Are you considering a career in the IT industry or looking to advance your existing IT skills? Cisco has introduced some exciting entry-level certifications that can help you take your IT journey to the next level. In this article, we will focus on one of these certifications, the Cisco Certified Support Technician (CCST). Whether you are just starting out or seeking a career change, this certification can be the stepping stone you need.

The CCST certification is designed to provide a valuable and less daunting alternative to the comprehensive Cisco CCNA certification. While CCNA is an excellent certification, it can be quite challenging for beginners or those who feel overwhelmed by its scope. The CCST certification offers a more approachable path towards a career in cybersecurity. It serves as an ideal foundation for aspiring professionals who aim to eventually obtain the Cisco Cyber Ops certification.

The CCST certification covers five domains, each essential to building a solid understanding of cybersecurity principles. These domains include:

Essential security principles: This domain focuses on fundamental security concepts and best practices.

Basic network security concepts: Explore the basics of securing network devices and infrastructure.

Endpoint security concepts: Understand how to protect endpoints, such as computers and mobile devices, from security threats.

Vulnerability and asset risk management: Learn how to identify vulnerabilities, assess risks, and manage assets effectively.

Incident handling: Gain knowledge and skills to respond to and mitigate security incidents.

Who should consider the CCST certification? If your goal is to establish a career in cybersecurity, this certification can be an excellent stepping stone. It provides a solid foundation and brings you one step closer to your desired cybersecurity position. Moreover, if you plan to pursue the Cisco Cyber Ops certification in the future, the CCST certification acts as a perfect precursor.

To enhance your professional profile further, consider pairing the CCST certification with other relevant certifications. Two notable options are CompTIA's Security+ and Cisco's Cyber Ops certifications. Both certifications complement the CCST and can help you stand out in the job market. While Security+ is widely recognized, Cyber Ops demonstrates your expertise in Cisco's security solutions.

As of now, the CCST certification is set to become available on March 1st of this year. The cost of the exam is $125, which is significantly more affordable compared to the Cisco CCNA certification. Cisco CCNA typically ranges from $320 to $340, making the CCST certification a more accessible option for aspiring IT professionals.

When preparing for the CCST exam, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the exam topics. Cisco provides a detailed breakdown of the domains and specific exam topics on their website. By referring to the exam topics, you can ensure thorough preparation and increase your chances of success.

In conclusion, Cisco's CCST certification offers an excellent opportunity for individuals seeking entry-level certifications in the IT industry. Aspiring cybersecurity professionals will find this certification particularly valuable. It serves as a stepping stone to further advancements in the field, such as the Cisco Cyber Ops certification. With its affordable cost and comprehensive coverage of essential security domains, the CCST certification empowers you to embark on a successful IT career.

Exploring Cisco's New Certifications: The CCST and Beyond

Welcome back to our exploration of Cisco's new entry-level certifications. In the previous article, we discussed the Cisco Certified Support Technician (CCST) certification, which focuses on cybersecurity. Now, let's dive into another exciting certification that is more networking-oriented.

The CCST certification is an excellent starting point for those interested in pursuing a Cisco CCNA certification. With a strong emphasis on networking, this certification acts as a pathway towards advanced networking roles. By obtaining the CCST certification, you are laying the foundation for a career as a network engineer, network analyst, or network administrator.

The CCST certification encompasses six domains, each covering essential topics in networking:

Standards and concepts: Understand the fundamental standards and concepts that shape modern networks.

Network addressing and subnetting: Dive into the intricacies of network addressing and subnet formats.

Endpoints and media types: Gain knowledge of different endpoints and media types used in networking.

Infrastructure: Learn about the various infrastructure components that form a network.

Diagnosing problems: Develop skills to diagnose and troubleshoot network issues effectively.

Security: Explore the vital aspect of network security and its role in maintaining a secure network environment.

Notably, subnetting plays a significant role in networking, and this certification ensures you have a solid understanding of it. While subnet calculators are commonly used in the field, mastering manual subnetting now will benefit you in the long run.

The CCST certification presents an exciting alternative to other entry-level networking certifications, such as CompTIA's Network+. Cisco's certification, with its clear path to the CCNA, offers a promising opportunity for individuals aiming to build a networking career. It positions itself as Cisco's own entry-level networking certification, providing a solid foundation and opening doors to further advancements in the Cisco certification track.

As of now, the CCST certification is scheduled to be available starting April 23rd. With an exam cost of $125, this certification remains significantly more affordable than the comprehensive Cisco CCNA certification, which often exceeds $300. By pursuing the CCST certification, you can embark on your networking journey without a substantial financial burden.

When it comes to study materials, it's worth noting that official certification guides (OCGs) specific to the CCST certification may not be available at the time of this writing. However, as the certification launch date approaches, it is highly likely that Cisco and other publishers will release study guides and resources to support exam preparation.

Now, let's address a common concern: the industry's adoption of these new entry-level certifications. It's important to remember that the value of certifications is often influenced by industry demand. While certifications like the CCST and the previously discussed CCST can certainly boost your knowledge and skills, it may take some time before companies start actively seeking individuals with these certifications. However, given Cisco's reputation and the alignment of these certifications with industry needs, it is reasonable to expect growing recognition and demand in the future.

As we conclude this article, keep in mind that Cisco's new certifications offer valuable opportunities for aspiring IT professionals. Whether you are interested in cybersecurity or networking, these certifications provide stepping stones to further career advancements within the Cisco certification ecosystem. Stay tuned for more updates, study tips, and insights to help you succeed in the IT industry.

If you're finding value in our content, we appreciate your support through reviews and comments on platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or YouTube. Sharing this episode with a friend who is also looking to break into the IT industry can make a significant difference. Together, let's inspire others to take the leap and pursue their IT dreams.

The Value of Cisco's New Certifications

As we come to the end of this episode, I can't help but ponder the future of these new certifications. One pressing question remains: How long will it take for job postings to start requesting these entry-level networking and cybersecurity certifications? In a world where initial screenings are often conducted by automated systems, it's crucial to consider when human involvement comes into play. Typically, the first human interaction occurs during the HR stage, where the individual may not possess an IT background or understand IT terminology. Therefore, the adoption of these certifications by companies and the recognition of their value may take some time.

Nevertheless, it's important to acknowledge the power of the Cisco brand. Cisco is a household name in the IT industry, just like Coca-Cola is in the beverage industry. The brand recognition and reputation of Cisco alone may eventually lead to increased demand for these certifications. In the beginning, it's difficult to predict how many jobs or companies will require or seek out these certifications. However, it's worth keeping a close eye on the evolving landscape and staying informed about industry trends.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in networking or cybersecurity, I encourage you to consider these new certifications. Share your thoughts and opinions with me. Are you considering taking a shot at one of these certifications? Have you already started studying for CompTIA's Network+ or Security+? Both options have their merits, and it would be fascinating to hear about your experiences.

Before we wrap up, don't forget to like and subscribe to stay updated on future episodes. You can follow me on all social media platforms at "Debt Free and I.T," and connect with me on LinkedIn under Michael Bowden. If you have any questions or would like to reach out via email, please send them to I make an effort to respond to every comment and email I receive. Additionally, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section. I plan on creating a video to answer those questions, including ones sourced from Reddit, as I actively participate in that community.

I hope you found this episode informative and enjoyable. Thank you for joining me, and I look forward to connecting with you in the future. Peace.


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