WHAT IS CCNA: What Is It, Courses & How to Get Certified

What Is CCNA?
Image Credit: NIL Learning

Getting a CCNA certification shows that you know how to install, configure, and also fix problems on a network. To do this, you must pass the CCNA course. This is because it proves that you are conversant with the basics of information technology. One of the amazing things about getting this certification is that it opens you up to a whole new career path and diverse job opportunities. In a nutshell, it tells the world and potential employers that you are competent.  CCNA specialists work on the technical end of the IT services industry, ensuring the proper operation of network devices like routers, switches, and firewalls, which are essential to the success of organizations throughout the world. Let’s get on with what it is, how it operates, how to get prepare for the exam, the books available, and everything that will help you get certified with CCNA.

What Is CCNA?

CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate. It’s a renowned certification program put together by the most well-known company that makes and also sells networking equipment “Cisco”. It is a certification for people who are new to the field of information technology (IT). Cisco Systems, a company that makes networking hardware, made it. Gaining this certification will increase your knowledge in several areas. The following are some of these areas;

  • WLAN
  • Network utilities (ping, arp)
  • TCP/IP model
  • VLANs and trunking
  • Automation and programmability
  • Switches and routers
  • NAT and ACLs
  • IP addressing and subnetting
  • Routing protocols such as OSPF

What Is CCNA Course?

The CCNA covers everything you need to know as a beginner in networking and information technology. You may find a wide variety of online resources to help you study for the exam. You might also see whether your local community college offers any in-person classes that accomplish the same thing.

However, there is an online course provided by Cisco called Implementing and Administering Solutions that is geared toward helping students succeed on their certification exams. The price of this training program is $800

Preparing For The Exam

Preparing for the Cisco Certified Network Associate examination demands time, intense study, and attention because one must get at least 80 to 85 percent to pass the exam. Therefore, there’s a need to prepare adequately for your examination. The following are some of the ways you can prepare yourself for the exam:

#1. Attend a CCNA Course 

The first means of preparing for your Cisco Certified Network Associate exam is by attending a course. Several organizations and establishments of higher learning provide Cisco training. A typical course like this takes a few months and is quite hands-on. Depending on your area, courses might be extremely pricey (up to $1,000).

#2. Self-Study With Textbooks and Online Courses 

Another great way to prepare for your Cisco Certified Network Associate exam is through self-study and online courses. Self-study has also been proven to be a good way to prepare for the exam. High-quality online resources and simulators like GNS3 and Packet Tracer make it possible to get an education in networking without having to shell out cash for actual hardware. According to study-CCNA, many people shop online at retailers like Amazon and eBay for Cisco Certified Network Associate kits that will allow them to practice with actual hardware.

#3. Concentrated Boot Camps 

Boot camps are yet another great way of preparing for your certification exam. These are live classes that last a week or so and are so intense that they can cover several months’ worth of information in only a few days. However, it’s best for those who wish to renew their certification, not for beginners.

What Are CCNA Certification Questions Like?

If you are wondering what CCNA exam questions look like, we’ve got you covered. The CCNA exam questions are divided into seven sections; however, Cisco has reserved the right to change the exam topic guidelines at any time without notice.

#1. Multiple Choice Single Answer 

In this section, all it requires is a single answer. This simply means every question requires just one single answer from the objectives.

#2. Multiple Choice Multiple Answers

Here, you are required to choose multiple answers.

#3. CCNA Fill in the Blank

Here, you’ll be required to type in your answer because objectives or options are not available. This simply means you’ll have to type in the correct answer

#4. Testlet 

In this section, you’ll be given a description based on descriptions, and you’ll have to provide answers to these questions. 

#5. CCNA Drag and Drop Questions

This section requires you to drag and drop items into the proper categories:

#6. CCNA Simulated Lab (SIM) Questions

Here, you’ll be faced with a lab scenario where you’ll have to access and configure the devices. Generally, CCNA-simulated lab questions require you to fix problems by reconfiguring the devices

#7. CCNA Simlet QUestions

This section combines SIM and testlet questions. Candidates will get a network topology and a lab scenario, and they can access the devices. There will be multiple-choice questions based on the information contained in the scenario.

certification is an excellent first step toward a networking profession. Your job prospects will improve greatly after earning your certification. Getting the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification opens many doors in terms of pay and career options.

What is the CCNA Certification?

Over the years, Cisco has proven to be the market leader when it comes to providing IT network equipment that is both developed and produced in-house. This is evidenced in the certification program that they run, the Cisco Certified Network Associate. The team has the highest market share in terms of IT vendors and can be found across the globe. Anyone who is certified by the Cisco Certified Network Associate stands a better chance of getting available jobs than one without the certification.  

What is CCNA’s Salary?

On average, a Cisco Certified Network Associate certificate holder earns about $42.80 on an hourly basis and about $89,020 every year

Is CCNA Good For Beginners?

Of course, it is. If you are just starting in the cyber security, IT, or computer networking industries, you should consider getting your Cisco Certified Network Associate certification, even if you are a beginner. It is recommended that beginners who have access to the Cisco Certified Network Associate curriculum through their place of employment get this certification.

