Cisco Certifications: CCDP vs CCIP

It’s 2010 (for when you’ve just woke up 😉 ).

For myself, every new year brings a set of new projects and goals (an impressive list for this year by the way). Besides that, I should also carry the burden of those old achievements that still matter. Becoming a Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP) a couple of years ago, I have voluntarily signed myself for slavery and self investment;) taken the path of lifetime study. Sure, I can abandon all the certification idea at any time, but hey, I’ve already spent a chunk of my “could have been party” time to be where I am, so there is definitely no road back. Besides that, I have always though that the certification process itself is a good way to keep your brain in shape and keep up with the updates.

A Professional Cisco Certification is normally valid for 3 years, that means, to extend it, you should either pass one of the specialist exams or a higher certification exam. The beauty of it is that, when close to expiration with your current certificate, you might decide to take a specialist exam from another professional area. This is a common practice, a good one.

As the end for my CCSP  is approaching fast, I have faced the challenge to choose between the following two: Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) vs Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional (CCIP).

According to Cisco, CCDP:

Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP®) validates advanced knowledge of network design concepts and principles. With a CCDP certification, a network professional can discuss, design, and create advanced addressing and routing, security, network management, data center, and IP multicast complex multi-layered enterprise architectures that include virtual private networking and wireless domains. The CCDP curriculum includes building scalable internetworks, building multilayer switched networks, and designing network service architecture

and for CCIP:

Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional (CCIP®) validates advanced knowledge and skills required to manage service provider infrastructures. With a CCIP certification, a network professional working in a service provider organization demonstrates competencies in infrastructure IP networking solutions. The CCIP curriculum includes IP routing, IP QoS, BGP, and MPLS.

According to the description, CCIP would be a best fit. But, not so fast… Though I have to take the exams not to lose my earlier certification, there is no real “$” benefit (besides extra knowledge of course) from either of them for me at this moment, at least I doubt that besides some personal satisfaction, I will be $appreciated$ for my efforts.

I turned to Google to see if anyone has the same dilemma – amazing, I have not found a single proper discussion on that.  Could someone point me to the right track?

So, what’s next? Well, it’s obvious – the market! The market is always the best place to look into.

A fast browsing session did show that a CCDP certified engineer on average gets paid more that a CCIP,however the data, not being from multiple sources, is not exact enough to confirm that.

So, here comes the last point – personal interest. Here the CCDP beats the CCIP for me (even though a CCDP certification needs an extra prerequisite CCDA, that is not needed for CCIP). Why? Well, it looks like a CCDP certification is more focused on structuring your overall vision and concepts and goes beyond operations activity. This is especially important for those who, after years of work and experience might need a refresh and a structured vision.

It looks like we have a winner this year! CCDP – here I come! Ah, and no, no CCIE this time 🙂

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