Best Cisco Certifications: 2021 List

There is a high demand for professionals with specialized skills in Cisco. To gain the attention of top companies and their hiring managers, it helps to have a Cisco certification to make you stand out.

Keep reading and get to know why Cisco certifications are so important. You will also learn about the best Cisco certifications, resources on certification exam training, and how to choose the best certification.

Why Are Cisco Certifications Important?

Cisco certifications are important because they offer professionals the credibility they need to get hired in the tech industry. A certification demonstrates your knowledge and skills in handling Cisco technologies. In addition, it helps employers identify professionals who are qualified to take on Cisco-based roles.

A Cisco certification will allow you to upskill in IT and networking, opening the door to higher salaries. Employers will be jumping at the chance to hire you and your career will take off.

Professional Certification
vs Certificate Program

Most professionals mistake certificate programs for professional certifications. This common mistake often leads to frustration down the line if an employer does not recognize the validity of a certificate program. Although both provide professionals with an opportunity to upskill, they are still quite different.

Read on to find out major differences between a certificate program and a certification.

Professional Certification Certificate Program
Involves an exam Typically, no exam involved
Issued by a third-party organization Issued by education providers
Awarded as soon as you successfully pass an exam A certificate of completion may or may not be issued at the end of the program
There’s a need to maintain the certification by meeting specific requirements Once you complete the program, there’s no need for renewal.
Typically requires professional experience to be eligible for the exams Beginner-friendly

What’s Demand for Cisco
Skills Like in 2021?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be a four percent growth in jobs for network and computer systems administrators over the next decade. These professionals only require a bachelor’s degree to land entry-level positions. However, your opportunities will dramatically increase if you go the extra mile and earn any of the certifications below.

The Best Cisco Certifications

The Best Cisco Certifications

Cisco features a variety of certifications to standardize the quality of work in the industry. It is important for you to choose the best certification to ensure you achieve your career objectives. Take a look at the top 10 Cisco certifications below.

Cost: $400

Validity: 3 Years

A Cisco Certified CyberOps Professional is someone who can detect, protect, and secure Cisco systems from cyber security threats. If you want to become a cyber security engineer, it can help prove your abilities in cloud security and incident response roles. This certification is only issued to professionals who have completed two exams.

You must complete an exam covering core technologies and another specialized exam. The core exam features questions on cyber security techniques, processes, and fundamentals, while the second exam focuses on digital forensics and incident response.

The platform does not feature an exam blueprint for this certification. However, it provides a training course at the discounted price of $700. This can be an excellent training opportunity to help you prepare for the exams. You can also join the CyberOps community, where you will gain plenty of insight into the certification exams and career options.

Cost: $400

Validity: 3 Years

The Cisco Certified DevNet Associate certification validates skills in developing and maintaining applications built on Cisco platforms. To earn this certification, you will need to pass one exam featuring software development fundamentals and Cisco platform designs.

The certification does not have any formal requirements. However, it is wise to go through the exam topics before sitting for the certification exams. If you have more than one year of experience in software development and know how to use Python, you will have an easier time taking the certification exams.

It’s a highly recommended certification for professionals with extensive knowledge and skills in automation, infrastructure, security, APIs, the Cisco platform, and development. If you need to prepare for the exams, you can find the exam blueprint on the official Cisco site. You will also find the DevNet Community, which will be instrumental in helping you study.

Cost: $400

Validity: 3 Years

Are you an expert in data center solutions? If so, taking the CCIE Data Center Certification can validate your skills. Before you acquire this certification, you must pass two examinations. You must pass a core exam on data center technologies followed by a hands-on lab exam.

This certification is common among seasoned data professionals, most of whom have a minimum of five years in designing, maintaining, and operating data center technologies. This level of experience greatly increases your chances of passing these certification exams.

Cost: $400

Validity: 3 Years

The CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure Certification is recommended for validating skills in handling complex enterprise infrastructure. To earn this certification, you must pass two exams. One exam covers core enterprise infrastructure technologies while a second lab exam covers designing, deploying, and operating infrastructure technology.

If you have more than five years of experience designing, deploying, operating, and optimizing network technologies, this is an excellent certification. It will give you the industry recognition you need as well as job promotion opportunities.

Cost: $400

Validity: 3 Years

The CCIE Enterprise Wireless Certification is good for professionals with extensive skills in complex enterprise wireless solutions. You must pass the main exam covering enterprise technologies and another covering enterprise wireless networks. The latter is a hands-on lab exam involving designing, deploying, and operating enterprise technologies.

You will likely need at least five years of experience designing, deploying, optimizing, and maintaining enterprise technologies to pass these certification exams. However, there are no official requirements for interested parties.

Cost: $400

Validity: 3 Years

The CCIE Security Certification is popular among professionals with excellent skills in complex security solutions. To acquire this certification, you must also go through two exams. One exam covers fundamental security technologies and the other is a hands-on lab exam. The practical exam will feature the entire network lifecycle from start to finish.

If you have at least five years of experience designing and optimizing security technologies, the exam might not be as challenging. The exam does not have any formal prerequisites.

Cost: $300

Validity: 3 Years

If you want a successful career in IT, getting the CCNA certification should be your number one priority. This is an excellent certification to prove your mastery of network security and software development. Professionals who earn this certification validate their skills in IP services, network access, automation, and network fundamentals.

You need to prepare adequately to pass the CCNA certification exams. The official site provides a downloadable exam blueprint and also access to the Cisco learning community. You can also take advantage of the training opportunities the platform offers to students.

