Certifications; a key to making a change

Certifications; a key to making a change

As part of my transition into networking and cyber security I have been navigating a path to achieve Cisco’s CCNA Routing & Switching Certification1 but why should I go for this Cisco Certification?

Cisco Systems was founded by a couple of Stanford University computer scientists in the mid 1980’s and have through innovation and acquisition grown into a company with a market value of approximately $200 billion. It specialises in networking equipment, security, collaboration, applications and the cloud and is responsible for creating some of the protocols or standards that keep the internet running (These can be found in the RFC’s – Request for Comments2) Requests for Comments are where the standards and protocols of the internet are set out. These documents are written by industry professionals including computer scientists at university’s or engineers at vendors like Juniper Networks or Cisco Systems.

Whilst pursuing a vendor’s certification whether that is Cisco, Juniper or Microsoft there naturally will be a bias towards their hardware and software products. On the other hand, these companies will have a library of books3, classes, videos, online labs and other courseware which is created for their certification programs and this is done in conjunction with education companies and testing centres.

What is the CCNA? CCNA is the acronym for Cisco Certified Network Associate. The CCNA I want to be certified in and is the most popular version of the CCNA is Routing and Switching. Cisco call the it an associate level certification and can be achieved currently by taking an exam 200-125 CCNA or it can be accomplished by taking firstly 100-105 ICND1 Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 which also gives you the CCENT certification and then the 200-105 ICND2 exam.

The syllabus broadly incorporates a candidate’s knowledge and skills related to routing and switching in the following areas:

  • Network fundamentals
  • LAN switching technologies
  • Routing technologies
  • Infrastructure services
  • Infrastructure maintenance
  • LAN switching technologies
  • IPv4 and IPv6 routing technologies
  • WAN technologies

There are other presently variants to the CCNA certification and include the following:

  • CCNA Cloud
  • CCNA Collaboration
  • CCNA Data Centre
  • CCNA Industrial
  • CCNA Routing and Switching
  • CCNA Security
  • CCNA Service Provider
  • CCNA Wireless

These are exams are going to be retired along with the CCNA R&S and are to be replaced with an all-in-one4 CCNA in February 2020 achieved by taking the 200-301 CCNA exam5. So, I’ll be studying hard to get the R&S before then.

By taking this certification from an established vendor with many years of investment and research into the industry I should learn the foundational technologies that run the internet and that will underline the knowledge for a career in networking for years to come. This grounding should help me be more adept at attacking technical and business problems and to to reach solutions. The CCNA is a credible program and is recognised by industry peers and is versatile in that it opens forays into other areas of information technology, and it gives a candidate “hire-ability” as employers are more likely to seek an applicant with this qualification.

1 https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications.html

2 https://tools.ietf.org/html/

3 http://www.ciscopress.com/

4 https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/training-events/certifications/associate/ccna-at-a-glance.pdf

5 https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/certifications/ccna-cert/ccna-exam

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