Cisco Offering New Entry-Level Maintenance Certification

Cisco will offer the new Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) certification in three categories: routing and switching, TelePresence and data center solutions. The coursework and subject matter expertise primarily cover installing, verifying, replacing and troubleshooting key pieces of Cisco networking equipment onsite at customer locations.

Solution providers who don't want to invest heavily in Cisco's higher certifications but would like to badge technical employees with an entry-level Cisco certification are definite candidates for CCT, said Andy Gremett, senior product marketing manager at Cisco.

CCT is different than other entry-level and mid-level Cisco certifications because it's almost entirely focused on troubleshooting Cisco hardware, he said, and how to work efficiently with Cisco's Global Technical Assistance Center (TAC).

"The real difference between at CCT and a CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) is that the CCENT covers a fair amount of theory, getting into Layer 3 and sub-netting," Gremett explained. "The CCT will talk about the OSI model [for networking] but is really focused on the hardware."

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It's also ideal for technicians without a lot of computer networking experience, Grenett said.

"If you're relatively new to IT, you can get that CCT route/switch and the next step would be CCENT as you build toward a CCNA," he said.

The three, 90-minute CCT certification exams are offered via third party testing service Pearson Vue, which handles most of Cisco's testing, for $125. A one-year subscription to the course materials is $299 for each certification, and the coursework consists of vie hours of self-paced, modular online training.

The CCT for routing and switching has no pre-requisites, and the CCTs for telepresence and data center require the routing/switching CCT be successfully obtained.

Thad Newton, manager of Cisco's E-service training, said that Cisco doesn't have plans to offer CCT-level certification for other technologies like voice or security. The three CCT categories were chosen based on the demand for maintenance services and a certification that wouldn't require heavy investment of time or money in Cisco training, he said.

"We've identified a need in the market and a demand for a technician exam focused here," Newton said. "In the future, if we identify a need to fill similar gaps, for example in voice or security, we'll do it."