CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) is a category of technical certifications offered by Cisco for early-career networking professionals. The CCNA is the second level of accreditation, one step above Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) and directly below the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional). Cisco offers five Cisco Career Certification programs and levels of accreditation: Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert and Architect.
Cisco redesigned the CCNA program in 2013 to offer the certification in various subspecialties related to networking. For example, the CCNA Cloud certification focuses on the skills required for cloud networking, while the CCNA Wireless certification validates an individual's competence in wireless local area networks (WLANs).
CCNA certificates are available in the following ten areas: cloud, collaboration, cybersecurity operations, data center, design, industrial/IoT, routing and switching, security, service provider and wireless.
The CCNA routing and switching category is the most similar to the pre-2013 CCNA program. A CCNA routing and switching certification covers the fundamentals of enterprise networking, including LAN switching, IP addressing, routing, subnetting and more. It assesses an individual's ability to deploy, configure, manage and troubleshoot enterprise networks. In 2016, Cisco updated the CCNA routing and switching certification to place more emphasis on software-defined networking (SDN), network-based analytics and network functions virtualization (NFV).
How do you become CCNA certified?
CCNA candidates must pass two exams to become certified. The two exams vary depending on the subject of the particular program. Exam prices vary based on geography and can be taken in a variety of physical locations. The proctored and timed CCNAs consist solely of written questions and answers, not labs.