CCNA vs. CCNP vs. CCNET: Cisco IT Certifications Explained

A career in IT requires constant learning and updating of skills as technologies continue to change. We offer over 1,000 different books and practice materials for required IT certifications; with a range that large, we often get a lot of questions about IT certifications. What are the details of the certification – which exams are required? What will the exams cover? Which IT roles require which certifications? We answered all those questions in one place to make it easier for IT professionals to get the information they are looking for regarding Cisco Certification specifics.

CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician)

Description: CCENT is the lowest level (entry level) of Cisco Certification, covering basic networking knowledge, and verifying the skills needed to manage and troubleshoot a small network. The Cisco CCENT Certification is achieved once the ICND1 exam is passed. The CCENT Certification is a prerequisite for CCNA Security, CCNA Voice and CCNA wireless certifications.

Topics covered: Subnetting, OSI Model, Cisco Three-Layer Hierarchical Model, Connect and Configure Equipment and Devices, IOS Software Configurations, Troubleshoot, WAN serial connection, LAN (WLAN), Network Security, Static routes, RIPv2

Job Titles: Support Technician, System Administrator, System Analyst

Resources: Study Guide, Simulator

CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)

Description: The Cisco CCNA Certification is an associate level (second level) certification that validates the skills necessary to administer devices on a small/medium-sized network. The CCNA Certification is earned once the ICND2 exam is passed. The CCNA Routing and Switching certification (formally known as simply CCNA) is a prerequisite for more specialized Cisco Certifications (Data Center, Security, Voice, Wireless, Service Provider, Service Provider Operations, Design, and Video).

Topics covered: Network Topologies, OSI Reference Model, Layer-2 LAN Technologies, Bridges and Switches, WLAN, IP Addressing and Subnetting, VLSM, TCP/IP and the Transport Layer, Cisco IOS Software, Switch and Router Configuration, VLANs and Trunks, Switches and Redundancy, IOS Device Management, OSPF and EIGRP Routing, Access Control Lists, IPv6, WAN, Frame Relay

Job Titles: Computer Networking/IT, Network Administrator, Systems Engineer, Network Engineer, Senior Network Engineer

CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)

Description: CCNP is one of Cisco’s higher level certifications (one step below expert status), certifying the skill level needed to install, configure, troubleshoot, and maintain large networks. Networks with 100-500 end-devices necessitate the knowledge and skill that comes with this professional-level certification. 

Topics covered: Passing scores on Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE), Implementing Cisco IP switched Networks (SWITCH), and Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (TSHOOT) are required to achieve the CCNP certification.

Job Titles: Network Engineer, Senior Network Engineer, Systems Engineer, Senior Systems Engineer, IT Manager, Network Technician, Support Engineer

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