The certifications are separated into two categories:
- Cisco Career Certifications, which break down into five levels: Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert and Architect. Levels are then divided by subject track.
- Specialist Certifications.
- 1 Training
- 2 Cisco Career Certifications
- 2.1 Entry certifications
- 2.2 Associate certifications
- 2.3 Professional certifications
- 2.4 Expert-level certifications
- 2.5 Architect
- 3 Specialist Certifications
- 4 Retired certifications
- 5 References
The Cisco Networking Academy is a training program created by Cisco, and offered at various training locations. Candidates do not need to participate in Cisco Networking Academy classes as a prerequisite to taking an exam or obtaining a certification, although many recommend it. The program offers classes aimed at CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNA Security and CCNP Routing and Switching certifications.
Many colleges and vocational programs also offer courses about Cisco, including certification test preparation courses. Approved third-party training vendors (called Cisco Learning Partners) offer training, such as the Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE and the Cisco Learning Network. All certifications have official books called Certification Guides released by Cisco Press. Unofficial (non-Cisco) preparation courses are also available, though some methods are highly discouraged ("BrainDumps"), as they violate Cisco's intellectual property rights to their exams.
Cisco Career Certifications
The table below shows the different paths and levels for Cisco certifications. All certifications, except for CCAr, require passing one or more theoretical exams offered by Pearson VUE. CCIE certifications also require a hands-on exam administered at special labs around the world.
|Level||Routing and Switching||Design||Cloud||Collaboration||Video||Voice||Data Center||Industrial||Security||Service Provider||Wireless|
|Expert||CCIE Routing and Switching||CCDE||-||CCIE Collaboration||-||-||CCIE Data Center||-||CCIE Security||CCIE Service Provider||CCIE Wireless|
|Professional||CCNP Routing and Switching||CCDP||-||CCNP Collaboration||-||CCNP Voice (to be retired in October 2015)||CCNP Data Center||-||CCNP Security||CCNP Service Provider||CCNP Wireless|
|Associate||CCNA Routing and Switching||CCDA||CCNA Cloud||CCNA Collaboration||CCNA Video (to be retired in September 2015)||CCNA Voice (to be retired in August 2015)||CCNA Data Center||CCNA Industrial||CCNA Security||CCNA Service Provider||CCNA Wireless|
Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) represents the lowest level of certification which covers basic networking knowledge. Until its introduction, CCNA represented the first level of the certification program. It has appropriate use for an entry-level network support position. CCENT certified staff can install, manage and troubleshoot a small enterprise network, including basic network security. The first step towards a CCNA certification must start by having a CCENT. Once someone passed the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1) Exam (100-101) they earned their CCENT certification.
In 2013, Cisco introduced new ICND1 and ICND2 exams (needed for the new CCNA Routing and Switching). ICND1: 100-101 (Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 v2.0) became the new exam required for CCENT. With this change, CCENT became a sufficient pre-requirement for CCNA Security, CCNA Voice and CCNA Wireless.
Cisco Certified Technicians have the skills to diagnose, restore, repair, and replace critical Cisco networking and system devices at customer sites. Technicians work closely with the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) to quickly and efficiently resolve support incidents.
As of April 2012, there were three domains available for CCT certification:
- CCT Routing and Switching
- CCT Data Center
- CCT Telepresence
CCNA Routing and Switching
The CCNA Routing and Switching certification covers skills necessary to administer devices on small or medium-sized networks. This certification requires the ICND1 100-101 and ICND2 200-101 exams. Examinees may take the exams separately or the composite 200-120 CCNA exam. It exists generally as a prerequisite to more advanced certifications, such as the CCNA specialty exams and Cisco Professional level certifications, e.g. CCNP, CCNP-Wireless, CCNP-Security, etc.
CCNA-certified individuals specialize by technology. All specialized tracks require passing and maintaining a CCNA certification.
