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Cisco Certifications
Introduction:
Cisco certifications are very popular and are geared toward those who work with Cisco routers, switches and other equipment. These exams are difficult and most of them are for those who have hands on experience. The CCIE is for experts. Cisco certifications stay valid for 2 to 3 years at which time the must be upgraded or retaken to remain valid. In addition to the options listed below, Cisco has quite a few specializations that are not listed below.

Editor's Notes:
Unlike many of the other certification vendors, Cisco has done an excellent job maintaining the integrity of their exams. For that reason, their certifications still command high salaries. Cisco uses simulation types of exam questions which force candidates to have hands on experience with the products.

Designations:
The table below outlines the most popular Cisco certifications:
Certification Link Description
CCENT Official Site The CCENT certification (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) is Cisco's most entry level exam. The CCENT requires 1 exam which counts toward the CCNA certification.
CCNA Official Site The CCNA certification (Cisco Certified Network Associate) indicates a foundation in and apprentice knowledge of networking. The CCNA can be achieved by taking 1 or 2 exams - your choice.
CCDA Official Site The CCDA certification (Cisco Certified Design Associate) indicates a foundation or apprentice knowledge of network design for the Cisco Internetwork Infrastructure. This certification consists of 1 exam. It is recommended that you have a CCNA before attempting this certification.
CCNP Official Site The CCNP certification (Cisco Certified Network Professional) indicates advanced or journeyman knowledge of networks. This cert requires passing 4 exams and a CCNA as a prerequisite.
CCDP Official Site The CCDP certification indicates advanced or journeyman knowledge of network design. This certification consists of 2 or 3 exams depending on the path taken, and requires a CCNA and CCDA, or any CCIE as a prerequisite.
CCIP Official Site The CCIP (Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional) provides individuals working in service provider organizations with competencies in infrastructure IP networking solutions. This certification consists of 3 or 4 exams depending on the path you choose. A CCNA or any CCIE is required as a prerequisite.
CCSP Official Site The CCSP certification (Cisco Certified Security Professional) indicates advanced knowledge of securing Cisco networks. This cert requires 4 exams and a CCNA Security OR any CCIE Certification is required as a prerequisite.
CCIE Official Site Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) is the most difficult of all Cisco certifications and possibly one of the most difficult offered by anyone. The cert consists of a written exam as well as a hands on lab exam. There are 7 different CCIE paths to choose from: CCIE Routing and Switching, CCIE Security, CCIE Service Provider, CCIE Service Provider Operations, CCIE Storage Provider, CCIE Voice, and CCIE Wireless.

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