Showing posts with label ccna. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ccna. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Cisco launch new CCNA Cloud and CCNP Cloud certifications

By Sarah Morgan

Today Cisco introduced two brand new cloud certifications to complement their already comprehensive certification portfolio.

The Cisco certification Pyramid
Available globally, the CCNA Cloud and CCNP Cloud are new job role certifications, designed to build and validate your cloud skill set.

Cisco CCNA Cloud – only six days

Companies are embracing cloud to help them to be more agile, flexible, and effective – with a CCNA cloud cert, you’ll get the skills you need to help these companies succeed with cloud technology.

On this accelerated course, you’ll learn how to perform entry-level provisioning and support for Cisco cloud solutions. You’ll also study:

  • Cloud characteristics and models
  • Cloud deployment
  • Cloud compute
  • End-user support
  • Infrastructure, administration and reporting

The CCNA Cloud certification will prepare you for the role of a cloud engineer or cloud administrator working in a small/medium business, or as support for a large enterprise.

Get this crucial cloud certification in just six days with Firebrand.

Cisco CCNP Cloudonly 12 days

Become a recognised expert with Cisco cloud technology and get the skills you need to build, implement, provision and support Cisco Cloud and Intercloud solutions. This certification is a progression of the Cisco CCNA Cloud.

On this accelerated course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Implement and troubleshoot Cisco Cloud Infrastructure
  • Automate Cisco Enterprise
  • Manage application centric infrastructure

Plus, this Cisco course includes all four CCNP exams, and is delivered exclusively by Certified Cisco Instructors. Get CCNP Cloud certified in only 12 days with Firebrand.

Firebrand are among the first to market these brand new Cisco cloud certifications. And with accelerated training, you'll be certified at twice the speed.

190+ courses and counting

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 190 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA.

We’re committed to developing new accelerated courses. To stay up to date with our newest and most cutting edge training follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn.

Find out how you can get certified at twice the speed and take a look at our full range of accelerated training.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

How to revise Cisco CCNA for free

By Sarah Morgan

Studying quality revision resources is crucial – when preparing for your CCNA exams. You can’t afford to waste time trawling the web for revision material.

It can be hard to find quality resources that you don’t have to pay for. We’ve previously discussed our top 5 paid CCNA revision books – now it’s time for our top free resources.

Free CCNA video tutorials & guides

High quality video content is an invaluable tool during self-study. Written revision resources are great, but things can get dull (especially after your third cup of coffee!). Video content can provide a welcome respite – you’ll still be learning about CCNA, but in a more passive way.

Plus, you’ll find variety CCNA topics easier to memorise better when accompanied by screen captures and live demonstrations.

There are plenty of quality free guides, how-to’s and tutorials available online. Here’s our pick of the bunch:

Dans Courses 

Dan Alberghetti has been teaching CCNA certification courses through the Cisco Academy for the past 11 years and it shows. You’ll find an abundance of quality video content on Dan’s YouTube channel – just make sure you check the upload date, some videos are now up to five years old! And remember, the new CCNA exam was introduced in 2014 – take a look at most recent updates.


Though not as comprehensive as Dans Courses, NetworKing provides a series of compelling introductory CCNA videos. You’ll be guided through ten 20 minute videos by the concise and affable Imran Rafal – covering topics from Network fundamentals to Real World Switching.

This is a great resource. However, as many have pointed out, these videos should only be used as a supplementary resource. Relying on just these videos will not give you the breadth of knowledge you need to pass.

ShrikeCast with Andrew Crouthamel

This mammoth series of 84 videos is another brilliant resource for anyone embarking on CCNA self-study. The videos range in length from 5 – 25 minutes and provide an introduction to networking and the CCNA syllabus.

Free CCNA study guides

To supplement your revision, you should be regularly referring to a variety of study guides. By using these you’ll start to build the base of knowledge you need to take on the CCNA exams. These study guides are typically large and unexciting, but provide an invaluable source of information.

