The CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) represents a beginner-level certification offered by Cisco that focuses on building a foundation in networking using Cisco technologies and products. The CCNA certification is suitable for individuals who want to build a solid, stable career in networking domain using Cisco products.

Although the CCNA certification is only a beginner-level certification, it still attracts a series of benefits for the certification holder: validates one's specific technical skills, considerably increasing the possessor's professional credibility - persons who have obtained the CCNA certification have better prospects of occupying stable job positions inside renowned, reputed IT companies.

The CCNA certification has been devised by CISCO and stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate. The certificate validates a professional�s ability to understand, configure, operate, configure and troubleshoot medium-level switched and routed networks and also includes the verification and implementation of connections via remote sites using WAN.

What You Learn Eventually

The core of CCNA certification is passing a 90-minute written test. CISCO doesn�t place any prerequisites for taking up the exam. However, there are various institutions that offer formal training to students appearing for the exam. The broad sets of topics covered under CCNA certification include:

  • WAN and LAN design
  • OSI models
  • IP addressing
  • VLAN and WLAN
  • Routers / routing protocols (includes EIGRP, RIP and OSPF)
  • Network security and management (ACL included)

Apart from the core CCNA certification, CISCO also provides specialized certifications like CCNA Voice, CCNA Wireless and CCNA Security. These recognize the individual�s specific expertise in the corresponding area of computer networking.

The onetime CCNA certification is valid for three years after which candidates need to re-establish their qualification. This is in view of the constantly changing technology and software upgrades. Furthermore, candidates can also sit for advanced CCNA exams devised for networking professionals and includes the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) and CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) certification.

All the content of CCNA is proprietary. CISCO and its learning partners also offer a wide variety of training methods and include materials published by the Cisco Press, online classrooms and webinars � collectively called the �Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices�.

To receive the CCNA certificate one must have passed either of:

  • ICND1 Exam (100-101) and the ICND2 (200-101)
  • Combined CCNA Exam (200-120)
The Advantages of being CCNA Certified
CCNA is easily one of the most valued and vouched IT certifications across the globe. Till date, more than a million candidates have taken and passed the CCNA certification and each one is well placed in his/her area of specialization. CCNA certification benefits both the employer and the employee. It is proven that the certification can bring about an enormous change in career path while acquiring valuable skills all through the way

Burst of Knowledge
While CCNA doesn�t require any set educational or professional qualification, studying for the exam will surely increase your understanding and knowledge of the core networking concepts. Even people with years of experience working in a networking position will find the training beneficial. While it is true that nothing can really replace real world experiences, books and study materials covering CCNA chapters will keep you updated with the latest advancements in the industry.

The Alphabets Count
CCNA certified professionals can demand huge incentives. The three years, during which candidates will be able to use their CCNA recognition, they can make a huge leap in their career. Many recruiters are looking for CCNA professionals for complicated networking projects.

Advancements in Your Career
Having a CCNA certification highly improves the chances of getting promotions and being placed in further responsible and paying positions. The moment you achieve the certification, you will start moving up the team hierarchy.

Money Matters
The moment bosses know that an employee has completed his CCNA certification; there are high chances that an increment is lurking close by. There are instances in which candidates have received even 100% increase and the average increase might revolve around 20% of your current salary.

A Stepping Stone
Being a highly coveted certification, CCNA is really the platform to aim for further recognition of expertise. CCNA holders are eligible for more respected certifications such as CCNA Security, CCNA Wireless and CCNA Voice and other professional certifications by Cisco. Professional colleges also allow an excess of credit for students willing to take admission for higher level studies.

CCNA certification commands an enviable respect from the employer and colleagues. This could be the way to make yourself unique among others currently in your league.

Employer Benefits
Employers give excess credit to CCNA-certified professionals in the ever increasing competition in IT structures. Employers benefit a lot from CCNA-certified professionals for winning projects.Finally, it�s your Paycheck that Speaks

As per a U.S survey report, the average increase in salary after a CCNA certification is around 20%. Depending upon other contributing factors such as work experience, workplace and additional education, one can expect anything between $30,000 and $90,000. Certified individuals certainly earn more than those without it.

Even with less than a year of professional experience but with a CCNA tagline after your name, you can demand a salary up to $30,000 annually. The 2009, survey reports by Certification Magazine suggest that the average salary of a CCNA certified professional in the U.S. is $87,790. As per Cisco Global Knowledge Salary report 2010, the number is $79,695.

Expected Job Profiles
A CCNA certificate holder can apply for the post of IT network administrator, network engineer, systems engineer, IT Manager and even an IT Director. Every position demands a different pay scale, but all of them are in the higher end of networking jobs. A Network Administrator for instance will be earning an average of $50,268 every year, for a network engineer it would be around $62,964 whereas IT Directors claim an average of $90,862. The more the seniority, the better the pay scales. Other factors that decide the salary are the country that the professional works in, the company and the school they had graduated from.

