Cisco certifications have been created to testify IT professionals having the skills required to set up, deploy, maintain and troubleshoot Cisco products. With nine different specializations namely Routing & Switching, Security, Design, Service Provider, Data Center, Service Provider Operations, Voice, Video and Wireless at five levels namely Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect.
Cisco certifications are ever changing, adapting and upgrading to new technological advancements making them dynamic and impactful. Cisco keeps popping up with updates on its certifications such as in the year 2013, Cisco declared updating its certification programs such that they would align with validated training curriculum and growing industry job roles. Cisco examination content is proprietary where a number of study options are made available for preparing, under the hood of ‘Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices’ such as Cisco Press books, real-time classroom and online classroom courses.
As an associate level certification, the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certifies a professional’s capability and skills to configure, install, implement, operate, verify and troubleshoot routed and switched networks of medium size. It is an entry level certification and has no prerequisites for eligibility. The core Cisco certification is the CCNA Routing & Switching certification which entails earning a qualifying score in the Cisco #200-120 exam or a joint passing score in two exams conducted by the ‘Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices’ – ICND1 #100-101 and ICND2 #200-101. Note here that the passing scores keep changing and therefore Cisco doesn’t publish qualifying scores. The same applies with their questionnaires too where it’s not disclosed since they are subject to change.
However, the study topics and guidelines are duly mentioned and can be referred to from the Cisco Learning Network or through CCNA training courses. For instance the CCNA #200-120 exam or the CCNA Routing & Switching exam includes tops such as connecting to a WAN, network types, implementing network security, network media, the TCP/IP and OSI models, routing and switching fundamentals, IP addressing, operating and configuring IOS devices, WAN technologies, extending switched networks with VLANs, managing IP traffic with access lists, determining IP routes, establishing Frame Relay connections and establishing point-to-point connections.
Besides the core CCNA Routing & Switching certification, Cisco also provides CCNA certifications for areas like Security, Voice and Wireless. Higher or advanced levels of Cisco Networking certifications are also offered, namely the Cisco certified Network Professional (CCNP) and Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). CCNA trainings can be availed from all Cisco training partners who have been authorized to conduct CCNA trainings in the form of courseware, mock tests, boot camps and simulation tests. All Cisco certifications come with a life span or a validity of three years post which they need to be re-certified else they are not considered.
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