Cisco Systems offers their certifications in two broad forms, general certifications and focused. The certifications are divided into five levels of expertise which are known as Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect.
These five levels further include various tracks which correspond to career needs as well as industry trends and demands. There are eight tracks which are related to knowledge type and skill sets, namely Routing & Switching, Design, Network Security, Service Provider, Service Provider Operations, Storage Networking, Voice, and Wireless.
The Voice, Security and Wireless tracks are actually specialist certifications focused on specific technologies, real world solutions and targeted job roles.
The exams for all Cisco certifications are attempted online and administered through Pearson VUE. These certifications are valid for 3 years with only the CCIE certifications having a validity of 2 years. The recertification procedure requires candidates to reattempt and pass these exams.
The Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification is the initial step in the Cisco certification system. This certification leads to the CCNA and CCDA certifications. The CCENT only covers basic networking knowledge and not the knowledge related to Cisco routing and switching or network design aspects.
The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification provides fundamental apprentice level knowledge of networking. CCNA certified professionals have the capabilities of installing, configuring, and operability of various network protocols, LANs, WANs, and dial access services for networks comprising of 100 nodes or less.
The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification exhibits advanced knowledge of networks as compared to the previous associate level. CCNP certified network professionals can work with LANs and WANs for enterprise level organizations having networks with nodes ranging from 100 to 500 plus. The knowledge areas covered focus on network security, converged networks, network’s quality of service (QoS), virtual private networks (VPN) and broadband technologies.
The Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP) certification shows advanced knowledge related to securing Cisco networks. CCSP certified professionals can efficiently secure network infrastructures and provide protection for critical data and at the same time bring down costs.
The Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional (CCIP) provides detailed understanding of networking technologies in a service provider scenario and enables network professionals to work in service provider organizations implementing infrastructure IP networking solutions.
CCIE Routing & Switching
The Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) certification in the Routing and Switching certification track warrants the highest level of expertise in the industry and knowledge of networking involving LANs, WANs and a wide variety of routers and switches.
Cisco CCIE Security
The CCIE Security track of the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) certification puts emphasis on and ensures expertise and experience of securing networks and VPNs, strong concepts regarding all major operating systems in use including Windows and Linux, firm understanding of the HTTP, FTP, SMTP and DNS protocols.
Cisco CCIE Voice
The CCIE Voice track of the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) certification puts emphasis on and ensures expertise and experience with Voice over IP (VoIP) technology and products from Cisco. As well as high level skills related to their functionality and troubleshooting and building complex networks inSystemsorating VoIP.
Cisco CCIE Storage
The CCIE Storage Networking track of the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) certification deals with, intelligent storage solutions implemented through diverse transport protocols and options, between networks which are connected over significant distances.
Cisco CCIE Service Provider
The CCIE Service Provider track of the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) certification deals with the design and setup of extensible infrastructures for Service Providers and to deliver composite managed services.