5 Steps: How Do I Get a CCNA Certification?
The CCNA certification is a good way for you to stand out from the rest of the pack when you are applying for a job because a lot of different companies are using Cisco services.
As such, if you are CCNA-certified, that means that you are trained to be able to handle issues and problems related to the different services that Cisco offers. But how exactly do you get a CCNA certification?
You can get CCNA-certified by taking and passing the CCNA exam. But for you to do that, you need to go through proper training and hours of individual study time. You can do your training with Cisco or at an accredited learning partner online or in-person and you can study the topics using Cisco accredited books.
Like a lot of certification exams, the CCNA exam is not an easy one but you should be able to handle it pretty well as long as you know what you are up against and how you should be able to prepare for it using our basic five steps.
1. CCENT No Longer Exists. Dip your toes in this instead
The Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician was the first stage of Cisco’s certification program but has since been abolished as you now need to directly take the CCNA, which has now changed its focus areas and is now requiring you to have a more well-rounded knowledge of all of the specialized topics covered by Cisco’s services.
That said, here are some of the resources you might want to look at instead:
Professor Messer is a good resource to use if you want to learn more about the CCNA exam.
He runs a YouTube channel where you can learn more about the CCNA. This video specifically gives you a quick 10-minute overview of the CCNA so that you will be able to have a quick idea of what you need to do to review for the CCNA exam.
Messer also has a free book you can use in case you are trying to save money.
Signing up for the InfoSec Institute is also a pretty good first step for you to do. Signing up will allow you to gain access to the videos available on the website. Doing so will also give you access to the forum wherein you can discuss with other people regarding what you need to do to prepare for the CCNA.
2. Develop a Personal Timeline
If you are crunched for time, you can review and prepare for the CCNA exam in three months. It is possible if you speed up your timeline and you dedicate a good portion of your daily tasks to reviewing and preparing for the exam.
There are some online courses that are about 50 to 60 hours long. What you need to do is to pace yourself and make sure that you schedule your days to fit at least two hours to watch those videos.
Along with that, there is also a need for you to allocate some time to study the course materials that pretty much cover the syllabus for the CCNA exam.
This can be a bit difficult if you are working full-time since you have to sacrifice your personal time to review but you have to consider that you will only be sacrificing three months for that.
For those who want to live a normal life while they are reviewing and preparing for the CCNA exam, six months of preparation should be more than enough regardless of whether you are working full-time or not.
If you are using the same online courses and training programs, you may only need to allot an hour to watch the videos and maybe another extra hour to go over the different study materials you are using.
You are basically doing everything in the three-month timeline but spreading it over six months to make it easier for you to live a normal life without the need to sacrifice a lot of your daily time to review.
3. Get Your Study Resources
After setting up your timeline, get your study resources and make sure that you are using one primary resource such as a training program and then supplementing it with two to three different study materials from different authors and experts so that you will be able to get valuable insight from a wide variety of sources.
Here are some of the best resources you might want to use:
- CBT Nuggets – Online training
- SimpliLearn – Online Training
- CCNA Preparation Library
- Cisco CCNA Exam
- CCNA Practical Studies
While these materials are what we recommend, you are free to check different online forums, websites, and resources that will give you ideas regarding the best materials you can use to prepare for the CCNA exam.
It might be best to limit your materials to two to three instead of trying to use a handful of them so that you won’t have to waste a lot of time going over your different resources.
4. Study According to Your Timeline
After you have acquired all of the resources you have chosen to use for your CCNA exam preparation, the next thing you need to do is to study according to your timeline and make sure that you follow your timeline religiously.
For those who are studying in three months, doing two hours of online video training and another two hours to go over the different study materials might be enough for you. But if you are not working, you may add an extra hour or two to speed things up.
Meanwhile, if you are looking to live a normal life by preparing for six months, you would need two to three hours a day to prepare for the CCNA exam. For those who aren’t working full-time, four hours a day might be a good idea.
As long as you are following your timeline and that you have prepared a schedule that fits the timeline well enough, you should be fine.
5. Schedule and Take Your Exam with Pearson VUE
Schedule your exam ahead of time with Pearson VUE, which is the accredited testing partner of Cisco for the CCNA exam. If you want to schedule, you have to sign in with Pearson VUE’s website here.
Decide which exam to take and then make sure that you have prepared all of the necessary documents required of you. Of course, you have to pay for the exam by choosing a valid payment method.
It is best for you to schedule the exam before you even prepare for the CCNA so that you will have enough time to study and train yourself before the day of the exam. After that, take the exam on the testing day you chose.
How can I get my CCNA certification online?
If you are unable to take the CCNA exam in person due to various reasons such as a pandemic, Pearson VUE offers you a chance to take it online by going here. Again, make sure that you signed in with Pearson VUE to schedule your exam.
But before you take the exam, you have to perform a system test to make sure that your computer fits the technical requirements needed by the exam. Also, you should keep your valid IDs close to you at all times because you will be required to show them during the exam.