IT Certifications - Which out of these are best to have or persue?

BACKGROUND INFO: My work purchased an account for me to take some courses / Cert prep classes online, that are self paced. There are quite a few GOOD choices, so much so, I'm not sure where to start.

Question: To the best of your knowledge, and facts. Out of the following choices listed below, what certs are the most valuable, earn more money, better jobs/ position, and / or good to know to help assist with other IT related items.

If you could only pick one to start, and put all your focus on (then persue the others). Which one would you choose to persue a cert first, and why? Also, please rank/ order the other course certs which you would then pursue after:


Complete Cisco Network Training Bundle
ICDN1 100-101 (In Effect: Oct 1, 2013)
ICND2 200-101 (In Effect: Oct 1, 2013)
Cisco ICND2 (CCNA)
Cisco ICOMM V8.0 (CCNA Voice) - 640-461
Cisco CCNA Security
Cisco ROUTE (CCNP Part 1) - 642-902
Cisco SWITCH (CCNP Part 2) - 642-813
Cisco TSHOOT (CCNP Part 3) - 642-832

IT Cyber Security Certification Training Bundle
CISSP - Certified Information System Security Professional
CISM - Certified Information Security Manager
CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor
IT Cyber Security Training Bundle
IT Cyber Security Certification Training Bundle

Computer Hacking Prevention Training

Cloud Training
CompTIA Cloud Overview

Cyber Security & Forensics
Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator
Certified Ethical Hacker

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Ken BooneNetwork ConsultantCommented:
So I would go with the Cisco training.  It has the broadest reach and I really think that it would be more beneficial to have that before you pursued something like the security stuff or the cloud stuff.

The CCNP will get you jobs.  It gives you the ground knowledge for everything else to come.

To me you don't need to fool around with the compTIA stuff if you do the cisco stuff.

After that it really depends on what you want to do.   Sometimes cyber security sounds really cool but it can be a really boring job as well.

I think once you get all the way through the Cisco stuff then you would have seen more and have a better understanding of where you would want to go next.

Thats my 2 cents.

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Anything with the word Cisco in it!
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BodyBuilderForLifeAuthor Commented:
My goal is to work for the government in the IT world and or IT Management, in areas such as CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, etc. I previously served in the ARMY in the IT field, and I currently have about 15 years experience under my belt. Just want to get that extra edge.
Sounds like, CISCO is the way to go, and the door and pathway to help with other certs too, would you all agree (for what I'm trying to do) ?
(You got enough about Cisco.)


(1) CISM - Certified Information Security Manager.

(2) Cyber Security & Forensics.

(3) Complete Cisco Network Training Bundle.

(4) ITIL (not in your list).
Steven CarnahanNetwork ManagerCommented:
I agree that Cisco would be the way to go. What I didn't see was anything on Cisco VoIP. There are a lot of companies out there running this and comparatively few well trained technicians in it.  

The final 4 that you have listed are really very general and beginner in level. They are not bad  courses but won't necessarily provide you with as much advancement opportunities as the more specialized higher level ones.

I then would move onto the security courses to follow the direction that you appear to want to go.
BodyBuilderForLifeAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys, I appreciate it!
Great.  You made up your mind (for now). :-)
I work as a consultant for enterprise level customers. I've worked with mom and pop shops with 5 employees, and also at the university/hospital level where 10,000 users is the minimum. I specialize in Cisco route/switch/firewall, and am working my way into more and more voice/wireless. Do I have a biased attitude towards Cisco? You bet. However, I'll try to be more neutral.

It's very difficult to say what's best as IT in general has so many aspects that any person can be very successful and also fail miserably. One of the biggest things to consider is what value employers will see in any type of certification. If you are working a direct corporate gig, the boss might be only concerned with results or they might corporate policies in place requiring certification. Sometimes the certs are only a way in the door and from there results are the only important thing. So consider where you want to go - if you want to be a consultant then the certifications are usually very important, but corporate gigs vary greatly and you might need to get a little inside information to know what's considered important.
Like I said earlier, I work as a consultant for a Cisco partner. This means that my Cisco certs are very import for my company as a partner, and the higher level certs I can get the better. So as a consultant, I recommend getting every one that you can manage. But if I had to whittle it down to a couple, I would suggest getting your CCNP r/s, followed by any other area you're interested in like security or voice. Route/Switch is the foundation of the network for any other specialty, so it's never bad to understand routing and switching even if you're going to specialize in voice/wireless/security.
In general, I find Comptia certifications to be nice, but only within the helpdesk level 1/2 range of jobs. At my level, no one is going to pay me or care if I know how to replace a video card.  They do care that can failover in a way that allows internet users to be unaware of a data center failure.
In the non-Cisco world, I've seen a number of high-level people with the CISSP so that seems to be a good one to get, but I haven't done any research to back that up. It's just my experience with the people I've worked with.
I don't know enough about the cloud to give any worthwhile opinion.
Just to repeat, consider the customer/employer when choosing certification paths. That piece of paper is only as valuable as the customer/employer thinks it is. The skills and knowledge behind the certification is definitely super valuable, but the piece of paper varies.

Senior Network Specialist
CCNP R/S, Sec, Voice, CCDP, VCP 5, ACMP
Steven CarnahanNetwork ManagerCommented:
Scott - that was very good.  I work in the financial industry as a network manager.  I have been doing so for almost 35 years.  As you said, the corporate environment is more focused on results.

My background:

College - Major in Accounting and minor in Computer Science (very basic computer classes years ago)

Certs - A++, Security++

I now have a manager that is pushing for everyone to get more certs though.
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