What is the CCNA entry-level online qualification?
The CCNA is an entry-level online qualification that prepares you to work in the IT sector as a network specialist, network administrator, or network engineer.
What is CCNA certification?
CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate and is an entry-level IT (information technology) certification issued by Cisco, the network equipment manufacturer.
Here is a summary of the key points.
To become a CCNA, you must pass the CCNA 200-301 exam.
The CCNA exam costs $300 plus fees.
There are no prerequisites to take the exam, but it is recommended that you have completed some training and have some experience in computer networking.
The CCNA is a highly sought-after IT qualification in the US, with over 9,000 job postings on Glassdoor and over 6,000 on Indeed (as of May 2022).
Online courses, such as Google’s IT Support Specialist certification, are a great starting point for learning a variety of IT and networking skills if you’re considering CCNA certification in Dubai.
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How much does the CCNA exam cost?
The CCNA exam costs $300 plus fees. The exam can also be purchased with Cisco Learning Credits. This is a pre-paid credit that companies can purchase that allows employees to use the Cisco platform to earn credits based on their preferences.
If you think that earning a CCNA qualification would be beneficial to your employer, consider contacting your manager to see if the company will cover the cost of the exam or exam training (or both).
How much do I have to pay for CCNA certification?
CCNA certification will help you get entry-level and advanced positions in the networking industry. Below are job titles that may be associated with CCNA certification and the average salary in the US.
All salary information is from Glassdoor as of May 2022.
Job title Salary (US average)
IT Support Specialist $53,051
Network Specialist $64,430
Network Administrator $69,243
Network Engineer $85,822
Senior network engineer $116,165
CCNA vs CompTIA Network+
Like the CCNA, the CompTIA Network+ is a certification that tests networking knowledge and is typically earned by professionals who want to improve their networking skills. There are important differences.
Unlike CCNA, CompTIA Network+ is a vendor-neutral certification. This means that it is designed to allow you to work with any networking equipment or system, regardless of its vendor; the CCNA tests you specifically on Cisco products and tools.
Many people see Network+ as a basic qualification, which is more basic than CCNA. It’s well known that CCNA covers a broader range of topics and delves deeper into networking technology than Network+ does.
Which one should you choose? Although it is a Cisco-specific qualification, many people choose the CCNA because Cisco products dominate most of the networking market. Cisco has a 47% market share in the Ethernet switch market and a 33% market share in the converged SP and business router market . Understanding Cisco products is very useful because they are widely used. Many students realize that the knowledge they have gained from learning about Cisco products can be applied to networking products from other manufacturers.
However, Network+ focuses on the basics, making it a useful qualification for those who have never been exposed to networking or for whom CCNA is too difficult or too in-depth. It is perfectly possible to specialize in Network+ and take the CCNA exam once you have gained more experience.
What other networking-related qualifications does Cisco offer?
Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) is another entry-level certification from Cisco; the CCT is designed to equip you with the skills needed to provide on-site support and maintenance of networking equipment. However, it does not delve into networking concepts, which may be one reason why it is often not as sought after as the CCNA, even for entry-level IT positions.
The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) is the next level after the CCNA, and the CCNP offers many other specializations, depending on your desired career path.
Read more: 6 networking skills for your IT career
What does the CCNA exam look like?
The CCNA 200-301 exam is 120 minutes long and is administered in both English and Japanese.
The CCNA exam is divided into the following sections.
Network Fundamentals (20%): Network components such as routers, switches, and access points; network topologies; physical interfaces and cable types; IPv4 and IPv6 configuration; IP parameters; wireless, virtualization, and switching fundamentals.
Network Access (20%): VLAN configuration and control, switch connectivity, Layer 2 Discovery Protocol and EtherChannel, Fast Spanning Tree protocol operation, Cisco wireless network architecture, AP modes, WLAN physical components, the AP and WLC management interfaces, and wireless LAN access.
IP Connectivity (25%): routing tables, routing decisions, IPv4 and IPv6 static routes, and single area OSPFv2 configuration and validation, first hop redundancy protocol.
IP Services (10%): NAT and NTP configuration and validation, description of DHCP, DNS, SNMP, and Syslog functions, par hop operation, use of SSH and TFTP/FTP.
Security Fundamentals (15%): threats and their mitigation, security concepts such as physical access control, password policies, access control lists, Layer 2 security elements, and wireless security protocols.
Automation and programmability (10%): comparison of traditional and controller-based networks, automation concepts, JSON data interpretation.
How to become CCNA certified
To obtain the CCNA certification, you must pass the CCNA 200-301 exam offered by Cisco. There are no exam requirements, but according to Cisco, CCNA candidates typically have the following experience before taking the exam
At least one year of experience using and implementing Cisco products and solutions.
Have mastered at least one or more Cisco products and services
Understand networking basics.
CCNA Courses and Training
A wide range of online courses is available to prepare you for the CCNA exam. The same in-person courses may also be available at your local community college.
Cisco offers an online course called Implementing and Managing Solutions, which prepares students to pass the CCNA exam. The course fee is USD 800.
Coursera offers a choice of computer communications specializations that provide a thorough introduction to the world of networking and individual courses that focus on specific skills, such as TCP/IP and packet-switched networking. This specialization does not explicitly prepare you for the CCNA exam, but you will learn a lot about the fundamentals of computer networking.