Big Picture: Understanding Cisco Certification

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If you’re not sure where to get started with Cisco certification, this is the Nugget for you.

CBT Nuggets trainer and Cisco expert Jeremy Cioara recently kicked off his latest CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-105 training with an “everything you want to know about Cisco” Nugget.

He describes the Cisco certification program, its specialization tracks, and answered these common questions about your Cisco career.

Here’s the abbreviated version. Watch the full Q&A video above, or login or subscribe to access the entire CCENT course!

Should I specialize in multiple Cisco areas? (4:15)

It depends. “Normal human beings will specialize in one, maybe two, or maybe three of these areas. Like maybe you start off and routing and switching, and you get a professional level certification in that.”

What’s better: certifications or a college degree? (7:00)

“I’ll start off by saying education itself has value. It doesn’t matter how it comes to you. It has value whether it’s through a college degree or a certification program.”

What’s the difference between ICND1 and the composite composite exam? (11:24)

“This question usually comes after somebody has done a little research and finds out they can get CCNA R&S by taking either the ICND1 and ICND2 exams, or you can take a composite exam, which achieves the CCNA in one fell swoop.”

Does the CCNA get me the CCENT, too? (12:32)

Nope.”It just gets you the CCNA, but no one will care at that point because you have the higher level certification anyway.”

After I take my test, what can I say about the subject matter? (12:41)

Nothing. “Cisco does enforce non-disclosure. If they find you … they will strip your certification from you and they will keep you from testing in the future.”

Do I need experience for CCNP? (13:46)

I will say, as you get into the more advanced certification, you will see it turn into a lot more practical exam. Meaning when you get to the CCIE level, you’re literally flying out and doing this in front of Cisco, building one of the most complex networks you would ever dream of right in front of their eyes, right? So CCNP is still in the certification room. You don’t have to have practical experience, but it would benefit you a lot.

Should I get Cisco or other certs? (14:30)

“It depends.” Check out the video for the full answer to this one.

How does CCNA look to an employer? (15:06)

“It looks really good. It sets your resume apart from a flurry of resumes that the employer gets anytime they put a job posting out there.”

What position should I get into with a CCNA? (15:49)

“There are so many possibilities with this one, but keep in mind CCNA is a door opener.”

There are hundreds of other Cisco-related questions that would probably be helpful to your particular situation. You can also take a look at our other blog posts from this week, including Jeremy’s webinar yesterday, CCNAv3: The Full Story, and a look at why and how IT certifications change.

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