Free CCNA Study Guide

This massive online directory covers topics found within both the ICND1 and ICND2 exams. Each in-depth chapter covers a huge range of CCNA topics with accompanying diagrams and illustrations. Despite not yet being updated for IPv6, Free CCNA Study Guide remains a fantastic revision resource.

Access it here.


Omnisecu provides a staggering 159 well-illustrated CCNA lessons. These lessons cover a massive breadth of topics (including IPv6) that can be studied in sequence. It’s simple, informative and robust.  

Plus, Omnisecu also covers Basic Networking and TCP/IP – topics you’ll be expected to understand before you start revising the CCNA.

CCNA Help – CCNA eBook

This eBook covers almost all important topics found within the CCNA exams and also includes some sample questions & answers.

Despite being visually unappealing, with a noticeable lack of diagrams, this resource retains its place as a useful source of quality CCNA information.  Find it here.

Free Cisco Routing Simulators

Routing simulators are invaluable tools for anyone studying networking. Applying the knowledge and skills you’ve been learning should be an integral part of your CCNA study. To help you do just that we recommend you take a look at NetSimK, LammleSim and GNS3.

Free Practice exams

The penultimate test – can you achieve a passing score on a practice exam? There’s only one way to find out. The below practice exams and questions will help you gauge you readiness for the real thing.

Test Clues

You’ll have to submit your email to sign up to Test Clues, but it’s well worth the effort. Inside you’ll find fully functional exams for both ICND1 and ICND2. Sign up here.

Go Certify

A minimalistic set of CCNA exam questions provided hosted on Go Certify and provided by ccprep. Find it here.

Are you ready for the CCNA exam?

This short 10 question quiz tests your knowledge on a variety of Cisco exam topics. Questions and detailed answers are taken from the book CCNA Exam Cram, Second Edition. Take the quiz.

Cert Exams features a series of practice questions as well as a free downloadable exam simulator that includes testlets, simlets and router simulations. Take a look at the practice exam questions and download the exam simulator.


The demo version of MeasureUp still provides some great practice exam experience. You’ll find shortened versions of both the ICND1 and ICND2 exams, though you’ll need to reach for your wallet to access the full tests.

Bonuses include two distinct testing modes - Study mode and Certification mode – as well as extensive customisable test options.

Firebrand Learn

We’ve uploaded our ICND1 & ICND2 lab guides to Firebrand Learn.  Get started on these two comprehensive lab guides right away – they’re totally free and there’s no need to sign up.

Found any hidden gems during your CCNA revision? Comment below and we’ll add them to the guide.

Related articles:
About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 2 January 2015

Certifications to start your IT Career in 2015


Looking to start your IT career in 2015? Check out this list of the top entry level certifications to help secure your first job in the field of IT. Completing any one of these will prove you have the associated skill set necessary to perform in a range of entry level IT jobs.

Microsoft entry level certifications

MicrosoftIf you're considering a career in technology then it's almost a certainty you'll end up working with Microsoft technologies. The MTA certification (Microsoft Technology Associate) is Microsoft's introductory track addressing a wide spectrum of fundamental technical concepts.

The MTA is split into three tracks which you can follow depending on your interests and career goals:

  • MTA IT Infastructure track - if you want to build a career in desktop, server infrastructure or private cloud computing this is the track for you. Hone your skills around window desktop and server operating systems, networking and security.
  • MTA Database track - this track is for those chasing a career in business intelligence or data platform administration and covers database fundamentals.
  • MTA Developer track - for those looking to become a software developer, this track prepares you to get hands on with Microsoft tech. Choose from a range of training to develop fundamental skills in software development, gaming, HMTL5, .NET, software testing and web development. 
Passing just one exam will gain you an MTA certification and prepare you for the more advanced MCSA, MCSE and MCSD certification tracks. Though it's important to note the MTA is not required as a prerequisite certification to the more advanced tracks.

