Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a highly sought after certification developed by Cisco Systems and recognised across the globe. Since the entry-level program launched in 1998, it’s developed a reputation as a must have certification to stand out from the crowd. This is because it effectively acknowledges a candidate’s ability to configure and install small to medium-sized networks.
What’s great about CCNA is that it doesn’t ask you to bring any prior experience or qualifications to the table. For the aspiring network professional this could provide a springboard into a potentially lucrative career.
At the start of 2017, PayScale.com took the average yearly salary of 8,137 the CCNA professionals and found that average wages ranged from $39,195 to $118,830, depending on location and experience. An interesting fact according to these stats is that women who have taken the CCNA 200-125 exam typically earn a higher salary then men, despite making up 6% of the CCNA certified workforce.
There are clear benefits to gaining the CCNA certification, don’t expect it to come easy. Whether a newbie or an experienced pro, the CCNA is a tough-as-nails exam to pass. The exam covers a huge range of topics, which are considered the base level knowledge of a network professional. Once passed, associates are then expected to keep up their knowledge and re certify every three years.
Tips for Cisco CCNA 200-125 exam prep!
The best tip I can give for getting through the exam is to know your stuff.The exam dumps might give you the answers but they don’t guarantee that those questions will pop up in the exam. This is because questions on exam day are taken from a huge question bank – so big that two people might be sat in a room taking the same exam, but might have completely different questions.Also, if you’re thinking long term career prospects, it’ll be more beneficial to have an understanding of the technical issues you’ll be dealing with, rather than just the ability to memorise answers on a sheet.So if your plan is to rely solely on exam dumps, my advice is don’t throw away your hard earned cash. Go back to the drawing board, know your stuff and thank me later.
To achieve this, go for a complete study approach. You’ll need a textbook for your core learning (yes, you’ll need to hit the books to pass!) I would recommend the CCNA Routing and Switching Complete Study Guide from Sybex as a great place to start. The book is written by Todd Lammie who is highly regarded in the CCNA community. His skill is to take the ultra-technical dialogue and mould it into something that is easy to understand. Covering 100% of all CCNA exams, it prepares you for the end of practice chapter, flash cards and video. Thus, this great book is endorsed by many training centres as the best way for students to get through the exam.
To consolidate your learning with video tutorials (there are plenty of free YouTube tutorials out there if you don’t want to pay), the prepaway.com website offers a number of paid video courses to prepare you for the CCNA exam. Pitched at beginner level, you can get hours of learning at a very reasonable rate. With many courses rated the full five stars by its students, it’s worth checking out.
Next try to practice exam questions and identify your weaknesses. There are numerous websites out there that offer free CCNA 200-125 practice exams to help you prepare. After you’ve identified your knowledge gaps, go back to the books and video tutorials focusing on the issues until you feel confident enough to give the practice exams another shot.
Visual stimulation techniques such as flash cards, games,etc. can also help with this process.There are a number of other great resources available for you to achieve your aims. If like me you lead a busy life and need the ability to study on the go, then check out the CCNA study apps available for your smart phone or tablet. These specialise in practice exams, study resources and much more.
Be sure to check the user ratings first though before you make a purchase, whilst not always 100% they’ll often give you an indication of the app’s quality, which is vital especially if you’ve only got a limited amount of time before your exam.
This complete study method builds on the theory that if one style of teaching doesn’t sink in, another just might. Talking from experience, this method has worked for me on numerous occasions.
Aim for a study routine of at least 2 hours per day, especially in the month leading up to the exam. This should be sufficient for you to get good base level knowledge and boost your confidence walking into the exam room.
If candidates want to get Cisco certifications, there is a whole family of the CCNA certs open to them. These include Associate level certifications in –
- Cloud– enables you to gain skills essential in carrying out entry-level support of Cisco cloud solutions.
- Collaboration– for IP network engineers, network video engineers and IP telephony.
- Cyber Ops– uncovers cyber security breaches and learns how to respond to security incidents
- Data Centre– learns the skills required to become a data centre infrastructure pro.
- Industrial–for candidates involves in the convergence of Industrial and IT networks.
- Routing and Switching– the best place to start for network engineers.
- Security – for those wishing to develop a security infrastructure.
- Service Provider – for service provider network engineers.
- Wireless – supporting, troubleshooting, configuring and maintaining Cisco wireless networks.
- CCDA – shows you have the ability to develop a Cisco converged network.
If this all sounds daunting, remember that plenty of people have been in your position before and passed. Avoid the shortcuts and put in the time and effort and trust me you’ll achieve your goals. CCNA 200-125 is without doubt a difficult exam to pass, but a worthy qualification to hold.The CCNA certifications could open up the door to the next stage in your career.