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CCNA Certification: Overview and Career Path [Updated 2020]

What is the CCNA certification?

If you ask someone to mention some basic IT certifications, the CCNA is likely to be on the list. The acronym stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate and is the entry point to Cisco’s certified system. The official name of the exam required for CCNA is the implementation and management of Cisco solutions.

CCNA, like almost all Cisco certifications, underwent a major overhaul in 2020. This new version requires only one exam. You will then receive a paper certifying that you are familiar with common network basics, routing and switching technologies, wide area networks (WANs) and wireless networks, security, and other related network topics. Includes programmability and automation.

The CCNA certification is managed by Cisco. The company is a network equipment vendor that manufactures a wide variety of network equipment and develops network-related standards and protocols. They have been around for some time (since 1984), have built strong brands, and are market leaders in areas such as enterprise routing and switching.

Why did Cisco combine the CCNA, CCENT, CCDA, and CCNA Security exams?

Previously, CCNA certification could be done in two ways: one complex exam or two separate exams. This new version has only one simpler and more transparent exam. On older systems, after getting basic certifications (security, design, language, wireless, etc.), you could choose different paths to advance to your area of expertise, but it was still at the CCNA level. Therefore, there were many options to choose from. At least at the Associate level, there is one curriculum and one exam. If you need a deeper understanding of a particular area, there are other paths available at the CCNP level.

Perhaps the first intention of Cisco to integrate the old exams was to make the certification path clearer and easier to choose. The second is to enable CCNA network engineers to communicate and collaborate more efficiently with developers. As technology advances, network engineers need new skills, and her new CCNA provides a strong foundation for that.

Who should earn the CCNA Certification?

According to Cisco, the CCNA credential is intended for anyone who wants to play a professional role, such as a network support engineer or network administrator. Some new topics, especially network programming and automation, will help CCNA engineers work better with software developers. Basically, if you want to pursue a career in networking, especially enterprise networking, the CCNA certification is a good move as Cisco is a leading leader in the industry.

However, CCNA certification is not just for people in the networking arena. There are examples of system administrators getting CCNA certification because they want to know more about the network on which the server runs.

NOTE: CompTIA Network + certification is vendor-neutral, making it suitable for people without a network. However, the CCNA certification also adequately covers the basics of networking.

What experience is needed to take the exam?

There are actually no prerequisites for taking the CCNA certification exam. Basically, anyone can take it anywhere. Note: There is an age limit for Cisco certification. Children under the age of 13 cannot take the exam. Teens (13 to 17 years old) can take the exam with the consent of their parents. There is no limit from the age of 18.

However, it may be helpful to have 1-2 years of networking experience before getting certified. However, if you have no networking experience and are more interested in learning from the certification than the certification itself, you will need to do more work than someone with previous networking/field experience. Fortunately, tools such as GNS3, EVE-NG, and Packet Tracer lower the barriers to entry into the networking space, giving you hands-on experience without a networking job.

How does the CCNA compare to other networking certs?

Cisco is one of the most well-known and respected companies in the IT field, especially in the networking field. The CCNA certification is about networking in general and is suitable for anyone who wants to get a degree in this area. Although specific to Cisco in some areas, it can be missed because there are not many entry-level network certifications to wait for comparison.

For completeness, let’s mention some other entry-level network certifications. The first on the list is CompTIA Network + certification, which has the advantage of being vendor-neutral. However, even if you are not using Cisco products, CCNA is a better certification than Network +. See the CompTIA website (CompTIA Network + Comparison Method section) for a comparison of several other certifications, including CCNA.

Juniper is another company running a certification program and also has several entry-level certifications. Although not completely comparable, the Juniper equivalent of CCNA is JNCIA-Junos. It sounds easier than a CCNA, but if you want to continue learning, there are more advanced certifications and a complete certification pass.

Microsoft has also obtained a basic network certification called MTA: Networking Fundamentals. As the name implies, this certification is about the basics of networking and is simpler and less topical than the CCNA. And finally, it should be mentioned that there are other certifications that are more valuable to a particular industry. For example, for large organizations in the cloud, AWS certification may be more valuable.

Is the CCNA worth the effort?

Many have asked if it is worth getting a CCNA certification. In a sense, it’s correct to think that it’s not just the certificate that matters, but the practical knowledge it reflects. Unfortunately, it’s just that someone fraudulently takes the exam and qualifies or passes the exam. You may learn about. However, this makes little sense. It’s easy to see at work that you don’t even understand the concepts behind qualifications. I have a bad leg in the first place.

As mentioned earlier, CCNA provides a very good foundation for anyone who wants to learn about computer networking. Even if you’re not primarily using Cisco equipment, you’re likely to encounter them, and in many places, you’re outnumbering them. Companies usually require some form of certification. As a result, you may only be able to meet certain positions with the appropriate industry qualifications. But even if it’s not a requirement, it’s definitely an advantage when applied. Training primarily at the Cisco Networking Academy will increase the number of CCNA-level professionals on the market, but not everyone will qualify and many will simply complete the course.

As mentioned earlier, CCNA provides a very good foundation for anyone who wants to learn about computer networking. Even if you’re not primarily using Cisco equipment, you’re likely to encounter them, and in many places, you’re outnumbering them. Companies usually require some form of certification. As a result, you may only be able to meet certain positions with the appropriate industry qualifications. But even if it’s not a requirement, it’s definitely an advantage when applied. Training primarily at the Cisco Networking Academy will increase the number of CCNA-level professionals on the market, but not everyone will qualify and many will simply complete the course. In summary, you can get the job done without a certificate, but having a certificate is definitely an advantage. Read this article on this subject to find out more.

What is the best way to train for the CCNA Certification?

The CCNA certification exam itself consists of 100-120 questions and can be completed in 120 minutes. However, at this time, the acquisition of knowledge obtained through certification cannot be measured. For knowledge, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with the technology tested in the exam. The first thing to do is to review the list of CCNA exam topics. It is divided into six sections, each section having a different number of subtopics.

You can then access the Cisco page that lists the study materials for the exam. This list can be overwhelming due to the amount of information, but a closer look reveals that many items are repeated between sections. So how do you ensure that you cover what you need for your exam? As with any exam, there are a variety of preparation methods, including self-study, face-to-face boot camps, live online training, and self-study training. Of course, the choice depends on several factors, including B. Desired learning style, available resources, location, and time.

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