CCNA Re-Certification Tips

"I've found throughout my career that the Cisco framework applies really well when you are trying to learn another vendor" ~ David Sheddan

We asked David Sheddan a few questions about how he went about preparing to get his CCNA re-certification which he passed a few months back.

1.) What books, materials did you use to refresh your memory?

"I used the Cisco Press training pack, and the command line reference guide - I've also built up a A5 book of command references throughout my career.  I work with Aruba / Alcatel Data / Riverbed & HP gear a lot (including Cisco), so I tend to ensure I have a quick script for all common tasks for each vendor - example Configure basic OSPF or Password Reset. I've found throughout my career that the Cisco framework applies really well when you are trying to learn another vendor : example, I taught myself a lot of the Alcatel ACFE Omniswitch knowledge by referencing CCNA and then hunting out the relevant knowledge from that vendors documents."

2.) Did you consider taking another Cisco exam (such as CCNA security) to automatically get a CCNA re-certification?

"I had let my CCNA & CCNP lapse.  I sat CCNA when it was in its previous incarnation (CCNA1/2/3/4), and my CCNP was version 4 (BSCI/BCMSN/IC....etc)... I felt that to effectively bring my skills up to date I wanted to start afresh and have firm foundation."

3.) What preparation did you do leading up to your CCNA re-certification? 

"I have a lab in my house, with Frame Relay simulator, 6 routers (2611xm and a couple of 28xx) 4 switches (2 x 3550 and 2 x 3560) plus a few other bits of gear.  Spent quite a bit of time on this. I read through the new books, made a ton of notes and gradually refined these down to a few sheets of paper.  I also created some brain dumps of all my knowledge and gradually distilled this down.  Ahead of the exam I hit sites like yours to keep battering loads of questions at myself, and got my collegues in my team to keep firing me questions out of books."

4.) Has the CCNA exam changed much since you last sat the exam?

"Quite a lot - but mainly for the better.  When I sat it previously there was a lot of legacy crap - ISDN and the like.  Seemed a lot more relevant and a lot more logical than last time.  I like the idea that Cisco have done to add specic add-ons at CCNA level for VOICE/WIRELESS etc.... this makes more sense and allows the CCNA itself to concetrate on the core skills: switching and routing.  I'm planning to do my CCNP then circle back round and maybe do CCNA Wireless (my Aruba background should make this quite easy I think)."
5.) Do you think having a Cisco certification on your CV or resume had boosted your job opportunities or salary?

"I'm already certified by quite a few vendors, so it wasn't really about enhancing my earnings per say, but the CCNA is useful to me as it opens up my CCNP again (which I'm aiming to get completed between now and July).  It's useful for any technical engineer to have, as most vendors rely on this as a benchmark: example: Huwaei who will let me skip the initial HCDA exam and bootcamp straight through to their Professional level exam- same for Riverbed etc."

Failed CCNA because of Subnetting?

Occasionally we get an email at Internetwork Training HQ that reads something like this...

"I just failed my ccna exam today. I'm weak at subnetting and these questions cost me the exam! Can you help??"

Our advice is, don't walk into the CCNA exam without being prepared! Subnetting is a vital skill to the network engineer and you WILL be tested on it, so make sure you understand how to subnet before you take your CCNA exam.

You need to be able to solve subnetting problems quickly under test conditions, that means no calculators or subnetting tools!

If you are struggling with subnetting, we have a great subnetting eBook that you can purchase. It comes included with our popular CCNA cheat sheet, and has plenty of examples to help you learn.

Click here to purchase the CCNA cheat sheet and subnetting eBooks.

Why a Career in Networking?

Here at Internetwork Training HQ, We often get asked why students should pursue a career in networking?

If you are a technology-minded individual who enjoys using computers and the internet, you will probably find networking a rewarding career choice.

Networking is a vital tool in information technology, without it we would not be able to connect devices together to share and communicate, we also would not have the internet! This would be like computing was in the 1970's and 1980's!

There are many jobs you can do with a networking certification such as the Cisco CCNA, many of which may also lead to management or other senior roles in IT should you be interested later in your career.

