Cisco systems are a global leader in the fields of communication and networking. They’re known all over the world as a leading IT brand and their products & services are individual enough that they have their own batch of qualifications, known as Cisco certifications. These qualifications can be very useful when setting out on an IT related career path, but how do you know which path is right for you?
Online IT training courses in Cisco are widely available, so let’s take a look at 9 of the most popular certifications and what they’re useful for.
#1: Entry Network Technician (CCENT)
This is one of the entry-level qualifications into Cisco career paths. This certification will cover the skills needed for you to install, maintain and troubleshoot small networks. It covers the basics, as you would expect from an entry course, and is finished off with a single exam. CCENT is the place to start for technicians and is a prerequisite for some more advanced qualifications along this career path.
#2: Technician (CCT)
The technician path is aimed more at people who will be maintaining or installing networks on site. These people work to diagnose and maintain equipment and networks of a basic level, with an eye to specializing in individual areas (like data centers) over time.
#3: Network Associate (CCNA)
This isn’t an entry-level certification and can have different prerequisites depending on which path you want to follow. Here you will learn skills related to installing and supporting networks. You can choose to specialize in fields including cloud servers, data centers, security, and more. Each field will require 2-3 exams to complete your qualification.
#4: Design Associate (CCDA)
The CCDA was created for people who wish to follow the path to becoming a design professional (CCDP). This is a required certification that you must complete first, and you need either a CCENT, CCNA Routing & Switching, or a CCIE qualification before you can enter this course.
#5: Network Professional (CCNP)
The network professional credentials require you to pass 4 exams for most specialities, except routing & switching which requires 3. This is the path for network specialists who wish to continue along a similar route, focusing specifically on local networks and how they interact.
#6: Design Professional (CCDP)
As the name suggests, a design professional is involved more in the design process than the maintenance process. These are the people who design and implement new networks, with the aim of making them scalable over time and maintainable.
#7: Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
For many network professionals, the CCIE is an end-goal. This is the point where you will have reached an expert-level of knowledge within your speciality field. To achieve this you’ll need to be aware of emerging technologies in your field along with the current tech and standards. This is because Cisco believes an ‘expert’ should not only be highly qualified now, they should also be as ‘future-proof’ as possible.
#8: Design Expert (CCDE)
Like the CCIE, this is an expert qualification. However, this one isn’t based on networks and the maintenance of them. Instead, it’s a design path, so you could be focused on designing and creating new networks or infrastructure in a variety of fields.
#9: Architect (CCAr)
Architect level certifications are above even the expert level. This is the pinnacle of Cisco certifications and qualifies you as an expert on their systems. It’s been described as the Cisco equivalent of achieving a doctorate at the university.