first job after graduating college and was recruited into a communications role, fresh out of the help desk, which I had landed the year prior. Cisco’s career certifications program literally picked up where schooling left off and helped me find my career passion and carve a path.  So here following, I’m going to give my top five reasons for certifying and continuing to climb Everest.

  1. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know”. When you learn on the job, it’s one thing to get something implemented but it’s another to truly understand how it works. Certification forces you to go back and fill in the knowledge gaps.
  2. It can be financially rewarding.  It may or may not happen right away but it will payoff in time.  I look at it as an investment in yourself and in your future.
  3. Learning to evolve. It’s inevitable that the landscape is going to continue to evolve and at an ever rapid pace. Cisco updates their exams accordingly so you can keep up with the industry. The CCNA I took in 2007 and 2013 were reflective of that.
  4. The more you learn, the more you learn what you don’t know. The difference in this reason from above is that not only do you fill in gaps but you begin to ask yourself questions that you never knew to ask before. The deeper you go, the more you discover.
  5. Recognition for your efforts.  Don’t do it only to fulfill an employers requirement but do it for yourself, even if your employer doesn’t require or see the value yet.  You’ve accomplished something very challenging and probably had fun in the process. Hanging that newly framed cert in your office is icing on the cake.

I hold Cisco certifications in high regard not only for providing excellent training for supporting Cisco products but for first and foremost providing a firm foundation and platform on which to grow as a network engineer.  I’m sure I missed some of your top reasons so please post them in the comments and I look forward to learning from the community here.

You can follow me on Twitter at @roesnet.

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  1. Great Article.
    I truly belive in the value of certifications especially as a mean to keep up with the fast changing technical landscape.
    And by the way you can have fun too.

    All the best,

  2. Well I did ccna routing and switching and got certified last year December. Am currently studying ccna security but I lack funds to purchase equipments to practice And getting a job is futile. How do you manage to sponsor yourself? How can I get a good paying job.

    • Hi Anthony,

      GNS3 should help you with your learning. I won’t say it will be a complete alternative for real gears. But, for learning, it will serve the purpose.

      Above all, its free and you don’t need to pay a penny for that 🙂

      All the best!


    • I started out at a Help Desk for a large organization and moved into networking. Don’t be afraid to take an opportunity like a Help Desk or NOC position because often times the company will sponsor your training.

  3. I definitely believe certifications help you become more productive and valuable in the workplace. I have several and my friends wonder why I continue to go to school. If some of them saw my paycheck, they would definitely understand!

  4. the fact is firms want a very specific specializzation
    because the more you are specific to their own business, the less you’ll more productive in a different company. So there is less rish a competitor will offer you more money.
    that’s why it’s very difficult to find a company that pays for your skill improvement if they’re not specific to their company.
    Of course if they sell cisco, they need cisco certified employee, but if they shell java program, maybe they just want most of the programmers to be just qualified on the firm own/most used classes.
    That’s the case of the “overqualified” and discarted

  5. I finished the CCNA in December under Ipv4 in a institute but now if I want the certification in CCNA I have to study IpV6, and I’m disorientated… have I to pay again for study IpV6 or how can I get the specific resources for it, at home?

    • IPv4 isn’t going to disappear very quickly so it’s good you learned about it. IPv6 is only one element of the CCNA curriculum so if you do some research online about how it works and get the fundamentals down, you’ll probably be ok. If you don’t pass you will at least know what weaknesses to turn into strengths for your next attempt.

  6. Hi Chris I’ve just started a home-based course in Cisco ccna didn’t realise how hard it was ha I’m getting there slowly I come from a security officer\army background so this really is new to me but I know once I’ve passed I’m gonna get a nice job to support my family and also prove to myself and friends I can do this

    • I learned by the self-study method also and some on-the-job training. My recommendation is to start with the Cisco Press books and read through them. Continue to practice with actual equipment to see how the theory works in practice and to continue reading anything you can get your hands on.

  7. Hi Chris,

    its really wonderful and knowledgeable article.

  8. Hi Chris,
    Great Article. I am a programmer and program in 7 different languages. Over time, If I am fully concentrated on python for example, I am going to totally forget java. However, If I prepare for say java 7 certification; it allows me to keep up with other language even for an hour or two a day because I need to get java 7 certified. I that scenario it helps; however, today`s job market if you have too many certifications on your resume you are not being picked up and I am not sure why. That`s why I just keep only two certification minimum out of 7 and I have see my resume is being picked up. So why certification is bringing negative effect on hiring?

    • Hi Rob,

      Thanks for the feedback. I’d make sure you’re targeting the right opportunities. You may be at a more senior level than you think and when HR sees the accomplishments on your resume, they may think you’re above their pay range. In my experience I’d encourage you to keep excelling with certifications.


      • Personally i’m an IT undergraduate and CCNA Certified. Following previous comments, does that mean it might be difficult to secure Graduate Trainee post if i certified ITIL also before graduation.

        • I don’t think so but I don’t know much about ITIL. Perhaps some of the readers have some experience with this.