CCNA vs CCNP: Choosing the Right Certification for Your Networking Career

The field of networking is experiencing rapid growth, making it one of the most in-demand areas of the IT industry. As a result, there is a significant need for skilled professionals to fill the increasing number of networking positions. The appeal of pursuing a career in networking lies in its promising job opportunities, job security, competitive salaries, and overall job satisfaction. Lets see CCNA vs CCNP which is right certification for networking career.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT jobs are projected to grow by 13% from 2020 to 2030, indicating that the networking industry will continue to experience substantial growth. Cisco, a leading networking solutions and services provider, offers a range of certifications that align with their offerings. Two of the most popular certifications among beginners are the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) and the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional).

CCNA certification provides the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to install, configure, and operate a small- to medium-sized network. CCNP, on the other hand, is designed for more advanced network professionals seeking to demonstrate their proficiency in implementing, maintaining, and troubleshooting complex network solutions. Both certifications offer a pathway to a successful career in networking, with numerous job opportunities available to those who possess them.

With the networking industry’s ongoing growth and Cisco’s esteemed reputation in the field, pursuing a CCNP or CCNA Certification can undoubtedly boost one’s career prospects in the exciting and ever-evolving world of networking.

Understanding CCNA?

CCNA, which stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate, is a certification offered by Cisco Systems, a leading provider of networking solutions and services. This certification is designed to provide learners with a foundational understanding of networking concepts, technologies, and practices.

The CCNA certification covers a broad range of networking topics, including network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, and automation and programmability. These topics are explored in-depth through a series of training courses and exams, which provide learners with the skills and knowledge necessary to design, implement, and manage small to medium-sized networks.

In order to earn a CCNA certification, learners must complete the required coursework and pass the associated exams. The coursework and exams are designed to be challenging and comprehensive, ensuring that individuals who hold the CCNA certification have a deep understanding of networking concepts and technologies.

The CCNA certification is an excellent starting point for individuals who are new to the networking field or are looking to expand their networking knowledge and skills. It is also a valuable credential for professionals seeking to advance their careers in the networking industry.

Overall, the CCNA certification provides learners with a solid foundation in networking, which can open up numerous career opportunities in the IT industry. Whether you are looking to start a new career or advance your current one, the CCNA certification can help you achieve your goals.

CCNA Exam Details

Well, there are no prerequisites needed to pursue the CCNA certification. As an aspiring CCNA candidate, you will have the option to choose between two distinct exams, each catering to your specific needs and skills.

The first option, 200-120 CCNA Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices: Accelerated (CCNAX), is a comprehensive exam that covers a wide range of topics, including networking fundamentals, LAN switching, and IPv4 and IPv6 routing technologies. This option is ideal for those seeking an all-in-one course that condenses the CCNA curriculum into a single exam.

Alternatively, you may opt for the second option, which comprises of two exams: 100-101 ICND1 Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1) and 200-101 ICND2 Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2 (ICND2). This choice allows you to take a more flexible approach to your studies, tackling each exam at your own pace and focusing on specific areas of interest.

Regardless of which option you choose, passing any of these exams will grant you the coveted CCNA certification, validating your knowledge and skills in Cisco networking technologies.

Advantages of CCNA Certification:

  • Improved employability in top IT companies due to higher chances of securing stable and reputable job roles.
  • Validation of skills and expertise in managing independent media and smaller organizations working on less complex networks.
  • Enhanced salary prospects and greater earning potential for CCNA certified professionals.
  • Development of comprehensive knowledge and skills in engineering, leading to becoming an all-around expert in the field.

Understanding CCNP?

CCNP stands for Cisco Certified Network Professional, which is a professional-level certification offered by Cisco Systems, a leading provider of networking solutions and services. This certification is designed for experienced network professionals who are seeking to advance their careers and demonstrate their proficiency in implementing, maintaining, and troubleshooting complex network solutions.

To obtain the CCNP Certification, candidates must pass a series of exams that cover a range of topics related to network design, implementation, and troubleshooting. The certification validates the skills and knowledge required to plan, implement, and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks.

There are various CCNP certifications available, each with its specific focus and requirements. For instance, the CCNP Enterprise certification focuses on enterprise networking technologies such as routing, switching, wireless, and security. Meanwhile, the CCNP Data Center certification is geared towards professionals who specialize in data center technologies such as virtualization, storage, and automation.

