CCNA or CCNP — Which is the Right Choice?by@michaelwarne
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CCNA or CCNP — Which is the Right Choice?

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Cisco Systems, Inc. offers world-class networking and communications products and services. The most popular products include the routing and switching products which help in directing data, voice and video traffic across networks around the world.

Cisco offers certifications to ensure that IT pros possess the skills necessary to use Cisco products and be able to guide customers and solve their problems. There are five levels of network certification and each level requires a candidate to pass one or more exams.

Cisco Certification Levels

· Entry Level

The entry-level certifications include two credentials — CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) and CCT (Cisco Certified Technician). Both the certifications serve as the starting point for a successful career in networking.

· Associate Level

The two Associate Level certifications include CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate) and CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate). These credentials prove your skills necessary to successfully manage state-of-the-art network solutions.

· Professional Level

The two professional level certifications — CCDP (Cisco Certified Design Professional) and CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) recognize a candidate’s knowledge and skills regarding more advanced networking.

· Expert Level

There are two expert level certifications — CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) and CCDE (Cisco Certified Design Expert). These certifications allow candidates to assess expert level infrastructure network design skills worldwide.

· Architect Level

The highest level of accreditation is the Architect level certification i.e. CCAr (Cisco Certified Architect). It showcases the formal knowledge of Cisco technologies and infrastructure architecture.

In this article, we are going to focus on the two most popular certifications — CCNA and CCNP, and figure out the differences that exist between both.


CCNA certifications are the most sought after career credentials which demonstrate an individual’s ability to install, configure, operate and troubleshoot routed and switched networks.

CCNA certifications are available in eight prominent areas namely: Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Industrial/Iot, Routing and Switching, Security, Service Provider and Wireless.


CCNP is an intermediate level certification which is aimed at professionals who work with local or wide area network (LAN or WAN) infrastructure. This certification demonstrates an individual’s ability to plan, implement, verify and troubleshoot LANs and WANs.

CCNP certifications cover seven different domains namely: Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Routing and Switching, Security, Service Provider and Wireless.


· CCNA is an Associate level certification whereas CCNP is a professional level Cisco certification.

· CCNA doesn’t require any prerequisite for undertaking the exam while CCNP requires a candidate to be either certified in CCNA or possess a CCIE certification in any track.

· CCNA certifications can be earned by passing any two exams depending on the subject of the program, while CCNP certifications, except Routing and Switching, require a candidate to pass at least four exams. The Routing and Switching credential is earned by passing three exams.

· CCNA certifications offer basic knowledge of networking while CCNP certifications provide a detailed knowledge of advanced networking technologies.

· The jobs roles offered post CCNA certification include Network Technician, Network Support Engineer, Helpdesk Engineer and Service Desk Engineer.

CCNP certifications offer job roles such as Network Engineer, Network Analyst, IT Team Leader, Systems Engineer and Network Specialist.

· Since CCNP is earned only after earning a CCNA certification, CCNP certifications offer higher salary than CCNA certifications.


If we look at the scope that these certifications offer, both serve as a great career move for anybody; although CCNP is often considered as a better choice being a professional level certification. CCNP has the capability of increasing your career growth manifolds. So, if a professional is already CCNA certified then there shouldn’t be any delay in earning a CCNP certification to explore more opportunities.

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