Making It Big in IT: Cisco Certifications
The Cisco certification program provides the practitioners with a direct route to building a successful career. It helps the engineers, software developers, and even students prepare for landing the industry’s job roles. With a Cisco certificate, an individual is positioned for more rewarding titles. It doesn’t matter what your career path in the IT sector is, any option offered by this vendor will be a great addition to your resume.
Which levels are available under the Cisco certification program?
If you want to earn one of the Cisco certificates, the first thing you need to know is what path best suits your career ambitions. The vendor offers five different levels that you can opt for. The choice depends on your current experience and your ability to comprehend the technical aspects of the exam content. The levels are as follows:
This is the starting point for those looking to launch a career as a networking professional. It is mainly aimed at the students and individuals with no knowledge in the IT field. There are two certificates under this level:
- CCT Routing & Switching
To get the Cisco Certified Technician R&S certification, you need to prove that you have the right skills to maintain Cisco Unified Computing Systems and servers and perform onsite support. You should also be able to perform the identification process for various components, including cabling, interfaces, and accessories. It is also important to understand the concepts of using NX OS and Cisco UCS operating modes, commonly-found software, and Cisco Graphical User Interface. To be evaluated on this expertise, you have to pass only one exam, which is Cisco 010-151, also known as 010-151 DCTECH.
- CCT Data Center
This certification is ideal for those individuals who want to focus on the maintenance and onsite support for Cisco switches, operating environments, and routers. It is vital for you to understand how to identify Cisco accessories, switch and router models, interfaces, and cabling. The potential candidates need to be able to use the Cisco Command Line Interface as well. In this case, you must take the 100-490 RSTECH exam.
This level is designed for those individuals who are looking to develop the essential competencies required to start a career in the latest technologies of the industry. It is also a great springboard for the specialists with no certificate but with some level of experience. This path includes the following options:
This Cisco Certified Network Associate certificate is ideal for those learners who want to enter the sector and get a career in IT technologies. It covers the fundamental level of expertise connected to the latest software development skills, job roles, and networking technologies. Thus, you can get a solid base to lead your career in any possible direction. This certification course evaluates your understanding of IP services and connectivity, programmability and automation, network fundamentals and access, as well as security fundamentals. To obtain this certificate, you need to deal with the Cisco 200-301 CCNA test.
- Cisco Certified DevNet Associate
If you want to get the needed skills in maintaining and developing apps built on the Cisco platforms and also verify them, this is the choice you should make. This certification path requires that you pass only one test, which covers the essentials of software design and development on the Cisco platforms. 200-901 DEVASC is a qualifying exam you need to clear if you want to prove that you know how to use APIs, work with the Cisco platform, develop and secure apps, and understand automation and infrastructure.
- Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate
Those who want to enter the cybersecurity sector can opt for this certification. It contains the evaluation of one’s fundamental knowledge of cybersecurity procedures, skills, and operations. Understanding the security concepts, host-based analysis, security procedures and policies, network intrusion analysis, and security monitoring is the skills the students have to possess if they want to succeed in this area. The exam that you need to take for this course is 200 201 CBROPS.
This level allows the specialists to choose the core technology track and get the specific specialization in line with their career goals. To earn one of the professional-level certificates, the candidates must pass one core exam and one concentration test. Dealing with the duo you choose will qualify you for earning your certification. The certificates involved in this track are the following:
- Cisco Certified DevNet Professional
This certification helps you prove that you have all the required professional-level skills that include the ability to develop and maintain apps that are built on the Cisco platforms. The course offers you one core exam and a list of concentration tests that you need to choose from. The first option, which is also known as Cisco 350-901 DEVCOR, covers the concepts of core software design and development. It means that if you want to pass this exam, you need to have knowledge of APIs, infrastructure, application deployment, Cisco platforms, automation, and security.
The second option should be chosen among 8 tests, which include 300-920 DEVWBX, 300-915 DEVIOT, 300-910 DEVOPS, 300-735 SAUTO, 300-535 SPAUTO, 300-635 DCAUTO, 300-835 CLAUTO, and 300-435 ENAUTO. Each of them focuses on particular domains that you may want to qualify in. Thus, these exams cover industry-specific and emerging topics that include Cloud, DevOps automation, data center automation, enterprise automation, service provider automation, IoT, DevOps automation, and collaboration automation.
- CCNP Data Center
If you follow Cisco Certified Network Professional path, you will be able to validate your skills with data center solutions. You can do it by passing the 350-601 DCCOR test and taking one of the concentration exams. The first one covers core data center technologies and the other test should be chosen by you from the list of available options. They include 300-635 DCAUTO, 300-625 DCSAN, 300-620 DCACI, 300-615 DCIT, 300-610 DCID. You should choose one of the options according to your preferences in the technical area you want to focus on. The exams cover the details related to the design, implementation, configuration, and troubleshooting of Cisco Data Center infrastructure, Cisco MDS 9000 Series switches, Cisco Application Centric infrastructure, and Cisco Data Center solutions.
- CCNP Enterprise
Just like all other professional-level certification, this one requires that you pass one core and one concentration exams. This certificate proves that you have all the needed skills to work with enterprise networking solutions. The core test (350-401 ENCOR) covers the details of virtualization, security, dual-stack architecture, automation, infrastructure, and network assurance.
The specialization options include 300-435 ENAUTO, 300-425 ENWLSD, 300-430 ENWLSI, 300-415 ENSDWI, 300-420 ENSLD, and 300-410 ENARSI. They cover the topics that include SD-WAN solutions, Cisco enterprise wireless networks, enterprise solutions, enterprise networks, and enterprise advanced routing and services.
- CCNP Collaboration
Those individuals who want to get the official proof of their skills in working with collaboration solutions should opt for this certificate. Its core exam (350-801 CLCOR) will load you with the relevant knowledge of the collaboration infrastructure. The 300-835 CLAUTO, 300-820 CLCEI, 300-815 CLACCM, and 300-810 CLICA tests cover your ability to implement Cisco collaboration Cloud and edge solutions, collaboration applications, advanced call control and mobility services, and automation for Cisco collaboration solutions.
- Cisco Certified CyberOps Professional
If you want to enter the cybersecurity field but work with the Cisco technologies in particular, this is the perfect choice for you. With this certification, you will meet the requirements of the company’s security processes and be able to work with the best defending mechanisms and solutions. There is no choice in this option, so you need to pass two tests, which are 350-201 CBRCOR and 300-215 CBRFIR. With their help, you will validate your skills in performing CyberOps and conducting forensic analysis and incident response.
- CCNP Service Provider
To obtain this certification, you need to have professional-level expertise in using service provider solutions. As for the requirements, you should take the 350-501 SPCOR test, which is obligatory for passing, and choose one of the concentration exams. They include three options: 300-535 SPAUTO, 300-515 SPVI, and 300-510 SPRI. These tests cover the more specific concepts of implementing Cisco service provider VPN services and Cisco service provider advanced routing solutions than the core exam. Cisco 350-501, on the other side, is all about the basic details of these technologies and the ways of implementing and operating them.
- CCNP Security
This certification is an ideal option for those IT specialists who want to have a proof of their skills in using security solutions. The 350-701 SCOR exam covers core security technologies, and the qualification tests include the concepts of implementing secure solutions with virtual private networks, securing email with Cisco email security appliance and the web with Cisco web security appliance, as well as the implementation of Cisco Identity Services Engine and security processes for networks. The list of the concentration exams includes 300-735 SAUTO, 300-730 SVPN, 300-725 SWSA, 300-720 SESA, 300-715 SISE, and 300-710 SNCF. By choosing one of these options, you can customize the certificate the way you need.
