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CCNA vs CCIE: Which One is for You

In this blog, you will find out which certification is made for you CCNA vs CCIE. 

Cisco certifications are the most-reputed certifications to exist. They set the standard for your selection in big-tech companies. If you want to stand out from the crowd, Cisco certification is the answer. 

It is very important to choose the certification that is meant for you. There is a pre-defined path that you need to follow while considering these Cisco certifications. 

Without further ado, let’s begin with the difference between the two

ccna vs ccie

Difference between CCNA vs CCIE

CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is a beginner-level certification. It opens the door for you to start your tech career.  

CCNA certification is a popular choice among candidates who come from both tech and non-tech backgrounds. 

CCIE: Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert

The CCIE certification is the most respected certification in the tech industry. If you want to reach the highest point in your networking career, CCIE is the best choice ever. 

You do need patience, determination and hard work to be able to pass the CCIE exam. It is difficult to crack this exam. 

What are the pre-requirements for CCNA certification?

There are no prior requirements before starting the CCNA course. All you need to know is about the basics of networking and computers. 

Pro tip: If you are from a non-tech background and you want to enter the tech industry, you can begin with the CompTIA Network+ certification. Then it will be easier for you to take the CCNA course.

What are the pre-requirements for CCIE certification? 

There are no hard and fast requirements to take the CCIE exam. But of course, you need to have a good knowledge of all the topics included in the exam. 

It is recommended to have a good 5-7 years of experience with designing, operating, deploying and optimizing enterprise networking technologies and solutions before taking the CCIE exam.

  • Pro tip: It would be cherry on top if you already have both the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification. This will help you to take the CCIE exam easily. 

Yet, you must know that none of these Cisco certifications are compulsory to take the CCIE exam. Knowledge is a must, though. 

What topics are included in the CCNA course? 

You can expect to learn the following topics on the CCNA course. These are: 

  • Basics of networking 
  • IP address 
  • Ports 
  • Routers 
  • Switches 
  • Subnetting 
  • Classes 
  • Subnet mask 
  • LAN technologies 
  • WAN technologies 
  • Automation and programmability 

These topics will make you thorough with the basic routing and switching concepts. This will help you form a strong foundation for your technical career. 

What topics are included in the CCIE course?

CCIE is a very vast and consists of various high-level concepts. You can master them for sure. The topics included in the CCIE course are as follows: 

  • VLAN technologies 
  • EtherChannel 
  • Spanning Tree Protocol 
  • EIGRP 
  • OSPF 
  • BGP 
  • Multicast 
  • PIM 
  • Cisco SD Access 
  • Cisco SD-WAN 
  • WAN edge deployment 
  • MPLS 
  • L3VPN 
  • DMVPN 
  • FlexVPN 
  • Device security 
  • Network security 
  • IPv6 
  • SNMP 
  • Quality of Service (QoS) 
  • DHCP 
  • IPv4 
  • Automation and scripting 
  • Programmability 

It must be noted that the above-mentioned topics are of the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure exam. It is the most commonly taken CCIE exam.

What exam do you need to take for CCNA certification?

You need to take the 200-301 CCNA exam to get CCNA certified.  

 Exam duration: 

The CCNA exam is 120 minutes long.  

Number of questions: 

The CCNA exam consists of 100-120 questions. 

Exam fee: 

The exam fee for the CCNA exam is $300.

What exam do you need to take for CCIE certification?

To gain a CCIE certification, you need to pass two exams. These are: 

  • Qualifying exam: 

You need to take the Implementing and Operating Cisco Enterprise Network Core Technologies (ENCOR 350-401) exam. 

  • Lab exam: 

You need to take the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure v1.0 lab exam.  

 Exam duration: 

The written exam is 2 hours long. The lab exam is 8 hours long. 

Number of questions: 

It consists of 90-110 questions. 

Exam fee: 

The written exam costs $450 USD. The lab exam costs $1600 USD.

What jobs can you land after CCNA?

You can land various job roles after you get CCNA certified. These job titles include: 

  • Technical Support Engineer 
  • Network Support Engineer 
  • L1 Networking Engineer 
  • Network Security Engineer 
  • Protocol Testing Engineer 
  • Desktop Support Engineer 
  • System Administrator 
  • NOC Engineer 
  • Network Engineer 

You can choose any of the above-mentioned job roles according to your field of interest. Yet you must note that all of these job roles require some or the other add-on skills from you. 

You must be aware of what’s needed from you in a specific job role.

What jobs can you land after CCIE?

You can land reputable jobs after you have your CCIE certification. These job roles include: 

  • Senior Network Engineer 
  • Network Security Expert 
  • Solutions Architect – Network Security 
  • Security Network Consulting Engineer  
  • Senior Security Architect 
  • Senior System Software Engineer 
  • Senior Network Architect 
  • Senior Network Administrator 
  • Senior System Network Engineer 
  • Enterprise Network Solution Architect

What can you do after CCNA?

There is always room for improvement. After CCNA, you can upskill yourself with the CCNP certification. 

CCNP stands for Cisco Certified Network Professional. The CCNP course makes you familiar with the advanced routing and switching concepts.

What can you do after CCIE?

The CCIE certification is the highest-level Cisco certification. If you want to upskill yourself after the certification, you can explore your expertise field in various areas. 

You can also explore other routes of CCIE and learn about new networking technologies. You do need to keep yourself updated with the upcoming technologies and Cisco devices. 

This way you will always stay in demand as a Network Engineer. 


Bottom line is that you can choose the Cisco certification that matches your experience level in the technical industry. If you already know about the basics of routing, switching and subnetting, you should know that it is time for CCNP. 

If you are clear with advanced topics of routing and switching, it is a sign for you to upgrade with CCIE. This checklist always works!