10-10-10- (The CCNA version was updated to #640-801 in June 2003. Although this article written before then is based on the retired #640-607 exam, it still gives details of the CCNA focus.) CCNA has again been updated in 2007. There are new exams - CCNA 640-802 and CCENT. Learn More: CCNA 2007 Update
Quite a few prospective IT certification candidates have an interest in Cisco’s foundation program. This is no surprise as Cisco is a popular certification sponsor. No wonder there is quite a bit of attention paid to Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). The Exam (#640-607) replaced 640-507 as the Cisco Certified Network Associate 2.0 exam in March 2002.
What is CCNA?
But what really is CCNA? CCNA is a beginning-level program that aims to certify a solid foundation in Cisco networking. Cisco’s certification programs are about certifying the competence of Internetworking professionals in routing, switching and connectivity. CCNA requires passing only one written exam (#640-607). Once this certification has been obtained, it can be a stopping point, as you’ve become qualified in Routing and Switching (valid for three years), or can be a starting point for a Professional-level certification.
But it is important to know why you are getting certified. For instance, do you know that for CCNA, you must have a good background in networking? In fact it is meant for anyone involved in implementing or supporting networks. A CCNA professional should be able to manage simple networked and internetworked environments incorporating routers and switches. Do you have an interest in networks or Internetworking? Do you want to work in the networking field? How does CCNA fit into your career development plan?
So what does CCNA entail? There are 55 to 65 questions asked, and and a candidate has 90 minutes to answer them with a required passing score of at least 849. Possible scores range from 300 and 1,000).
How you prepare for CCNA depends largely on your current knowledge and
experience of networking. Certification preparation options include
instructor-led training, e-simulations, practical labs, practice tests,
study materials, etc.
Back to Basics
As a first step, let’s go back to networking. You must be comfortable with the technical fundamentals of networking. Practical networking means being familiar with the basics of networking. Can you describe the functions of the OSI model and explain the basic differences between a hub, switch, router, and bridge?
Fundamental networking means being able to: 1) apply fundamental data
communications and network concepts, 2) identify different types of
networks and network topologies, 3) share resources such as printers
on a network, 4) install and configure Network components, 5) identify
the differences between types of networks, 6) install and configure
networks, and 7) troubleshoot network problems with proven techniques
that are efficient and effective
Let us look into CCNA
in more detail:
Let us briefly look at what you are expected to know in each category.
Basics, IOS and Network Basics
The objectives for the CCNA exam combine basic networking knowledge with specifics for a large number of protocols. This serves to make for an exam that is knowledge-intensive. CCNA is the ideal certification for a solid foundation in Internetworking and Cisco networking. The exam tests real-world knowledge of networking and Internetworking fundamentals that any Internetworking professional worth their salt should master.
Do you know all the objectives and sub objectives for this exam? If
you are in doubt, don’t even attempt the exam. What I have highlighted
are brief introductions to the key topics to be aware of if you are
preparing for the exam. For details of the objectives, click here:
Jide Awe is the founder of Jidaw Systems, an IT Training and Certification provider that focuses on building IT Careers and publishes http://www.jidaw.com, an IT Career portal. He has extensive experience with technical IT Training, Management and Career counseling and he speaks and writes on IT Careers and IT certification.
(The CCNA version was updated to #640-801 in June 2003. Although this article written before then is based on the retired #640-607 exam, it still gives details of the CCNA focus.) Click to learn more about CCNA 640-801 Exam Tips and Preparation
CCNA has been updated in 2007. There are new exams - CCNA 640-802 and CCENT. Learn More: CCNA 2007 Update
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Macauley Okoro, our CCNA student who passed his CCNA exams in flying colours! "I must appreciate the effort, skill, rapport of the lecturer Mr. Tunde. He has a mastery of the course. He is a GURU in his field."
Akinyemi Awodunmila, A+ and CCNA Certified with Jidaw. According to Akinyemi, his reason for attending Cisco training at Jidaw is: "To be able to configure a router and switch and confidently sit for the CCNA." He has achieved his objectives with Jidaw.
During his A+ training at Jidaw, "I was satisfied with Hardware, Networking, Printers, OS and Installation with practicals."