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Which Cisco path should I take?

17 April 2014

As we outlined last week, the system of Cisco certifications has been expertly engineered. The qualifications act as a ladder, moving from Entry to Architect level, and are split into several “paths”. Each path covers a different networking field, such as Security, Routing and Switching, Voice and Wireless LAN, allowing candidates to choose a field of study and move up the ladder in that field, generating an in-depth, specialised knowledge. However it can be difficult to choose which path to take.

Many argue that Routing and Switching is the best route as it is the basis for all other certifications and at the core of all networking, regardless of technology. The Routing and Switching path begins with the basics of networking and builds up to more complex skills - planning, operating and troubleshooting complex, converged network infrastructures. Arguably, this is a more useful certification as a specialist knowledge in such a fundamental skill will always be sought after in the networking field, whereas demand for the other elements may fluctuate as technology changes and develops.

The changes in technology over recent years have resulted in a boom in the popularity of security qualifications. Security engineers have responsibility for router, switch, networking device and appliance security, as well as choosing, deploying, supporting, and troubleshooting firewalls, VPNS, and IDS/IPS solutions for their networking environments. This type of security is becoming a much larger concern, with organisations willing to spend more time and money on ensuring maximum network safety. With more and more businesses being run electronically and most using cloud technology in their day-to-day operations, networking security is in high demand, and is becoming a highly profitable area of work.

However, when questioning which route you should take, the answer should always be whichever one is right for you. Simply taking a route because it is profitable is likely not to get you very far, whereas choosing an area which you enjoy and in which you excel, will allow you to move further up both the Cisco certifications ladder, as well as the career ladder. The Cisco system of certifications is designed to motivate, rewarding knowledge and ability through prestigious qualifications, and a lack of passion for your field will only hold you back in this regard.

If you’re still not sure which path to take, Cisco offers a short questionnaire to determine which certification is best for you and your career. View the list of Cisco certifications available through Total Training Solutions - we have an extensive list of choices, from Entry level to Specialist. You can also view our entire range by visiting the course directory page. If you have any questions about our range of Cisco certifications, or any other Total Training Solutions courses, call us on 0800 612 1299 or email us at info@tts-uk.com.

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