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CCNA VS CCNP | Basic and Technical Differences

Cisco is largest provider of networking devices such as routers and switches in the world. Cisco devices are used all over the world with more than 70% market share. To work with these devices, individuals need to earn skills and knowledge, hence, Cisco offers wide a range of Cisco certifications in different levels followed by different tracks. Cisco Certifications are widely used, globally recognized and one of the most reputed career certification in the IT industry. There is a wide range of Cisco certifications available for IT professionals to choose according to their industry experience. When it comes to beginner level certification, suddenly CCNA comes in mind (most popular Cisco certification in the world). And then CCNP (medium level) and then CCIE (Expert level) certifications.

To understand Cisco Certifications levels, you should check this image:

cisco certifications levels

What is CCNA?

CCNA is an associate level of Cisco certification as show in above image provides core networking skills and knowledge on routers and switches. CCNA certification provides fundamental IP networking skills and knowledge required to deploy, configure, operate and troubleshoot layer 1-3 networks. Individuals, 1-3 years experienced networking professionals, core network engineers can do this certification and upgrade their skills to install, configure, troubleshoot and manage LAN and Wide area networks for small to medium sized networks.


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To earn the CCNA certification, aspirants need to pass the Cisco exam. Aspirants who are interested to do CCNA certification, have to go through rigorous set of training and testing of installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting Cisco devices in the networks. This builds your basic networking concepts strong.

CCNA certification enables aspirants to implement connections to remote sites such as WAN with ensuring network security. A CCNA certified professionals can find and fix the common networking problems.

What is CCNP?

CCNP is a professional level of Cisco certification where it validate candidate’s ability to plan, implement, verify ad troubleshoot local and wide area networks. CCNP is next level certification against CCNA. Networking professionals who have at least 1-2 years of working experience and want to upgrade their skills and willing to work independently on complex network solutions can do this certification.

CCNP certification gives you professional level of skills and understanding about ROUTE, SWITCH and TSHOOT. It also provides advanced knowledge of routers and switches required for voice, wireless, video and data enterprise networks.


Basic Difference between CCNA and CCNP

 Difference  CCNA Certification  CCNP Certification
 Certification Level  Associate Level  Professional Level
 Exams to Pass  Option 1: 200 – 125 CCNA (Required)


Option 2: 100 – 105 ICND1 AND 200 – 105 ICND2 (Both Required)

 300-101 ROUTE (Required)

300-115 SWITCH (Required)

300-135 TSHOOT (Required)

 Prerequisite  No Prerequisites  CCNA Routing and Switching
 Skills and Knowledge You Get  Foundation level of networking. Gives you basic level of skills and knowledge of routing and switching  It provides professional level of skills and knowledge required to work on advanced LAN and WAN networks.
 Exam fees  325 USD  300 USD for each required exam
Job Roles A CCNA certified professional way work with Network Engineer, Network Support Engineer, System Engineer, Help Desk Support Engineer, Network Technician, Help Desk Engineer job profiles A CCNP certified professionals gets similar job profiles as CCNA with other profiles such as Network Specialist, System Analyst, System Engineer and others
Expected Salary Aspirants may get 12/month (variable) Aspirants may get 25/month (Variable)


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CCNA VS CCNP – Technical Differences:

  • At CCNA level only the introduction, and basic behavior of the technology. At CCNP level intermediate behavior of the technology along with the authentication of Protocols
  • At CCNA no Packet level knowledge where as in CCNP packet level knowledge is obtained.
  • CCNA gives the knowledge of deploying the network, where as CCNP gives the troubleshooting knowledge such that whatever the issue at Layer-2 or Layer-3 could be Network Engineer can troubleshoot it at intermediate level
  • CCNP is recommended to those engineers who are looking forward for their career after they are a CCNA certified and experienced at that level whereas CCNA is recommended for the engineers who want to start their career in networking.