Cisco certification levels and job roles
I always get the question how I became a CCIE and how long it took me and what my future goals are after achieving the highest certification in networking... my always that I don't really know ... maybe another CCIE track but I have no concrete plans ...
Well after the 29 of June CCIE is no longer the highest certification in the field ... and has to bow for the new Cisco certification track "Cisco Certified Architect"
I now think that this will be my new ultimate goal forthe future ...
But where will that put me in terms of certifications and job roles and the work related expierience now?
After looking for the answer I found a nice article about the Cisco certifications and those related to a current job role and I kind of agreed with it.
The different levels are explained below and here and are written by Himawan Nugroho.
Level 1: Configurator The other name for this level is Config T engineer, where ones only know how to put the configuration without having deep understanding about the concept and the reason behind it. What it takes just the ability to copy paste the configuration from Cisco website to enable the protocols or features. If I may compare it with Cisco certification program, this level can be considered as CCNA.
Level 2: Troubleshooter Those who don't know the concept won't be able to troubleshoot. At this level ones know how to configure the protocols/features, and the concept behind it in order to troubleshoot when there is any issue during implementation. If I may compare it with Cisco certification program, this level shall be the CCNP or other mid-level certifications.
Level 3: Specialist At this level, the engineers are willing to focus on a particular area in networking. This is not a pure specialist role since most probably those still have to do the common routing and switching stuff, but now they are capable to work on other technology too where they put more focus to learn. I shall put CCIE at this level. Even those who have CCIE in Routing & Switching track can fall to this level since they put their focus on the scope of the track.
Level 4: Designer After focusing on one particular area at the previous level, at this level ones must learn more general and broad knowledge again. The other name of this level is System Integrator, where it is required to possess the ability to combine different technology solutions, sometime it even requires to combine the products from different vendors. As a network designer, one must be able to build a complete infrastructure solution from routing and switching, security, voice, wireless etc. And it is normal for a designer to have the knowledge beyond networking: Server Operating System, Database, physical Data Center and so on. I don't think there is certification for this level. Well, CCDE may provide the foundation of the knowledge for this. But I would say it's like CCIE with project experiences to build a complete infrastructure.
Level 5: Architect This is the next level of System Integrator, where ones know how to build a complete infrastructure, and understand the customer business requirements, and can make sure the technology and solution provided to answer the requirements incorporate the customer business model. From technical perspective, the architects understand hardware architecture and the way the protocols work in detail, in order to know the limitation of solution can be provided. They know the standard of the protocols and fully aware about different implementation from different vendors, so they are able to fully interop the products from multiple vendors. This is like a CCIE who likes to read the protocol standards, understand the hardware architecture, able to interop products from multiple vendors, and has extensive project experiences with important role in both technical and non-technical aspect.
Level 6: Expert The last transformation is to the expert level, after being the architect with extensive project experience, capable to build a complex and complete infrastructure from different vendors, and understand customer business requirements and the linkage to the technology and solution provided. At this level, ones are getting specialized again. Having extensive experiences and broad knowledge, the experts now can focus on one or a few particular technology in order to contribute to the development of that technology. Experts communicate to each other to develop the standard of networking, translate a difficult concept into the words that can be understood by ordinary people, and share the knowledge and information to the others. At this level, the possession of any certification doesn't matter anymore. The most important is to have all what the Architect level has, with focus on one of few technology in deep detail, willing to contribute to the development of the technology, and share the knowledge and information to the others.