Cisco makes CCNA program more accessible

Cisco has created a two-test system for its Cisco Certified Network Associate program. The move makes the process easier for entry-level participants, while maintaining the quality of the certification.

Cisco Systems Inc. recently announced changes to its entry-level certification program that make it more flexible,

especially for those with less experience.

Cisco has created a two-test system for its Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification, in addition to its single-test approach. Candidates can now take a new Introduction to Cisco Networking Technologies exam, which is then followed by a second Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) exam. The two must be completed within three years of each other.

Many of the people who have been interested in the Cisco CCNA exam were new to the Internet concepts covered in the CCNA course, said Don Field, senior manager for certification at Cisco. "This allows us to match the training we provide more closely to the skill level of people that are starting," Field said.

The change acknowledges that people who are looking for the CCNA certification show up with a broad range of backgrounds and experience, and much of that may not match the course work, Field said.

This approach helps to broaden the appeal of the training program while maintaining the quality of the certification. "With a two-exam sequence, people can work to get their certification and learn along the way," said Ed Tittel, a contributing editor to Certification Magazine.

The program is also a nod to the Cisco Networking Academy Program, an e-learning curriculum that the company has set up for training, said Tittel. With this program, he said, Cisco is reaching out to people at the high school level who may not have any networking experience.

"This two-test program lets Cisco get more quality control on the background, knowledge and understanding of people who are candidates for the CCNA," Tittel said.

Cisco has issued more than 500,000 certifications worldwide. The company does not release figures for each type of certification.

Cisco also announced that the new ICND exam will be used to recertify individuals after their three-year certification expires.

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