CCNA vs. CCNA Security: Elephant Of A Difference

ccna vs ccna security

CCNA vs. CCNA Security: Elephant Of A Difference

Cisco plays a dominant role in the networking industry; therefore, its certifications are in high demand and highly valued as well. Cisco offers a lot of certification options, and some of them can seem to provide the same qualities, but actually, each of them differs at some point. So, what is the difference between CCNA and CCNA Security? 

The CCNA certification is more focused on routers and switches, and it provides in-depth skills in network technologies. The CCNA Security certification is oriented towards the security of networks and systems, where candidates improve their knowledge in implementing defense strategies and methods.  

In this article, I will discuss the differences between CCNA and CCNA Security certifications, and I will help you understand in what situations are each of them convenient for candidates. I will also point out their levels of difficulty and what it takes to obtain them. Furthermore, I will talk about the career options that these certifications provide and to what extent they can contribute to your improvement. 

Topics In The CCNA vs. CCNA Security

Even though these two certifications are closely related, they still differ in the topics they cover. They certainly prepare you for different positions, and they improve your skills in the field you want to master. The topics in CCNA and CCNA Security are precise, and they give background knowledge of different concepts and principles in the networking industry. 

Topics In CCNA Certification

The CCNA is an exam that improves a candidate’s skills in network fundamentals and concepts, IP connectivity and services, automation, and programmability. It is a 120-minute exam that mainly focuses on different network technologies, and provides in-depth knowledge of the methods and strategies used in managing and handling network infrastructure. 

The topics that CCNA covers are the following: 

  • Network Fundamentals 
  • Network Access 
  • IP Connectivity 
  • IP Services 
  • Security Fundamentals 
  • Automation and Programmability 

In order to pass the exam, the candidate has to be knowledgeable enough in these fields. In other words, if you want to obtain a CCNA certification, you need to be quite familiar with the listed topics, both in theory and in practice. Lack of knowledge in these concepts will lead you to failure. Therefore you need to be prepared to spend some quality time practicing and preparing. 

To properly prepare for the CCNA exam, you need the right materials and resources which can be found on Cisco’s official website. If you need a more guided preparation, then you can try out a course provided by Cisco known as Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions. However, there are also third-party alternatives that offer study resources, but their credibility needs a prior checking. 

Topics In CCNA Security Certification

The CCNA Security certification takes the candidates to the next level of their careers since it provides a high improvement in network security skills. As the world is getting more and more digital, the need for more network security is essential. 

The CCNA Security exam provides the fundamentals and the concepts in cybersecurity and helps the candidates get more knowledge in the installation, monitoring, and troubleshooting of security features implemented in networks and systems. 

The topics that are covered in the CCNA Security exam are the following: 

  • Modern Network Security Threats 
  • Securing Network Devices
  • Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting
  • Implementing Firewall Technologies
  • Implementing Intrusion Prevention
  • Securing the Local Area Network
  • Cryptography
  • Implementing Virtual Private Networks
  • Managing a Secure Network
  • Implementing the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA)

Once you cover these topics, you will be familiar with the basic concepts of cybersecurity, maintaining and implementing security features, and handling defense situations in case of an attack. By obtaining the CCNA Security, you become a certified expert that is able to provide security to the devices used in a company and administer effective security policies. 

Depending on your prior knowledge, the preparation process might take a long time and a lot of hard work. However, Cisco provides the resources you need, and a lot of hands-on labs, that will get you practical experience in this field. 

Difficulty Of The CCNA vs. CCNA Security

The level of difficulty of the CCNA and the CCNA Security exams cannot be measured precisely. This is because different people study and prepare in different ways, and they have different levels of prior knowledge in particular fields. Therefore, the difficulty of these exams depends on the individual. 

Both CCNA and CCNA Security require a lot of hard work, and a lot of study hours and lab practices before taking the exam. Depending on your prior experience, you can prepare for the exams in weeks or in months. In other words, your previous knowledge and understanding of the concepts might determine the length of your preparation process and the difficulty of the exam. 

However, some people consider CCNA Security to be easier than CCNA. This is due to the fact that CCNA elaborates more complex structures that refer directly to the hardware of different technologies. Therefore, more complex procedures are included in this exam. 

Career Options for CCNA vs. CCNA Security

Besides the differences in the topics they cover, CCNA and CCNA Security certifications also differ in the options they provide for you career-wise. Obtaining one of the certifications means setting your career path in a particular direction. 

CCNA Career Options 

Once you pass the CCNA exam and become a certified expert, you can land a job as: 

  • Technical Support Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Network Administrator
  • Information Technology (IT) Manager
  • Senior Network Engineer
  • Network Security Specialist

CCNA Security Career Options 

The CCNA Security certification can qualify you for job positions such as: 

The career options that I have provided above are just some of the options. Each company has different needs; therefore, the titles might vary. 

As you could see, the difference between CCNA and CCNA Security is significant, and you have to familiarize yourself with every detail before deciding on a certification. Obtaining certification means choosing your career path. Therefore, you need to be careful with your pick. 

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