What is the CCNA certification?
The CCNA—which stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate—is an entry-level information technology (IT) certification issued by networking hardware company Cisco. The CCNA is designed to validate your knowledge on fundamental networking concepts often requested in networking roles in IT positions.
Here’s a quick run down of key facts:
- To get the CCNA certification you’ll have to pass one exam, the 200-301 CCNA.
- Taking the CCNA exam costs $300, plus tax, as of June 2021.
- There are no prerequisites to take the exam, but training and some experience with computer networks are recommended.
- CCNA is a commonly requested IT certification, with over 6,000 job listings on Glassdoor and 12,000 on Indeed that mention the certification in the US, as of June 2021.
ow much is the CCNA exam?
The CCNA exam costs $300, plus tax. You can also use Cisco Learning Credits to purchase the exam. These are prepaid credits a company might buy so that their employees can tailor how to spend the credits on the Cisco platform to their preferences.
Trying to cut back on costs? If you think a CCNA certification can be beneficial to your employer, consider approaching your manager to see if the company will pay for the exam or exam training costs (or both).
What salary could I earn with the CCNA certification?
CCNA certifications can be useful in landing both entry-level and higher-level networking positions. Here are some of the job titles that can request CCNA certifications, and how much they make on average in the US. Salaries are collected from Glassdoor, and are accurate as of June 2021.
|Position||Salary (average US)|
|IT support specialist||$53,051|
|Senior network engineer||$116,165|
CCNA vs. CompTIA Network+
Like the CCNA, the CompTIA Network+ is a certification that will test you in your networking knowledge and is often acquired by professionals hoping to advance their networking skills. There are a few key differences.
- Unlike CCNA, the CompTIA Network+ certification is vendor neutral. This means that it’s designed to prepare you to work with any network device or system, regardless of what vendor it came from. The CCNA tests you exclusively on Cisco products and tools.
- The Network+ certification is considered by many to be more foundational than the CCNA. The CCNA is known to cover more topics and go deeper into network material than the Network+.
So which should you choose? Many opt to take the CCNA despite it being vendor-specific to Cisco, because Cisco products largely dominate the networking market. Cisco had 47 percent of market share in Ethernet switches, and 33 percent of the combined SP and enterprise router market . Because Cisco products are widely used, it can be useful to know them well. Many learners also find that the knowledge acquired by learning on Cisco products is applicable to networking products from other vendors.
That said, because the Network+ focuses on the basics, it can be useful for those completely new to networking, or who find the CCNA too difficult or comprehensive for their needs. It’s completely possible to get the Network+ and go on to take the CCNA when you have more experience.