The Top 10 Cisco Certification Tips Experts believe for Fast Success

Cisco certification can be the gateway to a lucrative networking career, but only if you know which certs to pursue and how to prep the right way. With rigorous exams that cover expansive networking topics, Cisco’s certifications are not for the faint of heart. Many aspiring network engineers and IT pros often fail these notoriously difficult tests due to inadequate preparation and knowledge gaps.

That’s why it’s crucial to strategize your Cisco certification journey, focusing on the credentials that align with your experience level and career goals. The CCNA and CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure are two of Cisco’s most popular certifications for network infrastructure roles. While the CCNA validates more foundational skills, the CCIE is Cisco’s elite credential aimed at senior network engineers.


Why Get Cisco Certified?

Getting Cisco certified validates your skills and expertise in Cisco technologies, which are widely used by organizations globally. Here are some key benefits of getting Cisco certified:

  • Proves your networking competency to employers. CCNA and CCIE certifications are globally recognized and sought after by IT recruiters.
  • Higher salaries. On average, Cisco-certified professionals earn 10-15% higher salaries than non-certified peers. The boost can be as high as 20% for expert-level CCIE certs.
  • More job opportunities. Many employers make Cisco certifications mandatory or preferred for networking roles. Cisco credentials open more doors.
  • Gain advanced technical skills. Preparing for exams requires hands-on training and thorough learning that elevates practical abilities.
  • Stay updated on the latest technologies. Cisco certification tracks require learning new solutions that are critical for in-demand roles.
  • Feel accomplished. Earning Cisco certification gives a sense of achievement and confidence in your abilities.


Which Cisco Certs Are Right For You?

Experience Level Recommended Cisco Certifications
Beginner CCNA, CCNP, CCNA Security
Associate/Entry-level CCNP, CCDA, CCNA Cyber Ops
Experienced CCIE, CCDE, CCAr
Expert CCIE (Security, Data Center, Collaboration, etc.)

Choose Cisco certifications that match your experience, specialization, knowledge areas, and career goals. Lower-level certs like CCNA validate foundation skills, while expert CCIE credentials target senior network engineering roles.


How to Choose the Best Cisco Certification Path

  • Assess your experience level. Entry-level vs expert credentials.
  • Determine your networking specialty. Routing & Switching, Security, Data Center, etc.
  • Understand exam requirements. Topics covered, question styles, etc.
  • Research most in-demand certifications. Check job descriptions and Cisco reports.
  • Consider prep time needed. CCNA may need 3-6 months, CCIE 12-18 months.
  • Evaluate costs. Exam fees, training materials, lab equipment, etc.
  • Choose flexible learning options. Self-study, instructor-led, online, etc.
  • Plan certification roadmap. Which foundational certs build up to advanced ones.
  • Account for recertification needs. Some Cisco certs require re-certification every 3 years.


Cisco Certification
Cisco Certification

Top 10 Cisco certification tips experts believe lead to fast success

1. Use official Cisco exam topics to guide your preparation
2. Gain hands-on experience through lab exercises
3. Attempt practice questions to improve test-taking skills
4. Pursue classroom training or self-paced video courses
5. Study with updated official coursebooks and whitepapers
6. Join online Cisco certification communities for advice
7. Schedule exams as soon as you’re ready to avoid procrastination
8. Manage study time efficiently with schedules and goals
9. Take detailed notes and create flashcards to retain key facts
10. Stay motivated by focusing on long-term career benefits


How Cisco Certification Can Fast-Track Your Networking Career and Salary Potential

Earning Cisco certifications can provide multiple benefits for career advancement and higher salaries:

  • Getting CCNA certified can help you land an entry-level networking role earning $70,000 or more annually.
  • CCIE certification enables switching from network admin to advanced engineer roles and boosts salary by ~20%.
  • On average, CCDE credential holders make $126,000/year, significantly higher than non-certified peers.
  • Cisco certifications open doors to senior technical architect, and lead network engineer jobs paying $130,000+.
  • Positions like network security architects and Cisco solution experts require expert-level Cisco certs.
  • Certifications get you noticed by recruiters and hiring managers as networking experts.
  • Validate and communicate your Cisco technology skills during interviews and salary negotiations.
  • Ongoing Cisco certification helps maintain your expertise as technologies evolve in the industry.


Here are effective Cisco certification prep tips to pass your next exam on the first try:

  1. Start preparation 2-6 months in advance depending on exam difficulty.
  2. Stick to a consistent study schedule for better retention.
  3. Focus on topics you find most challenging.
  4. Go through the official exam blueprint and weightage.
  5. Attempt practice questions to identify weak knowledge areas.
  6. Use lab simulations to gain practical hands-on experience.
  7. Review commonly tested protocols and concepts.
  8. Take notes and create flashcards to remember key facts.
  9. Join online forums to clarify doubts and learn from others.
  10. Manage exam stress with mock tests and meditation.
  11. Get adequate rest before the exam day.



Getting Cisco certified can be a challenging yet immensely rewarding investment. The rigorous preparation expands your networking skills and elevates your expertise in critical Cisco technologies like switching, routing, network security, and data centers. While the exams are notoriously difficult, proper planning, consistent practice, and utilizing the right study resources will set you up for success.

Stay motivated throughout your certification journey by keeping the long-term career perks in sight – organizations worldwide respect Cisco credentials and covet certified professionals for the most in-demand and highest-paying technical roles. The effort is well worth it.

Cisco Certification
Cisco Certification


Q: How long does it take to get Cisco certified?

A: It typically takes 3-6 months for associate certs like CCNA, and 12-18 months for expert certs like CCIE.

Q: Which Cisco certification is the easiest?

A: CCNA is considered the easiest foundational Cisco certification. CCIE is the most difficult expert-level credential.

Q: Is Cisco certification worth it?

A: Yes, Cisco certs validate valuable networking skills and boost hiring potential and salaries significantly.

Q: Does Cisco certification expire?

A: Some Cisco certs like CCNA expire after 3 years and require recertification. CCIE and CCDE do not expire.

Q: What is the highest-paying Cisco certification?

A: CCIE certifications are the most lucrative Cisco credentials with average salaries of $126,000+ yearly.

Q: How much does Cisco certification cost?

A: Cisco exam fees range from $300 for CCNA to $1600 for CCIE. Training costs are additional.

Q: What is the best way to study for Cisco certifications?

A: Hands-on lab practice, official coursebooks, practice exams, and video courses provide a comprehensive study approach.

Golden Quotes for Cisco certification:

“The only source of knowledge is experience.” – Albert Einstein


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