If you’re looking to advance in your IT career, certification programs are an ideal way to start.
One of the most prominent IT certification programs is through Cisco, a California-based IT company that develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware and other technology-related products.
The Cisco certification program began in the late 1980s and continues to grow in popularity. The best-known Cisco certification is the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA,) but there are others that can help IT professionals reach their career goals. The exams are not easy, but they are worth the effort for professionals in the IT field.
Cisco certification has been recognized as an ideal way for prospective employees to prove their expertise to recruiters and hiring managers in addition to an IT degree. The industry recognizes the certification as a benchmark for an acceptable skill level in implementing switches, routers, voice-over IP phones and wireless technology.
The Cisco certification program confirms the skills of IT professionals at a variety of levels, including entry level, intermediate and expert. Candidates have to pass an exam and will get re-tested in three years, which ensures they are adept at the newest technology.
In 2013, Cisco introduced the Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) certification, which is for professionals who install and maintain small office or branch office networks. The certification also helps them learn how to implement basic network security and usually leads to a position as a network or help desk technician. This certification is the prerequisite for the CCNA.
The CCNA includes specializations – including Routing and Switching, Security, Cloud and Industrial – and is seen as a building block for additional certifications.
Once someone earns the CCNA, the next step could be to achieve Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification, which is a recognition for those IT professionals who plan, deploy troubleshoot local area networks, and work on wide area networks. CCNP certification will help the candidate get a job as a network or support engineer.
If you want to get your foot in the door for an IT career, certifications in Cisco will help you get there. The higher the certification level, the better your employment options are. For example, recruiters and hiring managers that review resumes by computer look for ones that mention the CCNA … and might ignore ones that don’t.
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Linda Johnson has been working in adult education since 1995. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1993 from California State University, Long Beach. She then went on to pursue her master's degree in Russian History and Culture. In the late '90s, Linda began to build her experience with Cisco certifications.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.