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Roadmap to Success: CCNA Routing and Switching

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Roadmap to Success is a series of posts designed to help learners better understand certification pathways, career opportunities associated with those certifications, and next steps beyond certification.

UPDATED: We updated this article on July 27, 2016, to reflect relevant changes to the CCNA Routing and Switching certification curriculum.

The CCNA Routing and Switching is an excellent starting point for your IT career. The CCNA R&S is extraordinarily popular among CBT Nuggets learners and highly sought after by the IT industry. This certification validates your ability to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot medium-size routed and switched networks. Typically, the CCNA R&S qualifies you for roles including network technician, network engineer, systems administrator, and more.

Cisco Certified Network Associate – Routing and Switching (CCNA R&S)
The Cisco Certified Network Associate – Routing and Switching (CCNA R&S) certification is designed for entry-level networking professionals. The CCNA R&S certification is made up of two exams, both of which are covered by CBT Nuggets training:

In order to earn your CCNA R&S, you must complete the ICND1 exam first, which results in the Cisco Certified Entry level Network Technician (CCENT) certification. The ICND1 exam tests your knowledge and skills to successfully install, operate, and troubleshoot a small branch office network, including topics like the operation of IP data networks, LAN switching technologies, IPv6, IP routing technologies, IP services (DHCP, NAT, ACLs), network device security, and basic troubleshooting.

The second exam for the CCNA R&S is the ICND2 which tests your knowledge and skills to successfully install, operate, and troubleshoot a small to medium-size enterprise branch network, including topics on LAN switching technologies, IP routing technologies, IP services (FHRP, syslog, SNMP v2 and v3), troubleshooting, and WAN technologies.

Downloadable Study Plans
CBT Nuggets offers two study plans that map to Jeremy Cioara‘s Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-105 and Cisco CCNA ICND2 200-105 courses. These downloadable Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching study plans break down the courses and supplemental learning resources to equip learners with a strategic and manageable approach to conquer training goals. Download the Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-105 and Cisco CCNA ICND2 200-105 study plans.

Another CCNA R&S Path
While the vast majority of learners choose to take Parts 1 and 2 of the certification exam in succession, you do have the option of attacking both parts in just one exam: the CCNA Composite Exam, or the CCNAX 200-125. Though CBT Nuggets does not offer coursework specifically addressing the CCNAX, the content of the exam is made up of the same material addressed in the ICND1 and ICND2 courses. The CCNAX is not any more difficult than the ICND1 or ICND2 exams, but due to the volume of information learners must master to be successful, most choose to earn the certification in two parts.

Typically, learners pursuing this certification path should have 1-3 years of experience and some familiarity with Cisco products. However, the CCNA R&S is considered an entry-level certification, so learners new to the industry can start here if they are motivated and ready to study! Get started by reviewing the CBT Nuggets playlist for the CCNA.

Included in the playlist you will find several supplemental courses to help ensure your success in pursuing the CCNA R&S:

*Please note that the Exam Walkthrough courses are aligned with the v2.0 ICND1 and ICND2 exams. CBT Nuggets plans to develop new Exam Walkthrough courses aligned with the v3.0 exams soon. However, we included these walkthrough courses because they continue to be useful for learners as they prepare for their certification exams.

These supplemental courses are recommended to help learners deepen their learning and understanding of the content in order to be successful in earning certification.

Exam Details
The CCNA Routing and Switching certification is made up of two distinct exams. The details for each are provided below.

CCENT/ICND1
Time allotted for exam: 1.5 hours (90 minutes)
Number of questions: 45-55 questions per exam
Passing score: Cisco does not publish the passing score for its exams
Question types: Multiple choice/single answer; Multiple choice/multiple answer; Drag and drop; Fill-in-the-blank; Simulation; Testlet; Simlet
Exam registration: Pearson VUE
Exam cost: $150 (USD)*
*Learn more about exam fees from Pearson VUE
Exam topics: (free resource)