Once you get into networking and have a few years experience you can then specialize in an area of networking, such as VoIP, security or wireless, this will give you more sought after skills that will earn you higher incomes in the marketplace.

To see the variety of jobs you can do with a CCNA certification, plus the kinds of salaries for jobs in your local area please check out our CCNA job board.

What is CCNA IOS?


Cisco IOS is Cisco System's Internetwork Operating System software that powers its switches and hubs.

Think of Cisco IOS as being similar to Windows on a PC. The PC is the hardware, but you need Windows software to make the PC function.

Cisco IOS has both a command line interface (CLI) and a graphical user interface (GUI).

It is essential that you know both methods of configuring Cisco devices to pass your CCNA exam, in particular the CLI.

We have a free video for you to watch entitled "5 Ways to Learn Cisco IOS".

To get the video simply sign-up to our CCNA newsletter.

Internetwork Training Voucher Coupon

Half price voucher code

Enroll in our online CCNA Success Bootcamp today and get the whole course for HALF the usual price with this special voucher code.

The material has been fully updated to cover the new CCNA and ICND1 & ICND2 syllabuses.

You'll get over 12½ hours of video training, 30 lab walkthroughs, 13 interactive quizzes, 750 practice questions, 300 flash cards, an online router simulator, plus a CCNA cheat sheet and subnetting eBook.

To be sure of getting this offer you need to act quickly as we close the doors each month as soon as the spaces fill up.

Visit our promotional page and enter the voucher code:


Make a decision to improve your career prospects today and get CCNA certified the easy way for half price.

CCNA Virtual Lab

If you are looking for a virtual router to practice your CCNA IOS commands look no further than our online Router Simulator.

We have labs covering most types of router configuration, from basic router configuration, to using CDP, setting passwords, configuring interfaces, ACL, and routing protocols.

You can try our virtual CCNA lab for free.

If you open the labs in "Learn Mode" you'll be given detailed instructions on how to perform the task, whereas "Test Mode" will assume you know the IOS commands to complete the lab.

Start the first CCNA lab.



Both the CCNA and CCNP are part of Cisco Systems IT certification program.

There are five levels of certifications in Cisco's certification program. They start with the entry-level CCENT and progress through to the associate-level CCNA, professional-level CCNP, expert-level CCIE and finish with the Cisco Certified Architect.  The Cisco Certified Architect it is the highest level of accreditation achievable within the Cisco certification program.

There are also more specialized certifications such as the CCNA Voice, CCNP Voice, CCNA Wireless, CCDP, CCIE Security. The diagram above only shows the most common Cisco certifications at each level.

In order to begin studying for a professional-level certification such as the CCNP you need to pass the CCNA exam first, however you don't need to get the CCENT certification to take the CCNA exam. Read more about the CCENT and CCNA.



MCSE is a Microsoft IT certification. It used to stand for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), but Microsoft has since updated the certification to maintain its relevance in today's market where IT infrastructure and services are increasingly being put into the cloud. MCSE now stands for Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert and now covers on-premise and cloud-based IT solutions.

MCSE is a recognized and respected IT industry certification that has been around for 20 years. It now covers a broader set of technologies at a deeper level and places a lot of emphasis on cutting-edge technologies, all of which will be biased toward Microsoft software.


CCNA is a Cisco Systems IT certification. It stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). It is a networking qualification that validates your ability to install, configure and troubleshoot medium-sized switched and routed networks, connecting to remote sites using WAN technologies.

CCNA is a highly regarded IT networking certification which is also a stepping-stone to more advanced Cisco certifications like the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) and CCIE (Cisco Certified Network Expert).

Read more about the CCNA certification.

CCNA Syllabus

The CCNA syllabus is comprised of both the ICND1 (CCENT) syllabus and the ICND2 syllabus.

These are the topics you will need to master to pass Cisco's CCNA exam.

To learn the all the theory and configurations required to pass the CCNA exam, enroll in our online CCNA video bootcamp.

You will enjoy learning by watching videos, playing games, configuring Cisco equipment in your own lab.

When you're ready to take the exam, you can use our extensive suite of CCNA practice questions, flashcards and cheatsheet revision notes to ensure you pass first time!

Try our online CCNA video training today!