Cisco is a leader in networking and telecommunications worldwide.  If you are going to support servers, a basic understanding of networking is a must.  Cisco is not only one of the most trusted names in networking; it is arguably one of the most desired networking certifications.  There are five levels of Cisco certifications:

 

Entry

  • General knowledge that is important to know in any network environment.
  • 0-1 year of experience recommended.
  • No Prerequisites

 

Associate

  • Entry-level knowledge about one specific facet of networking.
  • 1-3 years of experience recommended.
  • No Prerequisites

 

Professional

  • Advanced knowledge of the material covered in the associate exams.
  • 3-5 years of experience recommended.
  • Requires active Associate level certification

 

Expert

  • Master level knowledge of a specific facet of networking.
  • 7+ years of experience recommended.
  • Requires active Professional level certification

 

Architect

  • Currently only available in the design path, this is the highest level of accreditation possible.
  • 10+ years of experience recommended.
  • Requires active Expert level certification

 

 

Entry:

CCENT

The cert covers the basics of network infrastructure and maintenance.  You will need to know:

  1. OSI and TCP/IP model
  2. Network topologies
  3. Differences in cabling
  4. IPv4 and v6 addressing and subnetting
  5. Basic switching concepts (including interswitch connectivity and port security)
  6. Basic routing concepts (including inter-VLAN routing)
  7. Configuration and troubleshooting of RIPv2 for IPv4
  8. DNS, DHCP, NAT
  9. Device monitoring, maintenance, and troubleshooting

 

CCT Data Center

This cert covers the material needed to be an onsite technician for data center networking equipment.  You will need to know:

  1. The purpose and differences of Cisco UCS, MDS, Nexus, and Fabric Extenders (but not how to configure them)
  2. The use of basic network protocols (i.e., FTP, TFTP, ping, and SSH)
  3. Basic commands for NX-OS (enough to backup and restore the configuration file, find and change the mode of the device, upgrade firmware, and reset a password)
  4. The OSI model

 

CCT Routing and Switching

This cert covers the material needed to be an onsite technician for routers and switches.  You will need to know:

  1. The purpose and differences between Cisco Routers, Switches, and cabling (but not how to configure them)
  2. The use of basic network protocols (i.e., FTP, TFTP, ping, and SSH)
  3. The difference between model numbers of Cisco routers and switches
  4. Basic commands (enough to backup and restore the configuration file, find and change the mode of the device, upgrade firmware, and reset a password)
  5. The OSI model

 

Associate:

CCNA Routing and Switching

  • Basic router and switch setup, configuration, maintenance, and troubleshooting

 

CCNA Wireless

  • Basic knowledge of Radio Frequency (RF) and 802.11 technology essentials along with installing, configuring, monitoring and basic troubleshooting tasks needed to support small wireless networks.

 

CCNA Security

  • Basics of network security (i.e., VPN, IPS/IDS, Endpoint security, and firewalls).

 

CCNA Cyber Ops

  • This covers the knowledge needed to start a career as a security analyst in a security operations center.  This includes threat analysis, computer forensics, incident response, and data analysis.

 

CCNA Data Center

  • Basics of data center networking (i.e., Cisco UCS and network virtualization).

 

CCNA Cloud

  • Basics of the cloud infrastructure (unified compute, fabric, and storage)

 

CCNA Collaboration

  • Basics of Cisco Unified Communications.  This includes telephony, voice and video infrastructure, TelePresence, etc.

 

CCNA Industrial

  • This covers the technology commonly found in an automated manufacturing environment.

 

CCNA Service Provider

  • Basic knowledge and skills necessary to support a service provider network.

 

CCDA

  • This covers the material needed to design, implement, and scale a network.  You will need to know the PPDIOO network lifecycle process (prepare, plan, design, implement, operate, and optimize)

 

Whichever path you decide to take, we believe that a Cisco certification will greatly enhance your career in the industry.

 

*Cisco higher level certifications such as CCNP, CCDP, CCIE, CCDE, and CCAr will be covered in a later section.