What is the Best Entry-Level IT Certification?
Certifications play an integral role in the highly-competitive job market by helping applicants stand out. They are a great way to showcase skills and commitment to excellence, particularly for entry-level candidates. With an extensive variety of professional IT certifications to choose from, it's vital to make the right decision. Identifying credentials applicable to your specialty is the starting point to narrowing the list.
Working with a manageable shortlist allows you to take a closer look at the benefits of each option. The ideal choice matches your goals and objectives. In addition, consider the time and financial commitment required. Certifications are a sure-fire way to compete with experienced candidates by impressing potential employers.
Cisco entry-level certification offers two main parts, including network and operations design. The journey to the highest level starts from CCENT through to CCNA and culminates with the CCIE. The entry-level CCENT is a practical option for design-oriented individuals. The credential can be followed up by the CCDA, the professional-level CCDP, the CCDE and finally the CCAr.
A number of specialization options are available, including security, data center, internet of things (IoT), network programmability, and many more. You need to pass at least one or more exams to attain a specialist credential, which in some cases requires prerequisites. The credentials are valid for varying periods as follows:
- Entry, associate, and professional-level - three years
- CCIE and specialist certifications - two years
- Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) - five years
Recertification exams give you an opportunity to keep credentials up to date. Alternatively, you can advance to higher levels in the certification hierarchy.
Entry-Level Options for Cisco Training
The entry-level offers two credentials: Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) and Cisco Certified Technician (CCT). The two options do not require any prerequisites. You simply have to pass one exam covering the credential of your choice. CCENT certified individuals handle installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance work involving enterprise network branches or smaller networks.
In addition, the certification enables you to handle basic network security. Some of the career options available to CCENT certified professionals include the help desk or network technician. The credential is a mandatory prerequisite for associate credentials, such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate Industrial (CCNA) and the Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA).
CCENT provides exposure to a number of introductory and theoretical parts covered by the CCNA, including data network operations, wireless LANs, network security, implementation of switched network, and much more. Your knowledge of traffic flow and network diagrams will come to the test in the data network operations section. The same applies to familiar terms, such as VoIP, OSI model, LAN, and WAN.
Passing the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 or ICND1 exam is a practical way to verify your basic knowledge of networking. The certification is more demanding, in-depth and involved when compared to other options, including Network+. Hence, many employers value candidates with the CCENT certification or higher. The credential makes it easier to boost your resume and gain the much-needed advantage over other candidates. Meanwhile, the Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) credential certifies you to diagnose network-related issues in addition to carrying out repair and replacement work on customer premises.
Some of the specialty options for CCT certified professionals include telepresence, data center, switching and routing. CCT TelePresence verifies your ability to identify interfaces, cabling, accessories, and models. You should have an entry-level understanding of operating modes and the ability to use the command line interface (CLI). CCT Data Center tests your knowledge when it comes to software, unified computing system components, NX-OS operating modes, and more. The CCT Routing and Switching certification provides a decent foundation that enables you to support a number of other Cisco systems and devices.
Cisco's Associate-Level Certification
Once you successfully complete one of the two entry-level certifications, you can boost your career prospects by acquiring associate-level certifications. This level offers two credentials: Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) for network installation and Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) for network design. Depending on the selected path, you are required to pass either one or two exams. The CCNA is designed to verify installation and troubleshooting skills when working with wireless or wired networks.
This credential offers several specialization paths: industrial, cloud, wireless, data center, collaboration and more. The CCDA is aimed at identifying IT professionals capable of designing wireless and wired networks. Prerequisites for this credential include a valid CCNA or CCENT. It takes a considerable time commitment to gain the credential. Professional level certifications credentials include Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). You are required to pass three exams to obtain the CCDP.
Infotec Training for Cisco Certifications
Infotec offers a great platform to obtain Cisco certifications starting at entry-level all the way to the architect level. For detailed information about IT certifications, classroom and online learning environments, get in touch with Infotec today.
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