Roadmap to Success: CCNA Security
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 August 9, 2016, to reflect relevant changes to the CCNA Security certification curriculum.
The field of security within the IT industry is booming! As ever greater numbers of organizations and businesses are recognizing the essential need for security professionals, the demand for team members with expertise in network security is at an all-time high.
The Cisco Certified Network Associate – Security (CCNA Security) certification is an excellent starting point for your IT security career. CCNA Security is tremendously popular among CBT Nuggets learners and highly sought after by the IT industry. This certification validates associate-level knowledge and skills needed to secure Cisco networks. Typically, the CCNA Security certification qualifies you for roles including network engineer, network administrator, network security engineer, security engineer, and more.
Cisco Certified Network Associate – Security (CCNA Security) The CCNA Security certification is designed for entry-level network security professionals. The certification is designed to affirm your skills to develop a security infrastructure, recognize threats and vulnerabilities to networks, and mitigate security threats. The CCNA Security certification is typically made up of two exams, both of which are covered by CBT Nuggets training:
Cisco CCENT/ICND1 100-105 – Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1
Cisco CCNA Security 210-260 IINS – Implementing Cisco IOS Network Security
Typically, learners pursuing this certification path should have 1-3 years of experience and some familiarity with Cisco products. However, the CCNA Security 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 Security.
Downloadable Study Plans CBT Nuggets offers two study plans that map to the Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-105 and Cisco CCNA Security 210-260 IINS courses. These downloadable Cisco CCNA Security 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 Security 210-260 IINS study plans.
Another CCNA Security Prerequisite Path While the vast majority of learners take the path above, there are other options which can qualify as prerequisites ahead of the 210-260 IINS exam and certification:
CCNA Routing & Switching (learn more about this path from our previous blog post, Roadmap to Success: CCNA Routing and Switching)
Any valid CCIE certification
Exam Details The CCNA Security certification is made up of two distinct exams. The details for each are provided below.
CCENT/ICND1 100-105 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 VUEExam cost: $150 (USD)* *Learn more about exam fees from Pearson VUEExam topics: (free resource)
Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (100-105)
210-260 IINS Time allotted for exam: 1.5 hours (90 minutes) Number of questions: 60-70 questions 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 VUEExam cost: $250 (USD)* *Learn more about exam fees from Pearson VUEExam topics: Implementing Cisco Network Security Exam (210-260) (free resource)
Recertification Cisco's Associate-level certifications, including CCNA SP, are valid for three years from the date of certification. Learners can recertify by passing any current Associate-level exam, 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 is a building block that enables learners to earn a variety of other, more advanced, certifications from Cisco. After earning the CCNA Security, most learners take the next step by earning a CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) Security or choose another CCNA specialization.
CCNP For those learners wanting to continue down the path of Security, the next step is to earn the Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) certification. The CCNP Security certification is made up of four exams, most of which are covered by CBT Nuggets training:
In addition to these courses, CBT Nuggets does offer a couple of supplemental courses to help ensure your success in pursuing the CCNP Security:
These supplemental courses are not required, but they are recommended to help learners deepen their learning and understanding of the content in order to be successful in earning their certifications.
The CCNA Security is a prerequisite to the CCNP-level of certification for security.
CCNA Options The CCNA Security is often a building block for your IT career. Once you have earned your Security certification, additional CCNA-level certifications are typically just one exam away. The most highly sought-after CCNA certifications among CBT Nuggets learners are (in order of popularity):
Routing & Switching (made up of two exams: CCENT/ICND1 100-105 and CCNA/ICND2 200-101)
Wireless (made up of two exams: CCENT/ICND1 100-105 and 200-355 WIFUND)
Data Center (made up of two exams: 640-911 DCICN and 640-916 DCICT)
Collaboration (made up of two exams: 210-060 CICD and 210-CIVND)
Beyond Cisco Certifications The CCNA Security certification is often the beginning of a career specializing in security. Many learners will choose to diversify their certification vitae/resume by pursuing certifications that fall outside the scope of Cisco products. The most popular security certifications pursued by CBT Nuggets learners include:
CompTIA Security+ SY0-401 (made up of one exam: SY0-401) (Note: Some consider the CCNA Security certification to be more advanced than the CompTIA Security+, but the Security+ is a great, vendor-neutral certification that equips learners with excellent foundational knowledge and conceptual understanding of basic security concepts, which can be quite helpful if you move outside the world of Cisco!)
White Hat Hacking
(ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (made up of one exam: (ISC)2 CISSP 2015)
Career Considerations Payscale.com/ provides a helpful salary guide to help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with the CCNA Security certification. Depending on professional experience, an employee who holds a CCNA Security certification can earn, on average, between $42,963 and $125,408. Roles that are common for those holding the CCNA Security certification include network engineer, network administrator, network security engineer, security engineer, IT manager, and more.
The CCNA Security certification meets the requirements for DOD 8750 and/or DOD 8140 baseline certifications for IAT Level I and IAT Level II, qualifying learners for Department of Defense jobs and contract work for the U.S. federal government.
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, Security, Service 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 security. It is a certification that is a launching pad for your security specialization that can equip you for high-wage and high-satisfaction roles. Your CCNA is only the beginning. So kick start your career by beginning your training for the CCNA today!
Watch. Learn. Conquer the CCNA Security!
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