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Insiders Guide to Cisco Career Certifications

September 2, 2009 - 20 Comments

You can watch this show starting September 3Specialization is the name of the game these days when it comes to being distinct. The markets have of course been in uproar and there are more people now chasing fewer jobs. No matter what your current situation is, the writing on the wall says that those of us with demonstrable skills will rise above those who don’t. A certification is of course a very straightforward way to document your expertise. The Cisco certifications have held up well in the industry largely due to their increasing complexity reflective of how much technology continues to be interwoven with enterprise success. We taped this show at CiscoLive! recently and laid a foundation to get quite a few opinions – including of course Jimmy Ray Purser. Jimmy Ray is more certified than he will let on – he has a passion for lifelong learning that make him a joy to work with. As we usually do, we can’t cover a topic from front to back…we have to choose which areas to dive into. Each of our segments for this show follow a logical path of recognizing that there has been a marked increase in the specialization available within a traditional cert and many of you may be looking for guidance on why one might be better than another…and if you are new to it, then maybe a few pointers on the things that could trip you up. Your very best link for ‘more info’ on this entire show is the Learning @ Cisco Community I cannot overstate the value of the content and the interactivity available hereSegment 1: CCNABeyond your route/switch knowledge, the CCNA has branched into the bigger specialization with the ability to narrow your path on Security, Wireless and/or Voice. Segment 2: CCVPAt the professional level things continue to branch out beyond the CCNP. The CCVP is targeted at the Voice skills needed and our resident expert Tina Shakour took that opportunity to sit down with Jeremy Ciora, author of the CiscoBlog, trainer and quite a few booksimageCisco Wireless Path expands with CCNP Wireless CertificationSegment 3: CCIEMPLSLearning 360Segment 4: Resources that can make the differenceDynamips

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  1. thanks, im considering the cisco route over the microsft one. I think this is a good reference aswell

  2. Good post!!I am always following your site. I am very much pleased with your presenting style. Thanks.keep blogging.

  3. I appreciate the honesty evidenced on this post. t would really be great if Cisco had some sort of program like Microsofts MSDNAA where they provide operating systems to students for educational purposes. Thank you very much CISCO.....

  4. Hi,I'm Sai,presently working as a Service Desk Member from past 3 years.My role includes to monitor the servers and complete L1 support activities. I would like to choose the CISCO career path. My Question : 1.Will be the Cisco certification an added advantage for my further career?2. Will my current experience consider for my future assignments?Please suggest.Thanks,Sai

  5. These are great questions and the honest answer is, I really do not know. I appreciate the honesty evidenced on this post. This information is helpful to me as we research this career option. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  6. I wish I had worked on my Cisco certifications earlier in my IT career when I had the opportunity. I chose to move toward the software side of IT instead of the hardware side.Now I, like so many software IT people I know, have been layed off. Hardware IT provides more opportunities and stability these days. So keep working towards those Cisco certifications.Mike

  7. Thank you Melissa.... so she WAS considering this career option? Hope we did not scare her off! This has been a fantastically interesting industry for myself and most everyone I interact with. Thanks for watching.

  8. I appreciate the honesty evidenced on this post. My daughter was considering an IT career and this information is helpful to me as we research this career option.ThanksMelissa

  9. Sir/Madam I want to go in CCNA Voice Track. but i little confused about Enterprise option and comercial option. If i pass 642-436 but this paper is also include in CCVP So my quetion is that : Again i will have to take this paper(642-436)to get ccvp.

  10. Hey Steve,These are great questions and the honest answer is, I really do not know. Taking legal advice from a goober like me is something I would advise against...Normally, folks work thru their AM/SE/PSS to clear that type of stuff up and get a final and difinitive word. Robb has also forwarded your email to the folks at Learning @ Cisco to see if we can get more clearity here.Jimmy Ray

  11. Steve,I am afraid that we are not going to be able to provide 'legal' advice on how you can use least not on this blog. I personally think that buying a router to get access to IOS and getting creative with how you use it to further your own knowledge should be just fine...but I can't make a formal ruling on that. I don't know of any way to purchase IOS distinctly for this purpose but I will keep encouraging others to comment here.

