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Roadmap to Success: CCNA Data Center

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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 June 6, 2017, to reflect relevant changes to the CCNA Data Center certification curriculum.

The Cisco Certified Network Associate Data Center (CCNA Data Center) certification is designed to meet the unique and specific needs of network administrators and data center managers. The certification focuses on data center design, equipment installation, and maintenance. Typically, job roles for which this certification is intended include network administrator, network engineer, data center administrator, and data center engineer.

Cisco Certified Networking Associate Data Center (CCNA Data Center)
The Cisco Certified Networking Associate Data Center (CCNA Data Center) certification is focused on jobs or roles that specifically work with data centers. The CCNA Data Center certification is an entry-level certification with no prerequisites. However, we recommend that learners have 1-3 years of networking and/or data center experience, as well as having trained for the CompTIA Network+ and CCNA Routing and Switching certifications, ideally having earned both certs before beginning CCNA Data Center.

The CCNA Data Center certification is made up of two exams:

  • Cisco CCNA Data Center 200-150 DCICN
  • Cisco CCNA Data Center 200-155 DCICT

Exam Details
Many of the details of the individual exams that make up the CCNA Data Center certification are shared.

Time allotted for exam: 1.5 hours (90 minutes) for each exam
Number of questions: 55-65 questions per exam
Passing score: Cisco does not publish passing scores 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: $300 (USD)* per exam
*Learn more about exam fees from Pearson VUE
Exam topics: (free resources)

Recertification
Cisco’s Associate-level certifications, including CCNA Data Center, are valid for three years from the date of certification. Learners can recertify 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
Many learners who earn their CCNA Data Center certification choose to continue to advance their careers in data center specializations, and within the Cisco universe. Therefore, many will choose to pursue the CCNP Data Center certification, made up of a total four exams (out of six possible exam options through July 23, 2017, or out of five possible exam options after exam retirements).

  • 642-999 DCUCI (last day to test: July 23, 2017. This exam will be replaced by the 300-175 DCUCI exam)
  • 642-997 DCUFI (last day to test: July 23. 2017. This exam will be replaced by the 300-165 DCII exam)

and

  • 300-170 DCVAI

and

  • 642-998 DCUCD (last day to test: July 23. 2017. This exam will be replaced by the 300-160 DCID exam)
  • 642-996 DCUFD (last day to test: July 23. 2017. This exam will be replaced by the 300-160 DCID exam)

or

  • 642-035 DCUCT (last day to test: July 23. 2017. This exam will be replaced by the 300-180 DCIT exam)
  • 642-980 DCUFT (last day to test: July 23. 2017. This exam will be replaced by the 300-180 DCIT exam)

Some learners may choose to go even further, by pursuing CCIE Data Center certification. CBT Nuggets does not currently provide training for the CCIE Data Center exams.

Some learners also may choose to diversify their certification vitae/resume by pursuing certifications that fall outside the scope of Cisco products. The most popular data center certifications pursued by CBT Nuggets learners include:

Career Considerations
Simplyhired.com provides a helpful salary guide to help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with CCNA Data Center certification. Depending on professional experience, an employee who holds a CCNA Data Center certification can earn, on average, $49,000 annually. Payscale.com reports a range of salaries for employees holding any CCNA certification that’s between $40,951 and $128,159. Roles that are common for those holding a CCNA certification include network engineer, network administrator, senior network engineer, IT manager, systems administrator, data center administrator, and data center engineer.

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 CloudCollaborationData CenterIndustrialRouting and SwitchingSecurityService Providerand 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)CloudCollaborationData CenterRouting and SwitchingSecurityService Provider, and Wireless.

Finally, learners can choose to pursue Expert-level certifications, which include Design Expert (CCDE)CollaborationData CenterRouting and SwitchingSecurityService 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
Effective data center management is critical to the success of any organization today. Developing a skill set that empowers you to advance your career, specifically in the area of data center management, will serve you well now and in the future as the industry continues to evolve. Accelerate your career with a certification and specialization that will open doors and drive you toward exciting professional opportunities!

Watch. Learn. Conquer CCNA Data Center!

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