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What IT Certifications Will Perfectly Pair with Cisco CCNA Data Center?

Over the past ten years, some major transformations have taken place in the field of on-premise data centers. According to the report, the number of on-premise data centers will reduce drastically by about 50% by the year 2021 and disappear totally by the year 2025. Thus, this should be a concern for those professionals who currently specialize in this area because what this means is that when data center is no longer useful in the business world, you may lose your relevance and possibly your job. To avoid getting caught unaware and be left without a job in the near future, it is high time you started exploring other options in the certification field to validate your knowledge and skills in other areas. It is time for significant change in the world of Information Technology, and you have to be ready to explore the opportunities that will be presented. Having multiple competencies is a great way to go and ensure your relevance in the industry. In case you have the Cisco CCNA Data Center certificate, it’s high time you began to consider additional credentials that will give you a wider scope of career options to explore. The world of Information Technology is changing at a fast pace, and the professionals must be ready to change and evolve with the development. Irrespective of your current certification level, you still need to keep upgrading your skills and knowledge. You cannot stay at the same page year in year out, you need to explore advance skills and validate your experience by pursuing certifications. If you hold the CCNA Data Center credential, it is time to start looking outward. You need to be prepared for the change that is coming soon. In this article, we will look at some certifications that perfectly match Cisco CCNA Data Center to widen one’s career scope.

CCNA Routing and Switching

In the field of Information Technology, networking fundamentals are universal to all IT roles. For this singular reason, you can be rest assured that networking roles in the sphere of IT is still going to be very much around for a longer time. If you look at the DCICN (200-150) exam, you will discover that the first test in the series of CCNA Data Center is close to the ICND1 (100-105) exam. In other words, most of the vendor neutral entry-level certification tests have practically the same networking knowledge prerequisite. The professionals in the field of IT who pursue the CCNA Routing and Switching credential work with another class of switch when compared to their data centers counterpart. However, both roles operate under the same standards. Therefore, CCNA Routing and Switching is one of the certificates that you can pair with CCNA Data Center. If this is the route you want to explore, it is recommended that you begin at the associate level of CCNA R&S.

CCNP Data Center

CCNP Data Center is also a good pair for the CCNA Data Center credential. It is a step higher than CCNA and not so much as a complement for the certification. Of course, this option seems like a counter option to the idea of doubling down on your Data Center certificate. However, it is highly essential to keep the specific timeframes in view. The report refers to 2025 before Data Center finally disappears from the industry, which is a total of seven years away. Seven years is still a long time in the field of Information Technology. If you look at it critically, it is almost a quarter of a usual career path. The field of IT evolves at a fast pace, and a lot can happen before this seven-year period. CCNP Data Center is definitely above the CCNA certification, so with CCNP, you can stand a better chance to take up more challenging roles in data center than the professional with CCNA. Thus, if you still want to explore and invest in additional credentials in data center, Cisco Certified Network Professional Data Center is something you should consider.

VMware Certified Professional: Network Virtualization

There is hardly any data center role that does not involve some level of virtualization. No doubt, Cisco has a leadership position in the networking hardware market for data center. However, this leadership position has been shared with the Cisco ACI Software-defined networking product, which seems to be a struggle. In place of the ACI, many organizations are choosing to use the VMware NSX virtual networking software. Interestingly, unlike the ACI, the NSX functions on commodity hardware over IP network, which makes it a friendlier product to use. Therefore, the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) is a good choice to pair with the CCNA Data Center certification. The VCP – Network Virtualization credential covers the VMware NSX software. Those professionals who currently have the Cisco CCNA or CCNP certificate can pursue the VCP-NV certification by writing either the vSphere 6 or the vSphere 6.5 Foundation test. After this exam, you can go ahead to write the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Network Virtualization test.

Cloud Certifications

Any Cloud certification will be a great idea for pairing with CCNA Data Center. The Cloud credential is more than a backup plan for your CCNA Data Center credential; it is a necessity on its own. The Cloud certificates are highly valuable and they are excellent choice of pairing with CCNA Data Center. Even if you settle for the entry-level credential such as the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, you can expect that your value in the sphere will increase significantly. This certification has the capacity to place you in a prime position for growth and advancement even in your current role. When data center is no longer a field in the industry, you can easily take up a cloud role in an organization.

CompTIA Vendor-Neutral Certifications

Instead of a product specific credential, you may also want to consider more general certifications. The CompTIA vendor-neutral certificates can be a great choice. Two of the better options you might want to explore are CompTIA Cloud+ and CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+). Either of these certifications will be a good pairing match for your CCNA Data Center. You should look at the prerequisites and the exam contents before you select any of them. This will help you know if you have the background to perform excellently in the test and also be able to deliver in real life job scenarios.


Career growth and certification path are your personal journey that you need to take consciously. It has the potentials to lead you to the highest point in your career. Therefore, you must make the decision with open mind and considering some facts. Explore the potential certifications that can take you deeper in your current career field. It is crucial that you have the foundational skills in networking and also learn something about the emerging technologies. Make sure you validate your learnings with certificates so that when you need to change job, you have something tangible to present.

We have highlighted some of the best certifications that you can pair with Cisco CCNA Data Center. However, the issue is that how to choose the right one. Of course, you are not expected to take all the certificates, but if you can, go ahead. Making the right choice about your certification path is very important because it will have a great impact on your career on the long run. In selecting the right credentials to develop your data center skills, there are a couple of things you need to consider, and top among these are your personal and professional goals. You need to be sure of your career goals and look for certification path that will take you there. Pursuing the certificate requires some time and financial investment. You need to know how far you can go per time in pursuing your credential in terms of money and time. In addition to this, you should consider the potential job opportunities that you can explore with the certificate.