CCNA/ICND2
Time allotted for exam: 75 minutes
Number of questions: 50-60 questions per exam
Passing score: Cisco does not publish the passing score for its exams
Question types: Multiple choice/single answer; Multiple choice/multiple answer; Drag and drop; Fill-in-the-blank; Simulation; Testlet; Simlet
Exam registration: Pearson VUE
Exam cost: $150 (USD)*
*Learn more about exam fees from Pearson VUE
Exam topics: (free resource)

Recertification
Cisco’s Associate-level certifications, including CCNA R&S, are valid for three years from the date of certification. Learners can re-certify by passing any Cisco 642-XXX or 300-XXX exam, any CCIE written exam, CCDE written or practical exam, or the CCAr interview and the CCAr board review.

The Next Step
The CCNA R&S is a building block that enables learners to earn a variety of other, more advanced, certifications from Cisco. After earning the CCNA R&S, most learners take the next step by earning a CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) R&S, or choose another CCNA specialization.

CCNP
For those learners wanting to continue down the path of Routing and Switching, the next step is to earn the Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) certification. The CCNP R&S certification is made up of three exams, all of which are covered by CBT Nuggets training:

The CCNA is a prerequisite to any CCNP-level certification.

CCNA Options
The CCNA R&S is often a building block for your IT career. Once you have earned your Routing and Switching certification, additional CCNA-level certifications are typically just one exam away. Among CBT Nuggets learners who have earned the CCNA R&S, the most highly sought-after CCNA certifications are (in order of popularity):

  1. CCNA Security (made up of just one exam: 210-260 IINS)
  2. CCNA Wireless (made up of just one exam: 200-355 WIFUND)
  3. CCNA Data Center (made up of two exams: 640-911 DCICN and 640-916 DCICT)
  4. CCNA Collaboration (made up of two exams: 210-060 CICD and 210-065 CIVND [broken into two CBT Nuggets courses: 210-065 CIVND1 and 210-065 CIVND2])

Career Considerations
Payscale.com provides a helpful salary guide to help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with the CCNA. Depending on professional experience, an employee who holds a CCNA can earn anywhere between $40,643 and $124,889. Roles that are common for those holding the CCNA Routing and Switching certification include network engineer, network technician, network administrator, IT manager, systems administrator, and more.

Cisco Certifications
Cisco certifications are layered, with each layer building upon the knowledge and skills developed at previous layers — structurally designed as a pyramid. The layers are Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect. Associate-level certifications include Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Industrial, Routing and Switching, SecurityService Provider, and Wireless.

Once a learner has earned an Associate-level certification, they are eligible to pursue Cisco Certified Network Professional-level certifications. Cisco offers a variety of Professional-level certifications, including Design Professional (CCDP), Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Routing and Switching, Security, Service Provider, and Wireless.

Finally, learners can choose to pursue Expert-level certifications, which include Design Expert (CCDE)Collaboration, Data Center, Routing and Switching, Security, Service Provider, and Wireless.

Cisco provides an excellent certification overview that succinctly outlines each certification, its prerequisites, and related careers.

Begin exploring other Cisco certification options for which CBT Nuggets provides training to open up even more professional development opportunities.

Concluding Thoughts
Earning a CCNA is one of the first steps to launching a long-term, growth-oriented career in IT networking. It is a certification that prepares learners to begin choosing areas of specialization that can equip them for high-wage and high-satisfaction roles. Your CCNA is only the beginning. So kickstart your career by beginning your training for the CCNA today!

Watch. Learn. Conquer the CCNA!

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CBT Nuggets has everything you need to learn new IT skills and advance your career — unlimited video training and Transcender® Practice Exams, Virtual Labs, validated learning with in-video Quizzes, Accountability Coaching, and access to our exclusive community of IT professionals.

Learn more about the CBT Nuggets Learning Experience.

 

Not a CBT Nuggets subscriber? Start your free week now.

CBT Nuggets has everything you need to learn new IT skills and advance your career — unlimited video training and Practice Exams, Virtual Labs, validated learning with in-video Quizzes, Accountability Coaching, and access to our exclusive community of IT professionals.

Learn more about the CBT Nuggets Learning Experience.

 

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