What is CCNA and Why is it Important?
If you’re interested or working in the information technology field, you have probably heard about Cisco’s most popular certification: Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). But what is CCNA, and why is it so important?
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is Cisco’s most famous technical certification, offered by early-career networking professionals. Cisco is the world’s biggest company in the IT networking field, and CCNA certification is the first and best step towards learning network fundamentals.
- OSI Model
- Local Area Networks
- Wide Area Networks
- TCP / IP
- IP addressing and subnetting
- Virtual Local Area Networks
- Dynamic routing (OSPF, EIGRP etc.)
- Access control lists
- Network access
- IP connectivity options
- Automation and programmability
- Network topology basics
About the CCNA certification exam
The CCNA certification is a 120-minute exam that tests your skills against the topics below. These serve as basic guidelines for the information that will most likely be included in the exam. Other relevant subjects may also appear on the exam, but the following are some basics.
- Network Fundamentals
- Network Access
- IP Connectivity
- IP Services
- Security Fundamentals
- Automation and Programmability
Last Updated March 2022
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There are no prerequisites for the CCNA program. Even someone with zero prior knowledge can join this certification program.
Who can get a CCNA certification?
Since the CCNA is an entry-level certification, anyone who wants to build a career in the networking industry should consider getting a CCNA certification. The CCNA would be an ideal certification for many IT students as well.
Why do you need a CCNA certification?
The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is one of the top 15 technology certificates sought by employers, according to a Robert Half poll of more than 3,000 senior managers. Previously the CCNA also served as a prerequisite for two other Cisco certifications: Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) and Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE); however, it is no longer required.
According to many managers and directors working in the IT networking field, “having a Cisco CCNA certification shows the engineer has the aptitude for learning.” That’s a perfect starting point when you get into IT networks. The CCNA includes both fundamental information along with Cisco-specific configurations. Since Cisco is the biggest company in the networking field, it’s crucial to know how to configure and troubleshoot Cisco routers and switches. Once you are CCNA certified, you have the basic knowledge for configuration and troubleshooting Cisco devices.
How to prepare for the Cisco CCNA certification exam?
While you can consider in-class training, online courses are the most affordable, popular, and effective way to prepare for the CCNA. One of the most popular CCNA preparation courses is Udemy’s Cisco CCNA: Full Course For Networking Basics, created by Networkel and preferred by almost 25000 students.
It generally takes three to six months to prepare for the CCNA certification exam.
Although there are no formal requirements for taking the CCNA exam – or required study courses – most test takers have a year or more of experience with Cisco products and a basic understanding of networking and IP addresses. Many recommend a preparation course as well.
Top courses in Cisco CCNA
How to schedule a CCNA exam, and how much does it cost?
Cisco is partners with Pearson VUE, and you need to book your exam through the Pearson VUE Website. There are two options to take the exam. The first option is to take the exam at a registered test site, and the second is to take it at home. For details, please see the Pearson VUE web page. Currently, the cost of taking the exam is US$300.
Validity period and renewal of CCNA certification
After you are certified, it is valid for three years. Certification holders must pass the same or a higher-level Cisco exam(s) for their renewal and certification to stay in place every three years. Recertification is mainly due to the constant change in technology and Cisco updating to their latest versions.
What is the latest version of CCNA?
Cisco primarily updates its CCNA certification and other certification content every third year. As of now, the most recent version of CCNA is 200-301. This certification program teaches the latest technologies, configures Cisco routers and switches, and verifies the configuration.
How much salary can I earn after getting CCNA certified?
CCNA is one of the most important certifications for many companies that are looking to fill the following positions:
- Network Engineer
- Senior Network Specialist
- IT Support Specialist
- Cyber Security Engineer
The average network engineer salary in the USA is $86,439. A senior network engineer’s salary is US$102672, an IT support specialist’s salary is US$75,022, and a cyber security engineer’s salary is US$117,007.
What’s next after taking the CCNA certification?
According to many managers working in the IT industry, technology is developing exponentially, and networking, in particular, is undergoing a tremendous transition. As a result, networking professionals must continue to engage in their education. Once you get the CCNA certification, you will have basic networking knowledge.
Cisco also offers a variety of advanced certifications. After the CCNA, the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) is the next step. At this level, there are a few specialization options. According to surveys, the average pay for someone with a CCNP certification is US$99000, which is higher than CCNA, so it is always good to think about your next steps. First, you need to take CCNA and have established enough basic information. After completing that, it is time to think about taking the CCNP. For more information, take a look at CCNP courses on Udemy to learn more about what you can do to prepare for this next step in your exciting career.