The CCNA is a staple network certificate issued by networking giant Cisco. As an associate-level certification, the CCNA is an effective way to kickstart a networking career and is highly relevant to employers when considering candidates for entry-level roles.In this guide
To be CCNA-certified, candidates must pass one exam – the 200-301 CCNA. This is a challenging examination, especially after a drastic change on February 24, 2020, to align with the latest Cisco technology and the evolving job market.
Despite the difficulty, proper hands-on training will help candidates pass the exam. Attending a CCNA certification bootcamp is one of the best ways to prepare for and pass the exam. The CCNA bootcamp is a comprehensive part-time or full-time program that builds your knowledge of networking fundamentals. The classes, either online or on-site, provide hands-on experience with switched networks focusing on Cisco technology.
A survey by IDC research showed that CCNA professionals are 42 percent more successful in solving tech-related problems. So, not only does a reputable bootcamp help you pass your CCNA exams, you’ll be able to provide valuable networking solutions to real-world applications.
CCNA bootcamps also offer a deeper understanding of programming languages such as Python, which gives a great headstart when expanding to programming niches in the future. Since it’s a foundational course, these bootcamps also allow students to take their career in any direction in cybersecurity and other IT-related industries.
Cisco-certified professionals are always in high demand due to Cisco technologies and systems being the industry standard. Therefore, a CCNA certificate improves your chances of getting a job. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that job opportunities for IT networking professionals have a growth rate of 6.5 percent and could reach 8% with a certificate like the CCNA.
Cisco doesn’t have a set routine for updating the current CCNA version. However, the organization adds new content as needed, depending on the demands and changes in the industry. A reasonable estimate for how frequently the CCNA exam is revised would be between three to four years.
For more info on related programs, check out the complete guide to cybersecurity bootcamps.
CCNA certificate bootcamp curriculum
CCNA certificate bootcamps have the same goal – to effectively prepare students for the exam. This means most CCNA bootcamp curricula are similar. This entry-level certificate is the first step to earning more IT credentials. As such, the best bootcamps teach core network fundamentals that provide students with a solid foundation for advanced certifications.
Each bootcamp aligns its courses with the new CCNA exam modules, which are:
- Network Fundamentals
- IP Connectivity
- IP Services
- Security Fundamentals
- Network Access
- Automation and Programmability
While bootcamps differ, you should expect a curriculum similar to Infosec Institute below:
- Role and function of network components
- Network topology architectures
- Physical interface and cabling types
- Interface and cable issues
- TCP and UDP
- IPv4 addressing and subnetting
- Private IPv4 addressing
- IPv6 addressing and prefix
- IPv6 address types
- IP parameters for client OS
- Wireless principles
- Virtualization fundamentals
- Switching concepts
- Components of a routing table
- IPv4 and IPv6 static routing
- Single area OSPFv2
- First hop redundancy protocol
- Inside source NAT configuration and verification
- NTP operating in a client and server mode
- DHCP and DNS within the network Function of SNMP in network operations
- Syslog features
- DHCP client and relay
- Understanding forwarding per-hop behavior
- Configuration: Network devices for remote access using SSH
- Key security concepts
- Security program elements
- Device access control
- Security password policies elements
- Remote access and site-to-site VPNs
- Configuring and verifying access control lists
- Configuring Layer 2 security
- Authentication, authorization, and accounting
- Wireless security protocols
- Configuring WLAN
- Configuring and verifying VLANs
- Interswitch connectivity
- Trunk ports
- Native VLAN
- Layer 2 discovery protocols
- Layer 2/Layer 3 EtherChannel (LACP)
- Rapid PVST+ Spanning Tree Protocol
- Cisco Wireless Architectures and AP modes
- Physical infrastructure connections of WLAN components
- AP and WLC management access connections
- Wireless LAN access for client connectivity.
Automation and programmability
- Automation and network management
- Traditional networks vs. controller-based networking
- Controller-based and software-defined architectures
- Traditional campus device management vs. Cisco DNA Center enabled device management
- REST-based APIs
- Configuration management mechanisms Puppet, Chef, and Ansible
- Interpreting JSON encoded data
Most bootcamps offer a practice test upon completion of the curriculum to acquaint students with possible exam questions. Some bootcamps offer practice test retakes.
Timeframe for CCNA certification bootcamps
CCNA bootcamps can last anywhere between 5 days to 6 weeks or more, depending on the provider and format. Since this is a beginner-level certification, some bootcamp providers ensure their programs are longer to cater to every student.
