CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate and is Cisco’s core certification for networking professionals.

CCNA is a commonly required prerequisite for associate level network jobs such as network engineers, network administrators, network support technicians, and help desk technicians. Previously, there were 10 CCNA concentrations specific to cloud, collaboration, security, data centers, wireless, and other areas. Then, in February 2020, Cisco integrated all of the core network certifications into one comprehensive one. CCNA Certified ..

Why do you need a CCNA?

According to Robert Half Survey, the CCNA is one of the top 15 technology certifications that companies seek from more than 3,000 senior executives. It also serves as the starting point for the other two Cisco entries on the on-demand IT certification list: Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) and Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE).

Rob Parsons, director of integrated network security practices, based in Tempeh, Ariz., Said: Insight, a consulting firm that regularly hires networking professionals.

That doesn’t mean applicants without CCNA will never be considered, he says.

“We measure personal benefit,” Parsons explains. “If they have work experience but are not qualified, sometimes we will see unqualified people, but we are a large consultancy and we consult on the ground. When you are, the client wants to see the qualifications behind the individual. “

He adds that the CCNA is just a starting point. “A lot of the people I hire on a team are pretty high-level people. Almost all of them have CCNPs, ”he says. CCNP is the next certification after CCNA. “But that could have been the first certification when CCNA launched.”

What you need to get started with CCNA

There are no formal prerequisites for obtaining CCNA certification. However, according to Cisco, CCNA candidates often have more than a year of experience implementing and managing Cisco solutions and have basic knowledge of IP addressing. According to Cisco, the CCNA certification is designed to test your personal skills and knowledge of networking basics, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security basics, automation and security. programming.

“I was exposed to it for the first time as a high school student in the late 90s,” explains Jon Gorenflo, an instructor in a cybersecurity research and training organization. SANS Institute He is also the founder and chief consultant of Fundamental Security. “I had the opportunity to attend Cisco Academy as a student pilot during the research room. It really laid the foundation for the rest of my career. “

What he learned for the CCNA exam was as valuable as the college course he took later. “Or more precious,” adds Gorenflo. “Understanding how a network actually works is not only a basic knowledge, but also a practical skill that can be applied on the job. “

He also says that while some things are specific to Cisco hardware, most of the knowledge is common to all vendors. “The way Cisco routers are configured may be slightly different from how other vendors are configured,” says Gorenflo. “But once you understand the technology behind it, you just learn someone else’s command set and apply the same concept.”

What does the CCNA cover?

CCNA covers three main topics: networking, security and automation.

Cisco is common. Guidelines for content that may be included in the CCNA exam. Questions about network basics may require candidates to explain the roles and functions of network components and the characteristics of different network topology architectures. Candidates may need to configure and validate VLANs or configure wireless LAN access components for client connections to demonstrate an understanding of network access.

The section on security basics includes questions such as: Definition of key security concepts. Configure device access control using a local password. Configure Layer 2 security features such as DHCP snooping, dynamic ARP inspection, and port security. Configuration and validation of the access control list.

To demonstrate knowledge of automation and programming, candidates should be able to compare traditional networks, for example, with networks based on controllers. Questions can explain the characteristics of REST-based APIs and ask candidates to recognize the capabilities of the Puppet, Chef, and Ansible configuration management mechanisms.

How Much Does a CCNA Certified Person Make?

According to Payscale Average Salary For those with a CCNA, that’s $ 80,206.

When do people typically get a CCNA?

Tech professionals can earn a CCNA at any point in their careers, Goreflo explains. They may still be in college, recently graduated, have started a career, or have worked in other technical fields, and are interested in switching to networking. “I don’t think there is a bad time,” he said. It helps someone enter a career, change careers, or accelerate their career progression, he says.

How are you preparing for the CCNA?

According to Insight’s Parsons, preparing for a CCNA exam can take anywhere from one to six months, depending on your level of experience and the intensity with which someone is studying.

He says there is also an intensive boot camp for those who are already working in space and have professional knowledge, so for those who are 50% to 75% of the way up to this point. “A typical training camp lasts a week,” Parsons explains. “But if someone is starting from scratch, they will probably have to find a longer program.”

For those who prefer the self-study route, Cisco offers official study materials in the Cisco Press Online Store. For example, there is a “31 Days To The CCNA Exam: A Daily Review Guide for the CCNA 200-301 Certification Exam” that costs $ 40 ($ 26 for the ebook version).

Cisco also has Exam Exam OnlineThere are approximately 300 questions and 15 lab exercises, which cost $ 79.

Cisco’s Official Course was also taught both face-to-face and virtually, instructor-led, titled “Implementing and Managing Cisco Solutions”. The cost is $ 800. This course includes 5 days of classroom instruction and 3 days of self-study, or the equivalent. According to Cisco, the only prerequisites for this course are basic computer skills, basic internet skills, and basic knowledge of IP addresses.

Training courses and learning materials are also available from hundreds of non-Cisco companies. For example, Udemy is now a CCNA practice test for $ 30. And at your own pace, the highly rated Udemy CCNA course costs just $ 20. of 120,000 people and has an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 17,000.

There are no official prerequisites for taking the CCNA exam (or the study course), but in general, candidates typically have over a year of experience with Cisco products and the basic ideas behind. networking and IP addresses. I understand.

Cisco offers a few to see if you’re ready. Free practical questions.

How to take the exam and how much does it cost?

CCNA tests are managed by the Pearson testing company. The CCNA exam It is called “CCNA 200-301” and costs $ 300. The tests are supervised and can be performed directly, physically or online.

What’s the next step after getting a CCNA?

Technology is evolving at a breakneck pace, and networks in particular are undergoing a major transformation, says Carl Fugate, who heads North American enterprise architects for cloud and Capgemini’s Edge Center of Excellence. “Market tools and platforms are fundamentally changing the way we think about porting and managing networks,” he says.

This means that networking professionals must continually invest in learning. For example, Fugate said he had a CCNA early in his career, but today that is not enough. “Networking today is so widespread that we have to specialize in a particular area. “

Cisco offers a number of high level certifications.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) comes after CCNA. There are several discipline options at this level, including CCNP Enterprise, CCNP Security, CCNP Data Center, CCNP Collaboration, and CCNP Service Provider. Prior to 2020, there were eight different certifications at this level, but last year Cisco incorporated the CCDP, CCNP Routing and Switching, and CCNP Wireless certifications into a single CCNP enterprise certification.

The · Average salary of CCNP certified people According to Payscale, it is $ 96,552, or about $ 15,000 more than CCNA certification alone.

After CCNP is the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). There are six areas of expertise here: CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure, CCIE Enterprise Wireless, CCIE Collaboration, CCIE Data Center, CCIE Security, and CCIE Service Provider.

This is essentially the same set of certifications as before 2020, except that CCIE Routing and Switching has become the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure and CCIE Wireless has become CCIE Enterprise Wireless.

The average salary of CCIE certified people According to Payscale, it is $ 128,410.

What are the CCNA alternatives?

Competing vendors also offer their own network certifications. Juniper Networks offers Certified Internet Specialists (JNCIS) For example, certification and VMware offers 5 certified trucks This relates to data center virtualization, network virtualization, cloud management and automation, workstations and mobility, and digital workspaces. There are also vendor independent certificates like the CompTIA Network + certificate.

According to Fugate, experts should also consider cloud certification. Most of the major cloud providers offer cloud certification for their platforms. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional and Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect are two popular examples.

“The move to the cloud requires more networking expertise than ever before,” says Fugate.

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