Networking in general, and Cisco in particular, is something that will be around forever and become even more important as more and more data is moved into the cloud and more and more devices require connectivity, whether in wired or wireless forms. This is one skill that will not be replaced by the move to the cloud and every company will need someone with some networking skills. To meet this demand, Cisco has always offered the CCNA as an entry-level networking certification, designed as a network admin in a small business or as a junior admin in a larger one. As more people need an ever more basic level of network knowledge, Cisco has introduced the CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) to provide entry-level knowledge on networking concepts, routing and switching, security, and wireless connectivity. It is designed as a stepping-stone to CCNA.
The CCNA has been redesigned as well, providing certification in various areas of networking, including routing and switching (the previous CCNA topic), security, video, voice, and wireless, as well as more advanced areas such as data center and service provider operations. For those looking for more advanced certifications, Cisco offers the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) in the same areas as the new CCNA, and many of the same areas in their premiere certification, the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert). For information on the CCENT, please refer to http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/entry/ccent/index.html; information on the CCNA for routing and switching (as well as links to other CCNA certifications) is available at http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/associate/ccna/index.html.
IT is a very fast-changing industry - what is hot today may be a tiny niche market in only a few years and things that few have heard of may be huge trends in the same timeframe. That having been said, many certifications have a long life span, by which we don't mean that the certification is good for many years before it expires, but rather that the certification has been around and will be around (as best as the future is predictable) for a long time. This does not imply that recertification on new versions and/or continuing education credits are not required to maintain certification, however. Predicting the future is always challenging, not the least a future in IT, but these certifications are good bets.
The top 10 certifications that meet this criterion (in no particular order), identified by Global Knowledge instructor John Hales, include the following. Note that the certifications are broad in terms of topics covered and are not all strictly IT administrator-based.