Cisco Certification Background
Cisco is a world leader in networking equipment such and routers and switches and also in internetworking technologies and services. The company employs more than 63,000 people worldwide. It conducts Cisco certification exams to verify the capability of candidates who want to work in this highly competitive and high technology field. If you are really good in the networking field, you should arm yourself with a Cisco certification.
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This is because the certification can launch your career like never before in the networking job field. Today, networking has evolved and diversified into a number of different subfields. This is a far cry from the year 1993, when Cisco launched its first certification, the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert).
However, very few people succeed in the advanced level CCIE certification exams as they are indeed the best test of your knowledge and skills. Even today only about 5,297 active CCIEs are present worldwide with 2,409 of them in the US.
Cisco certification exams aimed towards the CCIE certification have always been a hard nut to crack. Only candidates with exceptional knowledge and skills have been able to attain this certification.
Feeling the need to remove some of the dread felt by candidates who wanted to bag a Cisco certification, the company introduced two lower-tier Cisco certification exams in 1998. Cisco called these lower tiers by the designation career certifications.
The company envisaged that candidates should first increase their knowledge by succeeding in these two lower tier certification exams one after another. The idea behind this strategy was two-fold. Success in the two lower tier exams would boost the knowledge base and the confidence of candidates. This would then help them in later taking up the tough advanced-level CCIE certification exam.
Cisco Certification Exams
The lowest tier exam it called the Associate-level exam. Under it there are basically two different separate paths, the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) and the CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate). The Associate level certification entails passing a single exam. The separate paths are associated with six different tracks namely Design, Routing and Switching, Network Security, Service Provider, Storage Networking, and Voice.
Candidates who succeed in bagging the CCNA or CCDA certification can next attempt the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) and the CCDP (Cisco Certified Design Professional). The Professional level certification involves passing multiple exams.
Most Cisco certified persons in the world are simply CCNAs or CCDAs. Some of them have also been later able to clear the Professional-level certification exam. Special perks and privileges are enjoyed by most Cisco certified networking IT professionals.
This is regardless of the fact that most of them have obtained only the lowest tier Associate-level certification. The prestige they enjoy in the matter of jobs is largely based on the credibility associated with the Cisco certification and provides employers confidence in the job capabilities of their recruits.
A certification from Cisco can very well boost your career growth. However, for this, you need to choose the right Cisco certification based on your line of expertise. This means going into networking design and engineering or into networking implementation, installation, and services.