I am sure you have heard the very well-known quote by Henry Ford:
“A customer can have a car painted any color that he wants as long as it is black”
Well, some people have created a similar one about Cisco:
“An engineer can have a certificate from any vendor as long as it is Cisco”.
How to start a Cisco certification
Whether or not you agree with the quote, it is a fact that Cisco is a key player in the world of security. Cisco has acquired a significant number of cybersecurity companies and tools in the last 5 years. Do you remember OpenDNS? Now, it is Cisco Umbrella. Duo Security? Cisco as well… and so on.
Cisco is very strong in the cybersecurity area and provides a number of certificates you can obtain to prove your knowledge of network security, online threats, and tools. Adding the words “I am a Cisco cybersecurity certified engineer” to your resume will increase your chances of landing your dream job.
The recommended certificate is the 200-201 CBROPS - Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate. By passing just this one exam, you are able to prove that you can identify a cyber threat, work with security incidents, and use tools prepared for security analysts. Here are the core exam objectives:
- Security concepts
- Security monitoring
- Host-based analysis
- Network intrusion analysis
- Security policies and procedures
What if I want to move on?
Cisco has also announced a professional level of its cybersecurity path. Here, you need to pass two exams to receive the title of Cisco Certified CyberOps Professional and master automation, advanced protocols, tools, and forensics techniques: 350-201 CBRCOR and 300-215 CBRFIR. It is worth mentioning that Cisco recommends at least 3 years of hands-on experience in enterprise networking before you attempt the professional level exam.
There are also more traditional paths in the world of Cisco. Even though CCNA Security has been retired, there are still certificates that you can take on security that have some routing and switching aspects.
If we take a quick look at the CCNA 200-301 exam, Cisco says that at least 15% of the questions cover security fundamentals! You learn about security concepts, device control, and advanced security features such as DHCP Snooping and wireless security. And yes, the new CCNA exam covers wireless aspects as well. You can also think of CCNA as an excellent certificate for an entry-level security job.
There is also CCNP Security. Similar to the CyberOps path, you should have a few years of real-world experience. You are required to take the core exam (350-701 SCOR) and one concentration exam (firewalls, IPS, email security, web security, among others).
It is worth mentioning that Cisco certificates expire. Every two to three years you must either retake an exam or take another exam to upgrade and renew your certificates. This is designed to make sure you keep developing your skills and learn new things. Also, most Cisco exams require some hands-on experience with network and security devices and platforms. Therefore, you can expect a mix of both knowledge-based and scenario-based questions.
There are 50.000+ jobs just on LinkedIn alone that appear when you search for “Cisco”. Most companies will use or support Cisco solutions. What’s more, by taking a Cisco exam, you prove you know a lot about networking and security, and not only on Cisco devices. Even though this is not a vendor-neutral certificate, Cisco will ask you to understand open-standard tools, procedures, and cloud solutions (AWS, Kubernetes, and other platforms).
Preparing for a Cisco exam takes months of hard work. It is crucial to have access to network devices, online platforms, official guides, and practice questions. But In the end, it’s worth it. When you leave the testing center, you will not only get a piece of paper from Cisco, you will also feel proud to have accomplished something big. With a Cisco certificate, you will get the chance to stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of getting that dream job.
And who knows…
… maybe you will fall in love with Cisco and continue your journey, perhaps going beyond the professional level. Whatever you choose, cybersecurity is a growing market and every year companies are more and more desperate to find specialists – that is certified specialists. A cybersecurity job will be very exciting; you will work on a number of security solutions, protect important data, and investigate incidents. If this sounds like it’s for you, give it a go and start with either CCNA 200-301 or CBROPS 200-201.
Prepare for Cisco Certification with MeasureUp
MeasureUp has the best learning materials to help you prepare for Cisco Cybersecurity certifications.
In our catalog, you can find the 200-201 CBROPS practice test, with the possibility of combining it with our assessments and video trainings.
If you are just starting out, you may want to consider some other certifications in cybersecurity, beginning with CompTIA certifications.