Cisco entry level certifications

If you are interested in starting a career as a networking professional, attaining a Cisco certification is a huge step in making this a reality. As well as being a global technology leader specializing in networking and communications, Cisco has one of the most popular and widely recognised certification programs in the IT Industry.

The CCENT credential (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) will be your ideal starting point. Attaining the CCENT certification proves you have the ability to install, maintain, secure and troubleshoot small networks. 

This will qualify you to get a job as a network or help desk technician, whilst also acting as the prerequisite for Cisco's Associate level certifications like the CCNA and CCDA.

CompTIA entry level certifications

CompTIACompTIA are a non profit trade association providing a range of globally recognized, vendor neutral certifications. Their most popular certifications are the A+ and Network+ certifications:

  • A+ certification - achieving this credential shows you have a solid skills foundation in software and hardware. This course is designed to reflect the skills needed to excel as a computer support professional and has been adopted by HP and IBM as a requirement for all their technical staff. The A+ credentials is so popular it recently passed the 1 million mark for individuals attaining the certification.
  • Network+ certification - this is a fantastic alternative to Cisco certification for those considering a career in Networking. The Network+ credential proves you have the skills and knowledge to configure and operate a variety of networking products.
Take a combined A+ and Network+ course with Firebrand and attain both certifications in just 7 days.

So there you have it, the top certifications to kick start your IT career in 2015, what are you waiting for?

Author Profile

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint, Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor.

Friday, 19 December 2014

How Firebrand’s new Level 4 IT Apprenticeships can get your business £10,000

By Sarah Morgan

Firebrand Training is excited to announce an expansion to our Apprenticeship portfolio. Developed with the Government’s Trailblazer project, you can now grow your business with Level 4 IT Apprentices from Firebrand.

You’ll be able to choose from a shortlist of talented young adults, ready to grow your business. They get two years of government funded IT training worth £27,000, a weekly starting salary of £150 and your business gets incentives of £2,700 to £10,800.

Train qualified staff on professional programs

Firebrand’s Level 4 IT Apprenticeships are available right now. Your apprentice can take the following two year training programmes:

  • Cisco CCNA Routing & Switching

    Your apprentice will develop into the role of Network Engineer. They will learn how to design, install, maintain and support communications and get certifications like the Cisco CCNA. But that’s just a fraction of what they’ll learn – find out more now.

  • Microsoft Network Engineer (MCSA)

    On this programme your apprentice will learn the principles of networking and gain well-known industry certifications like the CompTIA A+ & N+, ITIL Foundation and the Microsoft MCSA: Windows 8.1

  • Software Developer

    Firebrand will develop your apprentice into the role of Software Developer. They’ll learn how to build, manage and deploy code within enterprise environments and will become high quality developers within your organisation. Plus, they’ll get professional certifications like the MCSD: Web Applications and the MCSA: SQL Server.

  • Bespoke

    Work with Firebrand to build your perfect program and create an ideal new employee. In 2015, we will be launching more level 4 apprentice tracks, including custom and bespoke programmes.

How a Level 4 Apprentice will plug the skills gap in your business

IT skills are in short-supply – the EU predicts a shortfall of 700,000 IT roles by 2015. With this shortage, it’s no surprise that businesses across the UK are struggling to find qualified new staff.

With strong backing from the UK government, the apprenticeship scheme is tackling the skills gap – making it easier for your business to get bright young employees on board. The Skills Funding Agency has announced an additional £40m to fund apprenticeship places, as well as an extra £20m to fund the higher educational element.

Level 4 Apprenticeships combine the best of on-the-job training with high level qualifications. These apprentices will give you the knowledgeable workforce your business needs to grow. In fact, 25% of employers in England rate qualified higher apprentices as 25% more employable than those who took an alternative route to work.

Hire an apprentice and you’ll quickly train someone to understand exactly how your business works. You can also develop existing staff as they work with your apprentice, through mentoring opportunities and more.

