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Cisco Career Certifications are a type of IT professional certifications created by Cisco Systems for their products. Pearson VUE administers tests required to obtain such certification. The certification breaks down into five levels: Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect along with targeted certifications for Specialist and Technician. These can divide into nine different subject tracks depending on the certification level: Routing & Switching, Design, Security, Service Provider, Service Provider Operations, Data Center, Voice, Wireless and Video.
The Cisco Networking Academy teaches Cisco skills. People do not need to participate in Cisco Networking Academy classes as a prerequisite to taking an exam or obtaining a certification, although many recommend it. The program offers classes aimed at CCNA (Routing and Switching), CCNP (Routing and Switching) and CCNA Security certifications.
Collegiate institutions also offer courses about Cisco, and Cisco Learning Partners has training available, such as the Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE and the Cisco Learning Network. All certifications have official books called Certification Guides released by Cisco Press.
|Level||Routing & Switching||Design||Data Center||Security||Voice||Wireless||Service Provider||Service Provider Operations||Video|
|CCIE||CCIE Routing & Switching||CCDE||CCIE Data Center||CCIE Security||CCIE Voice||CCIE Wireless||CCIE Service Provider||CCIE Service Provider Operations||-|
|CCNP||CCNP||CCDP||CCNP Data Center||CCNP Security (former CCSP)||CCNP Voice (former CCVP)||CCNP Wireless||CCNP Service Provider (former CCIP)||CCNP Service Provider Operations||-|
|CCNA||CCNA Routing and Switching (former CCNA)||CCDA||CCNA Data Center||CCNA Security||CCNA Voice||CCNA Wireless||CCNA Service Provider||CCNA Service Provider Operations||CCNA Video|
The table below shows the different paths and levels for Cisco certifications. With the exception of the Expert and Architect level, all certification require passing one or more theoretical exams offered by Pearson VUE. The Expert and Architect certifications also required a hands-on exam administered at special labs around the world.
|Level||Routing & Switching||Design||Data Center||Security||Voice||Wireless||Service Provider||Service Provider Operations||Video|
|Expert||CCIE Routing & Switching||CCDE||CCIE Data Center||CCIE Security||CCIE Voice||CCIE Wireless||CCIE Service Provider||CCIE Service Provider Operations||-|
|Professional||CCNP||CCDP||CCNP Data Center||CCNP Security (former CCSP)||CCNP Voice (former CCVP)||CCNP Wireless||CCNP Service Provider (former CCIP)||CCNP Service Provider Operations||-|
|Associate||CCNA Routing and Switching (former CCNA)||CCDA||CCNA Data Center||CCNA Security||CCNA Voice||CCNA Wireless||CCNA Service Provider||CCNA Service Provider Operations||CCNA Video|
Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) represents the lowest level of certification which covers basic networking knowledge. Until its introduction, CCNA represented the first level of the certification program. It has appropriate use for an entry-level network support position. CCENT certified staff can install, manage and troubleshoot a small enterprise network, including basic network security. The first step towards a CCNA certification must start by having a CCENT. Once someone passed the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1) Exam (100-101) they earned their CCENT certification.
In 2013, Cisco introduced new ICND1 and ICND2 exams (needed for the new CCNA Routing and Switching). ICND1: 100-101 (Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 v2.0) became the new exam required for CCENT. With this change, CCENT became a sufficient pre-requirement for CCNA Security, CCNA Voice and CCNA Wireless.
Associate Certifications represents the 2nd level of certifications. Associate Certifications divide certifications by subject matter.
The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching certification covers skills necessary to administer devices on small or medium-sized networks. This certification requires the ICND1 100-101 and ICND2 200-101 exams. Examinees may take the exams separately or the composite 200-120 CCNA exam. It exists generally as a prerequisite to more advanced certifications, such as the CCNA specialty exams and Cisco Professional level certifications, e.g. CCNP, CCNP-Wireless, CCNP-Security, etc.
CCNA-certified individuals specialize by technology. All specialized tracks require passing and maintaining a CCNA certification.
validates knowledge of data center design, equipment installation, and maintenance.
CCNA Security validates knowledge of security infrastructure, threats, and vulnerabilities to networks and threat mitigation. Required skills include installation, troubleshooting and monitoring of network devices to maintain the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of data and devices. To earn this certification one must pass the IINS 640-554 (Implementing Cisco IOS Network Security, or IINS) exam. It represents the required exam to earn the certification and for continuing the security certification path to the CCNP.
