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思科认证的价值:获得高薪 vs 积累知识

创建于: 2014-09-25 15:57:03          

试想一下,你看到一条招聘,邀请你申请一份兼职网络工作,你可以在这份岗位上获得超出你目前工作的挑战。你似乎能够胜任这份工作,这份工作看起来也很有趣。但是,它需要你有足够的时间,让你不得不抛开你目前的职业发展计划,包括学习下一阶段的思科认证。这份工作将持续一年。

 

你会为了接受这份工作,而放弃为时一年时间学习思科认证的计划吗?获得多少薪酬才会令你放弃一年的学习和获取认证的计划?

 

这篇博客是透过一些我的想法(如上述)去量化思科认证的价值。例如,如何量化认证的价值。很多人认为技能和认证的增加可以帮助他们更多薪水和更好的选择。但是在你花精力和时间学习之前,我们该如何量化认证的价值呢?量化认证的价值将会对我们有益的,使我们认清获取相关认证的决定是否明智。

 

我花了大量的工作时间在思考如何帮助人们了解思科的技术。最近我做了几次关于思科认证的价值的讨论。把这些论述串联起来,发布博客似乎是一个好方法,这篇博客使你能从不同的方面来看待思科认证的价值,希望你觉得它很有趣。

 

对于这篇博客,我会提到有两种以劳动力来量化认证价值的方式。

 

评估一:为期一年的兼职工作vs 思科认证学习

 

这篇博客的第一段为第一种评估方法铺平了台阶。基本上,你会在一个有吸引力的兼职工作和学习更高一级认证之间进行选择。此时,你设定的认证价值就等于你决定会为多少薪酬的兼职而放弃继续学习。

 

让我们来深入分析,你可以用以下这些规则做一个自测:

 

  • 你有两个选项,每项选择都将持续一年:接受兼职工作或继续学习以获取思科认证。
  • 无论是选择兼职工作还是选择继续学习,你每星期要花的时间都是一样的-也就是说,这两个选择均消费相同的(劳动)时间。
  • 你可以选择每周总共工作多少时间(写下这个数字)。
  • 但你不能将工作和学习时间相混合
  • 工作内容也不能与您的认证学习相关。也就是说,这份工作在获取认证方面无法给你任何帮助。为什么呢?因为为了保持这项自测比较为一个有唯一明确结论的自测。
  • 自测背景:你将获得的工作很有趣,同时你也很适合做这份工作的。

 

首先,计算一下每周你会去学习的实际时间。这真的取决于你。任何人谁开始读认证都应该认真许诺好自己每周的学习时间。让我们把这叫做X吧。

 

接下来,写下你想在明年得到的认证。大多数人比较看重认证,所以为此做了这项有趣的自测。写下你认为你可以在一年的学习中保持每周X小时的学习后能取得的认证。

 

最后,比较这两个选项(工作与学习)。明确每小时需要赚多少钱才能让你接受这份工作,而放弃学习下一项认证?例如,如果这份工作的报酬是每小时10美元,你会选择继续学习,但如果这份工作的报酬是20美元,你会选择接受这份工作,当然,如果这份工作的报酬介于10美元~20美元的之间。那你又会怎样选择呢?

 

例如,如果弗雷德正在备考CCNA路由和交换考试,虽然他每周只能投入10小时的温习时间,但他真的很想得到CCNA路由和交换认证,那他可能会这样想:“我得每周保持10小时的温习时间,所以让我放弃CCNA路由和交换的学习除非这份工作付我每小时100美金。他的好友Barney对学习可能没这么有积极性,他更喜欢有趣的工作,他会觉得: ”如果是我,我肯定愿意接受这份每小时10美金的工作(在保龄球场工作),而不是复习考取CCNA认证。“

 

顺便说一句,这是一个开放的自测。你可以把它写下来,理顺您的想法,包括明确X(每周工作时长)的值,薪酬数和你会因为这个薪资而放弃的认证。

 

自测背景:学习时间

 

在我们以第二种评估方式讨论思科认证的价值之前,我需要为下一个论点打点基础。让我们从一名充满希望的叫弗雷德的网络工程师开始说起吧。像许多刚入门的职员一样,弗雷德对开始外勤网络工作拥有激情,并将自己的职业目标订的很高,打算一直地学习路由/交换知识,如图1:

图1:思科路由和交换认证系列

 

和许多人刚刚起步一样,弗雷德也有很多问题,比如需要花费多少时间和精力来准备这些考试。

图2显示了通过每个认证,预计所需的总学习时间(请注意,我把CCENT和CCNA路由和交换的学习归为一项认证,只是为了更加明确即讨论的内容。)

图2:每个路由和交换认证所需时间 

 

解释一下这里的数字:

  • 从没有任何思科认证开始,我估计大约需花250小时的学习时间才能得到CCNA路由和交换认证。
  • 获得CCNA 路由和交换认证后,继续获得CCNP路由和交换认证的学习时间为450小时。
  • 获得CCNP路由和交换认证之后,继续获得CCIE路由和交换认证的学习时间为1000小时。

所以,通过所有这些认证需要总共1700小时的学习时间。

 

请随意对我的预估发表意见!虽然这些预估并不是我发布这篇文章的目的,但你仍可发表你的意见,我知道你可能会有一些意见。为了阐明这篇文章的目的,我们需要从一个合理的数字开始,所以我们将使用图2中的数字,每个人花费的时间可能不尽相同。

 

评估二:学习时间的价值

 

通过预估1700小时的学习时间,让你从一个完全没有思科网络知识的学习者变成一个CCIE持有者,这段经历具有什么价值?当然这并不是你获得CCIE时的价值,而是你学习时间的价值是什么?。下一段内容将为你阐述凌驾于思科认证价值上的另一个附加价值。

 

这种评估方式假设了一些虚拟的场景(包括将兼职工作的收入加在认证上以便加上数值)。学习备考思科认证意味着你得在平日的生活中抽出时间去学习。你很难量化这些去比较与家人相处的时间和学习的时间价值。但是,如果我们把兼职工作和学习作比较,我们就可以比较容易地量化它的价值。这样可以准确地了解到相对于流失的薪酬来说,宁可花相同的时间去学习而放弃接受兼职工作的机会成本是多少?

 

接下来这一评估方法是量化基于之前的1700小时学习假设,来评估从取得CCENT到持有CCIE路由和交换这一系列认证的价值。它始终围绕着一个问题:

如果你在接受兼职的话薪酬是多少?

 

如果你比较这两个选择:1700小时工作vs1700小时学习(并在结束时得到CCIE 路由和交换认证)那么这个问题就简单多了。而且有趣的是,不断比较那些只获得了CCNA路由和交换认证而放弃继续再考的考生,和学了CCNP路由和交换认证而放弃再继续学习的考生,以及与比较获得了CCIE路由和交换的考生,所得的结论均不同。

 

这个自测中,我用了一些数字来阐明观点,以避免让你去重复选择。所有四名工作者均投入1700小时去学习和工作(因为我估计要花1700小时的学习时间来完成从CCENT到CCIE认证级别的转变)。每个工作者在放弃学习一个认证之前,必须假设先有一份兼职工作。最后,四个工作者都拥有不同的级别的认证,并拥有不同数额的薪酬,四个工作者均使用了相同的1700个小时。

 

结果出现了转折:以获得思科认证为杠杆支点,获得的认证越少,兼职薪酬越少,(基于我给出的数字)。你可以用你自己假设数值来重复试验,将得出以下结论。

 

我们来总结下这四种情景:

  • 工作者1只工作,没考取任何认证只是每小时赚10美元。
  • 工作者2考取了一个CCNA路由和交换认证,每小时获取20美元薪资。
  • 工作者3考取了CCNP路由和交换认证每小时获取40美元薪资。
  • 工作者4得到一个CCIE路由和交换认证,没有获得薪资,他把所有时间花在学习上了。

 

图3也显示了最终测试结果:结束获取认证与获取的薪资总额对比

图3:劳动力的机会成本图示

 

现在,随便选两个工作者,并拿他们的目标与你的目标相比较。你会喜欢哪一个人呢?再来看一些例子:

 

  1. 工作者2对决工作者4:你希望有拥有CCNA路由和交换认证并赚取29000美元额外的现金报酬还是拥有CCIE路由和交换认证但没有任何收入吗?
  2. 工作者1对决工作者3:你希望自己未持有任何认证并只赚17000美元,还是持有CCNP路由和交换认证并能赚到40000美元的现金报酬?
  3. 工作者3对决工作者4:(这是最艰难的选择):你希望持有CCNP路由和交换认证并赚40000美元现金还是持有CCIE路由和交换认证而完全没有任何现金收入呢?

 

需要明确的是,我不建议你们按照我的假设来获得证书,或赚兼职。这只是一个衡量你花时间学习的价值机制。只是假如以上这四个工作者花了他们宝贵的1700小时去学习或兼职,而远离他们更有趣的生活,你会像他们这样做吗?你会选择做哪一种工作者?

