Cisco Entry Level Certifications: Where it all begins

By | October 23, 2013

What you need to know about CCENT

cisco, entry level,  it certification exams, certification, ccent, updates, cctFor most candidates, their Cisco track beings with CCENT and the ICND1 exam. Passing this exam gives you your first Cisco certification and puts you halfway through your CCNA, opening the doors to a career in networking. Needless to say, embarking on this journey is absolutely worth it (think better jobs, delicious promotions and sweet paychecks).

As we mentioned in our previous article, Cisco have significantly upgraded (and by saying Upgraded we mean Complicated) CCENT this year, making it prerequisite for most tracks. The fact itself shows that the program and the current ICND1 exam are no longer of ‘introduction’ level.

While the materials the exam covers are available in the blueprint, it is worth pointing out that Cisco has bumped up the depth of knowledge required for all of them, including the usual OSI, TCP/IP, subnetting (you better get used to solving subnetting problems in a blink of an eye, or otherwise they’ll steal too much time on your exam).

Some subjects, like IPv6, VLANs, IVR, EIGRP and OSPF have been migrated from the old CCNA curriculum to be included in the CCENT. Originally published by Todd Lammle, these are the topics newly added and removed from the CCENT. Don’t freak out.

Topics REMOVED from the CCENT in March 2013:

  • Securing the network
  • Understanding challenges of shared LANs
  • Solving network challenges with switched LAN technologies
  • Wireless LAN’s
  • Using Cisco® SDM
  • Configuring serial encapsulation
  • Enabling RIP

Topics ADDED to the ICND1 Exam:

  • Implementing VLSM
  • Scaling the network with NAT and PAT
  • Managing traffic with ACLs
  • Implementing VLANs and trunks
  • Routing between VLANs
  • Implementing single area OSPF
  • Introducing basic IPv6
  • Understanding IPv6
  • Configurating IPv6 Routing

This information is great to keep in mind when going through the brain dumps and evaluating what you need to spend more time on.

CCT – Can It Be A Stepping Stone For You?

Sometimes overlooked among other Cisco’s ‘cool’ certifications, CCT (Cisco Certified Technician) is actually very worth looking at. It stands separately from other certifications, having its separate exams and not being on par with CCENT/ICND1. The program mainly targets technicians who plan to diagnose, restore, repair, and replace critical Cisco networking and system devices at customer sites, working closely and efficiently with Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC).

While having a CCT certification isn’t a prerequisite for CCENT or CCNA, knowing the material covered in this certification may be very helpful to network experts. Compared to CCENT and CCNA, CCT is more focused on hardware and is somewhat less heavy on theory, leaving its students with extremely solid understanding of Cisco products and services (which is very helpful for a successful Cisco career in the long run).

Available for a few different tracks, this program is customized to target your specific career needs. Currently Cisco offers the following specialized CCTs: CCT Data Center (required exam: 640-893 DCTECH), CCT Routing and Switching (640-692 RSTECH), CCT TelePresence (640-792 TPTECH).

Although not as coveted as CCENT and CCNA, CCT may be a good place to start for network expert wannabes as it will make further CCNA easier. Also, those who have taken the exams for both certifications claim that CCT exams are a lot easier than the ICND1.

So, if you want to give your career a Cisco boost but aren’t sure are up for the CCENT challenge, CCT may be your solution. (OR, alternatively, you may think about the CompTIA as vendor neutral certifications if you just need to start somewhere, but that’s totally off topic now).

So what is it gonna be for you: getting CCENT certified straight away or will you make a stop at CCT?

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