Cisco Training Certifications constitute five different levels of certification and seven different career paths that, while they are specific to Cisco products, also provide the individuals that hold them with a great deal of general networking knowledge. These certifications allow individuals to vastly increase their earning power and, if they choose, to pursue very specialized certifications in specific areas of study.
Cisco Training Process
There are different ways that you can go about getting training for Cisco certifications. They are offered at institutions that specifically train people for the certifications and they are offered at some colleges. Any institution such as a college, university or community college that offers this type of certification is called a part of the Cisco Networking Academy. The people who attend these academies get some perks. For example, they may take an older version of the exam to get their skills built up for when they actually take the real thing.
There are also a series of institutions called the Cisco Learning Partners and the Cisco 360 Learning Program that Cisco training. The institution that you study your certification at will make a big difference in whether or not you are prepared to actually pass the examination when it comes time to take it. All of the courses that you will take will lead up to the day that you take your exam and, if you’re not adequately prepared, there is little chance that you will pass it, no matter how much on-the-job experience you happen to have.
The Entry Level
For individuals that have no on-the-job experience and no other certifications, the most common Cisco certification that they pursue is called the CCENT, which stands for the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician. While this may seem like not much of a certification, it actually entails far more qualifications than most network administrators have and gives you all the basics you need to take care of a small office network.
The associate certifications are the ones that individuals seek out the most. These require that you pass two exams: ICND1 640-822 and ICND2 640-816. There is also an option to take a composite exam that will give you the total package in one sitting. These exams are extremely difficult and the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification indicates that you have the qualifications needed of an administrator that works on medium-sized networks and, in quite a few cases, as the lead person on a smaller network.
When you take any sort of Cisco training, you have the option of branching off into seven paths when you reach the Network level. Taking any one of the seven career paths will, of course, entail its own course of training and will require you to invest quite a bit of time in specializing your knowledge. You do not have to take one of these paths right away. If you choose, you can simply get the Network Associate certification and then decide upon a specific career path after you have been working in the field for a while.