Cisco-Certified Design Associate (CCDA) certified engineers can design switched or routed networks of LANs, WANs and broadband services. The CCDA exam (640-864 DESGN) does not require completion of a CCNA, but Cisco recommends having familiarity with CCNA-level material, as well as BCMSN or SWITCH-level knowledge of Cisco-based LANs.
The CCNA Voice certification validates skills for voice technologies, such as voice technologies administrator, voice engineer, and voice manager. The certification involves implementing Cisco IOS Unified Communications. It validates skills in VoIP technologies, such as IP PBX, IP telephony, handset, call control, and voice mail solutions. Candidates get exposure to the Cisco Unified Communications architecture and design covering mobility, presence, and TelePresence applications. 640-461 ICOMM V8.0 (Introducing Cisco Voice and Unified Communications Administration) is the required exam.
CCNA Data Center
Validates knowledge of data center design, equipment installation, and maintenance.
CCNA Security validates knowledge of security infrastructure, threats, and vulnerabilities to networks and threat mitigation. Required skills include installation, troubleshooting and monitoring of network devices to maintain the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of data and devices. To earn this certification one must pass the IINS 640-554 (Implementing Cisco IOS Network Security, or IINS) exam. It represents the required exam to earn the certification and for continuing the security certification path to the CCNP.
Note: The CCNA Security courseware holds compliance with the NSA and CNSS training standard of CNSS 4011. By remaining compliant, the CCNA Security program provides the required training for network security professionals who assist private sector entities and federal agencies of the United States, protects their information and aid in the defense of the United States IT infrastructure. Candidates who have passed the CCNA Security will receive a letter of recognition acknowledging they have met the CNSS 4011 training requirements.
CCNA Service Provider
CCNA Service Provider focuses validates the ability to configure and implement baseline Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation networks. The required Exams are 640-875 Building Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Networks, Part 1(SPNGN1) and 640-878 Building Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Networks, Part 2 (SPNGN2). Standard CCNA certification is not a prerequisite. The class, "Building Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Networks" is delivered in two parts.
Part 1 is a 5-day instructor-led course that provides the basic knowledge and skills necessary to support a service provider network. The course provides knowledge of the major network components and helps learners to understand how service provider networks function. The course introduces IP Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture. The course also includes remote labs that help gain practical skills for deploying basic Cisco IOS / IOS XE and Cisco IOS XR software features. Part 2 is a 5-day instructor-led course that provides knowledge of network construction and IP NGN architecture. The course includes additional remote labs.
The CCNA Wireless certification covers wireless LANs, including networking associates/administrators, wireless support specialists, and WLAN project managers. The certification validates skills in the configuration, implementation, and support of wireless LANs. 640-722 IUWNE (Implementing Cisco Unified Wireless Networking Essentials) is the required exam.
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certifications validate knowledge and skills required to install, configure, and troubleshoot converged local- and wide-area networks with 100 to 500 or more end-devices. One needs a valid CCNA certification to obtain a CCNP certification.
CCNP Routing and Switching
The CCNP validates the ability to plan, implement, verify, and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks and work collaboratively with specialists on advanced security, voice, wireless, and video solutions. In addition to CCNA Exams, professionals must pass three separate professional-level exams. The certification track changed in July 2010, with various migration paths available for those that had begun, but not completed, the CCNP certification process. In July 2014, Cisco released version 2.0 of the CCNP exams and training courses, "to reflect the alignment with changing industry job roles and the addition of new study materials." Presently, both the v1.0 and v2.0 exams are acceptable for CCNP R&S certification, but 29 January 2015 will be the last day to test using the v1.0 exams. As of 30 January 2015, only the v2.0 exams will be offered.
