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About Cisco Certifications
Cisco, a leading provider of Information Technology and networking solutions, offers certifications from the entry to expert levels. There is also the topmost level certificate known as Architect. The Cisco credentials are targeted at those individuals who want to be experts in various technology areas that include security and networking.
The Entry-level certifications are intended for beginners who wish to become networking professionals. At this level there are Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) and Cisco Certified Technician (CCT), which is further divided into CCT Data Center and CCT Routing and Switching. The CCENT 100-105 ICND1 exam consists of 45-55 questions. The certification test lasts for 90 minutes. The CCT Data Center 010-151 DCTECH exam has 65-75 questions that take 90 minutes to complete. The CCT Routing and Switching 640-692 RSTECH test comprises 60-70 questions with an allocated time of 90 minutes. Most technician exams cost $125 each.
The Associate-level certifications include Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), which is further divided into CCNA Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Cyber Ops, Routing and Switching, Industrial, Security, Service Provider, and Wireless. The CCDA certificate needs one exam, while all CCNA certifications, apart from CCNA Security, Wireless, and Industrial with one test each, have two exams. CCNA Routing & Switching requires the candidate to choose one of the three available exams. The number of questions for the associate-level tests ranges from 45 to 75, and the exam duration can be 90-120 minutes. Each certification test, except CCNA Routing and Switching 200-125, costs $300. The 200-125 exam goes for $325.
The Professional-level certifications include Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). CCNP is divided into CCNP Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Routing and Switching, Security, Service Provider, and Wireless. The student is required to pass 3 or 4 exams to qualify. The amount of questions ranges from 15 to 75 with an allocated completion time of 65-120 minutes depending on the test. The cost of each exam is $300.
The Expert-level certifications with no prerequisites include Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) and Cisco Certified Internetwork Experts (CCIE), which is further divided into CCIE Collaboration, Data Center, Routing and Switching, Security, Service Provider, and Wireless. Each of the certificates requires the candidate to pass one written exam with 90-110 multiple-choice questions. The tests take 2 hours. Besides, it is necessary to pass one practical exam that lasts for 8 hours. One can take this test only after passing the written exam. The written test costs $450 while the practical one – $1600.
The topmost level of accreditation is Architect. There is only one credential offered at this level – Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr). To qualify, the student is required to come up with a project on network solutions that he/she must successfully defend before the qualified Cisco exam board. The CCAr project and exam fee cost $15,000 in total.
The Entry-, Associate-, and Professional-level certifications are valid for 3 years, while the CCIE certificates are valid only for 2 years. The validity period for the CCAr credential is 5 years.