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CCNA VS CCNP – Difference, Career Path, Job Opportunities and Salary

We all are already aware about IT fields and networking and the way how networking has made its place in the market. Networking certifications are gaining more and more popularity over last decade. As this is the time for many freshers to start their career after completing their 12th or graduation. So, let’s share some information about entry level certification or Associate level certification which could help them in starting their career.

CCNA and CCNP are one of the most popular certifications in the information technology field. Today, most candidates are pursuing Cisco certification in order to get good job opportunities in the IT industry. Cisco certification has different options, such as CCNP, CCNA and CCIE. But in this article we will be discussing about CCNP and CCNA.

You might be confused about which certification to take right? Let’s help you to deal with your problems.

CCNA (CISCO Certified Network Associate)

CCNA which stands for Cisco certified network Associate is an entry level certification. This article is mainly for discussing about scopes after completing CCNA certification. In the IT sector, there is a strong scope for networking professionals. Companies are searching for professionals who can handle their computer networks.

It will definitely enhance candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the core networking concepts. Those candidates who are working in the IT industries also find training beneficial.

Cisco CCNA certified candidates can demand hike in their salary. Nowadays, several industries are looking for the certified CCNA professionals for their complex networking projects. Being a CCNA certified, you will get promotions easily.

CCNA Career Path

Whether you are fresher to the IT field or have some experience, you’ll have to start with the associate level Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification. Earlier there were approximately 11 certifications but now they all have combined and formed a single certification. Now only pursuing a single CCNA will make you an all rounder.

Job roles offered to a CCNA Certified

Some popular Job Roles for a CCNA Certified Professional are given below:

  • Network Engineer
  • System Administrator
  • Network Technician
  • Network Associate
  • System Engineer
  • Network Support Engineer


There are no formal requirements but candidates are recommended to have an understanding of the exam topics before taking the exam.

  • You should have 1+ years of experience in implementing and administering Cisco solutions
  • Knowledge of basic IP addressing
  • A good understanding of network fundamentals


CCNP – CISCO Certified Network Professional

CCNP stands for Cisco certified network professional is a professional level certification of Cisco. You need to pass 2 exams for each track:

  • A technology core exam – covers foundational and common concepts
  • A concentration exam – a deeper dive into the technology

CCNP Career Path

You can customize your professional-level certification by picking a core track and with a concentration exam of your interest. The CCNP certification can only be received after Core and one concentration certification exam is complete. CCNP examination has 5 domains which you can choose for yourself which are given below:

  • CCNP Enterprise
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider

Job roles offered to a CCNP Certified

Some popular Job Roles for a CCNP Certified Professional are given below: 

    • Senior Network Engineer
    • Network Specialist
    • Network manager


There are no formal requirements for CCNP Enterprise, but candidates are recommended to have a good knowledge of the exam topics before taking the exam.

CCNP candidates often also have three to five years of working experience in implementing enterprise networking solutions.

Difference between CCNA and CCNP

Key Features CCNA CCNP
Abbreviation CISCO Certified Network Associate CISCO Certified Network Professional
Certification level Associate Professional
Prerequisites NIL NIL
Examination Modules One Exam One main Core Exam, and one exam from 6 concentration Exams
Examination Code 200-301 (300-401 core)

300-410, 300-415, 300-420, 300-425, 300-430, 300-435

Examination Fees USD 195 USD 400 for Core Exam, USD 300 for concentration exam
Job Type Network Engineer, Network Analyst Network Specialist, Senior Network Engineer Network Manager, Sr. Network Engineer
Skills-set Requirement Basic Level of Configuring Routers and Switches Advanced Level of Configuring Routers, Switches and Troubleshooting
Prospective Career Options Freshers/One or two years experienced Fresher, 3-5 years experienced  professionals

So, this table will give you a brief knowledge of differences between CCNA and CCNP. If you are interested in field like networking you need to start with CCNA, an associate level certification but if talking about salary differences After pursuing CCNA training it takes you to different career path such as  Helpdesk Engineer, Network Technician, Network Support Engineer, Service Desk Engineer, and others. However, the CCNP certifications offer the maximum salary when compared to the CCNA certifications. So you can choose the CCNP to earn a high salary.

The first certification which was introduced by Cisco was junior and professional network Cisco certification. As per the demand and the increased technology Cisco has increased its certification from Associate level certifications to expert level certification especially with updated syllabus and also offered a large number of certifications for each level of candidates. These certifications help you to develop or increase the routing base and network.



Both the certification has its own value and equally certified but if you see the difference on salary basic obviously the hand will be going on CCNP but for that you need equally experience and should follow the prerequisite for the certification and qualify them. Rest if you are fresher and need to make a start in Networking field you have to start with CCNA as it is the base or an Associate level or entry level examination. The main of the candidate will be made through the entry level certification. Choose the best for yourself and give your best. All the best for a new journey.

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.


Recommended Post: Is Cisco CCNA Certification Course is Beneficial for Network Professionals?


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)


Recommended Post: 4 Things to Know How You Can Get Entry Level Jobs in IT Networking Industry


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.