Cisco has introduced a new entry level certification into its lineup. It's called the CCT, or Cisco Certified Technician. Surprisingly, this cert emphasizes hands-on hardware troubleshooting, diagnosis, and repair skills, and aims to meet the needs of companies who hire field technicians to go to customer sites to investigate and fix networking problems.
The CCT comes in three flavors:
Where the first flavor concentrates on Cisco's core products and markets, Data Center aims to teach technicians to deal with "... Cisco Unified Computing System components and servers, accessories, cabling, and interfaces." In similar fashion, the TelePresence version aims to teach technicians to deal with "...Cisco TelePresence models, accessories, cabling and interfaces" as well.
Header from the CCT home page
What I like about this new program is the emphasis on hands-on investigation, troubleshooting, and diagnosis of Cisco systems and software, and related hardware and cabling components. This should add more real-world experience and knowledge to this entry-level credential than is typical for many such credentials. It should also make CCTs excellent candidates for CCNA and more advanced certifications because they'll come to those credentials with more understanding of the software and hardware with which they must work.
CCT credentials remain valid for three years once earned, and may be renewed by passing the current CCT exam again at the end of this term, or passing any of the CCNA exams (ICND1, ICND2, or the CCNA Composite exam). Likewise, CCNA concentrations, 642-xxx Cisco Certified Professional exams, CCIE and CCDE written exams (and the CCDE practical exam), as well as Cisco Certified Architect interview and board exams, all also serve to renew the CCT as well.
The CCT exams cost $125 each, and are available through Pearson Vue. Cisco Learning has also created some terrrific courseware for these certifications, available through the Cisco Store online (search on CCT to get the listings quickly). List price for this courseware, which is presented as a series of short (less than 15 minute modules) elements to be useful to busy field technicians, is $299 per CCT flavor.