So you have passed your CCNA (gratz!) and you're now looking at all the options you've just opened but don't know what to go for next? Well I'm hoping to offer some advice and guides on how to progress your Cisco career to the next level.
"I found the CCNA quite difficult/this was my first major networking certification/I want to get more experience before getting a professional level cert"
If this sounds like you, there are several specialisations available to expand your knowledge on while still staying at the associate level. An overview is below.
"I've worked with Cisco equipment for some time/I want to progess to a higher level of knowledge/I have some CCNA specialisations already"
In these types of cases, the professional level certs could be just what you need. The CCNP is a popular choice following CCNA, with the other certs following the specialisation track from CCNA level. http://www.lammle.com/discussion/gro...scussionid=107
CCNA Security is a popular choice and compliments the CCNA well, particularly if you will be working with all types of Cisco devices in your network infrastructure. It introduces securing and hardening devices, creating firewalls using Cisco IOS routers and implementing security on the LAN. This has now been updated to IINS v2.0
CCNA Voice is the beginning of one of the most varied tracks in the Cisco world, as it combines the knowledge of routing and switching with voice over IP technology, and starts you off with Cisco's Unified Communications solutions, including Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unity Connection, and Cisco Unified Presence (Cisco's TelePresence is so cool!)
CCNA Wireless has recently been updated to v2, and tests your knowledge of fundamental Wireless concepts, installation of a WLAN and clients, WLAN security and installation and configuration of a small enterprise WLAN utilising WLC and LAPs.
CCDA is the start of the design track, and could be a good place to start if you will be designing new networks for your organisation or you want to understand the best practises of putting networks together in the most efficient way. If you want the highest level cert Cisco offers, CCAr, here is where to start.
CCNA Service Provider has two exams, and focusses on IP network technologies, Layer 2 switching, routing protocols and network management. It also details how ISPs, the IANA and RIR all work together to create the global internetwork.
CCNA Service Provider Operations only requires a CCENT as a pre-requisite, making it one of few certs available to non-CCNAs. This cert focusses on change and incident management, ITIL and service level agreements, and trains the initial skills required to work in a NOC.