Required exams (v1.0):
- 642-902 ROUTE: Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE)
- 642-813 SWITCH: Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH)
- 642-832 TSHOOT: Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (TSHOOT)
Required exams (v2.0):
- 300-101 ROUTE: Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE)
- 300-115 SWITCH: Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH)
- 300-135 TSHOOT: Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (TSHOOT)
With a CCDP certification, a network professional can discuss, design, and create advanced addressing and routing, security, network management, data center, and IP multicast enterprise architectures that include virtual private networking and wireless domains. An active CCDA certification acts as a prerequisite for this certification.
- 300-101 ROUTE: Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE)
- 300-115 SWITCH: Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH)
- 642-874 ARCH: Designing Cisco Network Service Architecture
Note that CCNP requires 300-101 ROUTE and 300-115 SWITCH. After passing CCNP and CCDA, CCDP requires only 642-874 ARCH.
Formerly Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP).
The Cisco Certified Network Professional for Voice (CCNP Voice) certification validates the skills required to determine the right technology and solutions for creating secure networks. With it, a network professional can demonstrate the skills required to implement and manage network infrastructures to provide unified communications services. The curriculum emphasizes Cisco Router IOS and Catalyst Switch UC features. CCNA Voice certification tends to act as a prerequisite.
- 642-437 CVOICE v8.0: Implementing Cisco Voice Communications and QoS Implementing Cisco Unified Communications
- 642-447 CIPT1 v8.0: Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Part 1
- 642-457 CIPT2 v8.0: Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Part 2
- 642-427 TVOICE v8.0: Troubleshooting Cisco Unified Communications
- 642-467 CAPPS v8.0: Integrating Cisco Unified Communications Applications
CCNP Data Center
CCNP Data Center validates knowledge of data center design, equipment installation, and maintenance.
Four required exams:
- Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (DCUCI) v5.0
- Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (DCUFI) v5.0
and choose either designing or troubleshooting:
- Designing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (DCUCD) v5.0
- Designing Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (DCUFD) v5.0
- Troubleshooting Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (DCUCT) v5.0
- Troubleshooting Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (DCUFT) v5.0
Formerly Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP).
The CCNP Security certification program aligns to the job role of the Cisco Network Security Engineer, who has responsibility for security in routers, switches, networking devices, and appliances, as well as choosing, deploying, supporting, and troubleshooting firewalls, VPNS, and IDS/IPS solutions for their networking environments. The CCNP Security certification requires CCNA Security or any CCIE Certification.
CCNP Service Provider
The CCNP Service Provider certification replaced the retiring CCIP certification.
- 642-883 SPROUTE: Deploying Cisco Service Provider Network Routing
- 642-885 SPADVROUTE: Deploying Cisco Service Provider Advanced Routing
- 642-887 SPCORE: Implementing Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Core Network Services
- 642-889 SPEDGE: Implementing Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Edge Network Services
CCNP Wireless covers all aspects of wireless networking principles and theory. This certification requires four tests, covering Wireless Site Survey, Wireless Voice Networks, Wireless Mobility Services, and Wireless Security. The prerequisite acts as a valid CCNA Wireless certification.
- 642-732 CUWSS: Conducting Cisco Unified Wireless Site Survey (CUWSS)
- 642-742 IUWVN: Implementing Cisco Unified Wireless Voice Networks (IUWVN)
- 642-747 IUWMS: Implementing Cisco Unified Wireless Mobility Services (IUWMS)
- 642-737 IAUWS: Implementing Advanced Cisco Unified Wireless Security (IAUWS)
Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert represents Cisco's highest certification, comprising seven tracks at present, tracks are updated and retired frequently and are aligned to industry's latest technologies and trends. As of October 6, 2010, 25,810 people held active CCIE certifications. CertMag, voted it as the most technically advanced IT certification and statistics generally report it as the highest salaried certification in IT salary surveys.
