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Which Cisco Certification is in Demand?

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By: Shelby Welty

June 9, 2020

In the last several years, technology has advanced at speeds that are hard to keep up with. That may be the reason that there is a global shortage in qualified IT professionals. Worldwide, there are more IT job openings than there are professionals to fill them, and organizations are trying to find employees to fill their most in-demand positions.

Many organizations want to hire IT employees who have technical certifications that are specific to the platforms and software solutions the company uses. This lowers training time and ensures that the individuals they hire have the skills and knowledge to hit the ground running. A quick look at open IT jobs online will show that most organizations require that candidates have certain certifications just to be considered for a job opening.

Cisco has three of the most in-demand certifications in Robert Half Technology’s report for 2020. Those certifications are the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), and the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). With any or all of these certifications, you can put yourself and your IT skills at a definite career advantage if you are looking for new work opportunities or advancement.

Top Three In-Demand Cisco IT Certifications

The following are Cisco’s most sought-after credentials:

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert certification is recognized around the world as one of the IT industry’s most prestigious networking certifications. When you hold the CCIE certification, you automatically have a reputation of very strong networking knowledge. Many CCIE certified employees work in the most technically challenging networking environments.

The CCIE program consists of six tracks, or areas of expertise. To earn the CCIE credential, candidates have to take the CCNP core exam and pass, and then take an 8-hour CCIE lab in their desired concentration. The six areas of concentration are:

  • CCIE Security
  • CCIE Service Provider
  • CCIE Data Center
  • CCIE Collaboration
  • CCIE Enterprise Wireless
  • CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure

A solid understanding of the CCIE certification exam topics usually requires three to five years of IT work experience. The average annual salary for a CCIE certified employee, across specialized areas is $126,000, and it can go up from there depending on the specific organization, location, level of experience, and other certifications.

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Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The Cisco Certified Network Associate certification is an associate-level credential that demonstrates a wide range of foundational knowledge and skills. CCNA candidates must pass one exam that covers networking, security, automation, and programmability fundamentals. This certification used to have multiple exams for various concentrations (like the CCIE), but in February 2020, it was changed to one comprehensive exam. If you are starting out in IT networking, this is the go-to certification.

The average salary for an IT professional with a CCNA certification is between $71,000 and $81,000.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

The Cisco Certified Network Professional certification is a professional-level credential that validates knowledge and skills in planning, implementing, and troubleshooting both local and wide-area enterprise networks. It’s a certification that was created for network administrators and engineers working on advanced voice, security, video, and wireless solutions.

Like the CCNA, the CCNP went through some changes in February 2020. The new CCNP certification program requires candidates to take two exams. The first is a core exam that covers networking basics. The second exam covers one concentration area. These areas are:

  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • CCNP Enterprise
  • Cisco Certified DevNet Professional

You must pass both exams to receive the CCNP certification in your chosen concentration area. The DevNet concentration area is new (also as of February 2020). It combines programming (primarily with python) and infrastructure.

Start Training for Your In-Demand Cisco Certification Now

The IT industry holds a lot of opportunity for job seekers – especially those who earn the most in-demand certifications. For Cisco, that’s the CCIE, CCNA, and CCNP certifications. If you are interested in learning more about these credentials, or any other IT certifications, Cybrary can help. Cybrary's Cisco training courses will help prepare you for the certification exams with hands-on labs, practice tests, and experienced and knowledgeable instructors. Put yourself at the front of the line for job openings with Cisco’s most in-demand certifications.

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