Cisco Certs



About Cisco Certifications:  Cisco® Certifications are broadly classified into three groups:

  1. Associate level
  2. Professional level
  3. Expert level

Associate Level Certs: The Associate level of Cisco Certifications begin with CCNA for network configuration & installation, security, operations & troubleshooting or CCDA for networking design. Though Cisco says that the Associate Level is the foundation level of networking certification, some certs like CCNA Security and CCNA Data Center, etc. require a lot of theoretical and applied skills to pass the exam.

CCNA may also be completed by passing two exams, via CCENT (Short for Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician) and ICND2 (Interconnecting Network Devices 2). ICND2 is so named because, in earlier days, CCENT was named as ICND1 though the name has changed afterwards to CCENT.

Topics to study vary according to the specialization. For example, topics covered on the CCNA Routing and Switching Exam include

  • OSI Model
  • LAN and WAN design
  • IP addressing and Subnetting (IPv4 and IPv6)
  • Routers and routing protocols (including RIP, OSPF, EIGRP, and BGP)
  • VLAN (virtual LAN) and WLAN (wireless LAN)
  • Network security
  • Cisco iOS commands for configuring and troubleshooting

For those interested in knowing the evolution of CCNA, the following chart explores different tracks available in Cisco Certs:

  • Entry Level: CCT
  • Associate Level:
      1. Devnet Associate
      2. CCNA
      3. CyberOps Associate

Download practice tests for CCNA Practice Exam.

Professional level certifications: The Professional level is an advanced level of certs that require more expertise in configuration and troubleshooting of enterprise networks. Just like in Associate level, there are different types of Pro level cert to meet varying demands by the Industry:

  • CCNP DevNet Professional
  • CCNP Cloud
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Routing and Switching
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Wireless

Among all the Cisco Professional level certs,  CCNP (Routing and Switching) are the most widely taken certs.

Expert level certifications: The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification is the highest level of networking certification and a CCIE certified candidate is perhaps among the most experienced network engineer and most sought after in the industry. The various flavours of CCIE are as given below:

  • CCIE Collaboration
  • CCIE Data Center
  • CCIE Routing and Switching
  • CCIE Security
  • CCIE Service Provider
  • CCIE Wireless

There is one more level of cert that Cisco had introduces, CCArc short for Cisco Certified Architect. This is the highest level of certification that one can claim in the Cisco’s certifications armour.


  1. What is the scope of CCNA R&S course?

Like any other course, CCNA (short for Cisco Certified Network Associate) has a limited and a well defined scope in the IT sector. When one wants to choose the path of pursuing CCNA certificate consider the following:

  1. That you have interest (or aptitude) to in networking technologies. For this purpose, you may read a few articles on networking and see if you are genuinely interested in networking.
  2. Like any other stream, networking engineers do have ups and downs. There are times when there seems to be not much opportunities open for network engineers and times when they are in good demand, career wise.
  3. Not every one would like to pursue Networking as a career, there are many that do CCNA to broaden their knowledge and skills. If you are interested in the same, I would say, go ahead!
  4. If one chooses to do CCNA (or Juniper JNCIA, which is an equally good cert), be aware that it’s only the beginning, and probably get you a job as a support engineer. One needs to do follow up with higher level certs to maintain the career growth. For example, after CCNA. one can do CCNP (short for Cisco Certified Network Professional), and then CCIE (it consists of a theory exam and an extensive lab test).
  5. Most importantly, your background. If you are a computer science student, B.E./B.Tech. (CSE), then you will have more options to choose, including Java, C++, web development, DBMS, scripting languages like Python/Perl, and of course networking. CCNA is more towards implementation of networks where as CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate) is towards design and architecture of networks.
  6. Finally, it takes time, effort and money to do CCNA. You may consider meeting educational Councillors and take advise regarding your career development. There are other certs like OCP JP (Oracle Certified Professional Java Programmer), MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Admin), CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer), and others.

On the other hand, if your intention is to know what topics are covered in CCNA course, given below are the broad objectives of the course:

  • 1.0 Network Fundamentals 15%
  • 2.0 LAN Switching Technologies 21%
  • 3.0 Routing Technologies 23%
  • 4.0 WAN Technologies 10%
  • 5.0 Infrastructure Services 10%
  • 6.0 Infrastructure Security 11%
  • 7.0 Infrastructure Management 10%

You may look at the detailed exam topics at Cisco official website

2. Where can I find good CCNA practice tests?

There are several vendors that provide CCNA practice tests. However, note that CCNA exam consists of not just MCQs but the following question types:

  1. Multiple Choice Questions Single Answer (MCQ SA)
  2. Multiple Choice Questions Multiple Answers (MCQ MA)
  3. Drag n Drop (both text and image based) Questions
  4. Testlets: Here a scenario is explained and you need to answers two or more questions based on the scenario.
  5. Simlets: Here you will be provided with a graphical network diagram and you would be able to query the network elements for configuration, etc. You need to answer the questions after viewing the same.
  6. Router Simulations: Here you may need to fix some network problem and save the corrected configuration. You will be provided with necessary commands (usually CLI) to answer the simulation.

Lot of vendors provide only questions based on 1, 2 and 3. Ensure that you get practice tests that provide all the above said question types. Of course, the difficulty level of questions should ideally reflect that of actual exam.

Some vendors that provide question bank include the following:

  2. CCNA Practice Tests
  3., and few others.

In addition to practice tests, it is very important to have good hands on experience in configuring routers and switches. Try packet tracer or Boson/ netsim for practice. It is always better to prepare from multiple sources to ensure success in the exam.

Q: Should I do Hardware and Networking course or CCNA first?

Hardware and Networking should take precedence over CCNA. Without knowing about networking hardware and basics of networking, it would be a bit difficult to proceed with CCNA. Another way to approach CCNA is to do networking hardware course in parallel with CCNA. There shouldn’t be much problem with simultaneous study as they complement each other giving better understanding of the subject.

If you are new to networking, it is recommended to go with CCENT and ICND2 instead of single exam (CCNA). It would be some what easy to complete two-path exams instead of CCNA exam (also known as composite exam) and the cost is almost same in both cases.

Good luck!

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Disclaimer: is not associated or affiliated with Cisco® Systems and CCNA®, CCDA®, CCNP®, CCIE® are the registered trademarks of Cisco Systems® and duly recognized.