Cisco certifications can seem overwhelming if you spend much time researching them. There are four levels to choose from: Expert, Professional, Expert, Architect. These tiers are mapped with the various acronyms we love and know: CCNA and CCNP.
The problem is that there are many concentrations within each tier. These concentrations can be chosen based on your career goals and what you want to learn. While the Associate level is easy to understand, the Expert level is more difficult. This is a good move by Cisco. Every IT professional’s career will be more generalized and then move into more specificization. A cert track that is more focused is a good idea.
This is where the CCNP Collaboration certification is found. The cert covers Cisco’s entire suite of collaboration technologies, which is a highly specialized area. What does this mean? Phones and chat apps? That’s just a part of it. But it goes deeper. This is a CCNP-level certification. Let’s find out more.
What is CCNP Collaboration?
It might be useful to begin by reviewing Cisco’s suite collaboration products and solutions. This will allow us to understand what Cisco is offering. You can see a wide range of collaboration solutions in their list: Webex in various flavors, IP phones and Unified Communications Manager (the Cisco telephone system), Contact Center (a combination traditional call centers and more modern customer contact methods such as chat and social media), as well as various cloud versions.
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How do you buy Zoom licenses for your company? It’s not difficult. Architecting/administering/troubleshooting a multi-continent contact center, integrated with your IdP and CMS, supporting the enterprise’s need for thousands of users, carrying the communications to thousands more clients and customers? This might seem a bit more difficult, but it may be worth the effort to become certified.
The Core Exam: 350-801 CLCOR
Earning the CCNP collaboration certification requires passing two proctored exams, one for everyone and one for you.
350-801 CLCOR is the core exam. This test validates your knowledge of core collaboration technologies. It tests your knowledge of the core technologies and concepts that all collaboration solutions rest on. These technologies include network protocols such as NTP and LDAP, call routing, and QoS. What does it take to make real-time communication possible across continents and buildings?
You’ll also be covering other conceptual side trails. These include things that are more mundane, such as licensing models, call codescs, troubleshooting and Cisco’s collaboration apps. This last point is the most common with every Cisco certification. Here’s the technical knowledge you need, now here are Cisco’s solutions and how they can be implemented. Although Cisco is the test, we don’t blame them. However, they have never been shy about using the popularity and value of their certs as a way to solve a problem. If you are the expert, you will recommend that your company use the solutions that you know, which will likely be Cisco.
Take a look at the exam topics. The trend is starting to emerge. This exam is similar to how the OSI model works through every layer of the network stack.