The Big Cisco Certification Map Shows IT All

Every once in a while, I have to check in on the major certification programs to see what's new, what's changed, and (hopefully) also what's interesting. Jumping into Cisco's massive certifications site, I stumbled across an infographic that the company calls its Career Path (PDF format).


You can learn a lot about Cisco certifications from this roadmap.

Source: Cisco Learning Network


This item is best viewed at high resolution, so downloading and viewing the original should provide added readability. Even the best I can do on a single screen grab (view the graphic at highest resolution) still requires a bit of effort for reading the fine print.


What Does the Infographic Tell Us?


Laid out as a table, the vertical columns define the silos or categories among which Cisco divides up its certification portfolio. From left to right, these are:


? Data Center

? Routing and Switching

? Collaboration

? Security

? Cyber Ops

? Wireless

? Service Provider

? Design

? Cloud

? Industrial


The horizontal rows in the table correspond to various levels of certification, which include


? Entry: CCENT (5 of 10 categories)

? Associate: CCNA (the only cert that spans all categories)

? Professional: CCNP and CCDP (8 of 10 categories)

? Expert: CCIE (7 of 10 categories)

? Architect: CCAr (1 of 10 categories: Design)


You may notice, as I did, that the "Architect" credential is viewed primarily as a Design track item. Thus, CCIE (Cisco's famously difficult "Expert"-level credentials) really is the top tier cert in most areas.


What More Do You Want?


The only thing I wish Cisco had done with this peachy and informative infographic is to include live URLs to link to the credential pages and their constituent exams (all of which are mentioned, but not hyperlinked). This would make it a great way to navigate around in a cert program that otherwise requires you to first pick your level, and then your category, to get to the relevant details.


As things are, what we have is a great illustration of the program, but not much of a navigation tool. That's only a minor beef, though. If you ever need the "Big Picture" for Cisco certification, this is a good place to start.


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About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.