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Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

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The CCNA certificate is created for those who want to begin their path in the domain of IT. The certification gives the entry-level specialists the foundation they need to start a career in their chosen direction. To get certified, the applicants need to pass one test, which is 200-301 CCNA, which covers a wide scope of fundamentals for different IT positions. It is based on the latest networking technologies, software development skills, and job roles. The certificate validates the individuals’ knowledge of network fundamentals, security fundamentals, IP services, IP connectivity, automation and programmability, and network access, among others.


This Cisco certificate and its test do not have any formal requirements. However, the applicants should possess a comprehension of the topics covered in the exam before attempting it. Additionally, it is recommended that the individuals have a minimum of one year of practical experience in the administration and implementation of Cisco solutions. Furthermore, they need to have an understanding of fundamental IP addressing as well as network fundamentals. The target audience for this certification is the entry-level professionals looking to validate their basic knowledge and skills related to IT technologies.

Exam Overview

Cisco 200-301: Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions (CCNA) is a 120-minute test that measures the competence of the individuals in a variety of knowledge areas. Here are the highlights of the domains that are entailed in the exam:

Network Fundamentals: The first topic assesses the skills of the professionals in:

  • Describing the functions of network elements (these include routers, servers, access points, endpoints, controller, and Next-gen firewalls)
  • Explaining the attributes of the architecture of network topology, including 2- & 3- tier, Wide Area Network, spine-leaf, On-premises & Cloud, and home office/small office
  • Comparing cabling types and physical interface, covering concepts of PoE, connection, and single-mode and multimode fibers, and copper
  • Identifying cable and interface issues, covering mismatch duplex, errors, speed, and/or collisions
  • Comparing both UDP and TCP
  • Verifying and configuring IPv4 subnetting & addressing and explain why private IPv4 addressing is needed
  • Verifying and configuring IPv6 prefix & addressing and compare address types for IPv6
  • Explaining the principles of wireless, including encryption, SSID, RF, and Non-overlapping Wi-Fi channels
  • Describing the fundamentals of virtualization
  • Explaining the concepts of switching, including frame flooding, MAC aging & learning, and MAC address table

Network Access: The next module is built around:

  • Verifying and configuring spanning multiple switches for Virtual Local Area Networks, including Default Virtual Local Area Network and Access ports
  • Verifying and configuring inter-switch connectivity, including native Virtual Local Area Network and trunk ports
  • Verifying and configuring L2 discovery protocols and L2 & L3 EtherChannel
  • Explaining the reason for and fundamental operations for Rapid PVST+ Spanning Tree Protocol while identifying its fundamental operations
  • Explaining Wireless Local Area Network components’ physical infrastructure connections
  • Explaining Wireless LAN Controller and AP management access connections
  • Configuring the elements of wireless Local Area Network access for the connectivity of clients with the use of GUI

IP Connectivity: This subject area evaluates the proficiency of the applicants in:

  • Interpreting the elements of routing table, including prefix, next-hop, metric, network mask, and administrative distance
  • Establish Determining how routers make forwarding decisions by default
  • Verifying and configuring IPv4 & IPv6 static routing as well as single-area OSPFv2.
  • Explaining the first-hop redundancy protocol purpose

IP Services: This section focuses on:

  • Using pools and static to verify and set up inside-source Network Address Translation
  • Verifying and configuring Network Time Protocol that is operating in the client and server modes
  • Describing the function of Domain Name System and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol in a network as well as the role of NMP within the network operations
  • Explaining the usage of Syslog attributes, including facilities and levels
  • Verifying and configuring Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol relay and client
  • Describing forwarding PHB for QoS, including marking, classification, shaping, policing, and congestion
  • Using SSH to configure a network device for remote access
  • Explaining the function and capabilities of FTP/TFTP within the network

Security Fundamentals: This domain measures the expertise of the test takers in:

  • Defining the key security concepts (these include vulnerabilities, exploits, threats, and mitigation techniques)
  • Explaining the components of the security program
  • Using local passwords to configure device access
  • Explaining the components of security password policies, including password alternatives, complexity, and management
  • Explaining site-to-site Virtual Private Networks and remote access
  • Differentiating authentication, authorization, and accounting concepts
  • Using WPA2 PSK to configure Wireless Local Area Network
  • Explaining wireless security protocols

Programmability & Automation: The last part checks the competence of the individuals in:

  • Describing how automation affects network management
  • Explaining software-defined and controller-based architectures
  • Comparing both controller-based networking and traditional networks
  • Comparing Cisco DNA Center-enabled management and traditional campus device management
  • Explaining the features of REST-based Application Programming Interfaces

Preparation Options

Cisco offers several resources that the applicants can use to prepare for the 200-301 CCNA test. The study tools that the specialists may explore include:

  • The exam blueprint, which acts as a preparation road map. You can use it to get familiar with the topics of the test as well as determine what knowledge gaps you have.
  • The training course, which covers installing, operating, configuring, and verifying basic IPv4 and IPv6 networks. Besides that, it takes a look at network components configuration (it includes wireless LAN controllers, switches, and routers), network devices management, and basic security threats identification.
  • Various training options available on the Cisco Press website.

In addition, you can find the materials on different third-party IT training websites. But be sure to use the tools only proposed from reliable platforms.

Career Opportunities

Cisco CCNA is an associate-level certification that can come in handy to start one’s way within the area of IT. Some of the job titles that the certificate holders can think about include a Cybersecurity Analyst, a Help Desk Technician, an IT Manager, a Network Security Engineer, a Systems Engineer, a Network Support Technician, a Network Engineer, an Information Technology Specialist, a Security Engineer, an Information Security Analyst, and a Network Administrator, among others. According to PayScale, the mean salary outlook for the professionals with this sought-after certification is $80,000 per annum.

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