 

如果你喜欢这个价值定义机制,但是不喜欢我假设花在学习和薪金上的数值,你可以随意更改这些数值。 (我很会好奇你会给出哪些数值!)

 

总结

 

写了这么多年有关思科认证的书和博客,我从来没有写过关于思科认证价值的内容。这些东西并不是试图给出获得认证价值的绝对值,而是你可以拿它作出比较,可以帮助你选择你的学习路径。我很想听听你对这些学习工具的想法好的或坏的。如果你通过了第一种评估自测,欢迎你们让我知道你会选择每周多少小时的工作时间,每日兼职薪金是多少以及最想获得什么证书吧。感谢您的阅读!

 

------------------------中英文对照----------------------------------------------------

 

Value of Cisco Certifications: Making Money Vs. Study

 

Imagine that you see a Tweet today inviting you to apply for a part-time networking job, something you can do in addition to your normal job. You appear to be qualified for the job, and the work looks interesting as well. However, it requires enough of your time so that you would have to set aside your current professional development plans, including study for that next Cisco certification. The job lasts one year.

 

Would you take the job, setting aside your certification plans for a year? How much money would you need to make in that job before it would entice you to abandon your learning and certification plans for a year?

This post works through a couple of ideas (like the above) about how to quantify the value of a certification. Many people expect that more skills and certifications will give them more salary and better options after they get the certifications. But how can we quantify the value of a certification now, before you spend the time and effort? Quantifying the value up front would be a little more useful, allowing us to each make a more informed decision about whether to pursue a cert or not.

And for a bit of context… this post is my first guest blog post with Cisco as part of the Cisco Champions program. I spend a lot of work hours thinking about how to help people learn about Cisco technology. And lately I’ve had a few conversations about the value of Cisco certifications. Putting all those facts together, this forum seemed like a good place to throw out something a little off the wall, see what people find useful, with a little different way to look at the value of Cisco certifications. Hope you find it interesting.

 

For this post, I’ve noted two ways to quantify the value of a certification by focusing on the value of the labor spent to study for a certification.

 

Valuation 1: One-Year Part Time Job Vs. Cert Study

 

The first paragraph of this blog post set the stage for the first way to value a certification. Basically, you have to choose between an appealing part-time job and studying for your next certification(s). You set a value on the certification by deciding how much that job would have to pay to make you choose the job over the study.

 

To proceed, do an exercise in introspection, with these rules:

 

  • You will between two options, both of which last 1 year: work an extra part-time job, or study towards passing Cisco certs.
  • Both the job and the study options require the same amount of time each week – that is, the two competing options are equal in regards to time (labor).
  • You can choose the number of hours/week (write down this number).
  • You cannot split time between study and work.
  • The work content does not overlap with your certification goals. That is, the job does not give you on-the-job training to help with your cert. Why? Just to keep this exercise as an either/or exercise.
  • The work is interesting and you are qualified.

 

To begin, pick how many hours a week you would realistically spend studying. That’s really up to you. Anyone who starts studying for a certification ought to commit to some number of hours per week. Call it X.

 

Next, note the certification(s) you would pursue in the next year. Most people value some certifications more than others, so to make this a useful exercise, write down the cert(s) you think you could achieve in one year of study at X hours/week.

 

Finally, compare the two options (work vs. study). How much money do you need to make per hour to make you choose the job instead of studying for that next certification? For instance, if you would choose to study if the job paid /hour, but you would choose the job if it paid /hour, somewhere between and is the dividing line. What’s that number for you?

 

For example, if Fred was studying for CCNA R/S, and could devote 10 hours/week to that study, but he was really psyched about getting his CCNA R/S, he might post something like:  “I’d work 10 hours/week, but I would need at least 0/hour to forego my CCNA R/S studies.” His Buddy Barney who is less motivated, and might prefer a fun job, might tweet “I’d take the job (at the bowling alley) for 10 hours a week at /hour instead of studying for CCNA, for sure”.

 

By the way, that’s a literal question. Write it down, post your thoughts, and include X (hours per week), pay rate, and the cert you would forego if you took that job at that rate. Post here, or just tweet it with #CiscoChampion at the end (or to me at @WendellOdom), and I’ll see it.

