Can you Get the CCNA in 30 Days?


Can you Get the CCNA in 30 Days?

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is one of the most highly recognized and respected certifications in the IT industry. The exam, designed by Cisco – the world’s leading company that manufactures and sells networking equipment – is an associate-level certificate for IT networking.

CCNA helps to validate your skills and understanding of various IT topics. Some of them include network fundamentals, network access, security fundamentals, automation & programmability, IP connectivity, and IP services.

If you’re a candidate without experience, it’ll be very impossible for you to get the CCNA certification in a month. However, if you have some years of experience, you can always get CCNA in 30 days, provided you study hard and know how to manage your time.

The CCNA certification, irrespective of the time you have to earn it, requires every candidate to study and understand all the 6 domains of IT that it covers. So, if you’re planning to earn the certification in 30 days, it means you have serious work to do. Well, you need not worry too much about that, as we’ve got you covered.

In the rest of this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about CCNA, especially how to study and earn the certification in a short period.

What Is CCNA And What Does the Exam Include?

The new CCNA certification (CCNA 200-301), designed by Cisco to replace the old certifications, is a quick examination. That’s so because it only includes about 100 to 120 questions, which will last only for 120 minutes.

With the amount of time allocated to answer 120 questions, you’ll agree with me that this exam needs adequate preparation. It’s also worth noting that it can sometimes be pretty hard to pass the CCNA exam in one attempt, because of the level of its difficulty.

How hard is the new CCNA exam?

On Feb. 24, 2020, Cisco amended its certification programs. Before that time, there used to be a series of exams, such as CCNA Cloud, CCNA Collaboration, CCNA Data Center, CCNA Industrial, CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNA Security, CCNA Service Provider, and a few others. However, the organization decided to roll out the new CCNA certification (CCNA 200-301), a single exam that replaces all the old certifications. 

So, what does that mean?

It’s pretty simple; the new CCNA exam is going to cover a wide range of topics that were covered by most of the old certifications.

As earlier mentioned, the new CCNA exam will test your knowledge in 6 different domains of IT. Here’s a brief breakdown of the topics and what each of them includes:

  • Network fundamentals
  • IP services
  • Security fundamentals
  • Network access
  • Automation and programmability
  • IP connectivity

Network fundamentals

  • Roles and function of network components
  • Characteristics of network topology architectures
  • Physical interface and cabling type
  • How to identify interface and cable issues
  • TCP vs UDP
  • How to configure and verify IPv4 addressing and subnetting
  • Description of the needs for private IPv4 addressing
  • Configuration and verification of IPv6 addressing and prefix
  • IPv6 address types
  • How to verify IP parameters for Client OS
  • Description of wireless principles 
  • Explanation of the virtualization fundamentals
  • How to describe switching concepts

IP services

  • Configuration and verification of the inside source NAT using static and pools
  • Configuration and verification of NTP operating in a client and server mode
  • How DHCP and DNS function
  • The function of SNMP in network operations
  • How to use Syslog features including facilities and levels
  • Configuration and verification of DHCP client and relay
  • Forwarding per-hop behavior (PHB) for QoS
  • Configuration of network devices for remote access using SSH
  • The capabilities and function of TFTP/FTP in the network

Security fundamentals

  • The key security concepts, such as threats, vulnerabilities, exploits, and mitigation techniques
  • Security program elements
  • Configuration of device access control using local passwords
  • Description of security password policies elements 
  • Description of remote access and site-to-site VPNs
  • Configuration and verification of access control lists
  • Configuration of Layer 2 security features
  • How to differentiate between authentication, authorization, and accounting concepts
  • Description of wireless security protocols
  • Configuration of WLAN using WPA2 PSK using the GUI

Network access

  • Configuration and verification of VLANs (normal range) spanning multiple switches
  • Configuration and verification of Interswitch connectivity
  • How to configure and verify Layer 2 discovery protocols
  • How to configure and verify Layer 2/Layer 3 EtherChannel
  • Description of the need for and basic operations of Rapid PVST+ Spanning Tree Protocol
  • Compare Cisco Wireless Architectures and AP modes
  • How to describe physical infrastructure connections of WLAN components
  • Description of AP and WLC management access connections
  • Configuration of the components of a wireless LAN access for client connectivity using GUI only

IP connectivity

  • Interpret the components of the routing table
  • How routers make forwarding decisions by default
  • Configuration and verification of IPv4 and IPv6 static routing
  • How to configure and verify single area OSPFv2
  • The purpose of the first-hop redundancy protocol

Automation and programmability

  • How automation impacts network management
  • Traditional networks vs controller-based networking
  • What are controller-based and software-defined architectures
  • Traditional campus device management vs Cisco DNA Center-enabled device management
  • Characteristics of REST-based APIs (CRUD, HTTP verbs, and data encoding)
  • How to identify the capabilities of configuration management mechanisms
  • How to interpret JSON encoded data

How to Study and Get the New CCNA Exam In 30 Days?

Having seen the different topics that the new CCNA certification covers, you’ll surely agree with me that the exam is broad. The passing score to earn the certification is nearly 82.5%.

Since that’s the case, it’s safe to say that it’ll be very impossible for anybody without any experience to read all the topics listed above in 30 days and pass the CCNA exam. 

However, if you already have prior knowledge of the topics, for you to study and pass the exam in 30 days, here are some of what you need to do:

  • Start by sourcing the relevant materials, such as books (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), Cisco Networking Academy materials, YouTube Videos, etc.
  • Look at the CCNA exam blueprint and tick off the topics you have strong experience in.
  • Divide the remaining topics accordingly and give more attention to them, since you only have little or no experience with them.
  • Since you only have a few days to study, I’ll advise you not to focus too much on books. Instead, watch short YouTube videos.
  • Buy the Cisco official test exam questions. After studying, test your knowledge by taking the tests.

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