I found the following interesting article about the advantages of getting a Cisco certification as an important step in your career advancement in networking. Another important reason that I would add for getting a Cisco certification is that you will force yourself to learn the theory behind network technology and not rely only on hands-on practical experience (which is also important of course). Learning the theory behind networking technology concepts will tremendously help you in troubleshooting (if you are a field engineer) or in properly designing networks (if you are a network designer and planner).
If you work in the information technology field, or if you are trying to break in to start your career, getting a certification is a crucial step. Companies often require at least one IT certification to qualify for a position. There are many choices for which certification to pursue, though. Here are four great reasons why you should consider a Cisco certification for career advancement:
- Cisco is a trusted name in the industry. Cisco is one of the world’s leading providers of IT and networking solutions. That gives them a lot of credibility in the technology world. As a result, employers place a lot of trust in Cisco to certify knowledgeable workers. After all, who better to test your skill with technology than the people who created that technology? Adding a Cisco certification to your resume lets you benefit from their very reliable name.
- There are a wide variety of Cisco certifications to choose from. Cisco may specialize in computer networking, but there are dozens of specializations to choose from in their catalog of certifications. Whatever your particular IT interest is, there is probably a Cisco certification that is right for you. Interested in network design? Try a CCNA, CCDA, or CCDP. Is network security your thing? Then look into getting a CCSP. You can even specialize in voice, wireless, or storage networking. Research the type of specialization that interests you, and then plan out the certification path that suits your goals.
- Cisco certifications follow a distinct career path. Cisco makes it very easy to turn your certification pursuits into a career track. There are seven main paths for Cisco certification: Routing and Switching, Design, Network Security, Service Provider, Storage Networking, Voice, and Wireless. Each path contains a separate set of certifications that build on one another and prepare you for increasing levels of responsibility in your field of specialization. You can use these certification paths as a guide to building your career. Just find a position that requires the entry certification level, and then continue increasing your certification level and seek out new positions or internal promotions that match your current level of certification.
- Getting a lower-level certification prepares you for certifications higher up the chain. Cisco structures their certification paths in a unique way, where lower level certifications qualify you for more specialized certifications further up in the hierarchy. Most IT pros start out with the basic CCENT certification, which is a prerequisite for most other Cisco certifications. The Associate level CCNA certification usually follows, since it qualifies you for more certifications at the Professional and Expert level. This makes those low-level certifications even more valuable. Not only do they give you a boost in your career, but they also open up certification doors for you should you choose to advance your education and continue to specialize.
If you are convinced, you can find out more about Cisco certifications, paths, and levels at http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/index.html. Once you decide on which path to take, consider enrolling at a qualified certification training school to help you prepare for your exam. With a little guidance and practice, you will be able to pass your Cisco certification exam the first time and start enjoying the benefits to your career right away.
Shawn Livengood works for TechSkills, a career training school with over 25 campuses nationwide. TechSkills offers career training programs for IT certifications, healthcare services, accounting, and project management.