Cisco or Checkpoint


I'm deciding whether to get certified in Cisco, starting with CCNA, or to go Checkpoint for the CCSA. I have no knowledge in either and have 12 years experience as system/network admin.
I have more interest to go into firewalls which I'm assuming Checkpoint would be better geared towards that since Cisco I think is more routers etc....(correct me please if I'm mistaken).

Which is more marketable to have? Is the field saturated with CCNA's looking for work? I'm looking to become more marketable since I've been laid off months ago.
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Ken BooneNetwork ConsultantCommented:
Well, here is the deal.  There seems to be a lot of CCNAs out there, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of them with many years of experience.  I am a consultant full time in the field.  I run into Cisco ASA and PIX  firewalls 10 to 1 against Checkpoint firewalls.  Also, studying for the CCNA will give you a broader skill set with equipment than just a particular firewall.  Cisco pretty much has the market with routers and switches so that adds to the availability of work.  If you are going down this path, I wouldn't stop at CCNA, go on to get your np or dp or something a level up from the CCNA.  That combined with your years of experience as a network admin will be good for you and make you more marketable.  

Checkpoint makes a nice firewall with a decent GUI, but like I said from my viewpoint its 10 to 1 Cisco.  Now having said that I am a CCIE so I do work in a lot of different Cisco shops, and most Cisco shops will automatically go with the ASA, however, I do a fair amount of work in business that are not Cisco shops and still run into the PIX and ASA more than Checkpoint.  

BTW - Don't just focus on firewalls - focus on security - think about the firewall as being a piece of the security pie.   Also, in most cases you won't get a job because you know a particular firewall.  They usually want someone who can handle all of the network components - that again is why I think the CCNA and upwards would be more valuable.

For what its worth - best of luck to you.

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tolinromeAuthor Commented:
Thank you,  your answer has helped me very much. I was going back and forth every hour on deciding from Cisco to Checkpoint...
So, it seems that the CCNA training will at least enable me to work on ASA and PIX firewalls as well as Cisco switches and routers? (The State is paying for my training will all this stimulus money!!!)
Now, I'm off to eBay to get a Cisco setup so I can get some 'real' home practice.
Thank you again very much for your response...
I seem to be the exception to kenboonejr here lol.

I am both a CCNA and CP certified up to CCMSE+VSX and I deal predominantly with security (Check Point, Nokia, corssbeam and Juniper stuff.  I ahve worked a bit on cisco routers and switches, but never had a chance to play with the cisco firewalls (ASA and pix)

If you are interested in security, then I would go down the CP or Juniper route, however, the CCNA is still very useful and indeed required in administrating and supporting firewalls, as networking plays a fundamental part in the kit.

CCNA is more than likely the best road to go down to get to grips with the fundamentals of networking (routing, switching etc) and can be translated into all other network kit (CP included).

The CP side is definitely more security based, going through the basic firewalls to enterprise management, IDP and endpoint security.  All very useful, but the CCNA would give an excellent grounding in making sure that the network is set up correctly.

All in all, I would say go for both, with a preference for the cisco (as its the most useful instantly to you) with the CP stuff to follow.

And as kenboonejr said, good luck ud.
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Hi there,

If you already have 12 years experience in networks then you could do the CCNA on the side in your own time - a lot of it is common sense and transferrable skills. There's a wealth of info out there and if you look in the right places you can download the CCNA curriculum (not that I'm advocating any dodgy behaviour). It shold then be easy enough to go do the exams and get your ccna qualification.

Checkpoint is also sought after and well worth doing though I would advise going on the official training for it which can be pricey. Cisco courses on the other hand are run in quite a lot of local colleges as a 2-evenings-a-week night class and a) the prices are much lower than official training centres and b) you get a lot more hands-on experience from it.

Hope this helps somewhat .. !
Kamran ArshadIT AssociateCommented:

Just to add to the nice suggestions above. If you are Interested in security then start with CCNA and then decide from CCSA or JNCIA (Juniper). I prefer Juniper tracks.
tolinromeAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the suggestions...I will start with the ccna then take it from there....
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