The new Cisco CCNA Voice certification can help you verify that you have the specialized voice- over-IP (VoIP) skills that are in high demand among employers. Not sure if the Cisco CCNA Voice certification is the right path for your career? Read on for information and resource links that will help in your decision making.
1. What are the industry trends that motivated Cisco to create the CCNA Voice concentration?
Today, organizations of all types are moving toward a single, IP-based network that carries data, voice, and video traffic. But VoIP and related applications have characteristics and issues that are distinctly different from those of data traffic. Understanding voice networking requires specialized knowledge and skills, a fact that many employers now recognize.
Another important consideration is to meet the transition needs of organizations that currently operate traditional telecom environments. The move from analog TDM to digital VoIP technology systems continues to drive infrastructure improvements for organizations of all sizes and industries. Up to 80 percent of global companies are evaluating IP telephony solutions. These companies are seeking the productivity, cost, and end-user feature benefits that come with using the network as the platform for VoIP.
2. What do employers say about their needs for people with this type of knowledge and skill?
According to a Forrester Consulting Research: Closing the IT Skills Networking Gap on behalf of Cisco, 69 percent of approximately 1500 companies surveyed expect to employ a dedicated voice specialist by 2012. Only 40 percent of respondents have voice specialists today, which translates to a nearly 75 percent growth rate for these jobs.
3. Where will the CCNA Voice concentration be the most relevant?
With the Cisco CCNA Voice certification, you’ll be ready for specialized job roles such as voice administrator, voice engineer, and voice manager. The CCNA Voice training and certification are for people early in their VoIP careers, as well as for career IT professionals who wish to gain VoIP expertise and skills.
The CCNA Voice certification will give you an overview of Cisco Unified Communications applications (presence, mobility, video, TelePresence, and so on). You’ll learn the skills to handle voice infrastructure (IP telephony hardware, handsets, call manager software, voicemail, and so on). In contrast to vendor-neutral certifications, passing the CCNA Voice exam confirms that you can perform baseline installation, operation, and maintenance tasks on Cisco VoIP solutions, particularly for the Smart Business Communications System telephony system for 8 to 250 phone lines.
4. Is the CCNA Voice path right for you?
The choice to pursue a networking specialist or generalist path is an important career decision. Your interests, the jobs available in your area, and other factors will likely influence your choice.
Your potential salary is another important factor, and industry surveys show that IT specialists receive higher compensation. Certification Magazine’s 2007 annual salary survey found a worldwide average salary of US$74,810 for people with a CCNA certification. In comparison, attaining the professional-level Cisco CCVP certification beyond the CCNA resulted in a 23 percent higher salary, at an average of US$92,350.
All of the CCNA concentrations help you to distinguish yourself in the highly competitive world of IT networking. CCNA Voice takes full advantage of your current CCNA certification as a foundation, while specifically preparing you for new career opportunities in voice networking.
CCNA remains the certification of choice for individuals who want to demonstrate a solid foundation in core routing and switching skills, and then later advance as network generalists.
5. Will the CCNA Voice concentration lead to higher-level certifications?
The CCNA Voice certification is the prerequisite for the CCVP professional-level certification.
6. If I already have a CCNA certification, what’s my best path to becoming a Voice Specialist?
With the introduction of the CCNAs, Cisco has changed the prerequisites and paths to higher-level certifications. To become a voice specialist, one possible path to pursue is shown below. Please note, there are no pre-requisites to become a CCIE.
7. Are there any prerequisites for the CCNA Voice certification?
Passing the original CCNA certification is required before you can receive any of the CCNA concentrations. You may take one or more CCNA certification exams without retaking the original CCNA exam. In addition, through June 23, 2009, CCNA will be accepted as a pre-requisite for CCVP instead of CCNA Voice to accomodate those in process or starting their CCVP.
8. How do you get training for the CCNA Voice certification?
Training for all new CCNA concentrations is available through Cisco Learning Partners
As of mid-2008, instructor-led training courses are only available through Cisco Learning Partners. For CCNA Voice, the recommended training is Implementing Cisco IOS Unified Communications (IIUC), a five-day, instructor-led course.
Cisco Press will offer products for each CCNA concentration. In addition to their best-selling exam certification guides, Cisco Press will offer digital quick reference guides and other online materials to help you prepare for the CCNA Voice exam. Read a sample chapter in the CCNA Voice area
9. What are the details about the CCNA Voice course and exam?
Only one exam is required for the CCNA Voice certification: Cisco 640-460. The suggested IIUC training course covers the components of the Cisco Unified Communications Architecture, public switched telephone network (PSTN) technologies, interconnecting VoIP with service provider networks, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express, Cisco Unity Express, Cisco Smart Business Communications System Unified Communications 500 Series solution, and basic maintenance and operations tasks for Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express deployments. In-classroom labs enhance the learning experience.
10. Where can I get more information about the CCNA Voice concentration?
Visit our CCNA Voice page here on the Cisco Learning Network.
For a real world perspective on voice entering the networks of businesses, check out Curt Beeson's industry piece, Is ItNetwork Convergence – Whose Network <i>Is It</i> Anyway?