Find out more about the benefits of higher apprenticeships here.

Level 4 Apprenticeships Accelerated

We’ve worked with the Government’s Trailblazer project to bring you Level 4 Apprenticeships. And as always, we will be delivering them the Firebrand way: solid training weeks for your apprentice and more uninterrupted time spent working for their employer.

Here’s how it works:

1. We advertise your vacancy and create a shortlist of candidates, matching your business needs, for you to interview

2. Your apprentice will get 23 to 38 days of accelerated Firebrand training and IT industry standard certifications like: Cisco CCNA, Microsoft MTA Networking Fundamentals, MCSA: Windows 8.1 and ITIL Foundation v3. With accelerated learning, your apprentice will be qualified in half the time.

3. You’ll pay just £6,000 to £9,000 over two years with the government contributing double what you pay. You’ll be able to spread the payment over 18 months (interest free) and the Government will also pay you £2,700 to £10,800 in incentives.

Get access to 1,000s of applicants looking for work right now - find out more about taking on an apprentice with Firebrand’s one and two-year programs here.

But that’s not all.

Turn a talented university graduate into an IT professional, fast

If you’re looking for a more experienced employee, why not hire a graduate straight from university? Firebrand graduates all have a STEM (science, technology, engineering or maths) degree and are more than ready to enter the IT industry.

To find out more about growing your business with talented university graduates, register your interest here.

Related articles:

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 28 November 2014

The 5 best CCNA books for exam revision in 2015

By Sarah Morgan

The CCNA is hard but the rewards are great – a Cisco Certified Network Associate certification can net you a £40,000 salary (average advertised) and get you into network engineer roles.

This certification also opens up progression towards the renowned CCNP certifications which in turn yield higher salaries and the prospect of senior positions in the IT industry.

To pass your ICND1 and ICDN2 exams and become a certified network associate in 2015, you’re going to need the best books for CCNA revision available on the market today.

Grab several of these books as early in your revision as you can and study them as much as possible.  Don’t waste time searching online - take a look at your best picks for 2015, in no particular order…

1. Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Official Cert Guide Library
Covering both ICND1 100-101 and ICND2 200-101 (both CCENT and CCNA), this package contains two entire books fully up-to-date with the latest CCNA exam topics.

  • Exercises based on key CCNA concepts
  • Pearson IT Certification Practice Test software – including 100’s of exam questions
  • 150 minutes of personal video mentoring from the author: Wendell Otom
  • Study plan suggestions and templates
  • 26 CCNA Network simulator labs

How good is it?

This book comes highly recommended - Amazon reviewers rate it 4.6 out of 5 stars rating (28 ratings). As a comprehensive base of knowledge it serves it’s a solid resource.

2. Cisco CCNA in 60 Days 
ISBN: 0956989292

This book was written by two guys who really know their stuff: co-authors Paul W. Browning and Farai Tafa are both CCIE and CCNP certified as well as being seasoned creators of CCNA revision material.

This book stands out because it approaches the CCNA in an opposite way to offerings like the Official Cert Guide Library.

Cisco CCNA in 60 days provides a dedicated study guide for each day for an entire month. After 30 days, the book proposes, you’ll be ready to take your CCENT exam and a month after this you’ll be prepared to take on the CCNA ICND2.

You’ll be checking in with your copy every day to read your daily dose, review yesterday’s lesson and track your progress.

It’s the ideal book for those of us who need a defined structure for their revision. However, if this isn’t your style of revising, it’s probably not the book for you.

IT professionals that stick to the ‘2 hours a day for 60 days’ requirement have found success. Though, only the determined few will be able to stick to this demanding schedule.


You’ll be able to register your book online at to access £250 of videos, exams, guides and even a forum to chat to your fellow 60 Day CCNAs.

How good is it?

Cisco CCNA in 60 Days comes highly rate for those that managed to stick to the demanding schedule. With an average amazon score of 4.8 out of 5 stars (36 reviews), it’s also very well received.

