Specialist certifications are also available which demonstrate your expertise in a particular technology area. They are commonly attained by passing an exam on the way to one of the more widely recognised certifications shown above.
What is meant by CCNA is the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) qualification. It is an ‘associate’ level certification offered by Cisco for individuals who are wanting to start or enhance their career in the field of IT networking.
Passing the CCNA 200-301 exam shows you have the core knowledge and hand-on skills required to work as a network administrator. The test covers established networking fundamentals as well as cutting edge technologies including the latest security, automation, and programmability.
There are no prerequisites for the CCNA 200-301 exam but Cisco recommend the following:
One or more years of experience implementing and administering Cisco solutions
Knowledge of basic IP addressing
A good understanding of network fundamentals
Many complete beginners have however studied for and passed the CCNA exam, helping them to launch their careers in networking. You should have basic knowledge of how to operate a computer and use the Internet, but previous networking knowledge and experience is not required – it is covered in the exam and you will learn it during your training.
It is not required to pass the CCT certification before taking the CCNA exam. I recommend bypassing the CCT and going straight for the CCNA as it is a much more recognised and valuable qualification.
The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA 200-301) exam is 120 minutes long and costs $300 USD.
How to Register for and Take the CCNA Exam
The exam is taken at Prometric Vue test centers which are located worldwide, there is very likely a test center near your location. Testing is available year round and you can take the exam at a time and location which is convenient for you.
Here’s a short video showing the test taking process on the day of your exam:
The CCNA certificate has a validity of 3 years. The Cisco website lists three ways you can apply for recertification, you should perform one to renew your CCNA before it expires:
Take next level certifications.
Before the validity expiration of the certificate, you must pass any associate exam in order to retain your CCNA certification.
You can also take and pass advanced level certifications such as professional concentration exam, technology core exam, or the CCIE lab exam.
Use continuing education credits.
30 CE credits are required in order to recertify the CCNA certification. CE credits can be earned by completing learning activities and earning continuing education points within the three-year validity period.
A combination of both.
You can also recertify by taking a combination of exam and by earning continuing education points.
Is the CCNA worth it? The importance of the CCNA to your IT career
Yes the CCNA is worth it! It is a valued and widely recognized Cisco certification. But why is getting a Cisco CCNA certification important?
Passing the CCNA exam and getting certified proves that you are knowledgeable and you possess the skill set required in the fundamentals of networking.
The certification validates your knowledge and skills which assures employers. It establishes trust that you understand modern networks and can configure and troubleshoot them. It shows that you are capable of effectively working as a network engineer.
CCNA brings assurance not only to your employer, but to you and your teammates. It boosts your confidence in doing your job.
Certified employees are seen as valued assets. Proving that you can learn the fundamentals of networking shows that you can easily adapt and develop new skills.
CCNA certification greatly increases your job opportunities. There is a much greater chance that you will get hired compared to those who don’t have certifications.
Getting certified can also be used as basis for promotion and salary increase.
What is the average CCNA salary?
According to glassdoor.com, the average CCNA salary in the United States is $72,000 USD.
It’s not just me saying it though. The course has the highest review ratings of any CCNA course online, with an average review score of 4.7 from over 10,000 public student reviews.
The course is suitable for both beginners and experienced network engineers, and is the one training course you need to learn everything for the CCNA. It features:
Over 35 hours of HD video tutorials
300 pages of configuration lab exercises with setup instructions to run on your laptop for free
An additional 150 pages of bonus troubleshooting labs
Quizzes at the end of every section to check your understanding
Course slides in an easy to review format
It’s an online CCNA course so you can study in your own time and your enrolment never expires. (This type of online CCNA training is often called CBT ‘Computer Based Training’ or VOD ‘Video on Demand’.)
You can also learn the technologies covered on the CCNA exam by downloading my free CCNA Lab Guide. This CCNA PDF contains comprehensive lab exercises with full solutions covering everything on the latest Cisco CCNA 200-301 exam, and includes step-by-step instructions to run the labs for free on your laptop.
The CCNA has a reputation as having a high failure rate among people taking the exam for the first time. This isn’t because they don’t have the knowledge required, but because the format and wording of the questions can be tricky if you haven’t seen those type of questions before.
AlphaPrep are an official partner with Cisco Press and Prometric (who run the exam). The questions were written in partnership so they are incredibly similar to what you will see on the real test, but unlike a braindump they are officially endorsed.
The practice tests mimic the real exam experience, with exactly the same difficulty level. This is different to the other practice exams available today which are too easy and trick you into a false sense of confidence.
The system tracks your progress and machine learning adapts the test engine to your previous performance.
Detailed feedback is provided on your strong areas and where you need to improve.
An overall score level is shown which tells you exactly how prepared you are for the exam. Once you have reached level 7 (which requires passing several tests) you know you are ready to take the exam.
The system is proven to have a precise level of accuracy in telling you when you will pass the exam. This means you will pass on the first attempt and not have to spend an additional $300 to resit the exam, take time off work and get to the test center again. Taking the practice tests saves you time and money.
In this Cisco CCNA tutorial, you’ll learn about how Spanning Tree works. Spanning Tree is an industry-standard protocol, which is enabled by default on all vendors’ switches. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial. How the Spanning Tree Works Video Tutorial Broadcast sto...
In this Cisco CCNA tutorial, you’ll learn about ARP, what the Address Resolution Protocol is, how it works, and what are the commands to be used. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial. ARP – The Address Resolution Protocol Video Tutorial OSI Reference Model – Encapsulati...
In this Cisco CCNA tutorial, you’ll learn about manipulating the Spanning Tree Root Bridge Election. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial. The Spanning Tree Root Bridge Election on Cisco Switches Video Tutorial The Root Bridge Election Since Spanning Tree selects paths point...
In this Cisco CCNA tutorial, you’ll learn about the different Spanning Tree versions. There have been a few different versions over time, which have improved on the previous versions. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial. Cisco STP Spanning Tree Versions Video Tutorial When I was f...
In this Cisco CCNA tutorial, you’ll learn about the Spanning Tree terminology of bridges. This is going to just be a short lecture and I wanted to cover this before we get into the details of how Spanning Tree works. Scroll down to see the video and also text tutorial. Cisco Spanning Tree Term...
In this Cisco CCNA tutorial, you will learn about the commands on how to configure a router to become a DNS Client. The reason you would do this is if you want the router itself to be able to resolve FQDN. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial. DNS on Cisco Routers Video […]...
In this Cisco CCNA tutorial, we’re going to verify all of the subnetting information that we’ve covered so far by working through a subnetting practice question. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorials. Subnetting Practice Questions Video Tutorial The question is, what are the netw...
In this Cisco CCNA tutorial, we’re going to carry on with our subnetting theme and by the end of the tutorial, you will be able to carry out a variable length subnet mask design for real-world network topology. Scroll down for the video and text tutorial. VLSM Variable Length Subnet Mas...