Getting Cisco Certified for Your Career

In the fast-evolving world of IT, having professional, accredited certification can help you distinguish yourself fast from the competition when it comes to finding the right job. Whether you are gaining a first foothold on the career ladder or looking to acquire a more senior role, industry-recognized certification demonstrates that you have acquired a sound basis in knowledge, theory, and practice. And, just as importantly, that you are willing to learn and grow along your career path.

Cisco certification can not only help you become a better technician, engineer, designer, or architect—it can also make you more valuable to employers.

We offer varying levels of certifications: entry, associate, professional, expert, specialist, and architect levels, that correspond to how many years professional experience and the high degree of specialism you have.

Specialization comes in the form of 9 different tracks, enabling students to focus on the technology that you wish to focus on from: routing and switching, design, security, voice, video, data center, wireless, to service provider, and storage.

So whether you are starting your career or working at advanced levels in network design and architecture, there are tracks to suit your needs and professional requirements.

Mapping your Certification to Your Career Path

Depending on the technology focus you pursue, your Cisco certification can open doors to a variety of jobs and roles in your field.

With Routing and Switching, for instance, one of our most popular certification tracks, the typical certification path might begin with CCENT, move on to CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNP Routing and Switching, and on to CCIE.

CCENT – Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician

The CCENT certification is the entry-level track for students with less than 2 years’ experience. CCENT will equip you with the knowledge and skills to manage a small, enterprise network and maps to basic network support roles such as Help Desk or Network Administrator.

CCNA – Cisco Certified Network Associate

CCNA focuses on installing, monitoring and troubleshooting network infrastructure products. A more advanced certification track, CCNA is for people with between 1 and 3 years’ experience. CCNA is available in the different technologies, from Data Center, Routing and Switching, Security, Service Provider, Video, Voice, and Wireless.

CCNA certification typically maps to Network Specialist, Network Administrator and Network Support Engineer roles at an Associate level. And depending on the technology focus, CCNA supports a variety of jobs in different areas, from Data Center Network Administrator, to Network Security Specialist, via Video Media Operator or AV Installer or Voice Technologies Administrator and Network Designer, right through to Sales and Marketing roles.

CCNP – Cisco Certified Professional

With between 3 and 5 years’ experience, IT practioners are ideally suited to the CCNP certification.  A track for more seasoned professionals, CCNP equips students to manage complex networks working with core technologies, preparing them to roles in optimizing infrastructure and keeping applications secure and performing efficiently.

CCNP opens up opportunities across a wide range of technologies. Available in Routing and Switching, Voice, Security, Service Provider and Wireless, CCNP equips students for a diverse selection of roles.

In the field of Data Center, for instance, CCNP typically maps to Presales, Design, Implementation and Support Engineer roles. In Routing and Switching, CCNP is valuable for roles such as Network or Systems Engineers, Network Support Specialist, Network Administrator, Network Consultant or Systems Integrator. A CCNP certification in Voice maps to roles such as Voice Engineer, Voice Manager, UC Voice Engineer or Voice Solutions Engineer. Wireless and Security map to similar roles.

CCNP Service Provider is a highly valued certification in the Cisco Partner ecosystem, and is ideally suited to roles such as Service Provider Network Engineer, Channel Partner Sales Engineer, Channel Partner Field Engineer and Service Provider System Engineer amongst others.

Advanced and Specialist Certification

As IT professionals progress in their career and identify areas of specialism, Cisco offers an array of advanced certifications to help them hone their skills and bring value to their role.

CCIE helps build the skills needed to build, troubleshoot and optimize complex networks and infrastructures. And specialist-level certifications such as Design Specialist, Cisco Unity Support Specialist, or Cisco Telepresence Solutions Specialists are highly specialized and prized certifications for professionals with around 3 years’ experience looking for in-depth core networking knowledge on specific technologies. 

Whatever point you are in your career, there is a Cisco certification that matches your needs.

Find out more about Cisco certifications at the Cisco Learning Network and for a deeper dive into how Cisco certification maps to a multitude of opportunities in networking, take a look at our Cisco Certification Skills Matrix.


NetAcad Advantage Reading Note: Certifications are an ideal way to show employers your advanced skills set and your ability to comprehend complex concepts. Learn how to advance your career with certifications offered by Cisco, they have recently developed new ones to counter the growing skills gap.

With the Internet of Everything, it is now more important than ever to be technically savvy as every industry will require technical skills; a convenient way to get started is to enroll in Networking Academy courses.