We love the focused scheduled, accessible and to-the-point writing and excellent motivational chapters to keep you going for the full 2 months. And don’t worry, it’s fully up to date with the material introduced in 2014.

3. CCNA Routing and Switching Study Guide: Exams 100-101, 200-101, and 200-120
ISBN: 978-1118749616

If you’ve been lurking around networking forums, chances are you’ve heard Todd Lammle’s name mentioned. Todd has authored over 25 books on Cisco certification subjects and can even boast that his book sales have surpassed those of Cisco Press.

The book covers ICND1 and ICND2 as well as the new topics introduced in 2014. Todd’s intuitive and knowledgeable approach is engaging and those new to the CCNA will find this especially appealing. Special attention should be drawn to topics like subnetting and route summarisation which are explained particularly clearly.

  • Companion Test Engine
  • Electronic flashcards
  • Network simulator
  • Practice exams

If you’re the kind of learner who occasionally needs a break from reading, you’re in luck: bonus content includes access to 40+ MicroNugget videos from CBT Nuggets.

How good is it?

Lammle’s reputation speaks volumes but his book is let down by some poor accompanying materials. The downloadable practice questions miss the mark as one Amazon review states: ‘don’t rely on them…not like the actual exam at all.’

Amazon reviews are largely positive, however, with an average score of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Ultimately, Lammel’s easy-to-understand and to-the-point writing are great for those looking to get through both ICND exams. But, you can expect less content and background reading than Cisco’s official offering – so if you just want to get through the exams, this is for you.

4. CCNA Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide (3rd Edition)
ISBN: 978-1587204302

Published by Cisco press, condensed and is brimming with valuable information this book could prove invaluable for anyone studying for the CCNA.

In it you’ll find every Cisco IOS® Software command, keyword, command argument and associated prompts.

Plus, you’ll also get tips and examples of how to apply these commands in real-world scenarios. It’s been revamped to cover updated ICND 100-101 and ICND2 200-101 topics as well as CCNA 200-120 exams.

This book won’t form the basis of your revision, rather it should act as a quick reference resource to help you memorise commands and concepts. Store it on your eBook and take a few minutes out whenever you can.

How good is it?

Though not widely in circulation, this book has been received incredibly well. Despite Amazon UK only listing 3 reviews (albeit positive ones), actually lists 68 customer reviews with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 – making it the highest rated book on our list.

5. 31 Days Before Your CCENT / CCNA Certification Exam A Day-By-Day Review Guide
ISBN: 978-1587204531 (CCENT)  
ISBN: 978-1587204630 (CCNA)  

The 31 Days series is for professionals who can see the finishing line. There are two books, both published by Cisco press, covering the CCENT and CCNA exams equally.

If you’re starting to fall to pieces with a month to go until your exam this book aims to get you back on track. You’ll be using the book’s day-by-day guide and checklist to organise, prepare and review your revision in the days before your exam.

  • Visual calendar summarising each day’s topic
  • Exam preparation checklist
  • Mental, organisational and physical strategies for exam day

How good is it?

This book succeeds in providing a handy summary of everything you need to know for both ICND1 and ICND2 respectively. We recommend using this book alongside Wendell Odom’s comprehensive Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Official Cert Guide Library.

The 31 Days to CCENT / CCNA doesn’t include the important practice exams and exercises found within Odom’s bulkier Official Cert Guide Library. But, when used in tandem, both books can give you a real boost during the most important month of your revision.

How to get CCNA certified in less than a week

Books are incredible revision tools but many of us can’t commit to the dedication and distraction-free environment needed. If this sounds like you, there is an alternative to a month of studying – take a look at our CCNA course and do it all in 6 days.

If you recently passed your CCNA, what books would you recommend? And for those studying – good luck! 

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Your stories: which course would you attend first, if you won Free Training for Life?


