Is the Cisco CCNA Industrial Certification Right for You?In our previous blog, Certs and Labs focused on how to advance your career through Cisco’s portfolio of Specialist programs. Today we want to highlight the Internet of Things (IoT) technology and one of our newest certifications – the CCNA Industrial program. Developed for both information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) professionals in the manufacturing, process control, and oil and gas industries, this program was designed with plant administrators, control system engineers and traditional network engineers in mind who understand how to manage and administer technologies required for networked industrial control systems in today's connected plants and enterprises.


This certification evaluates how both IT and Industrial networks converge.  It provides candidates the necessary skills to successfully implement and troubleshoot the most common industry standard protocols while leveraging best practices needed for today’s connected networks. The CCNA Industrial program is the only Industrial/IoT certification currently available in the Cisco career portfolio.


When obtaining your CCNA Industrial certification, there are a few things to take into consideration. The certification requires you to first pass either the IMINS exam (200-401) or hold a current CCENT, CCNA Routing and Switching, or any CCIE certification. There are several study guides available which, unlike other industrial networking programs, test the hands-on skills through simulations as well as testing theoretical knowledge. This approach ensures that candidates are ready for real-world implementations.


The CCNA Industrial certification builds on those same foundational skills while testing the concepts and technologies commonly found in the automated manufacturing environment. To achieve the CCNA Industrial, candidates must pass the IMINS2 exam which covers the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) and ProfiNET industrial protocols in addition to security, wireless, IP Protocols and the underlying support network infrastructure design to maximize efficiency within Industrial Ethernet.


To better prepare for the IMINS or IMINS2 exams, ensure that you thoroughly review and take a deep dive into the CCNA Exam Topics, says Exam Program Manager George Koukis.  He goes on to say that the CCNA Industrial certification is unique in that it is a convergence of different industries, technologies and protocols.  Your preparation for the CCNA Industrial can be accompanied by some of Cisco’s lab intensive courses based upon whether or not you are an OT professional or an IT professional preparing for the exam.  The primary course offered is the Managing Industrial Networks for Manufacturing with Cisco Technologies (IMINS2) course which builds on the Managing Industrial Networks with Cisco Networking Technologies (IMINS) course. It teaches students how to deploy best practices used in security and wireless technologies for today’s industrial networks. The course is designed to better prepare professionals in the oil and gas, process control, and manufacturing industries who are involved in the industrial and IT network convergence. This course is job and role-specific, enabling students to leverage and build on their current knowledge and skills to configure, maintain, and troubleshoot industry standard network protocols as well as wireless and security technologies.


Cisco’s CCNA Industrial certification can be an ideal career booster.  Because it serves a niche market, the CCNA Industrial certification is something you should consider pursuing if you possess the appropriate background and hands-on experience.  If you are a traditional IT professional with a desire to be a part of an industrial evolution or an operational technology (OT) professional in an industrial setting, you can build on your prior knowledge and utilize the additional resources to help prepare you to become certified in this IoT technology.  To learn more about the IoT exams, visit the IMINS and IMINS2 overview pages.