Roadmap to Success: Citrix NetScaler (CCA-N)
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.
Given the popularity of products like XenApp, XenDesktop, and NetScaler, the need for IT professionals who are adept with these products and their functionality is high. IT professionals seeking opportunities related to XenApp, XenDesktop, and/or NetScaler pursue the Citrix Certified Associate Networking (CCA-N) certification. Roles typically affiliated with the CCA-N include network administrator, network engineer, systems administrator, sales/system engineer, and Citrix administrator.
Citrix Certified Associate Networking (CCA-N)
The Citrix Certified Associate Networking (CCA-N) certification is designed to validate the knowledge and skills needed to administer enterprise environments consisting of NetScaler Gateway for secure remote access to desktops, applications and data. Citrix NetScaler is a multifunctional appliance that can perform as a Layer 4-7 proxy for load balancing, as well as an SSL VPN gateway (or both). Environments that include Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop are likely to use a NetScaler as their remote access and load balancing solution.
The CCA-N is made up of one exam, which is covered by CBT Nuggets:
Though there are no formal prerequisites for the CCA-N, it is an intermediate-level certification for which learners should have a basic knowledge of:
The OSI model;
Networking (including application and network protocols, devices, and commonly used tools);
Network management and auditing protocols;
Basic routing and Layer 2 switching concepts; and
XenDesktop, XenApp, XenMobile web servers, and file servers.
Learners should have 1-3 years of experience working in networking and/or experience working directly with Citrix products prior to attempting the CCA-N.
Exam Details Exam 1Y0-253 Time allotted for exams: 130 minutes Number of questions: 65 Question types: Multiple choice; drag and drop; simulation; decision tree Passing score: 64% Exam registration: Pearson Vue Exam cost: $200 (USD) Exam prep guide: Citrix provides a free exam preparation guide that addresses all the exam topics:
CCA-N certifications are valid for three years from the date of certification. To recertify, learners must pass the most current version of the exam.
The Next Step
For many learners pursuing the CCA-N, the natural next step is Citrix's Certified Professional Networking (CCP-N) (made up of just one exam: 1Y0-351). This allows learners to continue their specialization in Citrix networking. However, Citrix offers a variety of other certifications that can serve to expand a learner's resume and skill set. Within the Citrix universe, many CBT Nuggets learners choose to pursue:
Citrix Certified Associate Virtualization (CCA-V) (made up of just one exam: 1Y0-201)
Citrix Certified Professional Virtualization (CCP-V) (made up of just one exam: 1Y0-301)
Some learners may choose to diversify their vitae/resumes by choosing to pursue networking certifications outside of Citrix products. Certifications often pursued by CBT Nuggets learners include:
Simplyhired.com/ provides a helpful salary guide to help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with the CCA-N. Depending on professional experience, an employee who holds a CCA-N certification can earn on average $43,000 a year. Payscale.com/ reports a range of salaries for employees holding any Citrix certification between $62,977 and $114,650. However, it should be noted that the low end of the range reported by Payscale.com/ likely represents more advanced professionals and learners should expect beginning salaries in the mid-$40,000 range. Roles that are common for those holding a CCA-N certification include network administrator, senior systems analyst, Citrix administrator, systems administrator, systems engineer, senior technical consultant, and more.
Citrix offers solutions-based certifications designed to meet the needs of IT professionals working with Citrix products. Citrix organizes its certifications into three categories: Virtualization, Networking, and Mobility.
Citrix Certified Associate Virtualization (CCA-V)
Citrix Certified Professional Virtualization (CCP-V)
Citrix Certified Expert Virtualization (CCE-V)
Citrix Certified Associate Networking (CCA-N)
Citrix Certified Professional Networking (CCP-N)
Citrix Certified Professional Mobility (CCP-M)
There are no prerequisites for the Associate-level certifications. However, some Citrix certifications carry a prerequisite of the preceding exam. For example, the CCP-V requires the CCA-V, the CCE-V requires the CCP-V, and so on. It is important to note that neither certification in the Networking track have prerequisites, allowing learners to begin with the Professional-level certification should they choose to do so. Similarly, the Mobility track, though only offering one Professional-level certification, has no prerequisites.
Citrix products continue to assert their prevalence throughout the IT industry. Learners who can demonstrate their expertise and experience managing Citrix products can improve and increase their professional development and career opportunities. The Citrix CCA-N certification is the first step in conquering Citrix products, and your IT career!
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