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Cisco certification levels

10 April 2014

Many of the highest paid professionals in the IT and networking industry are equipped with a Cisco certification, making it a highly desirable qualification. However at first glance, the number of Cisco qualifications available can be overwhelming - which one is right for you?

As we mentioned last week, the system of Cisco certifications has been cleverly engineered, not only to ensure that those who achieve a qualification come away with the highest level of transferable skills and knowledge possible, but also to allow professionals at all levels to excel. The list of Cisco certifications available is divided into levels - Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert and Architect - generating an easily identifiable system of ability in Cisco technology and encouraging those who are already Cisco certified to want to move up the ladder.

Entry level certifications, as the name would suggest, act as a starting point for those who want to begin a career as a networking professional. The CCENT (or Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) certification is one of two Entry certifications and teaches candidates how to install, operate and troubleshoot a small enterprise branch network - perfect for entry-level network support positions and a great foundation for a more successful networking career.

The Associate level qualifications come in the form of CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) and CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate) certifications, which all lead onto specific paths. After achieving an Entry level certification, individuals are then able to choose a skill set (network design, routing and switching, security etc.) and pursue an Associate level qualification in that field. This level of certification is ideal for those moving up the career ladder and beginning to specialise in a particular element of networking.

The Professional level is more advanced, and demonstrates an expertise in the individual’s particular skill set. Again, this could be security, network design, network implementation, data centre or wireless focused. Examinations at this level test for a wider range of networking skills, and simultaneously for a deeper knowledge in all areas. As a result, a Professional qualification meets the needs of a greater variety of job roles, and makes for a more employable networking professional.

Once you achieve a Professional level certification, you are then on track to achieve a CCIE (or Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert), one of the most prestigious networking certifications in the industry, and then an Architect accreditation - the highest level of certification in networking achievable. Qualifications at both levels demonstrate extreme skill and an ability which is recognised and sought after at some of the biggest and most renowned organisations world wide.

If you are interested in entering the networking industry, and are looking for a qualification to help you get on your way, or indeed if you’re already a professional hoping to take the next step in your career, contact Total Training Solutions today to discuss the Cisco certifications we have available. Give us a call on 0800 612 1299 or send us a message through our website. Alternatively, you can visit our course directory to browse the full range of courses we have available.

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