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CCNP Or CCNA? Choosing The Right One


Cisco certifications are very popular among IT professionals, with over 15% of all IT professionals worldwide having at least one Cisco certification. They are highly valued in the IT industry, and thus are very popular among techies. Cisco offers numerous certifications, from basic ones to specialised certifications. 

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) are the most popular Cisco certifications and are highly sought after by IT professionals.

CCNA Certification 

The Cisco Certified Network Associate certification is basic level certification, and ideal for those who are just beginning their journey in networking. In this certification, you will be taught methods to install, maintain and troubleshoot various networking devices. 

After this certification is completed, you will need two years of experience before you can apply for a higher-level certification. This certification is good for entry-level jobs in networking, and has a decent salary. Training for Cisco courses is relatively simple as numerous courses are available online from leading educational institutions like Koenig Solutions. 

Exam Duration

 The exam is 2 hours long and consists of 50 questions. These questions can be either multiple-choice questions or simulations. In the simulation section of the exam, you will need to configure the routers to demonstrate your skills in routing and switching, troubleshooting, and configuration.


There are hardly any restrictions with regards to eligibility, and anyone with basic knowledge in networking can apply. Applications are even open to students. 

CCNP Certification

The Cisco Certified Network Professional is an intermediate level certification for candidates who have a few years of experience in the networking sector. During your CCNP training, you will learn the various ways to implement, plan and troubleshoot WANs and LANs. 

You will also cover different IT industry domains such as Cloud, Routing Collaboration, Service Provider, Data Center, Switching, Wireless, Security, and others. The expected salary is higher than those who only have the CCNA certification. 

However, it is contingent on your experience, the company you work in, and the city. The CCNP certification cost is also quite reasonable, and the details are available on the official Cisco website.

Numerous resources are available online from which you can train for certifications such as the CCNA, ranging from recorded lessons, live teaching and e-books and manuals. A reputed institution like Koenig Solutions is a great place to start your training, and you can choose a form of teaching that suits you best. 

Exam Duration 

The CCNP certification has three examinations. The first one is 50-60 questions long, and has lab simulations and multiple-choice questions, and lasts for 2 hours. The second one also lasts for 2 hours and has 45-55 questions in both the multiple-choice and lab simulation type. Lastly, the third too lasts for 2 hours and focuses on practical knowledge, with 15-25 questions of lab simulations with troubleshooting being given. 


You will first need to clear the CCNA examination in order to give the CCNP exam. This ensures that only those with the necessary skill set attempt the examination. 

Differences Between CCNA And CCNP

The CCNA certification is a basic (associate) level certification that demonstrates the candidate’s knowledge on switching and routing, while the CCNP certification is an intermediate level certification that demonstrates the candidate’s deep knowledge of LANs and WANs. The CCNA exam has no prerequisites, but for the CCNP exam, you need to have either the CCNA or CCIE certifications. 

After you complete your CCNA course, you will be eligible for numerous entry-level jobs in the IT industry such as Service Desk Engineer, Network Technician, Network Support Engineer, Helpdesk Engineer, and First and Second Line Support. 

After you complete a CCNP course, you will be eligible for numerous intermediate level jobs such as IT team leader, Network Engineer, Systems Engineer, Network Analysts, Network Specialist and Third Line Support. 

Both these exams are stepping stones in the career of an IT professional, and are instrumental in making one’s resume stand out. It is proof that the holder of this certification possesses the required skills to be hired as a Network Associate and Professional respectively, thus making them a more lucrative hire.

As you can see, there are a plethora of jobs available with either of these certifications. If you apply for these jobs without first obtaining a certification, the chances of you getting a job are lower, and even if you do, the salary and your position within the organisation will be lower. These certifications will enhance your hireability, as they demonstrate that you have the required knowledge for the job.