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Cisco CCNA Certification

What is CCNA Certification?

CCNA certification is the first step in Cisco's networking certification program. This certification lets others know that you can install, configure, and operate a small network of up to 100 nodes.

Additionally, earning a CCNA certification implies that you know a good deal about computer networking fundamentals. Much of the material covered on the CCNA exam is not specific to Cisco equipment and can be used in many different fields in both hardware and software. Topics such as the 7 layer OSI model, networking protocols, and routing protocols are only a few of the interesting areas you'll become very familiar with. In no time at all you'll understand IP, IGRP, Serial, Frame Relay, IP RIP, VLANs, RIP, Ethernet, and Access Lists.

Does it pay to get CCNA certification?

Talk to anyone in the IT industry and you're bound to get a wide range of opinions on the value of technology certification. Some industry veterans say earning a CCNA certification proves to an employee that you're motivated and committed to learning about new technologies. Opponents of CCNA certification often say that experience matters more than a sheet of paper with your name on it and that your money is best spent elsewhere.

I believe that certification can only help you in your career. Although not important by itself, CCNA certification may tip the scales in your favor when all other considerations are equal. Additionally, CCNA certification is relatively inexpensive, costing less than $100 to obtain in the United States.

CCNA Training Guide

I took the CCNA exam during the summer of 2003 while working as a software developer and researcher at Sandia National Laboratories. A group of my friends and I decided to spend our summer studying and preparing for the exam. Together we purchased a few CCNA study guides and routinely quizzed each other on the material. Training takes a lot of patience and perseverance, especially when most CCNA study guide books are 1,000 pages long!

CCNA Study Tips

  • Use the Simulator / Virtual Lab to learn how to configure Cisco networking equipment.
  • Study with a Group of Friends
  • Enroll in an online CCNA course
  • Pace your studies so you don't get burned out early or have to cram at the end. I'd recommend allocating a 4 month period of time to learn all the material before taking the exam.

Cisco Jobs

With a CCNA certification in hand finding a job gets a little easier. Of course, the CCNA is only the first step in Cisco's certification program. If the material was interesting you may want to pursue additional Cisco certification to build on the fundamentals. The next step would be the CCNP, CCDP, and finally the CCIE.

Good luck studying!

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