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Where to Go from Here

You actually have a relatively big decision to make after passing the CCNA 640-802 exam and achieving your CCNA certification. You can go wide, or you can go deep, with your next step in Cisco certifications.

To go wide, you would choose another Cisco technology area, and pursue a CCNA certification in that technology concentration. All you need to do is pass 1 additional exam for that technology. As of the writing of this paper, the CCNA concentrations are:

  • Security
  • Voice
  • Wireless
  • SP Operations (Service Provider)

You can also go wide by pursuing the Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) certification, which is a design-oriented certification at the same technical depth as the CCNA concentrations. Like the CCNA concentrations, CCDA requires CCNA as a prerequisite, and requires an additional exam to attain CCDA.

Finally, you can also choose to immediately go deeper into routing and switching, without getting another CCNA certification first. Two such options currently exist: CCIP and CCNP. CCIP has a decidedly Service Provider bias, while CCNP is more Enterprise oriented. Although both require CCNA as the only prerequisite, the much more popular option between these two is to pursue the CCNP certification.

While all these options have benefits, the decision at this point is possibly the most important choice to make regarding the first few years of pursuing Cisco certifications. This is a great point at which to seek out advice. Ask around in your circle of work friends, watch the Cisco Learning Network pose questions there, and check out other online resources, such as this blog post at NetworkWorld.

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