Cisco Certified Network Associate – CCNA

by Mirek Burnejko

CCNACisco Certified Network Associate – CCNA is one of the most popular IT certifications in the world.

Few years ago people with CCNA were needed almost in all companies around the world. In 2012, CCNA is also very important (especially on the entry-level positions). The biggest value of the CCNA certification is the process of learning all the basic network topics and not only information about configuration of Cisco devices.

This IT certification is the best starting point into the networking world, even if you want to build your career with other vendors like Juniper, Brocade or Huawei. It is also needed for higher Cisco certifications like CCNP, which can give you more job opportunities.

What Exams You Must Pass to Become a CCNA

You have two options to become a CCNA:

  • Two Exams
    • 640-822 ICND1
    • 640-816 ICND2
  • One Exam
    • 640-802 CCNA

The second option is simpler, but you need to understand all topics for one exam. With the first option, you can divide your preparation process into two parts.

Format of the CCNA Exams

All these exams are computer-based test. You have 90 minutes for each exam (you will receive additional minutes if you are not a native English speaker). You have to answer about 50 questions (single-choice, multi-choice, few router/switch simulators, drag-drop questions).

Where You Can Pass the CCNA Exams

You can the exams in the nearest Pearson VUE center.

How Much Do the CCNA Exams Cost

  • 640-822 ICND1 – $150
  • 640-816 ICND2 – $150
  • 640-802 CCNA – $295

How To Renew your CCNA Certification

The CCNA certification is valid for three years. Before the date of expiration you must pass another Cisco exam. That can be any other CCNA exam, an exam from any CCNP track or even almost each specialist exam.

The actual list you can find on the official website – Recertification section.

Scope of the CCNA Exam

To read a detailed list you need a free login and password to the Cisco Learning Network. You can register with this link.

How To Prepare to the CCNA Exam

There are thousands of way for the CCNA certification. I will recommend you a way I was using and many engineers use every day.

  • Video
    • The best place to start your preparation – Trainsignal for $397 by Chris Bryant CCIE #12933
  • Books
  • Lab
    • It is good to build your own lab. The best to start your adventure with building own lab is three-part series from GlobalKnowledge.
  • Practice Tests
    • The best option before the exam. Just buy one of these sets and try to not learn questions and answers, but truly check your knowledge and find gaps with your knowledge. Then back to books and the lab.
    • SelfTest – 399 questions simulating vendor test questions and 649 Flash Cards for $117 RECOMMENDED
  • Optional
    • Community – We recommend you to join the CCNA community, where you can find many answers about details about the CCNA exam and preparation.
    • Official training – There are thousands of trainings around the globe. The best way to find a training in your country is by using the official search module: ICND1 and ICND2. All these training are provided by Cisco’s partners, so you can be sure, that these trainings are on the highest level.

Examples of Job Opportunities



Success Story

If you interested with sharing your success story with CCNA please contact me.

Questions and Answers

Q: Can I pass first 640-816 ICND2 and then 640-822 ICND1?
A: Of course, you can, but the scope of these exams is easier to understand if you start from the 640-822 ICND1 exam. If you knowledge is on the 640-816 ICND2 level, do not waste your time and pass the 640-802 CCNA exam.

  • Emilio

    CCNA was an easy exam. I practiced for two weeks in my lab then took the exam. 93% GNS3 was great, but hands on with the equipment is better because it lets you troubleshoot things GNS3 does not.

  • Finally, I’ve been waiting for CCNA description since this site started :)Now I can start preparing for exam.

    • ICM

      Good luck my brother. Buy a book, build a lab and do some tests. It is an easy exam, but very important. Try to use CCNA as a starting point.

  • Teri

    Wow this is great… Just started my CCNA after an inspiring talk from one of the Cisco Vice presidents about the benefits of the Cisco certifications and the role of a Cisco architect. I hope to become a Cisco Architect in the next 15 years or so.

    This site has amazing guides. Much better than those at my school. Just forwarded this link to my classmates. I’m sure they will benefit. Now that I know EXACTLY what materials to get for the course, I have renewed passion to study…

    Thanks guys… 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • ICM

      Thank you so much Teri, for these kind words. I love your idea, but the the road to the Architect level isn’t simple. That’s good (I believe) 🙂

  • ikaf

    i have completed the ccna exam with 986/1000. thanks for god
    and thanks for (( http://ruturl.com/tja )) thumbsup