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Jun 26 2009   2:57PM GMT

A Pattern Emerges from Recent CCNA “Specializations”

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

I’d been wondering recently why Cisco is expanding its ever-popular CCNA certification to include CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, and CCNA Wireless. Now I get it: Cisco also offers various professional credentials, including CCDP (Design), CCNP (Networking), CCSP (Security), and CCVP (Voice), as well as CCIE specializations (many of them in synch with the other areas already mentioned). In the near future, a plain-vanilla CCNA will no longer suffice to meet prequisite requirements for the CCSP and CCVP. You guessed it: the relevant specialist versions of the CCNA will be required to meet pre-requisites instead.

Given that coverage from one Cisco Professional cert to another varies pretty widely, I think this evolution in requirements makes sense, and also provides a way for entry-level professionals to start pursuing technical specialties closer to the beginning of their Cisco cert path. I’m a little concerned that fundamentals remain well-covered no matter what kind of CCNA one earns, but Cisco generally does a good job of ensuring its certified professionals have solid and comprehensive backgrounds in basic networking tools, terms, and concepts. Perhaps this means the company is simply adding a “merit badge” program, because individuals who seek the CCNA Voice, CCNA Security, or CCNA Wireless credentials must first earn the base CCNA credential, then take another exam in the area of specialization.

Finally, given the existence of a CCNA Wireless as well as a CCIE Wireless, does this mean that a CCWP might be in the offing? I can’t help but see this omission as a gap that Cisco will seek to fill, possibly even some day soon. For more information on various Cisco certifications visit www dot cisco dot com slash go slash <certname> where you replace the final <certname> with CCNA, CCNP, CCDP,…, CCIE to get to their home pages; or simply use certification instead of <certname> at the end of that string to get to the cert program home page.

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