Certifications / Cisco

FAQs for the New CCNA

by Team Nuggets
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Published on April 5, 2013

A lot of people have questions about the redesigned CCNA, which Cisco announced last week. Here are Jeremy's answers to some common questions, including what new topics are on the exams.

I'm already studying for my CCNA. How long do I have to take the "old" exams?

September 30, 2013, is the last day to test on the "old" exams, ICND1 v1.1 640-822, ICND2 v1.1 640-816, and CCNA v1 640-802 (composite).

What are the new exam numbers?

The new exams are:

ICND1 v2 100-101

ICND2 v2 200-101

CCNA v2 200-120 (composite)

What's changed? How different are the new exams from the old?

There's more!

ICND1 is the motherlode of all technology certification. There's more subnetting (VLSM). There's more depth (NAT, ACLs, VLANs). There's more modern technology (OSPF and IPv6).

To make room for all this, a few things have been reduced. There's less GUI. There's also less "taste testing," like wifi and security, which were just in there to give you a taste of the technology.

For a video breakdown of new ICND1 topics, check out my MicroNugget on ICND1 2013.

Because there is so much more in ICND1, the ICND2 is able to go super deep. So the ICND1 is like a "whoosh" of topics, and then the ICDN2 is like being able to stop and smell the roses a bit.

ICND2 now has a lot of troubleshooting. It also has a lot more routing (EIGRP, multi-area OSPF, OSPF3), switching (STP, etherchannel), management (SNMP, syslog, NetFlow), and scandel prevention (IOS licensing).

Should I take the old tests before September, or should I wait and take the new tests? Will it look better to employers that I have a "new" CCNA?

Take the old one if you can. It's simpler. You still get the same credential and logo. You are a CCNA. I don't think an employer is going to ask if you have the "old" or "new" CCNA. A CCNA shows you know what you are doing.

On the other hand, the new CCNA means you will know so much more. But it's a lot more challenging and will require more studying.

Bottom line: Take the old one, with the idea that there's always more to learn.

Do I need to get new lab equipment?

My lab recommendation still stands. IOS 15 is new to the exams, but the only reason it has been included is because Cisco now requires a license for it. The IOS 15 needs to be activated. Does that mean you need to buy new equipment? No, you can still use the same old stuff.

Will there be changes to other Cisco certification tracks?

The reason the new ICND1 exam is so deep is because it's now the introductory certification for other certifications, whether it's security, wireless, etc. It lays the foundation for everything. But at this point, there are no announced changes to the other certification tracks (such as CCNP).

There's a big overlap between the CCNA and CCNP. There'll be a lot of "seen this, been here." I can see CCNP going through a revision, maybe in a year or so.

Is CCNA still the best requisite for breaking into networking? Would you recommend taking Network+ (or another cert) before attempting the new CCNA exam?

CCNA is still the best requisite for breaking into networking. The Network+ is a vendor-neutral certification with very little practical hands-on work (quite a bit of historical networking and theory); as an employer, I would value a CCNA far more than a Network+ certification. Taking Network+ before CCNA will give you more depth and background on your networking abilities, but (in my opinion, this isn't shared by all) there is far more valuable, current topics you can study.

How do I find out more information about the CCNA?

Try the information available on Cisco's CCNA site:


I'm ready to start studying for this! Does CBT Nuggets have training?

Yes! Check out Jeremy's NEW training series for ICND1 and ICND2 here!


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