Cisco Systems offer three levels of certification:
It has six different paths:
- Routing & Switching
- Network Security
- Service Provider
- Storage Networking
While in focused areas, network professionals can enhance their core networking knowledge by achieving specialist certification in technologies such as security, IP telephony, and wireless.
The first step in general Cisco Career Certifications begins either with CCENT as an interim step to Associate level, or directly with CCNA for network operations or CCDA for network design.
Why become a CCNA?
The CCNA program was created to provide a solid introduction not only to the Cisco Internetwork Operating System (IOS) and Cisco hardware, but also to internetworking in general. Ok, I will try to explain the first level only which is Associate. The CCNA certification was the first in the new line of Cisco certifications, and was the precursor to all current Cisco certifications.
How do you become a CCNA?
There are 2 ways:
- Pass either 640-801 CCNA exam or 640-802 CCNA exam.
- Pass both 640-821 INTRO & 640-811 ICND or 640-822 ICND1 & 640-816 ICND2
New Exam questions have been updated to validate the skills necessary to implement today’s small to medium-sized branch networks, and include new topics, such as network address translation and IPv6, basic security controls, and basic WLAN concepts. A full list of exam topics is provided at www.cisco.com/go/ccna. The new exams also feature more performance-based questions, to better assess candidate competency.
Cisco has created another certification track for network designers in Associate level. The two certifications within this track are the CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate). To achieve this, we must pass the Design exam (640-861). To pass this test, you must
understand how to do the following:
- Design simple routed LAN, routed WAN, and switched LAN and ATM LANE networks.
- Use Network-layer addressing.
- Filter with access lists.
- Use and propagate VLAN.
- Size networks.
To achieve the entry-level CCENT certification we must pass the ICND1 640-822 exam. Taking the INTRO 640-821 exam will not qualify us for the CCENT certification.
CCNA certifications are valid for three years. To recertify, either pass the current CCNA exam, or pass the ICND2 exam, or pass any 642 professional level.
To pass the exam, we should have trainings or study from book like Study Guide books published by Sybex or Cisco Press. There are 3 ways to be prepared for CCNA
- Exam Preparation 640-801 CCNA or 640-802 CCNA
- Exam Preparation 640-821 INTRO & 640-811 ICND or 640-822 ICND1 & 640-816 ICND2
- CNAP-CCNA (Cisco Networking Academy Program), this is a CCNA Courses 1 through 4 of the Academy program, equivalent to 280 hours of instruction, provide students with a basic foundation in networking. Students who successfully complete this portion of the program are eligible to earn Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA™) certification. The first four courses are available at the secondary and post-secondary levels. This Networking Academy covers the knowledge in networking starting from Networking Basics, Routers & Routing Basics, Switching Basics & Intermediate Routing until WAN Technologies. Cisco recommends taking the CCNA exam after completing these courses of the CCNA curriculum.