Any expert-level certification is one of the most prestigious options in the field of technology. They are accepted worldwide and give any interested candidate a proof of their skills that will be in demand among the employers. Most of these certificates require passing several exams, including one qualifying test from the professional-level track and hands-on labs. The certifications awarded after completing the rigorous preparation process include the following:
The Cisco Certified Design Expert certification is ideal for the expert-level network design engineers. Thus, you need to know how to translate business operational constraints, budget, and needs into the design of a converged solution. The certificate prepares you to create design solutions at the infrastructure level for large customer networks. You will have to pass the written exam, which is Cisco 352-001 CCDE, and deal with the lab test. They cover your ability to perform design analysis, develop design implementation based on best practices, know the concepts of tunneling and routing, be able to deal with the management and Quality of Service (QoS), as well as justify the design requirements and perform security processes if needed.
- CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure
Having this Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert certification will prove that you have the required knowledge of what to do with complex enterprise infrastructure solutions. Just like all other expert-level options, this one offers you one qualification exam that covers the core concepts of the domain and one lab test that evaluates your practical skills. The Cisco 350-401 ENCOR exam covers the basic knowledge of core enterprise infrastructure technologies and the 8-hour lab measures your ability to design, deploy, operate, and optimize complex enterprise networks, which covers their whole end-to-end lifecycle.
- CCIE Enterprise Wireless
This certification is similar to CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure but covers the other side of the topic. Getting this certificate proves that you have all the needed knowledge for creating complex enterprise wireless solutions. The core exam is the same and it is Cisco 350-401 ENCOR. The lab test includes the evaluation of the end-to-end lifecycle of complex enterprise wireless networks.
- CCIE Security
Dealing with complex security solutions is what you need to worry about in this certification. The core exam (350-701 SCOR) helps you evaluate your skills required for working with data center infrastructure. As for the lab test, you will have to show your hands-on skills connected to the end-to-end lifecycle of complex security solutions.
- CCIE Data Center
The main task here is to know how to develop complex data center solutions. You will have to take the test from the professional-level certification track, which is Cisco 350-601 (DCCOR) and clear the lab exam. The practical test is about the end-to-end lifecycle of complex data center networks.
- CCIE Collaboration
This certificate has the same approach. You need to take the exam from the lower certification level and complete the lab test. The 350-801 CLCOR exam focuses mainly on your knowledge of collaboration infrastructure, while the lab test evaluates your grasp of the end-to-end lifecycle of complex collaboration infrastructure. It is ideal for those who want to prove that they know everything about complex collaboration solutions.
- CCIE Service Provider
Complex service provider solutions are what you need to know about if you want to get this certification. The 350-501 SPCOR test is both for the Professional and Expert levels, but here, you will also need to deal with the 8-hour exam, which covers the details regarding the end-to-end lifecycle of complex service provider networks.
This is the highest certification level offered by Cisco. It validates the architectural expertise of the network designers who produce technical specifications for a network to support the objectives given by a company. This track comprises of only one certificate referred to as CCAr, which requires a single board exam. It is for the senior network infrastructure architects only, so you should know how to produce technical specifications for the network to support the business objectives.
Why is the Cisco certification program your best choice?
In our fast-changing IT world, it is important to stay relevant and updated, and the Cisco certification program can help you with that. A lot of companies use the products and services of this provider and want to hire only the best specialists who can work with these products. However, by choosing Cisco, you will get a lot of benefits as well:
- The networking domain is growing very rapifly making the Cisco certifications the best choice as the vendor is constantly updating its program to provide you with the latest skills required for your tasks.
- The Cisco certified individuals are among the highest-paid specialists in the world. Having any of the certificates will grant you a salary increment. Thus, depending on the certification path you choose, you can earn from about $32,000 up to $170,000 annually.
- Besides the salary you earn, you will also get a promotion if you obtain the one with more difficult content than you are currently working with. This means that you can become a Network Administrator, a Security Administrator, a CIS Analyst, a Technical Sales Consultant, an IT Infrastructure Engineer, a DevNet Bootcamp Delivery Engineering Manager, a Network Technician, and even a Network Security Engineer. It all depends on the certificate you get.
Of course, if you want to get any of these benefits and become an accredited professional who will stand out among other candidates, you need to have a good preparation time. All in all, as you can see, with or without experience, you can attempt the Cisco certification exams from the Entry to Architect levels.