The Significant Difference between CCNP and CCNA

CCNP and CCNA are professional and entry-level certifications provided by CISCO in networking.

What is CCNP?

CCNP stands for Cisco Certified Network Professional certification. CCNP certification course is mainly for IT engineers who have had prior experience in the networking field. CCNP is for the professionals interested in implementing and managing various products of high-end network solutions. 

The following are the topics included in the CCNP courses: –

  • Advanced routing
  • Network optimization
  • Wireless implementation and design 
  • Multilayer switching

Those who choose to attain CCNP certification get trained to maintain, troubleshoot and install Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) for systems between 100 and 500 nodes. The candidates also learn about advanced networking technologies such as Ethernet, Access Lists, and redistribution of routes.

What are the exams essential to pass to attain CCNP?

There are five different sectors where you can get certified for CCNP: Enterprise, Security, Data Centre, Collaboration, and Security. To pass CCNP training in any of these, you need to pass core and concentration examinations. Each of these sectors broadens your knowledge about networking features and protocols and tests it before certifying.

However, there is a prerequisite for CCNP. You need to qualify for CCNA or CCIE in any one of the sectors.

What is CCNA?

CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate. It is one of the leading entry-level networking certifications for enthusiasts and beginners who have a little experience in network engineering. The most significant benefit is that CCNA certification is very affordable. 

Candidates in the CCNA programme receive training and testing in the maintenance, installation, and troubleshooting of CISCO’s medium networking devices as well as end-to-end networking. CCNA provides you with a detailed introduction to modern aspects of networking where both the wired and wireless network aspects get taught along with various routing principles. This course also covers OSPFv2, IPv4/IPv6 static routing, and FHRPs. Various IP services such as QoS, NAT, DHCP, and concepts of VPN, ACLs, AAA, and wireless network access in network security are also given importance. 

In conclusion, CCNA certification provides in-depth information about how the CISCO networking environment operates. In addition to it, the certification provides you with enough knowledge about working on IT equipment. 

How can you attain CCNA Certification?

CCNA exam tests your knowledge about:

  • Network access
  • IP services
  • Automation and programmability
  • Network fundamentals
  • IP connectivity 
  • Security Fundamentals

CCNA is an associate-level exam, and you need to give one core exam to get certified. Unlike CNPP, there is no formal prerequisite for CCNA certification.

Noteworthy Differences Between CCNP and CCNA



1. It is a professional CISCO certification. 1. It is an initial or entry-level CISCO certification. 
2. To obtain the CCNP certification, you need to qualify CCNA or CCIE examination in any sector, as previously mentioned. 2. There is no formal prerequisite for giving the CCNA examination.         
3. CCNP tests your deep knowledge about LANs and WANs. 3. CCNA tests you on the switching concepts and fundamentals of routing.  
4. Depending upon the sector you choose, you need to give a set of 3-4 exams you need to pass to be CCNP certified.  4. You need to give a single-core exam to be CCNA certified.
5. CCNP will teach you about advanced networking technologies. 5. CCNA will strengthen your basic concepts of networking.
6. CCNP certification cost is generally high. 6. CCNA certification cost is comparatively less.
7. The CCNP certification exam is generally more difficult because you need to cover more content and subjective questions. 7. Compared to CCNP, the CCNA certification exam is more straightforward.
8. Getting CCNP certified can lead you to jobs such as Network Specialist, Network Engineer, Network Analyst, System Engineer, IT team leader, etc.  8. Getting CCNA certified can lead you to jobs such as Network Support Engineer, Network Technician, Helpdesk engineer, Service desk engineer/technician, etc.
9. Starting CCNP salary is generally around 2.5 lakhs per annum. 9. Starting CCNA salary is generally around 1.5 lakhs per annum.

Advantages of CCNP over CCNA certification

As CCNP is a professional-level examination, it will provide you with better opportunities to grow than CCNA certification. After the CCNA examination, you can surely land a job, but your career will grow more in designation, salary, and recognition after the CCNP training. If you have already completed CCNA, you shouldn’t restrict yourself there and go for CCNP certification and explore more opportunities.

Irrespective of whatever certification you choose, you should go through all the pros and cons of both with due diligence to select the appropriate one for you.

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