  12. Greetings;I was reading a PDF from CiscoLive about using Dynagen to study for CCNA, et al. I realize it requires an actual IOS, I am trying to determine the legal method of getting an IOS without violating copyright. If I buy a router am I entitled to use that IOS on GNS3? If my company pays for CISCO support can I use an IOS for GNS3? Is it possible to just purchase an IOS for use with GNS3? Just some thoughts. As a network professional studying for CCNA/CCNP/CCIE this would be a very useful tool as you state in the article. It would really be great if Cisco had some sort of program like Microsofts MSDNAA where they provide operating systems to students for educational purposes.Thanks

  13. Miguel,Thanks for asking your question and thank you for working on a Cisco certification path! These days you have a lot of options so part of the answer may well depend on what you are most passionate about. You can get specialized within CCNA these days but your real choice becomes as move to the next level certs which would be ones found at the Professional and Expert levels. The choices all the way up (and you can always do more than one) are generally between Route/Switch, Security, Voice, Wireless and Service Provider as well. Some very cool options with Video, various design level expertise paths and of course data center. The world really is your oyster! Check out Cisco Learning Network and start chatting up some online friends there: http://www.ciscolearningnetwork.comThanks again!Robb

  14. Hi! My name is Miguel im doing ccna course at at moment in one of the college in dublin, but next year when i finish ccna i intend to follow on with a network carrer but i dont know what level comes next, after ccna

  15. Hi, Saley,You have two paths to be CCNA Voice certified: the Commercial version and the Enterprise version.One of the big differences is that in the Commercial version you have focus on CUCME, the Express version of CUCM, or Cisco Unified Communications Manager. The Express is based on the IOS, so you do not use a separate appliance for that, but configure the functionality directly on Cisco routers.The Enterprise version deals with the dedicated CUCM appliances, and so it is more appropriate for larger deployments.Cisco Press has a couple of titles that could help you no matter the path you choose. Some of their books have practice questions that help you prepare for the exam.I also highly recommended that you find a way to practice with some real or virtualized environment, so that you can gain a solid background not only for the exam, but for your job either.Good luck!

  16. hi i'am cisco CCNA certified now i'am doing IT in one small business here in Niger republic but i did my CCNA exam in Nigeria. Now do i need to special in CCNA voice? if so where can i do it ? because here the technologie is not advance here can you help me to do that? thanks.

  17. At time 41:00, Jimmy called the left router a CE"", and slide also shows a packet going out that router, which is a labeled packet. I think that router should be a ""PE"", otherwise it could not impose a label on that packet.Probably the intention was leave the CE routers out of the figure, right?"

  18. Hi Arvind, A: You only need to pass the CVOICE #642-436 exam one time in relation to both your CCNA Voice and CCVP certifications. The CCNA Voice enterprise option assesses skills/knowledge related to the Cisco Unified Communications Manager 6.0 (CUCM 6.0). The CVOICE #642-436 exam is required for this option. The good news is once you have passed this exam you can also use it as credit towards your CCVP certification. You can find a complete listing of required exams and recommended training for both the CCVP and CCNA Voice certifications on the Cisco Learning Network at

  19. Hi Philip, First of all, thanks for your interest in Cisco Career Certifications. It's great to see individuals like yourself with such a rich background in Cisco R&S hardware and gear taking interest in these exciting new CCNA Security, Voice, and Wireless concentrations. They really serve as stepping stones for professionals that are interested expanding their knowledge of Cisco technologies or pursuing a dedicated career/certification path in a field other than route/switch technologies. Regarding your question, CCNA is required as prerequisite before you can take one of the three specialized CCNA concentrations. The good news is it sounds like you have quite a background in Cisco and I imagine you have alot of the knowledge and skills already needed to pass the CCNA exam! In addition, the CCNA exam is available as a composite and there are many inexpensive ways to test your knowledge and see how much you know. The Cisco Learning Network is a great place to start. Located at, the Cisco Learning Network contains free self assessments as well as recommendations for Cisco Press books, study materials, and where you can sign up take the CCNA exam(s). Oh and the best part, the Cisco Learning Network is absolutely free!Again in looking at the information you've provided above, I have to believe you'll be CCNA certified in no time and on your way to taking the CCNA concentration of your choice. Hopefully this answers your question.Good luck!David MajorMarketing Launch ManagerLearning@Cisco

  20. My name is Phil Johnson. I watched the WEBCAST yesterday on Career Certifications: My question is this: Under CCNA do I have to obtain the initial CCNA Router and Switching or can I obtain a certification by the CCNA Specialty that I want to build my Career from.I have been working on Cisco equipment for 14 years, so I know the IOS and all Router and Switching configurations. I work for Verizon under the Intergration section of the company.Please advise as I want to start as soon as I can.Phil Johnson