Cisco just announced new certifications in the market and they’re super exciting! Of course, a lot of you are already writing me about when my books will be out… All I can say is I’m pounding the keyboard as fast as I can and that yes, I wish I could figure out some way to do that while sleeping too! But since I haven’t figured out how to do that yet, just hang in there-at least I’m not on strike!
Anyway, I actually want to talk to you a bit about the old network certification path first, starting with the CompTIA certifications that led to the CCNA. Referring to the figure below, a newbie to the networking field would start off by studying, learning, practicing on LANs and probably some hosts and servers as well. After that, they’d possibly take the CompTIA Network+, Security+, Server+, A+, etc:
Moving right along, with the foundational background of the CompTIA certifications in hand, our newbie’s next logical move would be to dive straight into the Cisco CCNA — either through the Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) or by just taking the CCNA exam (640-802). Of course, all this assumes that the Newbie has made a career choice and opted for the “Networking” path. Makes sense…
Once you’ve nailed your CCNA, you’re good to go for the professional level certifications like, Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP) or Cisco Certified Voice Professional) (CCVP) as shown here in the next figure:
But let’s say you still want more. At this point, all paths lead to the veritable PH.D. of Cisco Certs-the Cisco Certified Internetworking Engineer (CCIE). People really don’t have to subject themselves to the special torture of the lower level certification process CCIE gauntlet, but getting through it alive and well definitely has benefits. (At the very least, you get major props and bragging rights!)And, although many people have tried many paths (many times), the most popular way to tackle this monster is step by step: CCNA, CCNP, then the CCIE Routing and Switching (R&S) lab. Over 50% of the pushes for the CCIE summit take this route!
But as I said, Cisco has tweaked things and changed its various professional paths to networking nirvana. Yep…Cisco even put a new one on the radar — it’s all pretty cool!
For instance, if you were going with the foundational CompTIA certifications, you can still take:
- Your basic CCENT/CCNA Routing and Switching Cisco foundational certifications.
- The CCNA, CCNA Security, then the CCSP, and finally the CCIE Security.
- The CCNA, CCNA Voice, the CCVP, then the CCIE Voice.
- The new, most exciting one of these is the new CCNA Wireless Certification path. Start with your CompTIA foundation, grab your CCNA, and then head straight for the CCNA wireless. In the near future you’ll go to the Cisco Certified Wireless Professional (CCWP) and then on to the CCIE Wireless.
Cisco has my full attention here — are you with me?
(Note: The basic CCNA, either through the two test method of ICND1 or ICND2, or the one test method of the 640-802 exam, is a requirement before any other CCNA certifications.)
Let me show you what Cisco’s new approach to certification looks like:
Okay-you can see that yes, it’s true, there are now four paths, and you get to choose any of them from beginning to end-sweet! (Again, the advanced Wireless certs are not announced yet – hopefully soon.)
So which path is for you? Since they’re all awesome, I’d say, “take them all!” But that’s just me. I bleed Cisco blood, what can I say? Seriously, you really can’t go wrong with any of them, which is why the changes Cisco has made are so exciting. So many options — so many ways to succeed!
Oh, and just so you know, I’m going to be teaching all of these new courses soon in Dallas.