One of the best ways to get your foot in the door or advance in the computer industry is by obtaining a technical certification. If you have a networking background or would like to get a job as a network engineer, then you will likely want to complete a Cisco training course such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). Cisco remains one of the biggest names in computer networking and Cisco certifications include some of the most well recognized and respected networking certifications available. In fact, Cisco’s own academy trains one million students every year to fill over eight million networking jobs. Formal certifications demonstrate passion to study and work hard in a learning environment. Cisco certification graduates learn to protect IT infrastructure, and increase their expertise in how to run, maintain and troubleshoot a network system.

There are several levels of Cisco Certifications as listed below. Each level is broken up in to an area of interest such as networking, voice and collaboration, data centers and storage, or service provider.

  • CCENT – Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician: The CCENT certification validates the ability to install, operate and troubleshoot a small enterprise branch network, including basic network security.
  • CCNA – Cisco Certified Network Associate: Provides the foundations of networking at the associate level.
  • CCNP – Cisco Certified Network Professional: The CCNP Routing and Switching certification is a more advanced certification for those with at least one year of networking experience. CCNP Routing and Switching graduates have demonstrated the skills required to fulfill enterprise roles such as network engineer, support engineer, systems engineer or network technician.
  • CCIE – Cisco Certified International Expert: CCIE Routing and Switching is an expert level certification. Those who achieve this are considered top engineers in the networking field. This certification focuses on planning, operating and troubleshooting complex, converged network infrastructures.
  • CCAr – Cisco Certified Architect: This is the highest level of certification offered by Cisco. The curriculum focuses on understanding the business strategy and translating it into technical infrastructure requirements.

There are several career choices for someone who has obtained a Cisco certification. A newer graduate with minimal experience may choose to go after a systems engineer position. A systems engineer does not yet have access to the main infrastructure such as routers and switches, however, he or she may provide customer support in obtaining LAN and WAN connectivity or other basic technical support. Other system engineer responsibilities may include managing security on firewalls and routers as well as responding to tickets, alerts and notifications. Network Administrators are responsible for both systems and network administration. Network administrators have access to the routing and switching infrastructure and are also generally responsible for system hardware and software maintenance.

For those with more experience, Cisco certifications assist in providing engineers with credentials to obtain positions such as Information Technology Managers, who are responsible for directing all IT department activities. Another advanced career path, the technical support engineer, is responsible for troubleshooting and support for new technological advancements or general IT support. Finally, such specialized careers as senior network engineers or network security specialists are involved with the entire implementation of the network from design through implementation and support.