I think most people know that I’ve been a huge supporter of the WCNA program. I wrote an article when I first received my certification that outlined my thoughts on the program and followed up later with another post that was about Understanding the Value Of The Wireshark Certification. What I want to reiterate is that the value of this program is the knowledge gained through the process.
So why am I seriously considering letting this certification expire? Before I answer that, I want to commend Laura Chappell on building a program that really matters. The WCNA is about Wireshark and Protocols. The techniques found in the study materials are beneficial in regard to fundamentals. It is this fundamental knowledge that is very important, yet often overlooked.
When I obtained my WCNA back in 2010, I understood that the certification required 20 CPE’s annually. While I study, read and participate in activities that qualify, I always sort of found it a pain to track what the program calls external credits. These external credits are the CPE’s earned outside of the WCNA Portal. It’s not that the program makes it difficult, I guess I just don’t like these types of administrative tasks.
What I didn’t recall is that the exam must be retaken every three years. I think the cost of this exam is $299. I can’t really complain about my own oversight and the cost is only slightly higher than average. I also can’t complain about this re-certification practice since most certification vendors are doing something similar.
My question is, “Why both?” Why must I obtain CPE’s and retake the exam? Seems like I’m actually required to do more Joe Schmoe that walks in off the street and takes the exam. From what I can tell I could just let my certification lapse. At that point, I could take the same test for the same cost and have the same certification. Furthermore, that wouldn’t require me to submit CPE’s for 12 months.
There is value in the courses found in the WCNA portal. Free training is something most certifications programs don’t offer. Maybe I’ll change my mind before my certification expires in December. While I regularly see the value of the skills that the program focuses on, I’m just wondering if the certification itself is worth the maintenance. At the end of the day, I can save $299 every third year and just re-obtain the certification by taking the exam if an employer ever requires it.