CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) is a popular certification in computer networking developed by Cisco Systems. All other Cisco certification requires CCNA as foundation knowledge. In a nutshell CCNA certification validates the persons ability to plan, install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot small to medium-size routed and switched networks, including implementation and verification of connections to remote sites in a WAN.
The average salary of the CCNA professional in 2011 was £37,000 of course, salary ranges differ with years of experience, the company itself and city of work. All companies from corporations to small business are now totally reliant on the computer systems and networks which support them, so its no surprise that CCNA professionals have been reported to have great future career prospects, rewarding opportunities and are considered greats assets for any organization. The most common job titles held by CCNA professionals are network engineer, systems administrator, senior network engineer, network operations, consulting systems engineer, systems engineer and IT engineer.
Certification is achieved by passing a computer based exam which is run by VUE and can be taken worldwide and conducted in English, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Korean, French, and Portuguese languages. In the UK there are about 60 testing centres so you are never that far away from one. CCNA certification can be either taken as one combined exam 640-802 and costs 124. Alternatively you can take the more modular approach by taking two separate exams ICND1 640-822 and ICND2 640-816 exams. Total cost 124 (62 each). Whichever path you take all the exams are about 45 questions (the actual number varies, even for the same exam) over 90 minutes. So if you take the combined exam you get a total of 45 questions over 90 minutes all done but if you opt for the combined exam path then over the two exams you will face 90 odd questions over a total of 3 hours BUT only have to recall half the information at any one time. If the more modular path is taken passing the ICND1 (640-822) grants CCENT certification (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician). Cisco changes the passing score for the exams but you can recon its about 85%. At the end of the exam you are advised if you have passed or failed and score sheet breaks down your scores into the different subjects.
How you prepare for CCNA depends largely on your current knowledge and experience of networking. Certification preparation options include self-study which is probably the hardest, with no support and coming home after a days work to then open the books to start work again! Not only does this method take the longest it is also the least successful. Alternatively, instructor led training provides the easiest and quickest route to acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills whilst our cisco360 program ensures customers are fully supported, every step of the way.
Separate from the core CCNA certification (Routing and Switching), Cisco also provides different CCNA certifications called CCNA Security, CCNA Voice and CCNA Wireless which are designed to recognize speciality in those respective areas of basic computer networking. The CCNA remains valid for three years. To maintain your CCNA certification you can either take the CCNA exams again or take any other Cisco exam. Ciscos logic for this is to demonstrate that you are still active and learning within the field of networking. Cisco also offers more advanced certifications for networking professionals beyond CCNA, such as CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)