When I first started to look at what certifications are available in the IT industry and what paths I could possibly take, I was a bit overwhelmed. There are a lot out there. Cisco takes the task of finding the right certification path and simplifies it.
There are two types of certifications: Cisco Career certifications and Specialist certifications. They are similar with respect to the variety of training areas that they offer, including Networking, Network Design, Security, Voice, Collaboration Solutions, Data Center, Storage Networking, and Service Provider to name a few. They are also similar in the fact that both types of certifications are geared toward job roles. However, they accomplish different goals.
Cisco Career certifications provide the broad knowledge, skills, and training needed to perform job roles at different levels: Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect. They are often a requirement to be considered for a position. This chart presents the different Career certifications available at the various levels.
|Data Center||CCNA Data Center||CCNP Data Center||CCIE Data Center|
|Routing & Switching||CCENT||CCNA R&S||CCNP||CCIE R&S|
|Security||CCENT||CCNA Security||CCNP Security||CCIE Security|
|Storage Networking||CCIE SAN|
|Service Provider||CCNA SP||CCNP SP||CCIE SP|
|SP Operations||CCENT||CCNA SP Ops||CCNP SP Ops||CCIE SP Ops|
|Voice||CCENT||CCNA Voice||CCNP Voice||CCIE Voice|
|Wireless||CCENT||CCNA Wireless||CCIE Wireless|
Specialist certifications provide knowledge and training needed for a job role, but instead of being all-encompassing, they delve deep into a particular area of the job role, thus the name "Specialist." Specialist certifications validate proficiency in a particular technology with a curriculum that emphasizes real-world best practices and network solutions. This deep focus opens the path for you to become a Data Center Specialist, Security Specialist, Collaboration Specialist or others.
Having Cisco Career and/or Specialist certifications are necessary to show employers that you have the skills, knowledge, and training to perform the tasks in a certain job role.
Now that you know what certifications are available, be sure to look at the Certifications Index, and let us know which certification route you feel is best for you.