CCIE began in 1993, originally with a two day lab, later changing to a one day format. Fewer than 3% of Cisco-certified individuals attain CCIE certification and, on average, spend thousands of dollars and 18 months studying before passing. Many candidates build training labs at home using old equipment, then sell it to other candidates after passing. Alternatively, candidates may rent "rack time" online. The CCIE consists of a written exam and a "lab" exam (in each track). The written exam acts as a prerequisite of the lab exam and has a cost of $400 per attempt. The written exam consists of 100 questions that must be completed within 2 hours. Upon passing the written exam, the candidate has eighteen months to take the lab exam. The candidate has three years after passing the written exam to successfully complete the lab. The lab is an eight hour, hands-on exam designed to demonstrate that the candidate knows Internetworking theory and demonstrates advanced hands-on mastery. Candidates that do not pass the CCIE lab in that interval must re-pass the written exam before again attempting the CCIE lab exam. The minimum waiting time between attempts is one month.
As of July 2014, the CCIE Lab costs $1600 per attempt and ten Cisco locations offer it worldwide. Some of these locations do not offer all CCIE tracks. According to a Cisco survey, $9050 represents the average cost to prepare for CCIE certification as of April 2006, which gets spent mostly on practice equipment and study material. No formal prerequisites currently exist for the CCIE written exam, but Cisco recommends at least 3–5 years networking experience. CCIE exists as the first Cisco Certified qualification and no other certifications have existed previously. The associate and professional certifications recognized the fact that CCIE is overkill for many networking personnel. Cisco has chosen not to make lower level certifications prerequisites for the CCIE certification.
One may have the knowledge to hold multiple CCIE certifications. As of September 9, 2008, 1,729 individuals held multiple CCIE certifications. Of those, 274 hold three or more CCIE certifications. Adam McCombs cited this qualification as "essentially a PhD in the internet" in Season 1 Episode 10 of Shark Tank.
Upon successful completion of the lab exam, Cisco awards a CCIE number to a new CCIE. The first CCIE number allocated (in 1993) started at 1,024 and increased thereafter. As of August 2011, the highest CCIE number allocated reached just over 30,000. The first number they allocated to the first CCIE lab location, rather than to an individual, and featured as a plaque at the entrance to the lab. They awarded Number 1025 to Stuart Biggs, who created the first written exam and first lab exam. The first person to pass both CCIE written and lab exams, known as Terry Slattery, consulted at Cisco when the lab began development. Slattery held the first CCIE who did not work for Cisco. Each CCIE retains their number regardless of how many certifications he or she receives. Every two years a CCIE has to take a written test to retain the certification. If not done, the certification becomes suspended. After one further year without passing, the certification becomes revoked. One can then only regain the certification by starting from scratch. Re-certification can occur up to 2 years before the expiration date. After certification/re-certification, a CCIE must wait 6 months before re-certifying.
CCIE Lab Exams are administered only at special CCIE Lab Test Centers around the world. However, all the tracks for testing may not be available at a lab location.
|Lab Location||Routing and Switching||Collaboration||Data Center||Security||Service Provider||Wireless|
|Dubai, United Arab Emirates||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Hong Kong, China||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Research Triangle Park, United States||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|San Jose, United States||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
CCIE Routing and Switching
Routing and Switching seem by far the most popular track, with 35,272 worldwide certified individuals as of May 18, 2012. The certification covers a variety of networking concepts and protocols.
CCDE runs in parallel with the more established CCIE program, in some areas providing a higher skill-set than CCIE. Specifically, CCDE identifies network professionals who have expert network design skills. Network design translates business requirements into end-to-end network designs and a solutions approach to network expansion and integration. CCDE focuses on network architecture and does not cover implementation and operations. CCDE supplies a vendor-neutral curriculum, testing business requirements analysis, design, planning, and validation practices. The course came about because employers needed a way to identify experienced network designers and architects who could address all aspects of existing and new networking technologies and trends. While engineers (including many CCIEs) had fulfilled this role, certification had not advanced beyond the CCDP certification. CCDE numbering adopts a different format than CCIE and appears split into a year and number within that year. It uses the same CCIE tools to verify qualified status. CCDE certified individuals can use CCIE qualification exams to re-certify and vice versa. CCDE provides advanced network infrastructure design principles and fundamentals for large networks. A CCDE can demonstrate an ability to develop solutions which address planning, design, integration, optimization, operations, security, and ongoing support focused at the infrastructure level.