Which would be your first certification, if you won Firebrand's Free Training For Life competition? You'd get free access to over 160 training courses from the likes of Microsoft, Cisco, EC-Council, CompTIA, PMI and many more. Whether you're working in IT security, cloud computing or project management, you'd find the courses you need to climb up the career ladder.

We asked you to share your “first course choices” on our Google+ page, because we were curious about your picks and the stories behind them.

Reading your responses was thoroughly enjoyable. Some of them were witty, well-justified and though provoking, so it was hard to pick the Top 5. But at last here they are, the best answers from 5 lucky winners of 100 extra tickets to Free Training For Life:

It’s extremely important to keep your networks safe and this response seems to agree.

“If I won FTFL I would choose the Cisco CCNA and CCNA Security as my first course, as I know that I would then be able to protect my systems and myself without physical confrontation. I am small so actual confrontation has never gone well for me. So having that card in my back pocket will set me off on the right path. I would then go down the project management side of things and do PRINCE2 course and other courses related to project management.“ – Rachel

Some of you have already attended training with Firebrand, so you know what to expect and how to further develop the skills you’ve already got.

“If I won FTFL it would be a toss-up between Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and CompTIA Sec+. Having done CompTIA A+ I thoroughly enjoyed the course and loved the introduction into cryptography, the AAA of computing, types of attacks and various methods of procuring data - I had no idea that it was so in-depth and that was just a skim over the subject.

Having developed an appetite for it, I think both courses would be a great next step, though I think the CEH would provide a unique insight into security from the side of the intruder. I spoke to some people doing the course whilst doing my CompTIA A+ on the Firebrand campus and they spoke very highly of the course and learned a lot.

I'd also build up my Comp TIA A+ a little more with N+ and then work through ITIL before potentially branching into CISM or CCNA. I plan to build a wide-ranging skillset throughout my career and hopefully Firebrand will be the ones to help me do it!” – David

This could be you in a few months' time. Watch Joseph, last year's winner, talk about his certification plans.

Having a solid foundation is essential in preparing for long-term future goals.

“With so much choice it's not an easy decision. It would be either the CompTIA Trifecta [A+/N+/Sec+] to gain a solid foothold in an IT career or a Cisco CCNA qualification. Cisco would be the ideal choice as in today’s ever increasingly "Connected" world this would probably the most future proof qualification, as networks are always going to be required and therefore the properly certified individual will be the 'Key player' to keep this moving forward.” – Paul

We can’t stress this enough: you can beat a hacker, if you can think like one.

“I would go for the EC-Council CEH v8 to acquire the required skillset needed to help keep networks more secure. It's like the catch a thief, you have to think like a thief. With Firebrand Training, that dream would become a reality…” – Clevelon

If you’re familiar with what you need to make progress, you have a very good chance of reaching your goals.

“If I win the FTFL Competition, I will start with the BCI Certificate Training. The reason is because as an IT practitioner, my chosen area of specialty is IT Management, and with the Five Core Modules of the BCI Curriculum, (1. Policy, Programme Management and Culture;  2. Understanding the Organisation;  3. Determining Business Continuity Strategy;  4. Developing a BCM Response;  5. Exercising, Maintaining and Reviewing BCM Arrangements) I should be able to gain the requisite foundation for a start in the Sphere of IT Business Management.” - Imo

As you see different people have different preferences and ideas about their future. We’d be delighted to hear more of your stories. Tell us which course you’d take first, if you won Free Training For Life. You can do so on the Firebrand Google+ page.

Send us your story of which course you'd take and why, and the best ones will again be rewarded with 100 extra entries and a "Failure Is Not An Option" t-shirt.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Firebrand goes digital


Last weekend saw the launch of digital courseware. Firebrand currently offers 29 courses from Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA, which are delivered in digital format across all the regions.

What's changing 

Firebrand’s intensive training courses are all about speed. Because we expect a lot from our students, we make sure that they are given the best resources to help them succeed.

