Roadmap of Cisco Career Certifications and 2013 Changes

By | October 21, 2013

cisco, it career, roadmap, changes,  it certification exams,  ccent, ccda, cct, ccnp, ccde, ccie2013 has been a year of all kinds of changes and updates to the Cisco IT Certification program. This post kicks off the series of articles where we’ll go over all levels of certifications, from Entry to Architect, in detail. Yet, it wouldn’t make much sense without a general overview first, right? Especially for those of our readers who are new Cisco wannabes, this should help minimize the frustration. And this is what we’re here for.

This is no secret that Cisco has significantly revamped its certification program, especially CCENT and CCNA, earlier this year. Originally announced in late March, the changes and new CCNA tracks were fully implemented this fall.

So, these are the Cisco certification levels we’re looking at now:

Entry Certifications

  • CCT (CCT Data Center; CCT Routing & Switching; CCT TelePresence)

Associate Certifications

  • CCNA Routing and Switching
  • CCDA
  • CCNA Data Center
  • CCNA Security
  • CCNA Service Provider
  • CCNA Service Provider Operations
  • CCNA Video
  • CCNA Voice
  • CCNA Wireless

Professional Certifications

  • CCDP
  • CCNP
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Service Provider Operations
  • CCNP Voice
  • CCNP Wireless

Expert Certifications

  • CCDE
  • CCIE Collaboration
  • CCIE Data Center
  • CCIE Routing & Switching
  • CCIE Security
  • CCIE Service Provider
  • CCIE Service Provider Operations
  • CCIE Voice (Retiring February 13, 2014)
  • CCIE Wireless

Architect Certification –  CCAr


What has changed in 2013?

If you are collecting information about CCENT and CCNA from message boards and brain dumps, be sure you’re looking at the updated 2013 data. This is important as CCENT and CNAA appear to have been changed the most.

What we hear may be sad news to many out there: CCENT (ICND1; exam 100-101, which can also be part of your CCNA R&S) has gotten harder – significantly. Subjects added, especially the labs, go more in depth and cover a lot more aspects (including lots of IPv6 stuff) compared to the old CCNA. CCENT Certification hasn’t been a joke before and it has gotten much further from being one now! This certification is also now a prerequisite for most CCNA certifications (except CCNA R&S, CCNA Data Center and CCNA Service Provider).

The Associate level programs, according to Cisco, have been redesigned to better fit the industry needs and the roles networking professionals need to fill. Yes, it means even more practical hands on stuff. To achieve advanced technology certification in an accelerated manner, you now need to pass only two required exams.

As upper certification levels haven’t been affected by the changes to such a degree (we’ll go over them in separate articles), another change to the Cisco certification structure would be the new recertification timeframes.

Renewal and Recertification Timeframes

If you decide to settle on your already achieved certification and do not intend to go up another level any time soon, keep in mind that Cisco Entry, Associate and Professional level certifications last for 3 years. When this time is up, you will have to renew it. Meanwhile, all CCIE and Specialist certifications last for 2 years. And in you’ve made it all the way up the Cisco scale and are now Cisco Certified Architect (no words are enough to express the respect you deserve for that!), your awe-inspiring certification will need to be renewed after 5 years.

A gentle reminder that if you do not register and pass your Cisco recertification exam before your certification expires, you will have to repeat the entire certification process. Now, you do don’t want to challenge yourself this much, do you?

And for those of you planning to recertify, here’s your Recertification Roadmap:

Data Center CCNA Data Center CCNP Data Center CCIE Data Center
Routing & Switching CCENT CCNA Routing and Switching CCNP CCIE Routing & Switching
Security CCENT CCNA Security CCNP Security CCIE Security
Service Provider CCNA Service Provider CCNP Service Provider CCIE Service Provider
Service Provider Operations CCENT CCNA Service Provider Operations CCNP Service Provider Operations CCIE Service Provider Operations
Video CCNA Video
Voice CCENT CCNA Voice CCNP Voice CCIE Voice
Wireless CCENT CCNA Wireless CCNP Wireless CCIE Wireless


Specialist Recertification Roadmap


  • Cisco Unified Presence Specialist
  • Cisco Unity Design Specialist
  • Cisco Unity Support Specialist


Data Center      

  • Cisco Data Center Application Services Design Specialist
  • Cisco Data Center Application Services Support Specialist
  • Cisco Data Center Storage Networking Design Specialist
  • Cisco Data Center Storage Networking Support Specialist
  • Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Design Specialist
  • Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Support Specialist

Operating System Software     

  • Cisco IOS XR Specialist


  • Cisco ASA Specialist
  • Cisco Firewall Security Specialist
  • Cisco IOS Security Specialist
  • Cisco IPS Specialist
  • Cisco Network Admission Control Specialist
  • Cisco VPN Security Specialist


  • Cisco Video Network Specialist
  • Cisco Rich Media Communications Specialist
  • Cisco TelePresence Solutions Specialist

Retired Certifications

This year, Cisco has retired 6 certifications:

  • CCIE Storage Networking
  • Cisco Data Center Networking Infrastructure Design Specialist
  • Cisco Data Center Networking Infrastructure Support Specialist
  • Cisco Data Center Storage Networking Design Specialist
  • Cisco Data Center Storage Networking Support Specialist
  • Cisco TelePresence Installations Specialist

All of these retired certifications have relevant replacement available, so you can easily find a new destination for your Cisco journey.

Which Cisco certification do you have your eyes on now? Feel free to tell us in the comments. And – although the road can get bumpy sometimes, remember to keep your eyes on the prize.

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