The Voice track covers advanced topics in subjects such as Quality of Service, MGCP, Call Manager (Cisco's VoIP PBX), Cisco Unity Connection (Cisco's Voice Messaging platform), Unity Express, Unified Contact Center Express, Cisco Unified Presence Server, Cisco's HWIC-4ESW, and the 3750-24PS. Only 802 CCIE Voice certified engineers hold current certificates as of September 9, 2008. Most candidates pass after three or four lab attempts, but some have required more than six. Many have reputed that the lab exam seems as much a test of time management and planning as of technical expertise. The widely dissimilar platforms used sets the Voice lab exam apart from other CCIE lab exams. One must make configurations on the Windows 2003 Server environment, a CallManager web-based GUI, and the IOS command line. As such, it involves a lot of back-and-forth fine tuning between the numerous platforms.
In May 2013, Cisco announced it will retire the CCIE Voice track and introduce the new CCIE Collaboration track, including new topics such as virtualization, Jabber instant messaging and video. After protest from current and aspirant CCIE Voice holders, whom argued that the differences remain too few to warrant retiring the track with no option to transition to the new track, Cisco offered a transition path for existing Voice holders. The Collaboration written exam may have availability starting from November 21, 2013. The lab exam will transition from Voice to Collaboration on February 14, 2014.
CCIE Data Center
Cisco has announced the September availability of a CCIE Data Center certification, which certifies the expert-level skills required to plan, prepare, operate, monitor, and troubleshoot complex data center networks. The CCIE Data Center written exam will be available Sept. 3, 2012; the lab exam should have availability in October.
CCIE Service Provider
The Cisco CCIE Service Provider (CCIE SP) certification validates expert level skills required of a Network Engineer to configure, build, troubleshoot, and optimize a complex highly available Service Provider IP NGN core infrastructure. Candidates preparing for CCIE SP certification possess thorough knowledge in IP core, aggregation/edge, and remote access technologies, Layer 2 and 3 VPNs, plus managed services traversing an IP core network.
Candidates who pass the CCIE Wireless certification exams demonstrate broad theoretical knowledge of wireless networking and a solid understanding of wireless local area networking (WLAN) technologies from Cisco.
The Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) certification assesses the experience and competency of network designers who can support the increasingly complex networks of global organizations and effectively translate business strategies into technical strategies.
The Cisco Certified Architect certification is administered as a board exam. Candidates propose and defend an architecture solution to a set of business requirements. Candidates are asked to modify their proposals "on the fly," based on additional requirements presented by the board. Prerequisites include a CCDE certification, approximately 10 years of industry experience, and acceptance into the program via an application process.
Responsibilities of the Cisco Certified Architect:
- Lead creation and evolution of enterprise architecture
- Analyze technology and industry market trends
- Establish governing principles for Enterprise networks
- Selection of technology and products
- Identification of organization resource needs
- Lead the development of communication and education plan for enterprise network architecture
In addition to the broad certifications above, Cisco also provides Specialist Certifications. The exams for these certifications are often focused on some specific technology and generally targeted at members of the Cisco Partner Program, including those selling, designing, or supporting Cisco products and services. By combining various exams, a Cisco partner can gain specialty status and thus qualify for additional partner benefits.
Specialisations can be held at Express, Advanced and Master levels, reflecting the depth of a partners skills across certain technologies and architectures, and can be held in both a Technology portfolio, or an architecture. Specialisations include:
- Collaboration Specialisation
- Data Centre Specialisation
- Video Specialisation
- Security Specialisation
- Internet of Things Specialisation
Over time, as technologies change and products are made obsolete, some certifications are retired. Retired certifications are no longer valid.