Changing from books to digital courseware means that courses can be delivered faster and more efficiently, without having to wait for study material to arrive.

Digital courses at Firebrand are going to be delivered on Microsoft Surface RT devices, making logistics smoother, while also helping the environment.

Watch this video by Microsoft to see how digital courseware will further improve your Accelerated Learning experience with Firebrand: 

Digitally delivered courses include:
For the full list of digital courses visit Firebrand Learn.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Your entry to networking: CCENT & CCNA


If you are intending to become a networking professional, this article is for you, as it will present you CCENT and CCNA, the two essential certifications for a successful networking career.  

Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)

This certification is your ideal starting point as an entry-level network technician. The CCENT proves you have foundational knowledge for a small- to medium-sized network. Passing this exam is the very first step of entering into a network engineering job using Cisco routers and switches.

On the CCENT course you’ll learn about:
  • Networking fundamentals
  • WAN technologies
  • Basic security and wireless concepts
  • Routing and switching fundamentals
  • Configuring simple networks
The ICND exam required to pass is very challenging, therefore you must be very confident in your knowledge, because time is a critical factor. Once you have passed Exam 100-101 - (Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1 v2.0) you’ll be CCENT certified. What next?

You should strongly consider taking the ICND2 course and exam 200-101 as well. By passing this exam, you’ll get the CCNA certification.

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The CCNA credentials show your abilities to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot medium-sized routed and switched networks.

You’ll learn about the following:
  • Redundant topologies
  • Troubleshooting common network issues
  • Configuring EIGRP
  • Multi-area OSPF in both IPv4 and IPv6
  • Wide Area Network technologies
  • Device management
  • Cisco licensing
  • Using Cisco Catalyst switches
  • Cisco routers connected in LANs and WANs
In the ICND2 exam you can expect the same type of questions using simulators, drag and drop, as well as multiple-choice. To learn more about these certifications, visit our CCENT and CCNA course pages.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 10 January 2014

What’s new in the Cisco CCNA exam?


The CCNA certification is one of best ways to get into networking. So if your goal is to become a networking professional, you should familiarise yourself with the new aspects of the CCNA exams.

Newly introduced topics

With the new updates to the associate-level exams, technology-specific objects are now kept in their respective tests. For example, wireless is covered only in CCNA Wireless, and voice is only covered in CCNA Voice. The advantage is that these topics have now been removed from the CCNA Routing and Switching exams, leaving room for more coverage of R&S topics. New additions with this update include:

  • IPv6 (Additional coverage including routing protocols: OSPFv3 and EIGRP for IPv6)
  • First Hop Redundancy Protocols (FHRP) including Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) and Gateway Load Balancing Protocol (GLBP)
  • Password Recovery
  • Software (IOS) Licensing
  • Network Time Protocol
  • Syslog and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)
  • Netflow
Watch the following video, in which Senior Product Manager Nilay Ghoghari introduces the new CCNA Curriculum.

To learn more about the CCNA certification and how it can kick-start your networking career visit our website, or call our Cisco specialists at 080 80 800 888

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Exam tips and preparation: Cisco CCNA certification


The Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing and Switching (CCNA) is one of the most respected Associate level certifications in the world. It’s ideal for entry-level network engineers working with Cisco technology - the earlier you can achieve it, the more knowledgeable and ultimately employable you will be.

It pays well too – the average advertised salary of a CCNA professional is £38,500 according to

Plus, the CCNA certification has received a Gold certification from the IPv6 Forum's Education Certification Program. This means that if you gain this certification, you can display the IPv6 logo, which shows that you have attained IPv6 knowledge and skills.

Perhaps more importantly, the CCNA Routing and Switching is a prerequisite to the expert Cisco certifications, like the CCNP Routing and Switching (CCNP holders earn an average salary of £47,500!)

But in order to gain this certification, you’ll need to pass one of two testing options:

  • ICND1 and ICND2 exams
  • CCNA 640-802 exam.

