There are many certifications and paths one can take in Cisco's career program. That said, its two main paths cover network operation and network design. A typical Cisco networking certification ladder begins with the entry-level CCENT credential, moves up to the CCNA, onto the CCNP and culminates with the CCIE. The design-oriented might instead consider starting with the CCENT, moving up to the CCDA, then the professional-level CCDP, followed by the CCDE, and finish the program with the CCAr.
The Cisco Career Certification program also includes a number of specializations. These certifications acknowledge a professional's skills in a specific Cisco technology, such as data center application services, voicemail and messaging or rich media. Cisco specializations are organized into two primary categories: one targeting technical specialists and another targeting digital transformation specialists. Between these two categories, there are currently 15 specializations among which IT pros can choose.
Achieving a specialist credential generally requires passing one or two exams. Some credentials also impose prerequisites.
Entry-, associate- and professional-level credentials are valid for three years, CCIE and specialist certifications are valid for two years and the CCAr is valid for five years. To keep certifications current, Cisco professionals need to recertify by passing a recertification exam or advancing to a higher level in Cisco's certification hierarchy.