Note: The CCNA Security couseware holds compliance with the NSA and CNSS training standard of CNSS 4011. By remaining compliant, the CCNA Security program provides the required training for network security professionals who assist private sector entities and federal agencies of the United States, protects their information and aid in the defense of the United States IT infrastructure. Candidates who have passed the CCNA Security will receive a letter of recognition acknowledging they have met the CNSS 4011 training requirements.
The CCNA Voice certification validates skills for voice technologies, such as voice technologies administrator, voice engineer, and voice manager. The certification involves implementing Cisco IOS Unified Communications. It validates skills in VoIP technologies, such as IP PBX, IP telephony, handset, call control, and voice mail solutions. Candidates get exposure to the Cisco Unified Communications architecture and design covering mobility, presence, and TelePresence applications. 640-461 ICOMM V8.0 (Introducing Cisco Voice and Unified Communications Administration) is the required exam.
The CCNA Wireless certification covers wireless LANs, including networking associates/administrators, wireless support specialists, and WLAN project managers. The certification validates skills in the configuration, implementation, and support of wireless LANs. 640-722 IUWNE (Implementing Cisco Unified Wireless Networking Essentials) is the required exam.
CCNA Service Provider focuses validates the ability to configure and implement baseline Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation networks. The required Exams are 640-875 Building Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Networks, Part 1(SPNGN1) and 640-878 Building Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Networks, Part 2 (SPNGN2). Standard CCNA certification is not a prerequisite. The class, "Building Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Networks" is delivered in two parts.
Part 1 is a 5-day instructor-led course that provides the basic knowledge and skills necessary to support a service provider network. The course provides knowledge of the major network components and helps learners to understand how service provider networks function. The course introduces IP Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture. The course also includes remote labs that help gain practical skills for deploying basic Cisco IOS / IOS XE and Cisco IOS XR software features. Part 2 is a 5-day instructor-led course that provides knowledge of network construction and IP NGN architecture. The course includes additional remote labs.
CCNA service provider operations provides skills in a prescriptive troubleshooting environment within a carrier class, IP NGN core network infrastructure. One may take the required exams labelled as 640-822 ICND1 (Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1) and 640-760 SSPO (Supporting Cisco Service Provider IP NGN Operations (SSPO).
Cisco-Certified Design Associate (CCDA) certified engineers can design switched or routed networks of LANs, WANs and broadband services. The CCDA exam (640-864 DESGN) does not require completion of a CCNA, but Cisco recommends having familiarity with CCNA-level material, as well as BCMSN or SWITCH-level knowledge of Cisco-based LANs.
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification validates knowledge and skills required to install, configure, and troubleshoot converged local- and wide-area networks with 100 to 500 or more end-devices. One needs a valid CCNA certification to obtain a CCNP certification.
The CCNP validates the ability to plan, implement, verify, and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks and work collaboratively with specialists on advanced security, voice, wireless, and video solutions. In addition to CCNA exams, professionals must pass three separate professional-level exams. The certification track changed in July 2010, with various migration paths available for those that had begun, but not completed, the CCNP certification process.
With a CCDP certification, a network professional can discuss, design, and create advanced addressing and routing, security, network management, data center, and IP multicast enterprise architectures that include virtual private networking and wireless domains. An active CCDA certification acts as a prerequisite for this certification.
Note that CCNP requires 642-902 ROUTE and 642-813 SWITCH. After passing CCNP and CCDA, CCDP requires only 642-874 ARCH.
The CCIP certification retired beginning October 29, 2012. The CCNP Service Provider certification currently replaces it.
The CCNP Service Provider certification replaced the retiring CCIP certification.
CCNP Data Center validates knowledge of data center design, equipment installation, and maintenance.
Four required exams:
and choose either designing or troubleshooting:
Formerly Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP).
The CCNP Security certification program aligns to the job role of the Cisco Network Security Engineer, whom has responsibility for security in routers, switches, networking devices, and appliances, as well as choosing, deploying, supporting, and troubleshooting firewalls, VPNS, and IDS/IPS solutions for their networking environments. The CCNP Security certification requires CCNA Security or any CCIE Certification.
This training path expires 4/21/14
New CCNP Security Training Path
CCNP Security changes, FAQs, and training paths detailed in this article & video.
Note: The CCNP Security couseware holds compliance with the NSA and CNSS training standard of CNSS 4013. By remaining compliant, the CCNP Security program provides the required training for network security professionals who assist private sector entities and federal agencies of the United States, protects their information and aids in the defense of the United States IT infrastructure. Candidates who have passed the CCNP Security will be issued a letter of recognition acknowledging they have met the CNSS 4013 training requirements.
Formerly Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP).
The Cisco Certified Network Professional for Voice (CCNP Voice) certification validates the skills required to determine the right technology and solutions for creating secure networks. With it, a network professional can demonstrate the skills required to implement and manage network infrastructures to provide unified communications services. The curriculum emphasizes Cisco Router IOS and Catalyst Switch UC features. CCNA Voice certification tends to act as a prerequisite.
CCNP Wireless covers all aspects of wireless networking principles and theory. This certification requires four tests, covering Wireless Site Survey, Wireless Voice Networks, Wireless Mobility Services, and Wireless Security. The prerequisite acts as a valid CCNA Wireless certification.
CCDE runs in parallel with the more established CCIE program, in some areas providing a higher skill-set than CCIE. Specifically, CCDE identifies network professionals who have expert network design skills. Network design translates business requirements into end-to-end network designs and a solutions approach to network expansion and integration. CCDE focuses on network architecture and does not cover implementation and operations. CCDE supplies a vendor-neutral curriculum, testing business requirements analysis, design, planning, and validation practices. The course came about because employers needed a way to identify experienced network designers and architects who could address all aspects of existing and new networking technologies and trends. While engineers (including many CCIEs) had fulfilled this role, certification had not advanced beyond the CCDP certification. CCDE numbering adopts a different format than CCIE and appears split into a year and number within that year. It uses the same CCIE tools to verify qualified status. CCDE certified individuals can use CCIE qualification exams to re-certify and vice versa. CCDE provides advanced network infrastructure design principles and fundamentals for large networks. A CCDE can demonstrate an ability to develop solutions which address planning, design, integration, optimization, operations, security, and ongoing support focused at the infrastructure level.
Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert represents Cisco's highest certification, comprising six tracks. As of October 6, 2010, 25,810 people held active CCIE certifications. CertMag, voted it as the most technically advanced IT certification and statistics generally report it as the highest salaried certification in IT salary surveys.
CCIE began in 1993, originally with a two day lab, later changing to a one day format. Fewer than 3% of Cisco-certified individuals attain CCIE certification and, on average, spend thousands of dollars and 18 months studying before passing. Many candidates build training labs at home using old equipment, then sell it to other candidates after passing. Alternatively, candidates may rent "rack time" online. The CCIE consists of a written exam and a "lab" exam (in each track). The written exam acts as a prerequisite of the lab exam and has a cost of $400 per attempt. The written exam consists of 100 questions that must be completed within 2 hours. Upon passing the written exam, the candidate has eighteen months to take the lab exam. The candidate has three years after passing the written exam to successfully complete the lab. The lab is an eight hour, hands-on exam designed to demonstrate that the candidate knows Internetworking theory and demonstrates advanced hands-on mastery. Candidates that do not pass the CCIE lab in that interval must re-pass the written exam before again attempting the CCIE lab exam. The minimum waiting time between attempts is one month.
As of July 2014, the CCIE Lab costs $1600 per attempt and ten Cisco locations offer it worldwide. Some of these locations do not offer all CCIE tracks. According to a Cisco survey, $9050 represents the average cost to prepare for CCIE certification as of April 2006, which gets spent mostly on practice equipment and study material. No formal prerequisites currently exist for the CCIE written exam, but Cisco recommends at least 3–5 years networking experience. CCIE exists as the first Cisco Certified qualification and no other certifications have existed previously. The associate and professional certifications recognized the fact that CCIE is overkill for many networking personnel. Cisco has chosen not to make lower level certifications prerequisites for the CCIE certification.
One may have the knowledge to hold multiple CCIE certifications. As of September 9, 2008, 1,729 individuals held multiple CCIE certifications. Of those, 274 hold three or more CCIE certifications. Adam McCombs cited this qualification as "essentially a PhD in the internet" in Season 1 Episode 10 of Shark Tank.
Upon successful completion of the lab exam, Cisco awards a CCIE number to a new CCIE. The first CCIE number allocated (in 1993) started at 1,024 and increased thereafter. As of August 2011, the highest CCIE number allocated reached just over 30,000. The first number they allocated to the first CCIE lab location, rather than to an individual, and featured as a plaque at the entrance to the lab. They awarded Number 1025 to Stuart Biggs, who created the first written exam and first lab exam. The first person to pass both CCIE written and lab exams, known as Terry Slattery, consulted at Cisco when the lab began development. Slattery held the first CCIE who did not work for Cisco. Each CCIE retains their number regardless of how many certifications he or she receives. Every two years a CCIE has to take a written test to retain the certification. If not done, the certification becomes suspended. After one further year without passing, the certification becomes revoked. One can then only regain the certification by starting from scratch. Re-certification can occur up to 2 years before the expiration date. After certification/re-certification, a CCIE must wait 6 months before re-certifying.
Routing and Switching seem by far the most popular track, with 35,272 worldwide certified individuals as of May 18, 2012. The certification covers a variety of networking concepts and protocols.
The Security track covers advanced topics in subjects such as ASA, IDS, IOS security, and many others.
The Cisco CCIE Service Provider (CCIE SP) certification validates expert level skills required of a Network Engineer to configure, build, troubleshoot, and optimize a complex highly available Service Provider IP NGN core infrastructure. Candidates preparing for CCIE SP certification possess thorough knowledge in IP core, aggregation/edge, and remote access technologies, Layer 2 and 3 VPNs, plus managed services traversing an IP core network.
The Voice track covers advanced topics in subjects such as Quality of Service, MGCP, Call Manager (Cisco's VoIP PBX), Cisco Unity Connection (Cisco's Voice Messaging platform), Unity Express, Unified Contact Center Express, Cisco Unified Presence Server, Cisco's HWIC-4ESW, and the 3750-24PS. Only 802 CCIE Voice certified engineers hold current certificates as of September 9, 2008. Most candidates pass after three or four lab attempts, but some have required more than six. Many have reputed that the lab exam seems as much a test of time management and planning as of technical expertise. The widely dissimilar platforms used sets the Voice lab exam apart from other CCIE lab exams. One must make configurations on the Windows 2003 Server environment, a CallManager web-based GUI, and the IOS command line. As such, it involves a lot of back-and-forth fine tuning between the numerous platforms.
In May 2013, Cisco announced it will retire the CCIE Voice track and introduce the new CCIE Collaboration track, including new topics such as virtualization, Jabber instant messaging and video. After protest from current and aspirant CCIE Voice holders, whom argued that the differences remain too few to warrant retiring the track with no option to transition to the new track, Cisco offered a transition path for existing Voice holders. The Collaboration written exam may have availability starting from November 21, 2013. The lab exam will transition from Voice to Collaboration on February 14, 2014.
Candidates who pass the CCIE Wireless certification exams demonstrate broad theoretical knowledge of wireless networking and a solid understanding of wireless local area networking (WLAN) technologies from Cisco.
CCIE Service Provider Operations candidates must show expert skills in troubleshooting and maintain complex service provider IP NGN core (PE-PE and PE-CE) network infrastructures in both IOS and IOS XR operating environments.
Cisco has announced the September availability of a CCIE Data Center certification, which certifies the expert-level skills required to plan, prepare, operate, monitor, and troubleshoot complex data center networks. The CCIE Data Center written exam will be available Sept. 3, 2012; the lab exam should have availability in October.
Some previously awarded CCIE specializations have been retired by Cisco. These are:
People who hold these now-retired certifications can remain CCIEs, provided they continue to take recertification exams. They now hold the title "CCIE", rather than CCIE Security, or some other specialization.
The Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) certification assesses the experience and competency of network designers who can support the increasingly complex networks of global organizations and effectively translate business strategies into technical strategies.
Responsibilities of the Cisco Certified Architect:
Cisco Certified Technicians have the skills to diagnose, restore, repair, and replace critical Cisco networking and system devices at customer sites. Technicians work closely with the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) to quickly and efficiently resolve support incidents.
As of April 2012, there were three domains available for CCT certification:
In addition to the broad certifications above, Cisco also provides dozens of Specialist certifications. These exams are often focused on specific technology and generally targeted at members of the Cisco Partner Program, including those selling, designing, or supporting Cisco products and services. By combining various exams, a Cisco partner can gain specialty status and thus qualify for additional partner benefits.
Over time, as technologies change and products are made obsolete, some certifications are retired. Retired certifications are no longer valid.
Certifications that fall into this category are listed below.