Cisco is a leading American network equipment manufacturer. The industry giant’s turnover reaches several tens of billions of dollars a year, and the number of employees is approaching 67 thousand people. All over the world, Cisco professional certificates are recognized, which confirm the qualifications of specialists in the IT field.
Cisco has a multi-stage branched system of training and certification of engineers working with network equipment. It is very prestigious to receive a company certificate in the professional community, it is considered one of the indicators of really good knowledge and real mastery in the field of network technologies.
Importantly, the Cisco Certifications / exams affect not only the specifics of working with the company’s equipment, but also the general knowledge of an expert in the field of network technologies. Therefore, many other companies also recognize Cisco certifications.
Cisco Certified Professional Levels
Beginner (Entry, Certified Entry Networking Technician)
As you might guess, at this level the most general knowledge of networks is tested, without various technical subtleties. CENT holders are capable of being experts in basic low-level network support.
Within CENT, there are two Certifications: CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) and CCT (Technician). The first is just the most basic knowledge of networks, and the second is focused on Cisco service centers. It is subdivided into three more branches, each of which concentrates on a specific network equipment of the company: CCT Data Center (data center networks), CCT R&S (core networks), CCT TelePresence (unified communications equipment).
Specialist (Associate, Cisco Certified Network Associate)
One of the most popular Cisco certifications. Designed for successfully working IT specialists with an experience of 1 to 3 years. It is divided into nine subcategories, depending on your specialization: Routing & Switching, Design, Data Center, Security, Service Provider, Service Provider Operation, Video, Voice, Wireless. The Associate level certificate will be valid for 3 years.
Professional (Professional, Cisco Certified Network Professional)
Assumes you have advanced networking knowledge and previous CCNA certification. CCNP has eight specifications minus the Video direction from CCNA: Routing & Switching, Design, Data Center, Security, Service Provider, Service Provider Operation, Voice, Wireless.
The certificate is valid for 3 years.
Expert (Expert, Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert)
Until recently, it was considered the highest level of Cisco certification professional. There are about 50 thousand CCIE level specialists in the world.
Importantly, unlike CCNA, which requires a compulsory Associate level certificate, it can be obtained without having any diplomas of successful completion of the previous levels.
The CCIE exam consists of theory and practice. Each of these parts is handed over to a dedicated location: the Pearson VUE testing center and the Cisco lab.
CCIE has eight areas: Routing & Switching, Design, Data Center, Security, Service Provider, Service Provider Operation, Collaboration, Wireless. The Collaboration sublevel is a union of the Video and Voice sublevels known from the previous steps.
The CCIE certificate is valid for 2 years.
Systems Architecture Specialist (Cisco Certified Architect, CCAr)
The highest level in the hierarchy of Cisco professionals at the moment. To get it, you need to be a Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE). There are only 10 people around the world who have reached this rank.
The requirements for obtaining CCAr are quite complex. You will need to remember your university years and write a diploma, and then defend it in front of the commission members.
The CCAr certificate is valid for 5 years.