I am looking to get a Doctorate degree in telecommunication. A friend of mine advised me to put my effort on getting a CCIE certification and ignore the PhD. Is the CCIE certification more valuable than a PhD degree? Would you please give me an advise.
I may be off here, but I'd say the difference is in *what* you desire to do with your career in terms of the type of duties and companies you'd work for...
With a CCIE, you're part of a high-caliber group of operational/design folks who typically work for larger organizations or IT channel partners. As a PhD, I'd think you'd be more likely involved in R&D or hard-core architecture and design, and less tactical or operational duties.
So I guess I'd answer your question with another - what do you want to do today? :-)
Tough call. If this were a PhD in Management, or Business, or something Financial, I would say no. Those degrees, along with 10-20 years of experience can easily net you a top management or leadership role, that can be well more worth it in terms of bonus, stock, and other perks for executives. Being that this is a PhD in Telecom, those options are not gone, but are less likely. For annual salary, I would say that a CCIE is more valuable than a PhD. However, PhD most likely buys you things that the CCIE won't. First, it buys you entrance into always being able to enter graduate level faculty at any mid-level college/university. Second, it also buys you a lot of prestige that can open doors into advanced engineering and design jobs directly for technical firms, say Cisco, Juniper, HP, etc. As for a CCIE, they are definitely paid well, but they are more network engineering and design focused, on an actual network. Yes you can find many of them as sales engineers or consultants, etc, but they are still very operational positions. All in all I would have to say that they both are about the same, but are two slightly different paths of a career. In my opinion, its more of a choice of what you want after either of them (or both is always an option). Just my 2 cents.
Are you serious about the MBA? It seems that just a few months ago, if one had an MBA, technical chops, and decent management experience, they could write their own ticket. Is this a trend that the trade rags played up?
Not that my opinion counts, but I will agree to disagree in regards to the value of a MBA. I have a MBA, and am currently finishing up a second Master's in Financial Management. I have over a decade of employment in the Global Fortune 50, with experience in one of the largest retail companies in the world, as well as one of the largest banks. and I see absolutely zero evidence to conclude that a MBA is not worth it. Perhaps in a smaller company where dual function managers are more relied upon, I could easily see that pairing up a CCIE with direct financial/accounting experience could be lucrative. However, I don't see a ton of career growth beyond low/mid level IT management with that direction, unless its within that same company. We also must remember that the majority (not saying all by any means) of CCIEs are network engineers and architects (or consultants in this realm), and the next largest count is probably in Network Management or Sales Engineers type positions (and or consultants). I don't know too many CCIEs that are rigorously pursuing CIO type positions, as the cream of the crop technically generally do not desire and probably would would have trouble with very senior level leadership positions, particularly in very large companies.
In short forgetaboutit, I agree with your statement of 'depends on what'. If someone is considering a CCIE vs. a PhD in Telecom, those are similar paths, and it tends to make me thing the person asking is very detailing and enjoys technology. A CCIE will virtually guarantee a network design or engineering job with very decent pay, while a PhD also opens up some doors in teaching or technology design (can be very different than practical operational design & engineering). It all depends what interests the person, and if they like the 'what', or they like the 'how'.
In closing, a MBA is the best focused graduate degree for anyone seeking the laurels of upper management. I'm not saying that I agree with the coursework, 100% believe its practical, or blindly think it is the best preparation, but for 2-3 post-graduate years, its the best bang for the buck if business strategy/leadership is your desired role. Being that this is a Cisco and Networking forum, I am not surprised or offended that it is discounted, but I will just disagree and leave it at that.
I should also add that I commend anyone for pursuing both financial and technical educational/certification paths, particularly those as concentrated as the CCIE and CPA programs. As with any scenario, its individual to the person, and the right person can accomplish just about anything regardless of exact path, provided they are disciplined to put some effort into it. On the technical MBA side, I do know several Director level folks with CCIEs and MBAs, and they have done very very well for themselves. Ultimately you will need much more than just Cisco and infrastructure knowledge to make it higher than that, unless of course your business is a service provider or consulting firm focused on video, voice, and data networks. From a salary point perspective, I also know that my current employer hires MBAs fresh out of school with no experience for more than most CCIEs make. Not saying that I agree or disagree, and these folks are obviously not in hardcore technology jobs, but I don't think you can compare a rigorous technical track with an business/executive focused graduate degree. I think things are changing now, but until recently, not many folks ran on both sides of that fence...