Our guide to Cisco Certifications
Jade O'Donoghue

Our guide to Cisco Certifications

First published date July 17 2015 Amended date July 17 2015

If you’ve stumbled across this page by accident, Cisco is unlikely to mean much to you and you might be better off searching IT courses if you want to know more and starting there. However, if you’re IT-savvy and in search of an extra qualification in the industry, a Cisco Certification could be just the thing.


Why Cisco?

Cisco, or to give the company its full name, Cisco Systems, produces IT networking equipment for homes and business throughout the world. Offering everything from wireless routers, to network security devices and even operating systems, there are few IT professionals in the world who won’t have heard of this multinational brand.

Whether you’re working in IT for a company using Cisco technology and need a qualification for your role or trained in IT and want to add another string to your bow in the hope of boosting your chances of getting a job, a Cisco course will definitely help.


Cisco products

The products Cisco offers are varied; they offer their services to large corporate businesses, smaller ones and even personal homes. Products range from hardware like wireless routers, phones and video conferencing equipment, to software such as operating and security systems. Cisco courses will train you in installing, using and troubleshooting these.


Cisco Certifications

There are two types of Cisco Certifications to look out for. The first type are called Career Certifications and these come in five different levels which denote how long you’ve trained for and how much you know in that area. Career Certifications have to be renewed every three years.

The other type are called Specialist Certifications and these denote IT professionals who have expertise in specific areas and courses that result in these qualifications are usually focused on a certain subject within networking – this could be anything from security to video. Specialist certifications have to be renewed every two years.


The different levels of Cisco Career Certifications

Entry – as the name suggests, this level is for professionals just entering IT.

Acronyms to look out for –  CCT, CCENT

Associate – this is describe as ‘the foundation level’ by Cisco and aims to build on knowledge gained at Entry level.

Acronyms to look out for – CCDA, CCNA

Professional – this level is more advanced than Associate and shows the holder of this certificate is becoming an expert in networking.

Acronyms to look out for – CCNP, CCDP               

Expert – this is the highest level anyone can reach in their Cisco training. Cisco say it’s ‘a prestigious networking qualification’ and it’s very well respected in the industry.

Acronyms to look out for – CCDE, CCIE

Architect – at this level the holder is showing they have reached the highest point in Cisco training and can design networks and support businesses.

Acronym to look out for – CCAr