Cisco certification types
Cisco certifications are classified into the following categories, from lowest to highest difficulty:

  • Entry
  • Associate
  • Professional
  • Expert
  • Architect
Cisco Entry
Cisco Entry Certifications are meant for people just starting out as networking professionals. Here is a list of the current Cisco Entry certs:
  • Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)
  • Cisco Certified Technician (CCT)
Cisco Associate
Cisco Associate certifications are considered to be foundation-level certs. These are more advanced than the Entry certs, but are still below the Professional designations. Here is a list of the current Cisco Associate certifications:
  • Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA)
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
The CCNA certification can be earned in any of the following specializations:
  • Routing and Switching
  • Data Center
  • Security
  • Service Provider
  • Service Provider Operations
  • Video
  • Voice
  • Wireless
Cisco Professional
Cisco Professional certifications are, as the name suggests, more-advanced designations for people who have years of experience working with Cisco technologies.
Here is a list of the current Cisco Professional certs:
  • Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP)
  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
The CCNP certification can be earned in any of the following specializations:
Routing and Switching
  • Data Center
  • Security
  • Service Provider
  • Service Provider Operations
  • Voice
  • Wireless
Cisco Expert
Cisco Expert certifications are considered to be among the most advanced, and, therefore, the most valuable, networking designations in the industry. Here is a list of the current Cisco Expert certs:
  • Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE)
  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
The CCIE cert can be earned in any of the following specializations:
  • Collaboration
  • Data Center
  • Routing and Switching
  • Security
  • Service Provider
  • Service Provider Operations
  • Wireless

Cisco Architect
The Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) is the highest-level designation awarded by the Cisco cert program. A CCAr-certified professional has the skills and knowledge necessary to take a business's strategic goals and translate them into a set of customized network infrastructure specifications designed to meet these goals.

More benefits of becoming certified

The value of certification when it comes to finding employment, maximizing job compensation, and providing career advancement has been well-documented in numerous salary surveys and industry studies for over a decade. Cisco certifications like the CCNA and CCNP regularly appear in annual "most valuable certifications" lists published by industry websites. Here are two persuasive findings from recent investigations into the value of Cisco certification. From a Cisco certification study conducted by Forrester Research in 2008:

"IT decision makers rated certifications second only to four-year degrees in qualifying for positions. They rated certifications first for predicting job performance." Cisco performed a similar certification value study in 2013, and reported the following: "The research demonstrates that employers place high value upon Cisco certifications, with almost three-quarters concurring that their Cisco-certified employees are more knowledgeable and more valuable than their non-certified employees."

Cisco boot camps An hour and a half may not seem like a big deal, but if it's the 90 minutes of Cisco's 640-802 exam that grants Cisco Certified Network Associate status, you want to give it your best shot. Preparing for the CCNA test normally takes between a month and six weeks of study, but it could involve as little as five days with a third-party trainer's Cisco boot camp program. Training institutions like NetCom Learning,, Global Knowledge and others often guarantee that their students will pass Cisco certification exams, typically offering a chance to retake either the exam or the boot camp--excluding the latter's lodging and meals. A variety of curricula are available for different Cisco certs, such as 10- or 12-day camps for CCNA + Security or Voice or Wireless or the three-exam Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) program. CED Solutions offers a whopping 23-day combo CCNA, Windows 7 and Windows 2008 Server and Enterprise Administrator package.

Boot camps usually include everything but airfare and are available in locations ranging from Las Vegas to Tampa. Many camps offer genuine Cisco instruction materials. The most qualified trainers generally hold a Certified Cisco Systems Instructor (CCSI) or Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) credential. It's also vital that the trainers screen or pretest students for basic familiarity with TCP/IP, the OSI model, and other network protocols and architectures, so that newbies do not slow the camp's quick pace.

Cisco boot camps are anything but relaxing vacation times. These intensive training sessions do provide a fast way to get ready for those valuable certification exams.


Opting for a CCNA certification course will have a strong impact on your networking knowledge and qualifications. The exam establishes the fact that the candidate is prepared for a more responsible and practical position and is well prepared for real-time eventualities. In many cases, it is even mandatory for candidates to have a CCNA certification in order to apply for networking positions.

For the fact that official CCNA instructor-led training programs are very affordable, efficient and prepare students both for the certification exam and their future professions, they are the recommended choice for all existing and aspiring IT professionals who wish to build a rewarding Cisco career.

Sutchelinks offers IT training programs which are always taught by certified trainers. We offer training across multiple platforms and vendors including Microsoft training, Cisco training, Project Management, Citrix courses, NetApp, and CompTIA, and prepare students for certification exams. Upon certification, students can qualify for jobs that range from entry level positions to management positions; for those already employed in the field, these certifications can serve as a stepping stone to higher incomes and greater job security.

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