We sometimes get asked, "What's the difference between Microsoft and Cisco certifications?"
To quickly summarize:
Microsoft certifications are about managing computers and servers, working with operating systems, potentially opening the boxes and working with hardware, and definitely a lot of application and other software installation, troubleshooting, and upgrading. There are some major specializations, such as Exchange, SQL Server, or SharePoint.
Cisco certifications are networking-based, that's subnetting, routing, switching, working with networking devices and managing traffic. The focus isn't on servers or end-users, but on the underlying networks and the technologies that make data flow over the wire. You'll also see things like voice, wireless, and storage networking, which are all fairly specialized. All of the fundamentals of routing and switching are covered in the CCNA certification.
We received this email last week about the CCNA exam simulation questions.
"Earlier this month, I actually decided to take the test. Needless to say, I didn't pass for a simple reason.... The simulations were a bit confusing. I pretty much had to skip all of them. I do know how to configure switches and routers, but for some reason I just couldn't wrap my head around the simulations; they were much different than I assumed. What everything came down to in the end was really the troubleshooting (which I'm working on being as much familiar with it as possible now that I know it was a weak point). All in all, I feel that I will have a chance on passing it next go around. If ever your training goes back down to 99 dollars, I may consider that route, but for now I will continue my studies that way I have been."
A lot of students fall into this trap. They learn the theory and a little bit of troubleshooting, but they have no idea what the CCNA exam will be like when they go to the testing center.
Luckily Cisco have a little known demo which shows you what types of questions you will encounter on the exam and lets you try them out. Once you are familiar with the different types of exam questions, you'll be much more confident going into the exam.
Go to the Cisco Exam demo
We often get asked the question "How do I set up my CCNA lab?".
Your CCNA lab setup will change depending what exercises you are working on.
For example: If you are building an EIGRP lab, you will need a completely different configuration to a lab designed for Router-On-A-Stick.
Luckily our CCNA Bootcamp explains all the kit you will require in your CCNA lab, and during the course you will discover how to setup your lab for certain exercises.
Getting hands-on lab practice is important, but sometimes it isn't practical to build your own lab, so we will explain alternatives you can use such as lab simulators.
You'll learn about the different cable types, connectors and devices, how to connect and configure them, and then how to troubleshoot the setup. You will also learn all the syllabus required to take and pass the Cisco CCNA exam.
So what are you waiting for? Enroll in our online CCNA Bootcamp today and begin your journey into the world of computer networking.
If you are unsure about the CCNA or you want to try our training course enter your name and email address on our homepage to begin your free trial.
See you in class soon!
While you could attempt to pass the CCNA exam without any practice configuring and troubleshooting labs, we do not advise it. The CCNA is not an easy exam, especially if you are unprepared.
The CCNA syllabus covers a lot of practical skills along side the theory behind it, and the exam is designed to test your knowledge of this.
There are different ways you can get this practical experience, and we've put together a video explaining your options.
The video is part of the free trial of our online CCNA Success Bootcamp. To begin your free trial simply submit your name and email on our homepage.
We often get asked the question "Do you offer classroom training in my area?"
Unfortunately we only offer online training courses. This helps keep our costs down and enables us to keep the training fees low for you.
Some people prefer working from home at their own pace, while other people like to study with other students and be have direct access to an instructor.
You should be able to find training companies offering CCNA training in your local area, but I guarantee they will be far more expensive than a distance learning course such as our online CCNA Bootcamp.
Decide what is best for you, and if you have any questions regarding our CCNA Bootcamp training, please contact us.
We've received lots of questions concerning the changes Cisco is making to the CCNA exam and syllabus, so we thought we'd post answers to the most common queries.
What changes are Cisco making to the CCNA?
Cisco has made some changes to Associate-level certifications and also renamed the CCNA certification to CCNA Routing and Switching certification.
The CCNA certification has changed from a foundation certification to a concentration certification.
How is the CCNA Routing and Switching different from the current CCNA?
CCNA Routing and Switching is the same certification as the CCNA, however the syllabuses for ICND1, ICND2 and CCNA Composite have been changed to keep up with technology advancements and job roles.
Are the CCNA Routing and Switching exams changing?
Yes, the exams are changing due to the new syllabuses. The current CCNA/CCENT/ICND2 exams will be retired on September 30, 2013.
How are the new exams harder than the current versions?
Yes, Cisco has taken topics from the ICND2 and included them in the ICND1 exam, such as OSPF, NAT, IPv6 and VLSM subnetting, making the CCENT certification a much tougher assignment.