Is CCNA Difficult?

Since it’s more complex, we can technically say yes, it is hard. The Cisco Certified Network Associate certification test is demanding and difficult. During the exam, the students will be asked to show how well they know how to use Cisco equipment to build a network. It places a premium on practical skills like configuring Cisco gear and solving real-world networking problems. The main focus of the exam’s many sections is on data packet switching and routing.

How Long Do I Need to Study For The CCNA?

I think close to 26 weeks is more than enough even if you are a beginner.

Is There Math in CCNA?

The CCNA certification course involves a lot of math because it involves a lot of data analysis. Students in CCNA Exploration will need to know about binary math and algorithms. CCNA Discovery students, on the other hand, will not need to know about these things, and the curriculum will include extra explanations or resources like a binary calculator.

The goal of the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification is to show that you know the basics of networking, which are usually required for entry-level IT jobs.

CCNA Books

If you are yet to get your CCNA certification, you’ll have to prepare for the exam. Several CCNA books will help you. The following are some of these books;

#1. CCNA Practical Studies (640-607)

First, on our list of Cisco Certified Network Associate books is CCNA Practical Studies (640-607). The CCNA Practical Studies book (640-607) is ideal for both the 640-607 and 640-801 CCNA exams; this Cisco Certified Network Associate Practical Studies book is a must-have. This book has lab exercises to help you practice the networking skills you’ll need for the exam. There are more than 500 pages of courses and materials on the exam syllabus in this Practical Studies. This book is a complete resource for learning how to set up a lab with remote access.

#2. CCNA Preparation Library (640-801)

Next on our list of CCNA books is the Cisco Certified Network AssociateCisco Certified Network Associate Preparation Library (640–801). This is the official Cisco study guide for the exam. Moreover, most people think it’s the best CCNA study guide out there. According to https://www.simplilearn.com, this collection includes the first and second parts of Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices, which are fundamental study guides for the certification test. Part 1 of Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices is all about setting up a basic network, setting up an Ethernet LAN, setting up a wireless LAN, setting up a LAN/WAN connection, and managing the overall network environment. Part 2 of Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices builds on what was learned in Part 1, and it also explains what router and switch output is.

#3. Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide (640-802)

Third on our list is the Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide (640-802), which is also a very good way to prepare for the exam. This set has four full CCNA practice exams and a lot of information on all the important topics related to Cisco network devices. Trust me, it’s a must-have for beginners and virtually everyone. A lot of people use this book by Todd Lammle to study for the CCNA certification exam because it has a lot of full-length practice questions. 

#4. CCNA Exam Certification Guide (640-607)

The least on our list of CCNA books is the CCNA Exam Certification Guide (640-607). The CCNA Exam Certification Guide, Third Edition, got high marks from the people who used it because it was well-organized and ready for the CCNA exam. This CCNA study guide goes over how to divide a network with routers, switches, and bridges; how to use and set up a catalyst; the stateless trunking protocol (STP); and virtual local area networks (VLANs).

How to Get CCNA Certification

Regarding being CCNA certified, there are no prerequisites for the exam, although according to Cisco, most CCNA candidates have the following experience:

  • First is gaining expertise with Cisco products and solutions, with at least a year of experience using and deploying them
  • The second is being competent in IP addressing fundamentals
  • The last is the ability to understand the foundations of a network. 

Then, one must pass CCNA-related tests to be certified. You can sign up for the tests either through Cisco or through a CCNA training partner such as Simplilearn.

Pearson Vue is the official testing partner, so if you want to get your CCNA certification, you have to take a test through them. The test slots are limited and are booked on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s best to sign up at least two days in advance of the date you intend to take the test. You can either register over the phone or online. Registration requires payment for the exams. Arriving at the testing center 45 minutes early is strongly encouraged. A candidate needs an 80% or higher on all tests to be CCNA certified.


The CCNA certification expires every three years, so if you want to keep your certification active after its expiration date, you’ll need to take and pass one of the following tests: 

  • CCNA exam again
  • Any one professional concentration exam
  • One technology core exam
  • One CCIE lab exam

Achieving 30 hours of continuing education (CE) credits will also allow you to recertify. CEs can be earned by attending Cisco Live training sessions or by finishing online training courses.


Once you can get the CCNA certification after passing the exam and completing the course, it opens up a new career path for you. There are several jobs available for anyone with CCNA certification; however, there’s a need to focus on learning enough about networking to pass the exam and get certified as a CCNA. This will set you on a roller coaster of jobs and a new career path. Just in case you are certified and thinking of where to get CCNA jobs, check the following platforms;

  • Upwork
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • ZipRecruiter 
  • Fiverr and so on


  1. simplilearn.com
  2. www.coursera.org/
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like
5 Ways to Avoid Life Insurance Claim Rejection
Read More

5 Ways to Avoid Life Insurance Claim Rejection

Table of Contents Hide Ensure Your Policy Is in ForceProvide Accurate Information in Your ApplicationKeep Your Policy UpdatedReport…