Picking a certification path can be daunting. There’s so many options. On top of that, there also are vendors to consider. It’s enough to make someone’s head spin! For example, if you are interested in networking, you might be asking yourself:
“Cisco or Juniper?”
In that case, who better to ask than CBT Nuggets trainer Scott Morris? We affectionately dub him the “Most Certified Man in the World” because of the mind-boggling amount of certifications he holds.
When he was starting out in IT, Scott worked primarily with Cisco technologies. Juniper Networks didn’t even exist as a company at the time. In recent years, Scott has focused on Juniper technologies, and has/is/will be creating Juniper training for CBT Nuggets.
We recently chatted with Scott to get some quick thoughts on that Cisco vs. Juniper question — and certifications in general.
First things first… Scott stressed the importance of figuring out what technology interests you before you choose a certification path, much less a vendor. In fact, he urged students not to get caught up in vendors/vendor-specific certifications.
“My point-of-view has always been to focus on the technology,” Scott said. “Pull it away from the vendors. It’s knowing the technology that matters the most.”
He said that the majority of the time, technology is the same across vendors. There might be different interfaces or command lines, but in the end, the technologies will perform the same tasks.
So why choose Juniper over Cisco? Scott said for some IT pros, it’s simply a matter of Juniper being different. Another reason? Juniper can provide a narrower focus when it comes to certain technologies because its umbrella isn’t stretched as far as Cisco’s.
“Cisco is the big gorilla,” Scott said. “There’s a lot of people that choose Juniper because it’s not Cisco. It’s something different; a new challenge.”
There’s also the fact that knowing Juniper means you’ve diversified your IT skill set. Scott said that learning different technologies has benefited his career a lot, even when it comes to consulting. So, he encourages students to learn as much as they can. When it comes to Cisco vs. Juniper, both are great vendors , so he said why not learn both?
Scott also said that it’s short sighted to think that any one vendor or certification is the end-all, because the needs of individuals/companies varies so much. He said that working in IT requires being able to adjust your way of thinking, often.
And at the end of the day, Scott reaffirmed his rallying point: focus on the technology.
“Don’t be afraid,” Scott said. “Just go for it. Concentrate on what you know, and go from there!”