CCNP certification offers several benefits to networking professionals, including increased job opportunities, higher earning potential, and improved job satisfaction. Additionally, it demonstrates an individual’s commitment to continuous learning and professional development, making them a valuable asset to any organization.

CCNP Exam Details

If you’re looking to pursue the CCNP certification, there are a few prerequisites you should be aware of. First and foremost, you’ll need to have a valid CCNA certification. Once that’s taken care of, you can begin preparing for the CCNP certification exam, which is comprised of three separate exams.
The first exam, known as 300-101 ROUTE, covers the implementation of Cisco IP routing. The second exam, 300-115 SWITCH, focuses on implementing Cisco IP switched networks. Finally, the third exam, known as 300-135 TSHOOT, delves into troubleshooting and maintaining Cisco IP networks.

By passing all three of these exams, you’ll earn your CCNP certification and demonstrate your advanced knowledge and expertise in the realm of Cisco networking.

CCNP certification offers several benefits:

  • There is a significant scarcity of CCNP professionals, which creates a vast job opportunity and higher pay scale due to the high demand.
  • The certification validates your expertise in networking and serves as proof of your skills to potential employers.
  • Keeping up with the latest technology and networking trends in the market is essential, and CCNP helps you stay updated.
  • The credential is highly valued on a resume and can boost your chances of getting hired.
  • Earning a CCNP certification provides a solid foundation for pursuing more advanced Cisco certifications.
  • The skill is globally recognized, which allows you to work with organizations beyond geographical boundaries.

Difference between CCNA vs CCNP

CCNA is an entry-level certification that tests an individual’s knowledge and technical expertise in routing and switching. On the other hand, CCNP is an advanced certification that requires a deeper understanding of LANs, WANs, and related concepts that function together.

The CCNP certification is categorized as the third level in Cisco’s certification levels, and it is considered a more advanced certification that tests a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of networking and security concepts.

To attempt the CCNP certification exam, you must have a CCNA certification as well as a CCIE certification later in your career. On the other hand, you can attempt the CCNA certification exam without any formal prerequisites.

Earning a CCNA certification involves clearing two exams based on the program’s subjects, while earning a CCNP certification requires clearing at least four certification exams.

Career/Job Differences –

Having a CCNA or CCNP certification can lead to distinct career paths and opportunities. Obtaining a CCNA certification prepares you for entry-level positions in the industry, such as Network Support Engineer, Helpdesk Engineer, First/ Second Line Support Engineer, Network Technician, among others.

However, acquiring a CCNP certification in addition to a CCNA certification can enhance your career prospects and enable you to explore more advanced job roles such as Network Specialist, Systems Engineer, Third Line Support, among others.

Salary difference:

According to the latest data from PayScale, the average salary for a CCNA certified professional is around $115,312 per year in the United States. On the other hand, the average salary for a CCNP certified professional is around $89,152 per year in the United States. However, it’s worth noting that these figures can vary widely depending on factors such as location, industry, experience, and specific job role.

Summing up:

Both CCNA vs CCNP certifications hold great value and are essential for networking professionals. CCNA focuses on the basics of networking, including network architecture, routing and switching, and WAN technologies, whereas CCNP builds upon those concepts and delves deeper into more advanced networking topics such as security, automation, and design. The decision on which certification is better depends on your career goals and experience level. If you’re new to networking, CCNA is an excellent starting point, while CCNP is best suited for experienced network professionals seeking to advance their careers. Ultimately, both certifications can enhance your knowledge and skills, making you a valuable asset in the networking field.

Also, earning a CCNA is an excellent starting point, but obtaining a CCNP certification can help you expand your job options and increase your salary potential. Numerous CCNP vs CCNA courses are available online, and Vinsys provides several options for you to choose from to pursue a successful IT networking career. Enroll in CCNP vs CCNA course training today and give your career the boost it deserves.

Vinsys is a globally recognized training and consulting organization that offers high-quality training and certification programs to individuals and organizations. Established in 1998, Vinsys has a presence in over 35 countries and has trained more than 600,000 professionals. Vinsys' trainers are highly qualified and experienced professionals who bring real-world knowledge and expertise to the classroom. The company's mission is to enable professionals and organizations to achieve their goals and improve their performance through effective training and consulting services.