CCNP vs. MSCE, which one to choose?

Certification: Cisco CCNP Routing and Switching - Cisco Certified Network Professional Routing and Switching


In this age of modern technology there are a lot of certifications available related to different fields. Each of the certifications has different features and topics. This is one angle to see different certifications. From another angle of view it may be noticed that different certifications related to similar or same technology are offered by different organization with their names like CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, CCar etc are offered by Cisco. On the other hand Microsoft offers MSCE, MSCA etc. Red Hat is also in the competition providing RHCE certification related to Linux. After having CCNa (Cisco Certified Network Associate) what should you choose is a very important question. CCNP as we all know cannot be achieved unless one has got CCNA. But what to do after CCNA is a tricky question and needs a technical answer. CCNP and MSCE both are different courses with different technologies and even different course fee. (MSCE is expensive that CCNP). In order to get a satisfactory answer to this question let us frame the differences between these two certifications and decide what to choose in light of the difference.

Difference between CCNP and MSCE:

CCNP stands for Cisco Certified Network Professional. It is a well known certification for networking technology. It enables you to work with networking technologies and supports you to optimize the infrastructure of the networking systems. Cisco offered the CCNP with four exams but with the passage of time it has changed its curriculum and reduced the exams to three namely ROUTE, SWITCH and TSHOOT. ROUTE exam adds to the knowledge of IP Addressing, routing in scalable and secure routing solutions, securing the routers connected to LANs and WANs. SWITCH mainly focuses on the configuration and verification of the complex enterprise switch solutions and also the security of the integration of VLANs and WLANs networks. TSHOOT certifies that the candidate has necessary knowledge in planning and performance of complex routed and switched networks. In addition to this he also has systematic ITIL-complaint approach to perform networking Tshoot. In short CCNP is dealing with the hardware and networking based on Cisco networking equipment set. It is important to mention here that Cisco not only offers CCNP routing and switching but also has added new useful certifications like CCNP Data Center, CCNP Security, CCNP Service Provider, CCNP Service provider Operations, SSNP Voice and CCNP Wireless. Another important advancement is that you require a valid Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching certification as prerequisites for CCNP.

MSCE stands for Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert which was earlier known as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. Microsoft has changed the curriculum of MSCE and named it the former of the above mentioned names. It basically deals with the software area related to servers and connections. It consists of various different certifications namely Server infrastructure, Desktop infrastructure, Private Cloud, Data Platform, Business Intelligence, Messaging, Communication and SharePoint. Each of the certification is based on different areas. Server Infrastructure deals with the installation, configuration, and administration of Windows Server 2012 including the design and implementation of simple and advanced infrastructure. Desktop infrastructure on the other hand deals with the same server as in the server infrastructure but the focus is on implementation of desktop infrastructure and application environments. Private Cloud certification focuses on private cloud with system centre 2012 and configuration and deployment of private cloud. Data Platform addresses to the queries, administration and implementation of MS SQL 2012 servers. It also deals with the design and development of SQL server 2012. Business Intelligence also deals with the SQL server 2012 but the advance study includes implementation of Data Models and reports and design of business intelligence. Messaging deals with Windows Server 2012 and addresses the core solutions of exchange server and advanced solutions related to exchange server. SharePoint dealing with the installation, configuration, and administration of Windows Server 2012 addresses the core solutions of Microsoft SharePoint 2013 with advanced solutions related to it. Lastly Communication certification concerns the installation, configuration, and administration of Windows Server 2012 including solutions related to Lync server 2013 and enterprise and online services associated to the Lync server. On the whole all of these certifications are related to software solutions related to different servers like Windows server, SQL server, SharePoint server and Lync server.

On the basis of this analysis we can say that both of these courses are entirely different from each other. CCNP deals with installation and configuration of Cisco network equipment while MSCE is designed to set up and maintain windows network. CCNP deals hardware while MSCE deals software.

Which one to choose?

Now once we have the idea about both of these certifications it would be easy for us to decide what to do. There are two possibilities with these certifications:

  1. If you have done your CCNA then you can opt any of these.
  2. If you don’t have CCNA then you would have to get CCNA for CCNP but there is no requirement of CCNA for MSCE.

Now if you have CCNA then it would be better to have CCNP because both are related to same field i.e. network hardware. But it does not mean that MSCE would be a horrible choice for you. Joining CCNP is a technical suggestion otherwise if you have interest in setting up and configuration of Windows server then MSCE suits. It depends upon your area of interest and expertise and CCNA with MSCE can also provide a perfect software as well as hardware solution. Also when you get CCNA you come to know that Cisco certifications deal with practical knowledge of network equipment so CCNP would be and is definitely little more practical and hard certification. The trend of people and job opportunities suggest that after having CCNA you should go for CCNP otherwise if you don’t have CCNA then you may join any of the tracks.


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