Cisco has been a major player in the tech market for decades, and in that time, the company has created a reputation as a top source of knowledge. The networking giant has built its empire on its constant innovation and novel ways of solving problems, and through all of this success, Cisco has gained a huge amount of technical know-how.
In fact, Cisco is doing so well for itself that it has created a list of certification courses designed specifically to help employees navigate the often treacherous waters of modern IT. Most of these classes are extremely informative and can help any IT professional round out their resume, but there are a few shining examples that can seriously increase both job satisfaction and earning potential.
To that end, let's look at the three top Cisco certifications:
Every journey begins with a single step. In the same way, every certification adventure starts with an introductory course. For Cisco, this beginners step is the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician. As the name implies, this certification is the foundation upon which IT professionals can build their networking knowledge.
This course is perfect for those who are early in their technology careers as it surrounds itself with the basics. Those who pass the exam will know how to create a small network, monitor simple security functions and establish an internet connection. Harder concepts such as complex routing are left for later certifications, but the CCENT course is a great way to begin a move into Cisco networking technology.
What kind of job you can receive with this kind of knowledge depends entirely on your current IT background as well as your future goals. If you're already a skilled IT professional and want to use the CCENT as a stepping stone to more advanced topics, you're probably best off just continuing your studies. Those at the beginning of their career, however, have quite a lot to gain from this course.
Receiving a CCENT certification can allow newer IT workers the opportunity to become a network technician. These are the people who are given the task of ensuring the company's network is continuously working as it should, which allows for a maximum amount of uptime for operations. Workers in this position can expect to top out at more than $65,000, according to PayScale. That's not bad for a first step.
Although CCENT imparts a lot of great knowledge, most IT professionals opt to continue their training beyond this course. Again, where you go from here depends on your previous experience, but many workers decide that a Cisco Certified Network Associate certification is a great way to continue their learning.
Basically, the CCNA is just an extension of what students learned in the CCENT course. This particular set of classes brings all the knowledge gained to the next level, teaching you how to deploy and maintain a medium-sized Cisco-powered network. Of course, scaling up this learning is a lot easier said than done. There are multiple different versions of the CCNA that each focus on different parts of networking, but each require you to complete the CCENT certification training.
CCNA Security improves your ability to keep information secure and hackers off the network, while CCNA Cloud focuses on entry-level provisioning of cloud resources. There are all kinds of variants to the CCNA course, and each one has its value within the IT job marketplace. That said, regardless of what you choose, you can rest assured that you'll have the knowledge necessary to make a big impact on your career.
Those who receive CCNA training have an incredible amount of opportunities afforded to them. The prestige given off by the Cisco name, coupled with the widespread understanding that Cisco knows how to train its CCNA students, means that having such a certification under your belt is going to help you stick out. According to PayScale, one of the best jobs a CCNA certification holder can hope for is becoming a network engineer.
Unlike a technician, an engineer actually plays a part in the physical creation of a company's network. They may also be charged with maintenance, but their skill level demands an incredible change in pay. PayScale has found that a CCNA-certified network engineer can make up to $124,000 annually. Clearly, there's a lot of value in continuing your education.
A lot of people decide that a CCNA certification is enough. However, others feel that they would benefit from a more extended curriculum, which is why the Cisco Certified Network Professional course was created. In fact, professionals can't even enroll in CCNP certification training until they've completed CCNA.
As you may have guessed, CCNP training takes an in-depth look at all of the technology used in networking that is well beyond the scope of the previous courses. Like CCNA, this particular set of classes has multiple sections that are also split down lines such as security. One particularly interesting piece is the CCNP collaboration certification, which helps students learn the knowledge necessary to deploy and troubleshoot unified communications gadgets purchased from Cisco.
Although this course is extremely complex and is only for the hard-core IT professional, those dedicated enough to stick around and complete the training are going to be rewarded handsomely. Receiving a CCNP certification can enable you the skills to become a network architect. If engineers are the builders of IT infrastructure then architects are the designers. These are the highly-educated individuals that can design a large-scale network in their sleep, and they're compensated well for it. A network architect can make up to $155,000 annually, which isn't accounting for any bonuses or other forms of financial incentives.
Clearly, Cisco's multiple training courses have quite a lot to offer to the modern IT professional. Receiving a certification from this respectable company will not only provide you the skills you need to succeed in your career, but also will be physical proof to any current or future employers that you have the knowledge necessary to get the job done right.
Whether you are an experienced network professional or just starting a career in technology, Cisco training and certifications open up new IT networking career opportunities.
Start with New Horizons Cisco-authorized training and then explore the multiple certification paths depending on your job role and level of experience.