The biggest news about Cisco’s CCNA–Cisco Certified Network Associate– certification program is that it underwent a complete overhaul in June 2007. Cisco realized that what is happening in the real world of IT networking systems needs to be addressed by networking experts with state of the art level of preparedness, so they scrapped their four-day qualification CCNA qualification course for an initial five-day lCND1, or Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices 1 curriculum, which will qualify those who pass the course exam as CCENTs, or Cisco Certified Entry-level Network Technicians.
And as of August, 2007, if you want to qualify for the CCNA certification, you’ll have to first qualify as a CCENT and then pass the ICDN exam. Cisco prepares candidates for the ICND exams with another far more intensive five-day course. What Cisco has essentially done is extend the earlier four-day CCNA certification course into a two level, 10-day curriculum.
But if you qualify as CCNA, any employer seeing the certification on your resume can rest assured that they are getting an individual with the best available foundation in Cisco Network management. In looking for new CCNA certification training, you’ll should try to find a aprogram which will let you spend half your class time getting hands-on lab experience to help you understand security issues, the basics of wireless technology, and general problem solving skills.
When you’re done, you’ll be able to build, run, and maintain the security of a one hundred node network from the ground up. You will be eligible for employment as a technician in a network operating center, and will have solid knowledge of authentication, load balancing, and addressing protocols. You’ll also have a basic handle on more complicated issues like VPN solutions.
Your internationally-accepted CCNA certification will give you access to employment opportunities around the globe, and is required if you wish to receive further certifications from Cisco. It also looks great on a resume even if you have advanced degrees in IT or computer science fields, because it is a sign of your commitment to keep your working knowledge up to date. CCNA certification is good for three years, after which you’ll have to pass another exam to be re-certified.
Because most information technologies have a shelf life of abut two years, doing the necessary training to keep your CCNA certification current will ensure that you are equipped to handle all the networking security and operational challenges that are sure to come your way.
While the Internet offers plenty of free aids on how to prepare for the CCNA exam, the recent changes in the CCNA course requirements may mean that some of them are now inadequate. Many CCNA training courses offer nothing more than CDs with overviews of the book knowledge you’ll need to get certified, but your best chances for success are in taking a course which allows you hands-on experience working with Cisco routers and switches. There are also many traditional colleges and universities around the world offering the Cisco Academy Program.
When you think you are ready to test for CCNA certification, you can take the INTRO and ICND exams separately for $100 each, or a combined CCNA exam for $125; there are over 4000 uthorized Pearson VUE Cisco testing centers worldwide and you can locate o n in your area with the Cisco website’s Test Center Locator.