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Cisco Certification Guide: Overview and Career Paths

· Cisco,Education,Technology,Information

The Cisco Career Certification program is all-encompassing, ensuring that IT professionals have the skills and knowledge needed to support Cisco products and handle customers' technology problems on several fronts. It starts at the entry-level, then progresses to associate, then professional, and then expert levels, and ends at the architect level (in some certification areas). You can prepare for these certifications from various cisco online training programs available.

Each level has one or more credentials available. Passing one or more certification examinations is usually required to obtain a certificate. Pearson VUE delivers most of the CCNA exams. Candidates also need to demonstrate that they meet the qualifications for higher-level credentials. To meet the requirements for a higher level of certification, one must have more credentials and qualifications. 

Cisco certification program overview

Certifications within Cisco's portfolio include the following credentials:

  • CCENT - Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician 
  • CCT - Cisco Certified Technician 
  • CCNA - Cisco Certified Network Associate 
  • CCDA - Cisco Certified Design Associate 
  • CCNP - Cisco Certified Network Professional 
  • CCDP - Cisco Certified Design Professional 
  • CCIE - Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert 
  • CCDE - Cisco Certified Design Expert 
  • CCAr - Cisco Certified Architect 

There are numerous CCNA certifications and pathways in Cisco's career program for which cisco online training and CCNA courses are available. The two primary ways, however, include network operation and network design. A typical Cisco networking certification ladder starts with the CCENT, progresses to the CCNA certification, the CCNP, and finally to the CCIE. Instead, the design-oriented may want to start with the CCENT, then go to the CCDA, the professional-level CCDP, the CCDE, and finally, the CCAr.

Jobs and careers

Job options differ depending on experience and whether you want to work in network operations or design. The following list, while not inclusive, outlines some frequent job options by certification:

  • CCENT: Roles at the help desk or as a technician
  • CCT: Systems administrator or engineer (network, field, application support).
  • CCNA: Engineer (telecommunications, network), CCNA security professional, technician (network operations, network), CCNA routing and switching, or analyst (network operations center, network)
  • CCDA: network, design, system, lead engineer, interface developer, interface analyst, or technical specialist
  • CCNP: Senior-level roles such as network administrator, engineer (network, support), or advanced technician like CCNP security expert.
  • CCDP: Senior-level positions, such as senior network design engineer, cyber security analyst, senior analyst, or network designer.
  • CCIE: Network architect, engineer (systems, lead, network), or senior network administrator are expert-level occupations.
  • CCDE: Expert-level positions include senior network engineer, systems engineer, network design engineer, network architect, and IT infrastructure team lead.

CCAr: Architect (network, lead, voice data, enterprise, and more).


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