This certification doesn’t feature any formal prerequisites. However, it is important that you have at least one year of experience in implementing and maintaining Cisco systems. In addition, if you have good knowledge of IP addresses, you will have an upper hand.

Cost: $400

Validity: 3 Years

The CCNP Enterprise certification validates skills in enterprise networking solutions. This particular certification requires you to pass two certification exams. The platform features a compulsory exam on enterprise core technologies and another customized examination.

The core examination will test network assurance, virtualization, dual-stack architecture, networking infrastructure, and security. The customized exam will touch on network design, automation, and SD-WAN. The questions will be very industry-specific.

It is important to note that successful completion of the core exams will open up opportunities for other certifications. If you pass those certification exams, you will automatically gain access to the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure and CCIE Enterprise Wireless certifications.

You do not need to have any professional experience to earn this certification. However, most test takers have three to five years of experience in implementing enterprise networking solutions.

Cost: $400

Validity: 3 Years

Would you like to prove your skills in security solutions? The CCNP Security certification will play a huge role in helping you achieve your career objectives. This certification helps professionals earn job promotions and higher salaries. To earn this certification, you must pass two exams.

One exam will test your core understanding of security infrastructure. The other exam will test you on emerging topics in the industry. You can prepare for these exams by accessing the exam blueprint on the official Cisco website.

Most candidates who pursue this certification have three to five years of experience implementing security solutions. However, there are no formal requirements.

Cost: $400

Validity: 3 Years

This is an excellent certification for beginners in the field. The Cisco Certified Technician certification will validate your skills in diagnosing, repairing, and restoring Cisco devices. For a more specialized option, you can look into the CCT Collaboration, CCT Data Center, and CCT Switching and Routing certifications.

To become a Cisco Certified Technician, you must have skills in onsite support and maintenance of Cisco systems. You should be able to identify models, accessories, and interfaces of Cisco software. You should also have mastery of the Cisco command line.

How to Choose the Right Certification

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you need criteria to guide you in selecting the best certification for your career. Take a look at some of the factors you should consider when choosing a certification.


It is important for you to select a certification that is currently in demand in the industry. Selecting a certification that employers are familiar with is a good option because relevant certifications will help you earn recognition and achieve your career objectives.


Certification exams can pose quite a challenge for professionals. You may have to study extensively before you sit for the exams if you want to pass. Sometimes you may have to enroll in a class. Therefore, you should select a certification that aligns with your interests. This will make studying easier, and consequently, you will pass your exams.

Career Objective

Pick a certification that will help you achieve your career goals. If you are eyeing a particular job promotion, check out the job requirements and sit for the certification exams. Be very intentional with the selection process and stay focused on what you want to achieve.

Resources to Prepare for
Your Certification Exam

Preparing for exams can be quite difficult if you are alone. This is why we curated a list of top resources to help you prepare. These resources will get you exam-ready in a matter of weeks, depending on your learning style. Take a look at the top five resources below.

CCENT and CCNA Real World Labs - Cisco Training

Type of Resource: Online Course

Cost: $14.99

Udemy provides professionals with an excellent training session to prepare for their certification exams. In this program, you will learn all the essential topics of CCENT and CCNA. In addition, the instructor will teach you how to troubleshoot problems with switches, routers, and firewalls.

Once you pay the fee, you will have lifetime access to the course materials. You can easily access the class via your home computer, laptop, or mobile device. In addition, the site features downloadable resources and will provide a certificate of completion once you finish.

CCNA Training

Type of Resource: Online Course

Cost: $299 per year

Pluralsight provides comprehensive training for people studying for the CCNA certification exam. The prep programs will take you through CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNA Security, CCNA Data Center, and CCNA Wireless. Expect to be exam-ready as soon as you finish the program.

There are plenty of training courses offered by the platform. In addition, you can take advantage of its hands-on learning approach to streamline your skills in CCNA.

CCNP and CCIE Enterprise Core Official Cert Guide

Type of Resource: Book

Cost: $34.49

Brad Edgeworth, Ramiro Garza, David Hugaby, and Jason Gooley wrote a training book on CCNP and CCIE certification exams. It covers all the exam topics in a systematic way. It is an excellent book if you prefer self-paced study.

Cisco Learning Network

Type of Resource: Online Community

Cost: Free

If you are looking for a reliable training platform for Cisco certifications, the Cisco Learning Network offers an excellent opportunity. Here you will find effective training sessions, blogs, and webinars to get you exam-ready.

Whether you are looking to earn a CCIE or CCNA certification, this forum can help prepare you for the exams. You can also find open discussions on major and minor topics concerning Cisco.

Cisco Networking Essentials

Type of Resource: Book

Cost: $25.76

Written by Troy McMillan, this book will give you the proper perspective before sitting for your certification exams. The author curated the book to give beginners a solid foundation in Cisco technologies. In addition, the book will help you learn all the essential information to help you succeed in a tech-heavy work environment.

By the time you finish the 402-page book, you will have the knowledge and skillset to configure and manage Cisco technologies. You will have mastered all the processes, concepts, and skills needed to install Cisco routers.

Should I Pursue a Cisco
Certification in 2021?

Yes, you should pursue a Cisco certification, especially if you are a current or aspiring information security analyst or network engineer. There are so many benefits to validating your technological skills. Professional certification will add to your body of knowledge as well as increase your skill level.

With the industry constantly evolving, certified professionals will have the upper hand. The best way to prove your knowledge and ability in a particular topic is by getting certified. These certifications will give you the recognition you need and better job opportunities.

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