However, other bootcamps promise an intensive and comprehensive hands-on experience during the 5-10 days of training. These shorter bootcamps usually require candidates to have basic knowledge of networking technologies and TC/IP or previous experience working with Cisco technologies before applying.
CCNA bootcamps are offered in different formats, such as online instructor-led, online self-paced subscription, and classroom instructor-led. Course providers, Cisco, have four different training formats such as e-Learning, virtual instructor-led classroom, digital subscription, and on-site private group training.
For candidates who prefer virtual bootcamps, Neil Anderson’s Flackbox is highly-rated. Other options are Certstaffix, Infosec Institute, Boson Training, and Certification Camps. Some of these providers also offer on-site or customized private training.
Regardless of the delivery format, most CCNA bootcamps have additional perks for students included in the program. Here are some additional benefits you might get, depending on the provider:
- Cisco CCNA exam voucher. Some bootcamps, such as Boson, offer one extra retake voucher if needed.
- Practice Exam
- Network simulator
- 1-on-1 tutoring
- Access to the bootcamp provider’s other products
Some bootcamps provide meals for on-site bootcamps, while students may also get a certificate of completion.
Cost of CCNA certification bootcamps
The cost of Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) bootcamps vary depending on the training provider, delivery format, and the extra perks included in the package. CCNA bootcamps cost between $2,200 to $4,500 or more on average. Virtual or self-paced training formats typically cost lesser than physical instructor-led classrooms.
Cisco offers four delivery formats. Three of these formats are delivered by Cisco, while the fourth is a training locator that links to verified training/bootcamp providers. For example, the CCNA e-learning course is self-paced in video format and costs $800 with 180 days of access.
Alternatively, you can choose a one-year Cisco digital subscription that gives you access to several certification courses under cloud, collaboration, IoT, networking, security, and data center. Finally, private group training is also available for people who prefer the instructor to come to their location or any place of choice. This is ideal for companies who want to train their employees. You’ll have to contact Cisco for pricing for the digital subscription and the private group training.
Besides Cisco, there are other on-site and virtual instructor-led CCNA bootcamp providers. Global Knowledge’s CCNA bootcamp costs start at £670 up to £2,545 or more (excluding VAT), depending on the delivery.
Here is a complete list of Cisco-verified instructor-led classroom CCNA bootcamps. This is a Cisco training locator that helps you find the closest provider. The bootcamp duration is typically five days but could be more depending on the delivery format.
Beyond the bootcamps, students also need to follow up with personal preparation. If your preferred bootcamp doesn’t provide additional courseware, you may have to buy that separately.
What happens after the CCNA bootcamp?
The CCNA bootcamp’s purpose is to equip students with the required knowledge to pass their CCNA 200-301 exam.
This is a 120-minute exam covering the latest and most applicable associate-level networking skills. It is developed with collaboration and input from industry leaders and Cisco professionals and reflects how Cisco solutions are used in companies worldwide.
The CCNA 200-301 exam tests the candidate’s knowledge and skills of network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, automation, and programmability.
The exam is challenging, and according to Certstaffix, 95 percent of test takers fail on their first attempt. However, that shouldn’t put you off because the overall pass rate is still around 85 percent, according to different sources.
Cisco doesn’t publish passing scores because “exam questions and passing scores are subject to change without notice. However, scoring between 800-850 points out of 1000 should be enough to pass the exam, so students should aim for a passing score of 85 percent.
Here is a breakdown of the CCNA exam and the average weight for each module:
|Network Fundamentals||20 percent|
|Network Access||20 percent|
|IP Connectivity||25 percent|
|IP Services||10 percent|
|Security Fundamentals||15 percent|
|Automation and Programmability||10 percent|
Pearson VUE is Cisco’s authorized test delivery partner and will administer the exam in a highly secure environment. This could be in-person or online, depending on your preference.
After success in your exam, the CCNA certificate is valued for three years after the issuance date. You must satisfy some recertification criteria to recertify before the certificate’s expiration date. Recertification can be done any time during the active period of three years by taking next-level certifications, earning continuing education credits, or both.
If you fail a CCNA exam, Cisco allows candidates to retake the exam after five calendar days. This starts the day after the failed attempt. However, industry professionals recommend that you do not consider this offer, so you can give yourself the best time to prepare for the next attempt.