Cisco Corporation provides a wide array of certifications for technically minded people who want to specialise in supporting their hardware and networking equipment. There are three levels of certification in the General certifications path, from Associate to Professional to Expert, with certification paths covering Routing and Switching, Network Design and Architecture, Network Security, Service Provider, Storage Networking and Voice Certification.
While not directly comparable to college degree programs in all aspects, you can think of the Associate certification as being roughly equal to an Associate of Arts degree in the generalised technology area, the Professional as being just shy of a Science degree, and the Expert certification as being broadly comparable to a partial Master’s Degree program.
Many professionals end up getting an Expert certification in one area, and branching out with Associates and Professionals in a few supporting topic areas.
Going beyond the generalised certification programs, Cisco also has Specialist Certifications, all of which require an Associate or better certification to take the exam. These get significantly more diverse, with subjects covering Advanced Routing and Switching, with field specialists (people who trouble shoot problems), sales specialists (people who are good at defining what range of Cisco products a customer needs and getting them in place) and solutions specialists (who design full architected systems for customers).
The most common Specialist certifications deal with data centres, and there are eight of them, usually split between Support, Design and Sales, for Application Services, Network Switching interfaces, and Network Storage Certifications. These build on several foundation skills.
The second most common Specialist certifications cover IP (Internet Protocol) Communications Certifications; these are, in effect, engineering certifications, and cover the range from Telephony Network Design services, Contact Centre certifications, generalised IP communications certifications and more. What these certifications do is give a baseline for setting up networking solutions for large organisations.
One of the most demanded sets of specialisation certifications include the VPN and Security specialisations, which cover everything from firewalls to generalised security technical’s to architectural setup certifications. There are also specialisations covering wireless LAN and channel partner certifications.
All of these certifications (both General and Specialist) have
attended course requirements and exams; you can expect that a typical course will run from three weeks (at the Associates level) to six to eight weeks, and be followed by an exam; expect to pay a largish fee for these certification processes.
Unlike most of the professional IT certification programs, Cisco’s tends to involve a hands-on approach with the class work and certification; this is a direct response to the watering down of competing certifications, many of which now have “cheat sheet” web sites to help potential students ‘hit the books’ for the tests. Cisco Systems knows that its certification program rests on the fundamental skills used by its students; people with certifications who can’t do the work don’t do a good job of promoting Cisco, nor are they assets to their employers. As a result, expect to work hard for these certifications.
The up side of these certifications is that they give you a leg up in the job market when working with this particular hardware set and these protocols. Therefore Cisco certifications are an excellent investment in your IT future.
Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who writes for a number of UK businesses. He recommends Prodec Networks, a leading Cisco training
Become a Pro Blogger with these Tips
Creating a blog can seem overwhelming because there are so many option, possibilities and choices to make. The potential and ideas for blogs are infinite. The tips in this article are designed to help you to create a blog that will accomplish your goals and will reach the audience that your blog was created for.
Post original content on your blog, and include pictures or other content. Linking out to relevant sites, quoting experts in a field or adding videos can also make a post more interesting. Make sure you don't plagiarize, though, because people will stop visiting your site. Be unique and interesting with posts!
If possible, have someone else go over your blog posts before you post them. This is especially critical for internet marketing posts. People have a tendency to be blind to their own errors, so they will often miss problems with grammar, spelling, sequence, or logic. Another person may also be able to provide information you have left out or correct errors of fact.
When blogging, you should make sure that you make your RSS feed as obvious as possible. You can not expect other readers to find it if it blends in with all the text in your blog. This is why you should put it in a prominent position on your blog, and try to make use of the orange RSS icon if possible.
If you are going to blog, you need to make sure you choose a niche or market that you are passionate about. There are plenty of blogs out there, and there are just as many topics to choose from. Stay specific, and choose a blogging subject that you can create a successful blog with.
Break your blog up into appropriate headings and subheadings. This serves to make the material more palatable. Readers' have a tendency to scan the page for key concepts before they begin to read the entire blog. Headings and subheadings will help them get what they are looking for and ensure they stay on your page long enough to read the entire blog.
Try breaking your posts into manageable pieces. This is a very easy, but unfortunately ignored blogging tactic. Do not write like you are trying to run a marathon. Break up your posts in smaller pieces. This can help boost your SEO, and it can help create a clearer writing approach. This can actually help you think better.
Learn everything you can about topics related to your blog. The more quality information you can share, the better your blog will be. The greater your knowledge, the more readers will view you as an expert in the field. This will make the reader more likely to share links to your blog with their contacts.
Do not start a blog entry unless you are sure that you can sit down and finish the entire thing. You want to let your mind stay on task, and if you have to stop for any reason, it will be very hard to pick up where you left off.
You may want to have contests or giveaways on your site. This helps readers to become a part of your blog and increases their excitement about visiting. Readers are also likely to send links to contacts interested in the content of your contest. The giveaway can vary, depending on your site.
Make friends with other blogs that relate to your target niche. You can post useful comments on these blogs, and this will help promote your own blogging as well. Besides providing comments, some blogs will allow you to make guest posts, as this can be mutually beneficial to both of you.
The more blogs you write, the more ways potential readers have of finding you via search engines. The more people that successfully make their way to your site, the more visitors you will have actually reading your content. Use this guidance and watch your visitor numbers grow.
As you probably already know, creating a blog can be overwhelming at first, because the possibilities and potential for blogs are endless. The tips and techniques from the above article were gathered to help you create a blog that will get your message across to the audience that you are seeking to reach.
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