A Cisco certification exam is one of the toughest exams for IT professionals. Cisco specializes on networking hardware and equipments such as routers and network switches. That is why its certification program is geared towards this field of information technology.
Before you attempt to take the exams provided by Cisco, you need to understand its different levels of certification. A thorough understanding of the Cisco certification tracks is important if you want to easily get a credential and become a Cisco certified professional.
The Associate Level Certifications
The Associate level certification is one of the lower-tier certification programs of Cisco. It is ideal for entry-level networking professionals. There are two different certification paths in this level.
The first path is the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and the other one is the Cisco Certified Design Associate. It is essential for any networking professional to get certified in this level if they want to easily overcome other certification programs.
The Professional Level Certification
The next tier on the Cisco certification is the professional level. There are also two paths to this level namely the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) and the Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP).
The professional level is naturally harder than the Associate certification program. There are also multiple exams that you need to pass in order top get a professional level Cisco certification. Only a small number of IT professionals in the world have credentials from Cisco in this level.
The Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert
This is the hardest certification program of Cisco and considered as the toughest credentialing program in the entire IT industry. There are few professional who hold CCIE credentials and these are the elite in the industry.
If you want to get a sure career boost and want to have a six digit income, then you should aim to have a CCIE credential. However, you have to invest more on your education and training if you want to get a CCIE certification.
How to Prepare for Cisco Certification
There are different methods of preparations for the certification. For each level, there is an appropriate approach in order to pass the Cisco exams. Here are the general approaches however, when you prepare for any Cisco certification exam:
1. Always train with a Cisco accredited training partner. Cisco has many training partners throughout the world. You have more chances of passing a certification if you train in one of its accredited training centers.
2. Always take a simulated Cisco exam. This will improve your confidence during actual certification exams. A simulated exam can also familiarize you with exam structure of Cisco.
3. Get hands-on experience or practice in a real network environment. You cannot pass any Cisco exam through brain dumping methods. You need to have solid knowledge of networking designs and systems. Cisco puts premium on practical expertise and the exams are biased towards those with actual experience.
Any Cisco certification exam will be difficult. But there is no reason why you cannot ace these exams if you prepare well and enrich your experience in the field of network design and implementation.