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Many
of us quite fascinated with the “Cisco certifications” and aim at attaining the
prestigious certification and add sheen to our careers. Yet we, have a lot of
questions concerning the subject – like the various levels under the
certifications, the tenure of their validity, how to prepare for the tests, how
to select the best kind of certification and most importantly the job
opportunities that would make way post certifications. Through this article we
would give you an honest and authentic overview of the entire system and the
pertinent options regarding job opportunities.

 Cisco specializes in offering the much coveted
and renowned certification concerning the IT industry. The certifications cater
to the various levels namely the entry-level, intermediate, specialist, and
expert IT professionals. Cisco Systems, Inc. is a well known name in the networking and
communication industry. Cisco has a very high market share when it comes to
business routing and switching products. As a step towards ensuring that the IT
professionals have the required knowledge and skill to access the Cisco
products and render proper services to the customers around the globe.

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The certification program starts from the
rudimentary level termed as the entry level and then takes the course depending
on the advancement and hierarchy. On clearing each level, candidates get a
certain credential.  To get a credential
one needs to acquire the exact pre- requisites apart from the natural clause of
clearing the exams. The more difficult the credentials get, stricter and
sterner gets the terms of the set “pre-requisites”. The certification exams are
conducted by the Pearson VUE.

The USP that the Cisco certification exams
hold apart from the attached prestige with is that it unlocks, many career
options in the IT industry for the candidates, this acts as a great source of
accomplishment and the techies get to add another feather in their caps.

How to choose
the right certification program?

One needs to understand their core strengths
and area of expertise and then opt for the best module of certification , the
best practice would be to explore the various available multiple certification
options that would comply to the needs of one’s job requirements and tenure of
job , there has to be a proper mix of the said components.

To begin with, there is an array of Cisco IT
certifications. The Associate level credentials are the basic or the foundation
level certification. For the more advanced level of job roles and technologies
there are advanced level of certifications like the professional levels. The
trick here is to choose the apt certification which could be more than one
also, purely depending on one’s professional requirements. The ultimate aim
should be to gather more technical know – how and to create a better
professional repertoire in the IT industry.

 

 

Brief synopsis
of the various certifications and the corresponding specializations

Ø 
Entry
Level –  Cloud

Ø  Associate
Level – Collaboration

Ø  Professional
Level – Data centre

Ø  Expert
level – Design

Ø  Architect
Level – Industrial , Routing and Switching , Security , Service Provider , 

                                           Wireless

 

 

The
credentials comprising the various certifications under the
Cisco’s purview:


Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)

v  Cisco Certified Technician (CCT)

v  Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

v  Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA)

v  Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

v  Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP)

v  Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

v  Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE)

v  Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr)

Out of
the many offerings by the Cisco’s , there are few poignant certificates that
one can take up and reap benefits out of 
it. The most prominent ones are the certifications dealing with network
operation and network design. If we talk about the typical certification
hierarchy concerning the networking certification would start from the CCENT
credential and go up to the CCNA , next would be the CCNP and the final none
would be the CCIE. There could be exceptions too, for people interested more in
the designing domain, for them there could be another ladder, they could start
with the CCENT and then graduate to the CCDA, then the CCDP , thereafter the
CCDE and the final step would be the CCAr.

There are
varied arrays of specializations too tagged with the Cisco certifications which
cater to the various professional skills required in order to fit into the
available portfolios offered by the company, these include data centre application
services, voicemail and messaging or rich media amongst the many.

 

The
various credentials and their validity

        Credentials                                    validity
(in years)

1.       
Entry                                         3

2.       
Associate                                   3

3.       
Professional                              3

4.       
CCIE                                         2

5.       
CCAr                                        5

 

The plethora
of Career options

We would now address the most poignant area of concern and that is the
options of career path that one gets after completion of the certifications.You
may opt for network operations or could be network design as your career path;
the certifications offered by Cisco are a perfect savior and prepare you well
for the various roles that Cisco has to offer. The certifications equip you
enough to make you suitable for the various portfolios. It is immaterial as to
which career path you choose the bottom-line remains the umpteen job options
that are available for Cisco certified professionals. The nature of job would
again purely depend on your experience and your skill sets.

A small peak into the kind of jobs that one can expect is here – A
person with CCENT certification can be considered for the roles for the help
desk assistance or technicians. A CCT certified person can be an ideal choice
for a field or network engineer or a systems administrator.

A
CCNA certified person could look for an opportunity of a network or
telecommunications engineer. Likewise a CCDA certified candidate could be a
perfect choice for the profile of an analyst or a technical specialist.
Similarly there a variety of options revolving from network administrators to
senior network design engineer. The jobs mentioned here are just a few out of
the wide range of jobs that one can expect after being certified.

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