Cisco anticipates the talent shortage for specialized IT professionals will reach about 3 million by the year 2012. To help close this gap, the technology giant’s training group has created three new specializations for its CCNA certification portfolio.
“One of the reasons for this gap is that the role of the network is expanding,” said Christine Yoshida, senior manager of learning product management for Learning@Cisco. “It’s becoming more sophisticated, and there are more applications and technology that are running on the network. That requires people who are working with these networks to know more about different advanced technologies.”
To provide these workers with the advanced knowledge they need, the associate-level CCNA program now includes CCNA Security, CCNA Voice and CCNA Wireless specializations.
“We are doing what we think is really going to help in this trend toward specialization and getting people the skills they need to specialize,” Yoshida said.
Professionals interested in one or more of these specializations must first complete the current CCNA exam to build foundational skills. Then they can try their hands at the specializations, which can help them advance in roles related to the exams’ respective skills.
CCNA Security is meant for those such as network security specialists and security administrators, who need to know how to monitor and troubleshoot security devices and technologies, as well as create and adopt security policies.
CCNA Voice ensures one knows how to install, configure and perform maintenance for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and is recommended for voice administrators and engineers.
Finally, CCNA Wireless — Cisco’s first talent development track for wireless specialists — builds competency in configuring, implementing, monitoring and troubleshooting wireless LANs (local area networks). This specialization is meant for wireless and support technicians and security engineers, among others.
Courses and exams for CCNA Security and CCNA Voice are available now, while those for CCNA Wireless will be available July 24.
“We recently did a survey of IT managers around the world,” Yoshida said, “and we found that the IT managers are anticipating they’re going to need specialists at an increasing degree. Right now, there are people who need to know all of these, but there’s going to be an ongoing trend for people to specialize in just these areas.”