So you want to be a CCNA. Thankfully, in order to do so, there’s no college requirement to do so, only a rigorous bout of training and then a combination of exams in order to make that dream of CCNA certification in Chicago come true. All it takes is the drive and persistence to complete training and then a few exams.
What Does CCNA Stand For?
CCNA is the acronym meaning Cisco-Certified Network Associate, but has recently been changed to CCNA Routing & Switching as a general certification term in recent years. This certification can only be given out by Cisco as its tests and the materials within are proprietary in nature.
But what is the CCNA certification? In its simplest explanation, the CCNA is a certification that lets others know that the individual has the qualified ability to install, troubleshoot, configure, operate, and secure digital networks up to a certain size. They are essentially the creator of IT networks spanning across the globe once given the go-ahead by Cisco.
Who Can Be a CCNA?
The short answer is that, while the CCNA certification can be specifically geared towards Network Specialists, Administrators, and Support Engineers (with 1-3 years of experience), anyone can be a CCNA. The certification requires no formal education and no former undergraduate degrees, but absolutely requires a computer knowledge that many people don’t have. If one does not have this level of experience, one can still achieve entry-level certification as a CCENT, or Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician. If you’re one of these people, then the CCNA may be the perfect certification for you.
Are There Different Shades of CCNA?
There are several different routes a CCNA can go depending upon their interests or skill levels. Much like a basic major during undergrad at a university, all the CCNA exams are specified by their track, tailoring your education to your specific field of choice within the CCNA:
- CCDA (for design specialization)
- Routing & Switching
- Service Provider
- Data Center
- Service Provider Operations
In order to earn your CCNA designation, you must pass one combination of these exams:
- CCDA – ICND1 & DESGN
- Routing & Switching – ICND1 & ICND2
- Service Provider – SPNGN1 & SPNGN2
- Video – VIVND & ICOMM
- Wireless – ICND1 & IUWNE
- Data Center – DCICN & DCICT
- Security – ICND1 & IINS
- Service Provider Operations – ICND1 & SSPO
- Voice – ICND1 & ICOMM
The exams themselves are multiple choice and take from not only the training classes, but the materials passed out in those classes as well. A single exam takes about an hour and a half to complete, with the number of questions being anywhere from 45-80 questions long
What to Look for in a Training Class
- Authorized by Cisco
- The instructors are qualified and know the material they’re teaching
- The instructors also have real-world experience to impart upon the class
- A wide variety of classes that help you stay on track with your particular CCNA route
- Avoid classes that are only taught via video or over the internet. In-person is best.
Like most other things in life, it’s also important to make sure you don’t simply choose the cheapest class as you may not get the quality training required. Check reviews of training sessions online to get a better idea of which program may suit both you and your wallet well. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s good or will do anything for you. Be wary when seeking out your CCNA certification in Chicago so that you don’t end up taking a subpar training class. You’ll simply end up wasting your money and may possibly remain empty-handed with no CCNA certification to show for your time or effort.
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