Network Administrators, Support Engineers, Technicians, Specialists, and analysts are perhaps the most needed professionals in this IT-centric era. They are in charge of keeping the IT infrastructure and network of any business alive, healthy, and less prone to security threats or attacks. The latter is, in fact, one of the greatest challenges that players in this ever-evolving field have to contend with.

Cisco Systems is a global market leader in networking technology. This company happens to be among the largest vendor server provider in the world and some of its other product offerings including Ethernet Switches, security systems, and other technological solutions are highly depended on.

Why do you Need a CCNA Certification?

Let’s just say that a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is not a mandatory requirement. However, even with an in-depth knowledge of networking systems, strong hands-on skills, and vast experience, it may take some effort to get noticed by recruiters as this is one field with far too many talented individuals.

As such, the CCNA certification is one way of elevating your profile in the tech space. In fact, certifications and a related degree are among the requirements that recruiters look for in your CV when scouting for talent. By and large, be sure that most recruiters see the CCNA certification as authentic evidence of your skill.

Certifications Offered Under CCNA

There are several specialist certifications offered under CCNA. These include:
  • CCNA Cloud Certification
  • CCNA Collaboration Certification
  • CCNA Data Center Certification
  • CCNA Cyber Ops Certification
  • CCNA Routing and Switching Certification
  • CCNA Industrial Certification
  • CCNA Security Certification
  • CCNA Service Provider Certification
  • CCNA Voice and Wireless Networks Certification
However, by February 24, 2020, this exam has been reviewed and consolidated into one CCNA certification which replaces the above specialist certifications.

The CCNA Routing and Switching Certification

The CCNA Routing and Switching Certification is ideal for those who are interested in taking the Network Technician, Network Designer, or Network Administrator route. This certification does not only sharpen your networking skills in IT technologies but also keeps your skills up to date as technology keeps evolving. A certification demonstrates your knowledge in designing, building, installing, troubleshooting, and maintaining a network infrastructure among others.

Prerequisites for the CCNA Routing and Switching Certification Exam

There are no prerequisites for taking the CCNA routing and Switching Certification exams being that it falls only second among the basic Cisco Certifications. However, you need to have taken and passed the following exams.
Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices: Accelerated (CCNAX) exam.
Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices ICND 1 100-101 and ICND 2 200-101.

In addition, the following will be an added advantage in your career:
  • IT-related bachelor’s degree, for instance, in computer science, information science, or engineering. This is because you will have acquired some basic knowledge of technology.
  • Consider starting off with an entry-level course like the Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) Certification to give you an easier landing on the more advanced certification courses. This course comprises 640-822 ICND part 1.
  • Do you have working experience? Consider having at least 3 years of working experience as this will equip you with a practical understanding of routing and switching.
  • Finally, register for your exam early in advance, at least 6 weeks before the exam date.

What Areas Does the Exam Cover?

The CCNA certification exam composes of about 60 to 70 questions. The examination will test your understanding of:
  • IP Addresses, services, routing technology, and data network operation (specifically IPv4 and IPv6 routing technologies)
  • LAN switching technologies
  • Network basics
  • WAN technologies
  • Configuring, troubleshooting, and monitoring network infrastructure
  • Infrastructure security and management
  • The terminology used in routing and switching

The exam structure

You can either take the Cisco exams at authorized exam centers throughout the world or online.
CCNA Routing and Switching certification exam is composed of 50-60 questions to be completed within 90 minutes. Questions come in several formats including multiple-choice, filling the blank, simulation, as well as drag-and-drop formats.

The Cisco Certification Exam Tutorial should give you a glimpse of how the exam looks
The passing score for this exam is 85% however, this might change from time to time.


Professional certification exams, including the CCNA Routing and Switching exam, costs between $ 325 but will vary slightly depending on local taxes and the cost of inflation.

Acing the exams on the first attempt

  • Take an online self-paced course or register in a college for regular classroom programs.
  • Access free tutorials and study materials available at the Cisco website. This is an excellent study resource as you will have access to flexible E-learning programs, practice exams, study sessions, labs, and blogs.
  • Practice the skills you have learned through Cisco’s learning labs.
  • Do more studies on your own. Study textbooks and take up the CCNA practice test from credible training sites online such as Simplilearn.
  • Join a study group. There is always something positive about studying with others.
  • Consider being part of the CCNA Routing and Switching community.

Keeping your certification valid

CCNA certifications are valid over three years. To keep your certification valid, you have the following options:
  • Pass any current professional-level exam, for instance, CCNP Routing and Switching or the CCIE written exam, after which the validity of your certification will be extended to the expiration of the advanced certification.
  • Pass the current CCDE written or practical exam.
  • Pass the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) interview and board review
  • Pass an associate-level exam apart from the ICND1
  • Pass the current CCNA exam before your Routing and Switching certification expires
  • Take and pass any other specialist exam by Cisco apart from the sales Specialist, MeetingPlace specialist exams

Some skills you need to perfect

  • Oral and written (and documenting) communication skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Troubleshooting, analytical, and problem-solving skills
  • Customer relations
  • Knowledge of Microsoft office suite and Cisco
  • Familiarize with technology tools like routers and servers


The beauty about taking the CCNA certification is that even without a technical background, you can still get a certification based on your skills and passion. It also sets you up on a platform to advance to higher levels in experience, knowledge, and recognition.
Share To: