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I'm a college student finishing up my last year in school. I am currently majoring in Political Science and minoring in I.T. During my I.T. courses my professors would always comment about how there is a great demand for CCNA individuals here in the pacific region. I have done a fair amount of research about this certification, however I would like to ask those who have been in the "real world" if I should pursue this certification, and is it useful here in Hawaii. My main goal is to give back to this wonderful place we live in. Your thoughts and wisdom would greatly be welcomed to a curious student. Mahalo.

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Comment by Brian on August 20, 2010 at 11:08pm
Secret on NAC/LAC basis is pretty trivial to get as is Security+. I don't think anyone that can't walk in to a Security+ exam with minimal preparation/refresher should be working at any sort of mid-level+ network/IT position anyway...

P.S. The Security+ "requirement" is more accurately the 8570 requirement which takes effect end of CY 2010 for IAT/IAM positions. Security+ is simply an easy to obtain and inexpensive certificate which satisfies the level II requirement for the IAT track - which is where your typical networking/admin jobs sit.

So if you already have another certification that satisfies the requirement such as SSCP there is no requirement to have Security+.
Comment by Zehra Abbas Zaidi on August 20, 2010 at 5:35pm
I wanted to add that Debi Merwick, our VP of Technical Recruitment at Bishop & Co. just told me that anyone touching a military system starting 1/1/2011 will need a Security + cert. That is the most important cert right now for IT jobs in the military sector.
Comment by Zehra Abbas Zaidi on August 20, 2010 at 2:39pm
Hi Daniel! Sorry about the delayed response. In response to Tonu's question, CCNA is an excellent certification if your aim is to work with networks. If your focus is primarily systems, then the MCSE certification is a good choice. (There is a significant CCNA demand in the military sector i.e. jobs that require secret clearance, but it isn't easy to get a secret clearance). So firstly you'll need to decide if you want to follow the Systems Admin path or the Network Engineer path, but whichever path you wish to follow, when you enter the IT field you may initially work as a Help Desk professional. The first two certs that a Help Desk professional should get would be, in my opinion, A+ and Network+. After gaining some experience, the next step would be to get an MCSE or MCITP if you wish to be a Systems Engineer or a CCNA if you wish to be a Network Administrator. If you decide to be a Systems Administrator, after the A+ and Network+ cert, the next level of certs are MCSA and MCTS, but if you wish to skip this level and feel confident that you have enough experience then you would attempt to get an MCSE or MCITP cert. Very experienced Systems Administrators aim to get the MCA cert. The first level of certs for Network administrators is CCNA, followed by CCNP and Senior Network Admins aim to get the CCIE cert. If you end up working for a company in which the Systems Admin and Network Admin roles overlap, then it would make sense to get the CCNA and MCSE cert, if you are interested in both areas. I hope this helps--which cert you aim to get will really depend on your area of interest and what path really interests you as a long term goal.
Comment by Joel M. Leo on August 19, 2010 at 1:39pm
Having a base of certifications that show your competence in more than one arena is a huge point in your favor as recruiters/hiring managers dig through their stacks of resumes. It shows you understand beyond the basic boundaries of a single technology, implying that you would be more flexible (potentially valuable) than the other candidates. An MCSE with a CCNA is a potent combination, moreso than either on their own.
Comment by Nate Sanders on August 18, 2010 at 5:25pm
Indeed.com (96822 zip code) shows 40 hits for "MCSE", 40 hits for "MCSA" (quite a bit of overlap with MCSE) and 29 for "CCNA".

Indeed probably works much much better for gauging this type of thing in mainland cities than Honolulu, though.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on August 18, 2010 at 5:06pm
Hi John - I think you are correct in that there are more slots for Microsoft people, but there are also more people with Microsoft certifications. It would be interesting to hear one of the technical recruiters such as Zehra or Jason chime in on this.
Comment by John on August 18, 2010 at 11:28am
How about Microsoft vs Cisco certifications? I would suspect that there are more jobs that deal with servers/PCs than switches/routers. To that end, Microsoft certifications would seem to have broader use, no?
Comment by Tonu Apelu on August 17, 2010 at 9:12pm
Mahalo to Mika and Cameron for answering my question. Now I have something to consider. Aloha.
Comment by Cameron Souza on August 17, 2010 at 9:30am
The military also hires many CCNAs in Hawaii.
Comment by Mika Leuck on August 17, 2010 at 9:28am
Aloha Tonu - A CCNA would be helpful in getting a job at Hawaii based network infrastructure providers such as our friends at DRFortress. TechHui member Fred Rodi is their president.

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