If you are a network engineer aspirant, you probably would have already been buzzed out with words like CCNA, CCNP, CCIE etc. Engineering aspirants and other experienced professionals at a time find their way around these acronyms quite confusing.
What is CCNA?
CCNA abbreviated for Cisco Certified Network Associate, offered by Cisco, the telecom networking giant and it holds a prime portion of manufacturing of networking devices all over the globe. This entry-level certification is issued to telecom and computer network engineer aspirants who pursue career paths for Network Administrators, Network Support Engineers, and Specialists.
Being an entry-level certification, this certification is issued and valid for all the type of engineer, followed by CCNP and CCIE. The program was started first in 1998 and as of today, more than one million CCNA certificates have been awarded.
CCNA and other Cisco certifications are necessary to validate a professional’s ability to understand and configure routed networks and other devices. It approves of the professional’s knowledge on basic networking technology and covers a wide range of networking concepts. The holder is expected to be capable of installing, operating and configuring LAN and WAN services. The certification is also considered to be a prerequisite for other advance Cisco certifications like CCNA Security, CCNA Wireless, CCNA Voice etc.
Options and Benefits
In right terms, CCNA is actually the second level of accreditation. The first level for someone pursuing the Cisco certification track is CCENT i.e., Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician.
Cisco’s path for accreditation for professionals who are following technical programs for Career Certification are as follows:
1. Entry level – CCENT
2. Associate level – CCNA
3. Professional – CCNP
4. Expert and Architect – CCIE
Aspirants are required to follow the same path for tracks for certification programs like Security, Wireless, Cloud, Voice & Collaboration etc. since; the network technology is being constantly updated on routine.
The prime benefits of pursuing this certification include providing a deep understanding of core IT concepts from an initial stage of career. It keeps the professional updated with the new industry advancements and helps them to refresh their existing technical knowledge and skills apart from looking good on resumes for gainful employment. Also, it’s the first step for someone who is preparing to a obtain higher Cisco certifications.
How to proceed?
As a networking aspirant, you have dual test options, once you decide that you want to pursue this career track.
Two separate exams: Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 | Part 2.
ICND1 v3 (#100-105) – ICND2 v3(200-105).
One single exam: CCNA combo exam | Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices: Accelerated | CCNA (200-125)
One needs to schedule a test appointment through Pearson VUE, that has authorized testing centers all over the globe and the duration for the exam is 90 min.
Test results are given instantly at once you are done with your test.
Exam Material and Preparation:
Attend a Professional course offered by various educational companies and institutions. The price of the course that you take depends on your location and the duration. These will include a lot of hands-on activities.
1. Intensive concentrated boot camps, week-long live classes.
2. Online course and Textbooks for Self Study.
As of today, no degree or certification requirement has been specified as mandatory as per Cisco. But an aspirant can consider taking Cisco Certified Entry Level Technician (CCENT) and Cisco Certified Technician ( CCT ) professional certification, to demonstrate basic knowledge for diagnosing, repairing and managing fundamental Cisco networking components.
Aspirants face different question scenarios depending on the version they opt for. A few of them are mentioned below:
a) Multiple-Choice Single Answer
b) Multiple-Choice Multiple Answer
d) Scenario-Based Testlet
e) Simulated Lab And Testlet
Cisco even provides a basic test exam training module on the site as well as the part of exam material.
The CCNA professional, once certified is valid for a period of 3 years. The professional then needs to obtain re-certification by passing another higher exam in the certification track before the expiry date of his certification. Some alternative exams have been listed below that one can opt for:
a) Currently available Associate level exam except for CCNA
b) Currently available Professional level exam CCNP
c) Currently available Cisco Specialist level exam
d) Currently available CCIE written exam