Certifications that fall into this category are listed below.
- Access Routing & LAN Switching Sales Specialist
- Access Routing & LAN Switching Specialist
- ATP Optical Metro Transport AM/EM - Japanese
- Business Ready Teleworker Solution Fundamentals
- Cable Communications for Account Managers
- Cable Communications Sales Specialist
- Cisco Cable Communications Specialist
- Call Manager Express Specialist
- CCDP SNA/IP Integration
- CCDP WAN Sw
- CCIE Service Provider Operations
- CCIE Storage Networking
- CCIP Cable
- CCIP Content Networking
- CCIP DSL Networks
- CCIP Metro
- CCIP MPLS
- CCIP Packet Telephony
- CCIP Security
- CCNA Service Provider Operations
- CCNA WAN Sw
- CCNP LAN ATM
- CCNP Network Management
- CCNP Service Provider Operations
- CCNP SNA/IP Integration
- CCNP VOICE Access
- CCNP WAN Sw Certification
- Certification Test-Understanding PBX Systems and Technology - VOD
- Cisco Advanced Wireless LAN Design Specialist
- Cisco Advanced Wireless LAN Field Specialist
- Content Networking Sales Specialist
- Content Networking Specialist
- Content Networking Specialization Exam for SE's and FE's
- Converged Business Solution Integration
- Customer Contact Support - Retired
- Design CCIE (NOTE: The CCIE Design and CCDE are completely different design tests in format and subjects examined)
- DSL Specialization for Account Managers
- DSL Specialization for SE's and FE's
- EMEA SME v1.0
- Enterprise - Japanese Language Version
- Enterprise for Account Managers
- Enterprise Skills Assessment
- Firewall Specialist - Net Academy
- IDS Specialist
- Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) Professional
- Internet Solutions Specialist
- IP Communications Support Specialist
- IP Telephony
- IP Telephony Express Spec
- IP Telephony Express Specialist
- IP Telephony Operations Specialist
- IP Telephony-Enterprise Voice Over Data Design
- IP Telephony-Installation, Support and Maintenance
- IPT Telephony Troubleshooting
- ISP Dial CCIE
- Multiservice Switching Specialist
- MxU Specialist
- Network Management for Account Managers
- Network Management Sales Specialist
- Network Management Specialist
- Network Management Specialization
- Network Mgt.
- Open Programmable Switching Engineer
- Optical Specialist
- Partner and Solutions Essentials for Account Managers 5.2
- Partner and Solutions Essentials for Enterprise Account Manager 6.0 - Latin American
- PBX Fundamentals
- Products Solutions Essentials 7.
- Products Solutions Essentials 8.0
- Public Access Design Specialist
- Public Access Support Specialist
- Remote Dial Access: Voice and Data Specialization for AM's
- Sales Expert v1
- Sales Expert v2
- SCM Operation and Maintenance
- Security Solutions
- Security Specialist 1
- Selling AVVID Architecture
- Small-to-Medium Business
- SNA/IP Design Specialist
- SNA/IP for Systems Engineers
- SNA/IP Integration CCIE (also known as CCIE Blue)
- SNA/IP Solutions
- SNA/IP Support Specialist
- Storage Networking Support Specialist
- Switched WAN Solutions for the Enterprise
- Unity Engineer Specialization
- Unity Engineer Specialization v1.1
- Voice Over Frame Relay
- Voice Solutions for Account Managers
- Voice Solutions for System Engineers
- VPN/Security Sales Specialist
- WAN Switching CCIE
- Wireless LAN Design Specialist
- Wireless LAN for Account Managers
- Wireless LAN for SEs
- Wireless LAN for SEs and FEs
- Wireless LAN Sales Spec
- Wireless LAN Sales Specialist
- Wireless LAN Support Specialist
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