The picture on the left illustrates the Cisco Certification Pyramid. If you are familiar with the pyramids of Egypt, you must know by now that they have stood the test of time, withstanding harsh climate conditions for thousands of years. When we are looking at a pyramid, instinctively we look at the tip first, and then our eyes move down to the base. The same happens with the Cisco certification pyramid. The Architect and Expert certifications are looked at with amazement, and every network engineer’s wish is to obtain one of these prestigious qualifications. However, the base of the pyramid is what makes it strong and robust. Therefore, in my opinion the most important Cisco certifications are the ones you see on the base, that is the entry level and associate level (I.e CCNA) certifications.
So, if you really want to be a successful CCIE or Architect, you must become a successful CCNA and CCNP first. If you become master in CCNA and CCNP certifications, it is a sure fire way to become a successful CCIE, and hence a successful high-level professional.
Indeed, the reasons that the pyramids of Egypt are so strong and the reason they have lasted for thousands of years, is that their foundation (base) is so strong. The same analogy can be drawn for Cisco career certifications. If you built a strong foundation (CCNA, CCNP), then the skills that you will acquire from these levels will follow you and support your whole future career. Therefore, becoming a CCIE depends on how strong your knowledge base is. Indeed, your CCNA studies are the most important studies of your career as a network engineer. If you don’t master basic concepts, such as subnetting, IP addressing, basic routing and switching functionality, binary math, routing protocols functionality and so on, how do you think you will become a successful CCIE? So, keep this in mind: When you’re studying for your CCNA, you’re not just studying for a certification exam – you’re building the foundation for the rest of your Cisco certifications and the rest of your career.
So, take your CCNA studies seriously, learn as much material and theory as you can absorb, and you will not be disappointed. My 15 years in the field of networking have taught me that .