CloseUp: Cisco IP Telephony Specialist Certifications
In a world increasingly dominated by the Internet, even telephone systems are starting to switch over (pun intended) to elements of the TCP/IP protocol suite. As a company with a profound stake in all kinds of IP infrastructure—particularly switches and routers—Cisco has become a major player in the IP telephony and VoIP markets. (For those not already aware, IP telephony, or IPT, refers to phones and phone systems that work natively with TCP/IP and that don’t require integration of a PBX or other voice equipment with TCP/IP networks; that latter type of system is usually called “Voice over IP,” or VoIP. Cisco plays in both these markets.)
In addition to the CCIE Voice credential, Cisco also includes four certifications in the area of IP telephony/VoIP as part of its Cisco Qualified Specialist program. But overall, the credentials and their coverage appear to lean somewhat more toward IPT tools, technologies and techniques. These include the following:
- Cisco IP Telephony Design Specialist: This credential is for those who design, install and support multiservice network solutions around IP telephony. Two exams are required: Enterprise Voice over Data Design (EVODD) and Implementing Cisco Quality of Service (QOS). The Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) is a mandatory prerequisite.
- Cisco IP Telephony Express Specialist: This credential is for those who install and maintain multi-service network solutions, with special emphasis on IP telephony fundamentals and Cisco’s Call Manager Express. Three exams are required: Cisco Voice over IP (CVOICE), Implementing Cisco Quality of Service (QOS) and a Call Manager Express exam (differs for channel partners versus general candidates). The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) or CCDA is a mandatory prerequisite.
- Cisco IP Telephony Operations Specialist: This credential is for those who install, operate and maintain telephone systems built around Cisco components and network infrastructure elements. Two exams are required: IP Telephony Troubleshooting (IPTT) and Implementing Cisco Quality of Service (QOS), as well as additional training on Cisco IP Telephony and/or Cisco Voice over IP (VoIP). CCNA is a mandatory prerequisite.
- Cisco IP Telephony Support Specialist: This credential is for those who install, operate and support telephone systems built around Cisco components and infrastructure elements, including both IPT and VoIP elements. Three exams are required: Cisco IP Telephony (CIPT), Cisco Voice over IP (CVOICE) and Implementing Cisco Quality of Service (QOS). The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) is a mandatory prerequisite.
The blurbs on the individual certifications may not distinguish the credentials sufficiently, but by looking at the exams required (and the kinds of job roles and responsibilities they address), it’s a bit easier to distinguish design, operations and support roles on the basis of how these things fit into the workplace. Cisco reports that sales and interest in this area is intense, so all of these credentials offer interesting opportunities to CCNAs or CCDAs (and even CCNPs) looking for a next step in their career paths.
Ed Tittel is president of LANwrights Inc. and is technology editor for Certification Magazine. You can reach Ed with your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.