After listening to the folks at Cisco Learning explain to me why they decided that the CCT was necessary, I had to let go of my inclination to view this latest member of the Cisco cert portofolio as either a case of
- Matching the Microsoft Technology Associate at the high school and community college, cert for cert
- Playing some kind of “how low can you go?” game in defining what “entry-level credential” means these days, as big programs seek to embrace ever-broader portions at the bottom of the technology pyramid seeking to funnel more candidates into their embraces and programs
No, it seems that a big driver for this program came from big companies like NCR, RescueCom, Dimension Data, and so forth, that need to dispatch qualified service technicians to onsite customer locations. These technicians have to be able to run basic troubleshooting maneuvers, diagnostics, and so forth, and must know how to swap out switch and router modules (CCT Routing and Switching), work with Cisco Unified Computing Systems components and servers, accessories, cabling, and interfaces (CCT Data Center), or do likewise with Cisco TelePresence models, accessories, cabling, and interfaces (CCT TelePresence). In other words, this is a hands-on program that’s designed to make sure CCTs who go onsite know what they’ll be working with, what kinds of things to test and check to identify problems, and what kinds of devices, modules, cables, and so forth to swap out to fix such problems.
I see this as a good thing for serveral reasons. First, because the CCT feeds into the CCNA, it will help to ensure that CCTs seeking CCNA certification will have some hands-on knowledge and experience with Cisco gear as it’s used in the field. Second, it includes a built-in guarantee of experience and brings both theory and practice together in helpful ways. Third, it teaches solid well-understood maintenance and troubleshooting procedures, which make a great foundation for working in and around networks and networking technologies.
I also had a chance to look through the CCT online training modules for the CCT Routing and Switching courseware ($299 for one year of online access through the Cisco Store: courseware link). Cisco Learning has done a bang-up job of putting a great set of training materials together, and of making them available as a sequence of relatively short (under 15 minutes per module) elements that should work well to train folks who are constantly on the move and who can’t turn off the world to sit in a classroom for days at a time to learn this subject matter.
Overall, the CCT looks pretty interesting, and should give the new entry level Cisco cert candidates a great opportunity to mix hands-on interaction with theory, and to put both learning elements to work on the job.