The new ICND2 exam will include some topics from the CCNP such as multi-area OSPF, OSPF3, Sysylog, Netflow and EtherChannel. This really makes the CCNA Routing and Switching certificate a hard-to-get cert.
Can I mix and match the current exams with newer exams to achieve CCNA Routing and Switching?
Yes, you can mix current ICND1 exam with newer ICND2 exam or vice versa. However, note that several topics have been added to the new ICND1 and ICND2 syllabus. So if you take the new versions of these exams then you need to be prepared to answer questions on the new topics.
What has changed between the current ICND1, ICND2, and CCNA Composite exams and the newer versions of these exams?
To ensure the certifications are up-to-date with current technology, some older topics have been removed from the syllabus and several new topics have been added.
If you take the new versions of these exams then you need to be prepared to answer questions on the new topics.
What new topics are in the new CCNA Routing and Switching exam?
- SNMP v1 and V2
- NTP (Network Time Protocol)
- More emphasis on IPv6
- High availability via FHRP
- Be able to troubleshooting everything!
Have I wasted my time learning the current CCNA?
No, the fundamentals of networking do not change, the new exams include some new topics and some have been removed, but the bulk of the syllabus will remain unchanged.
I bought a training package from your company recently, is it up-to-date?
Yes. So as long as you take your exams by 30 September 2013 and pass you will be CCNA certified. Your goal should be to pass by 30 September 2013, which gives you 6 months. We will update our training materials for the new syllabus in due course should you need to sit the new exam.
Should I stop my studies and wait to study the new version?
We advise you to continue studying and aim to take the exam before 30 September 2013. If you wait for the new version you will only delay your career. You'll probably have to start studying from the beginning again, and the new exam will be tougher than the current version.
Is the ICND2 exam required to achieve the CCNA Wireless, CCNA Voice, or CCNA Security certifications?
No. From March 26, 2013, you will only need to pass the ICND2 exam to achieve the CCNA Routing and Switching. You will only need to have a valid CCENT as a prerequisite for CCNA Wireless, CCNA Voice, or CCNA Security certifications.
Is the ICND2 exam required to achieve the CCDA certification?
No. From October 1, 2013, you will only need to have a valid CCENT, or CCNA Routing and Switching or any CCIE certification as a prerequisite.
My CCNA expires within 12 months, what should I do?
We strongly recommend you to recertify before the end of September 2013 before the current exams are retired, otherwise you will need to learn the new syllabus and take the new CCNA Routing and Switching exam.
What are the recertification requirements for the new CCNA Routing and Switching?
The CCNA Routing and Switching certification is valid for three years, then you will need to recertify just like the current CCNA.
Cisco have just announced that they will be retiring the current version of CCNA and CCENT/ICND2 exams at the end of September 2013. Read the full press release over on the Cisco website.
The new exams will be A LOT harder than the current versions, and this means you only have until 30th September 2013 to study and pass your CCNA before the exam syllabus changes, your CCNA certification will then last you 3 years as usual.
Here are a few things that will be included in the new exam...
- IOS v15 commands
- IPv6 configuration
- 802.1x security
- Advanced troubleshooting scenarios
Devices that run Cisco IOS v15 are very expensive at the moment so setting up a home lab probably won't be an option from October 2013 until the foreseeable future.
Also, no study guides or study materials will exist for the new exams for quite a while yet, so if you've been thinking about getting your CCNA, this is really your LAST OPPORTUNITY before things become a whole lot harder and more expensive for you.
Over the next few weeks and months we will be updating our training ready for the new exam, but we strongly advise you to begin your CCNA studies as soon as possible.
We often get emails thanking us for helping them learn networking, but they go on to explain, for one reason or another, they aren't going to sit the exam.
I think this is a big shame, and most people will regret this decision. I know most people hate sitting exams, Cisco exams are also expensive. However having the CCNA certificate and being able to put it on your CV/resumé, and business card proves that you know your stuff to potential employers and clients.
You've already done the hard part, which is learning networking fundamentals, Cisco equipment, you've probably configured routers and switches and done your fair share of troubleshooting, so why not sit the exam and be rewarded for all that hard work?
Once you get that CCNA you need to show it off, advertise the fact that you are a computer networking guru! Add it to your LinkedIn, SkillPage, Elance pages so that potential employers and clients can find you and hire you.
Go tell the world you're a CCNA!
(Exam center image courtesy of mocvdleung)