Cisco, the world’s biggest IT networking company, has a huge presence in India. They offer goods and services to a customer base that includes multinational entities across all sectors including IT, corporate, banking, and government. Cisco’s Global Development Center in Bangalore is the largest outside of the United States.
They also currently have 176 Networking Academies across the country, with more than 24,000 active students. Cisco India is also an Industry leader in innovation — currently more than 1,000 patents have been filed from India and 600 issued.
Cisco offers a wide spectrum of products and services for enterprise and service providers, small businesses, and individuals. Cisco-trained professionals and products are to be found in the vast majority of enterprises including big name multinationals Reliance, Tata Group, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Supreme Court, state government of Gujarat, Infosys, and many more.
With such a huge customer base in India, Cisco has prospered and simultaneously increased demand for highly trained and certified IT networking professionals in the Cisco technology realm. Cisco certifications cover such technologies as routing, switching, service provider, cloud computing, data center, collaboration, and more.
The 176 Cisco learning academies are daily producing more skilled networking pros to fill the many IT job openings in India. Cisco offers five levels of network certification: Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert and Architect. But which certifications is most valuable?
The answer to that question isn’t as simple as it might seem. Although Architect is higher than Expert, there are different types of technologies, which can cause a certain level of certification to be viewed as more desirable. There is a logic to this.
Certification requirements depend on the technology that is currently in high-demand — if it’s a new technology, the demand can be even higher. For example, data center technology is selling like hot cakes in India, as well as across the globe. So a CCNA Data Center Engineer, an expert-level certification, is currently more in demand than a CCAr (Cisco certified Architect).
Keeping this theory in mind, here are few top Cisco certifications much in demand these days:
CCNP Data Center is a professional level certification that mainly covers the installation, administration and troubleshooting of Cisco proprietary servers for virtual administration (the UCS series servers).
With more companies switching to on-premises data centers, a professional certification in this technology offers brighter prospects in the IT networking realm to the right candidate. It is a preferred certification for almost all the data center administration and technical support jobs. Remember as well that certified individuals will also be presented with a lot of overseas opportunities.
CCIE Collaboration is one of the premier certifications in Cisco technology. It covers Voice, Video, IM and Presence solutions, summed up through collaboration. VoIP has been in demand for more than a decade now, and an expert-level certification in this technology presents certified individuals with opportunities as solution architects, learning instructors, design consultants, and so forth.
Cisco, and the enterprises that utilize Cisco hardware are keen to hire such candidates. The prime reason behind this technology being much in demand is that Cisco IP telephony solutions are deployed in all sectors of India including banking and finance, IT companies, and the defense sector. Additionally, the service based companies get a lot of business on this technology which covers the support, design and implementation roles.
CCIE Routing and Switching addresses one of the oldest networking technologies (and is also one of the most long-lived certifications that Cisco has developed). It is widely used to an extent that no other Cisco technology can match. Routing and switching serves as the core IT network for any organization and hence companies are seeking domain experts to manager their IP networks. The same goes for the service based companies, which evidence indicates that they garner more business if they have CCIEs on staff.
CCIE mainly covers the planning, designing, implementation and troubleshooting of complex network infrastructures. Although there are no formal prerequisites for CCIE, in addition to clearing the exam, candidates are expected to have an in-depth understanding of the domain and “strongly encouraged” to have three-to-five years of job experience before sitting for the exam. Job opportunities for CCIE professionals include working as a lead network designer, engineer and administrator.
CCNP Collaboration. Such is the value and significance of the collaboration technology that the professional level certification is in high demand. Many Indian companies have CCNP collaboration as the mandatory requirement for job descriptions. This mainly includes the financial services sector as they leverage their VoIP and Video solutions network for the webinars, online town halls and trading sessions.
Employers are looking for individuals who may not necessarily not be an expert, but are well versed with the technology and possess a thorough knowledge on all the aspects of Cisco collaboration. More of this can be attributed to the way this certification training is outlined. It covers almost all the sub technologies divided into the following sectors: Call Manager, Voice Mail, Contact Center, Video, Instant Messaging, Quality of Service and Rroubleshooting.
CCIE Security. IP security serves as the basic requirement and prerequisite of any IP network today. This certification mainly covers the implementation, maintenance and support of Cisco network security devices such as ASA firewall, IPS, IDS as well as the security protocols and solutions. Certified individuals possess the knowledge and skills necessary to implement, maintain and support Cisco network security solutions via best practices and the latest technologies.
The CCIE certification is preferred for job roles such as Security Audit Engineer, Security Consultant, and various technical support roles. Many Indian IT companies have specific roles for IP security consultants.
CCNA Routing and Switching serves as the building block for any candidate looking to excel and carve out a niche as a successful carrier in the networking industry.
The basics of IP networking are mainly covered under this certification — essential knowledge for anyone interested in working with Cisco technology. CCNA is viewed in the industry as the first step in preparing for a career in networking as it enhances skills in managing and optimizing performance for a network. It also validates a candidates skills for job roles such as network administrators, engineers and specialists.
CCNA focuses on network infrastructure, primarily on routing and switching, but also includes wireless access, security and connectivity. It qualifies one as able to install, configure, operate and troubleshoot mediums-sized routed and switched networks.
The vast majority of network related job roles in India list CCNA routing and switching as a mandatory requirement. It is a solid way to maximize your knowledge of foundational networking and help a company meet their basic network needs.
Look before you leap
While the demand for, and value of, any particular certification will vary depending on existing technology and its usage, India’s IT Industry does put a high price on Cisco credentials. Cisco training is seen as comprehensive, thorough and rigorous. While there is great demand for Cisco certified professionals in India, however, hard work alone isn’t enough — you also have to work smart.
Cisco Learning Network provides a wealth of useful study materials, resources and hands-on labs to help students prepare for the exams. Ideally, a candidate should assess the current market needs before choosing a particular technology in which to obtain a certification. Channeling your efforts in the right direction will reap maximum benefits.