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Where to Go from Here

After passing the ICND1 exam, achieving your CCENT certification (congratulations), you really have only one reasonable next step in the world of Cisco certifications: take ICND2 to get your CCNA certification. You could take other exams, but you would still need to circle back to pass ICND2, and get your CCNA certification, before you could attain any of the other certifications. (Note: there is an exception to this rule: the CCIE certification has no literal prerequisites.)

Passing the ICND2 exam to achieve your CCNA opens up a much wider set of options. At that point, you can go wide or deep. 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 one additional exam for that technology. As of the writing of this paper, the CCNA concentrations are:

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

After you achieve CCNA, you can also pursue the Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) certification. As the name implies, this cert focuses on design. Like the CCNA concentrations, CCDA requires CCNA as a prerequisite and requires an additional exam to attain CCDA.

Finally, you can also choose to go deeper into routing and switching. 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.

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