How to Become Cisco Certified
As a global leader in the field of networking, Cisco’s certifications are among the best in the industry. Work your way up through the levels and you’ll demonstrate to employers that you’re able to program, manage and troubleshoot various types of network. It’s perhaps no surprise that there are already over a million Cisco students in 165 countries.
Which Cisco Certifications Are Available?
In the UK there are four levels of Cisco certifications available, from the entry-level CCENT to the expert level CCIE. Many Cisco accredited courses involve flexible online self-study and some learning providers also provide opportunities to practice techniques in a simulated environment. Study materials are generally available to download.
Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)
CCENT certification will give you the networking knowledge you need to install, manage and troubleshoot a small enterprise branch network. The curriculum covers basic security and wireless concepts, routing and switching fundamentals, WAN technologies and configuring simple networks. Assessment is via a single exam.
Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA)
If you’re a support engineer or a network design engineer you’ll find this certification very useful, as it covers network design methodologies, remote connectivity design, routing and switching networking infrastructures and skills for protocols. The training program also includes an introduction to the wireless networking of security threats. Assessment is carried out via one exam.
Cisco Certified Network Associate-routing and switching (CCNA)
Aimed at entry-level networking engineers, the CCNA Routing and Switching certification is Cisco’s most popular certification, which is why many organisations and companies in the UK require their staff to have it. There are no entry requirements and the training program will give you a detailed understanding of Cisco switches and routers. You’ll also learn about protocols and handling security threats. To gain your certification you’ll have to pass two CCNA exams.
Once you’ve completed your CCNA certification you’ll be able to install, operate and troubleshoot a small branch office network. The certification also opens the door to more advanced associate-level certificates including the CCNA-Security, the CCNA-Voice and the CCNA-Wireless.
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
CCNP certification will teach you to plan, put into practice and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks. You’ll need a year of networking experience before you apply for this advanced certification and the curriculum includes building a scalable routed network, building campus networks, improving traffic flow and creating a global intranet. Assessment is via 3 exams.
Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
You’ll need 3-5 years of experience to begin the CCIE as it’s the industry’s most prestigious certification. In addition to validating the skills that network engineers need to create, operate, monitor and manage complex network infrastructures, the CCIE will allow you to demonstrate your mastery of Cisco products and solutions. The certification program culminates in a two-part assessment, which includes an 8-hour lab based certification exam.
As A Beginner, Where Should I Start?
It’s worth developing a basic understanding of computer systems and networking technology if you’re planning to work towards Cisco certification. In particular, we recommend exploring how switches, routers and wireless access points function in a network.
Skill Set Found Amongst Cisco Certified Professionals
Knowledge of network protocols
Ability to structure networks according to company needs
Popular Career Pathways With Cisco Certification
Depending on whether you’re a CCENT, a CCDA, CCNA, CCNP or CCIE graduate, there are a number of career pathways that will be available to you – for example: