Certifications can prove invaluable for technology professionals, especially in today’s oversaturated market. Having industry recognised qualifications like the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) can make the difference of getting or not getting selected for interview. A qualification makes it easy for hiring managers to see what you can do and if on your CV, make you more likely to be picked out by recruiters. Sure, there is no substitute for actual skill and experience, but whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned Cisco expert it is definitely worth getting a CCNA qualification.
What or Who are Cisco?
Cisco is an industry renowned provider of networking solutions including hardware such as routers and modems and software such as network security systems. Many companies from SME’s up to big multi-nationals have Cisco products in place and as a result are looking for individuals to support, implement and manage these networks. More often or not these companies will be looking for someone with a CCNA.
How do I become a CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)?
Being a CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) means that you have been certified by industry leader Cisco in managing, maintaining, securing and implementing their networking solutions to a high standard. In order to gain this qualification (valid for 3 years) you need to take two exams “Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices – Part 1” and “Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices- Part 2” both provided by Pearson Education and available at many local test centres across the UK. If you are already an expert in Cisco you might be ready to go and take the exam straight away, however it is recommend that you sign up with a recommended course provider and/or buy and digest suitable self study materials, as the exams are difficult and expensive and it is worth ensuring that you have the best chance of passing.
Who Can Take the CCNA?
The CCNA qualification is available throughout the UK and is available to both seasoned professionals and new entrants into IT. However most CCNA courses both classroom and home study assume basic understanding of the following:
- Basic computer literacy
- Basic Microsoft Windows navigation skills
- Basic Internet usage skills
- Basic e-mail usage skills
The exam itself requires a strong understanding of Cisco products and networking which you can learn by working through self-study material or partaking in a classroom-based course. Individual course providers can advise on how much prior experience you need for each of their courses, to ensure you get content appropriate to your level of expertise.
Where Do I Get Started?
The best place to find out more is the Cisco website where you can get full information about all the qualifications and products on offer. A Google search will be able to tell you about local course providers and you can find a wealth of information and help from other CCNA’s and Cisco veterans through online forums and blogs. The advantage of the CCNA being such a well recognised and in-demand qualification is that there is lots of information out there about the course and CISCO that if you get stuck, help will be available at the tip of your fingers.
Robert Norris writes for Exam Certify which is known for its reliable certifications material for Cisco certifications such as CCNA, CCNP, CCIE and many others.