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Everything You Should Know About Cisco Certification.

Businesses are moving towards cloud computing to run their operations effectively. You will find Cisco networking equipment everywhere, be it routers or switches, etc. An IT professional will work in a Cisco environment at least once in their career, mainly when they specialize in network administration. Therefore Cisco certifications are highly in-demand and valuable. They are proof of your skills and knowledge for successfully managing the Cisco technologies. Let’s dive into the world of Cisco training and understand the learning path for Cisco credentials.

What Do Cisco Certifications Mean?

Earlier in the 90s, Cisco had only one certification program. Now there are a plethora of certifications, and navigating your way through them can be overwhelming. These intricate certifications validate a professional’s capabilities and knowledge for managing, developing, and maintaining Cisco technologies and equipment. Such certifications aim to test practical skills acquired by the candidates on the job while preparing them with a solid knowledge base. Cisco offers four levels of certifications: entry-level, associate level, professional level, and expert level. Generally, many of these certifications come under software development or network infrastructure. One fantastic thing about Cisco training is the support and guidance through every step of the certification process.

What Are Different Levels Of Cisco Certification?

Let’s understand Cisco certification levels and determine which one will be best for an individual.

Entry-Level Cisco Certifications

These certifications are an entry point for an individual looking forward to making a career in networking. Hence, if you are an absolute beginner getting the entry-level certification will prepare the base for your networking knowledge. Currently, there is only one certification under entry-level, i.e., Cisco certified technician. It focuses on implementing basic network security and managing a small bunch of networks. However, one needs to pass three exams to gain the credential. No prerequisites are there, and it is advisable to take the entry-level certification to get a good hold of basics if you have dabbled in Cisco networks.

Associate-Level Cisco Certifications

This is the second level of certification which is the foundation level for networking certification. According to the expers, an individual with the entry-level or associate level certification will have the same career graph, but the knowledge level will differ significantly. It offers the skills necessary to manage modern network solutions effectively and efficiently. One has to pass two or more exams in order to get an associate-level certification. The certifications are as follows:

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate-CCNA
  • CCNA DevNet
  • CCNA CyberOps

Professional-Level Cisco Certifications

Getting professional-level certification validates your expertise and skills in advanced networking. These Cisco certifications are highly in-depth and complex. One needs to pass at least two exams that include one core exam and a concentration exam, to get a professional level certification. A person having three to five years of experience is the ideal candidate for taking up this level as per Cisco. Currently, there are six professional level certifications that are specialized in a single niche:

  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Enterprise
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • CCNP Data Centre
  • Cisco Certified DevNet Professional

Expert-Level Cisco Certifications

Cisco recommends expert-level credentials for individuals with five to seven years of experience to understand better and apply the high niche knowledge. There are two parts of an expert level certification- one core professional level examinations and hands-on lab experience of eight hours. These certifications open up expert-level positions in Cisco networking roles such as senior network architect or engineer. Currently, Cisco offers seven expert CCIE certifications.

  • Cisco Certified Design Expert-CCDP
  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Enterprise Wireless
  • CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure
  • CCIE Security
  • CCIE Service Provider
  • CCIE Collaboration
  • CCIE Data Center

Conclusion

In recent years, Cisco has wholly revamped its certification process and retired many of the earlier available certifications. In fact, mandatory requirements have been turned into recommendations. Even after coming up with new credentials, selecting the proper Cisco certification is a daunting task. With this brief guide, now you know the structure of Cisco credentials. Look at your experience and knowledge level, and then zero down on certification for better career opportunities.

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