 

Background: Time Spent Studying

 

Before discussing a second way to put a value on a Cisco certification, I need to lay a little groundwork. To do that, let’s drill down a bit on a fictitious hopeful networker named Fred. Like many folks getting started, Fred has excitement and energy about starting out in networking, and sets his goals high, planning to run straight through the Routing/Switching track, as shown in Figure 1:

Figure 1: Cisco Routing and Switching Certification Track

 

Like many people just starting out, Fred has questions, like how much time and effort these exams will require. Without getting into why/wherefore here, Figure 2 shows some estimates of the total study time required to pass each certification, as shown in Figure 2. (Note that I’ve combined CCENT and CCNA R/S study into one category, just to align more clearly with the upcoming discussion.)

Figure 2: Additional Study Hours Per R/S Certification

To be clear, here’s a little explanation of the figure:

  • Starting with no Cisco certifications, I estimate about 250 hours of study to achieve CCNA R/S.
  • After getting CCNA R/S, the additional study time to achieve CCNP R/S is 450 hours.
  • After getting CCNP R/S, the additional study time to achieve CCIE R/S is 1000 hours.

So, to march through these certifications takes a total 1700 hours of study.

Yes, feel free to comment away at my estimates! While these estimates are not the purpose of this post, they’re here, so feel free to comment. I know you have an opinion. For the purpose of this post, we need a reasonable number to start, so we’ll use the numbers in Figure 2. Your mileage will vary.

 

Valuation 2: Value of Study Time

 

What is the value of those estimate 1700 hours of study from having no Cisco knowledge to getting a CCIE? Not the value once you achieve CCIE, but what’s the value of that time? That’s the question that this next method attempts to answer to give us another value to put a value on Cisco certifications.

 

This method uses a few contrived scenarios that let us include part-time job income as a way to put a numeric value on a certification. To study for a Cisco certification means that you take time away from some other part of your life. It’s hard to quantify the value of spending time with family and friends versus spending that time studying. However, if we again compare that study time to working a part-time job, we can quantify the value a little better. What’s the opportunity cost, in lost wages, if instead of studying you spent that same time working a part-time job?

 

This next method quantifies the value of a cert by looking at the entire CCENT through CCIE R/S track, based on that estimated 1700 hours of effort. It revolves around this question:

How much money could you make by working some part-time job instead of studying?

 

That’s a simple question if you compare only two options: working all 1700 hours versus studying 1700 hours (and getting your CCIE R/S at the end). But it’s also interesting to compare the person who gets CCNA R/S and then stops, or the person who gets CCNP R/S and then stops, to the person who gets their CCIE R/S.

 

For this exercise, instead of asking you to choose the numbers, I’ve made up some numbers for four scenarios using four workers. All four workers devote 1700 hours to their combined study and work effort (because my estimates total 1700 hours of study to go from CCENT to CCIE R/S). Each worker must transition to a part-time job when they quit their certification study. In the end, each of the four workers has a different certification level, with a different amount of money earned, but all four have labored for 1700 hours.

 

Finally, one last twist: the lesser the certification lever, the less pay in the part time job, at least in the numbers I choose to use. You can repeat the math with your own assumptions.

 

Summarizing the four scenarios:

  • Worker 1 only works; gets no certification; makes /hour.
  • Worker 2 gets a CCNA R/S and then works; makes /hour.
  • Worker 3 gets a CCNP R/S and then works; makes /hour.
  • Worker 4 gets a CCIE R/S but only studies.

 

Figure 3 shows the end result: the ending certification, and the total wages earned over that timeframe:

Figure 3: Opportunity Cost of Study Labor

Now pick any two workers, and compare them for your own goals. Which worker would you prefer to be? Some examples:

 

  1. Worker 2 versus 4: Would you prefer to have a CCNA R/S with ,000 extra cash, or a CCIE R/S and no extra money?
  2. Worker 1 versus 3: Would you prefer to have no certification and ,000, or CCNP R/S and ,000 cash?
  3. Worker 3 versus 4: Or the toughest choice: would you prefer to have a CCNP R/S and ,000, or a CCIE R/S and no cash?

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that anyone would go out and follow the plan of getting a cert and then getting a part time job. It’s just a mechanism to put a value on the time you spend. If four people spent 1700 of their precious time, away from the more fun parts of life, where would you want to land? Which of those workers would you choose to be?

 

And if you like the mechanism but don’t like my assumptions for time spent studying and pay rates, feel free to change the assumptions for yourself. (I’d be curious as to what/why you choose your numbers, so post away!)

 

Closing

In all my years writing books and blogs about Cisco certifications, I’ve never written about this particular perspective on the value of Cisco certifications. These mechanisms don’t attempt to give some sort of absolute value of a certification, but rather one objective comparison that might help you choose.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about these tools -- good or bad. And if you work through that first exercise, do let me know what the hours/week, rate, and cert that you chose. Thanks for reading!

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