CCNA 100-101 ICND1 Exam

90 minutes (50-60 questions)

This exam qualifies you as a Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT). So, if you’re only interested in gaining the CCENT, you’ll only need to pass the ICND1.

The ICND1 tests knowledge and skills required to install, operate and troubleshoot a small branch office network.

This exam covers the basic topics related to modern networks, this includes:

  • IP data networks 
  • LAN Switching technologies 
  • IPv6 Routing technologies 
  • IP Services (like DHCP, NAT and ACLs) 
  • Network Device Security 
  • Basic troubleshooting 

The exam also covers the protocol knowledge of LANS, WANs, hardware basics, and subnetting. As well as introducing the Cisco Command Line Interface (CLI) - used to configure, monitor and trouble shoot problems on Cisco devices.

Questions can come in a variety of formats from multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, to hands-on sims, simlets and testlets. Bear in mind, unlike other exams (like CompTIA’s A+), you’ll not be able to skip questions and go back later.

CCNA 200-101 ICND2 Exam

75 minutes (50-60 questions)

This exam picks up where the ICND1 exam left off but with greater depth and a wider variety of configurations.

You’ll be tested on your knowledge of installing, operating and troubleshooting a small-to-medium sized enterprise branch network.

The ICND2 covers more advanced topics related to modern networks, this includes:

  • Advanced LAN switching - such as Spanning Tree Protocols, VLANs and VLAN Trunking 
  • IP Routing technologies 
  • IP Services (FHRP, syslog, SNMP) 
  • Troubleshooting 
  • WAN Technologies 

Just like the ICND1, questions come in a variety of formats: multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and hands-on sims, simlets and testlets. Again, you’ll not be able to skip questions and go back later.

Both ICND exams cover a wide variety of topics. This makes it an inherently tough exam. And it’s important you fully understand it – most of what you will learn on the ICND serves as the basis for all other Cisco CCNA track exams.

CCNA 640-802 Exam

90 minutes (45-55 questions) 

Here’s your second option. The 640-802 exam essentially combines the same topics as both ICND1/ICND2 into one exam.

As mentioned previously, you’ll have the option to take this longer exam instead of taking both the ICND1 and ICND2 exams.

This exam covers topics related to modern networks:

  • TCP/IP 
  • IP Routing and addressing 
  • Cisco router and switch CLI 
  • LAN switching 
  • WLANs 
  • Spanning Tree Protocols 
  • VLANs and VLAN Trunking 
  • NAT 
Questions can be multiple-choice, drag-and-drop and hands-on sims, simlets and testlets. Just like ICND exams, you’ll not be able to skip questions and go back later.

Tips for difficult areas

Get a concrete knowledge of the following topics – here’s where most students slip up:

Note: these tips apply to both the ICND1/ICND2 and the 640-802 exams.

IP Subnetting
– It can be hard to memorize the terminology and understand the mathematics behind subnetting. Ensure you fully understand it and can apply it effectively before taking the exam.

Remember which processes to use and how to use them. Memorize how to apply the IP addressing and routing concepts while working with the math.

Time – This is particularly crucial as you will not have the option to skip questions and go back to them later. As a result, you might find yourself spending longer than you typically would on each question. This can quickly add up, you don’t want to find yourself rushing through the last questions.

Take particular care of the sim, simlets and testlets as these can take the most time.

CLI - Practice using commands on the CLI to become familiar with the configurations. It’s worth investing time into understanding the router and switch commands.

Variable Length Subnet Masks (VLSM) – This introduces the possibility of subnets with overlapped address ranges which cannot easily be identified.

Spanning Tree Protocol – Most people have STP enabled and believe there isn’t much need to understand it. They would be wrong – it’s a complicated topic which can take time and repetition to learn. Check out this useful explanation.

Access Control Lists (ACLs) –Knowing how to match TCP and UDP port numbers, both source and destination can be very difficult.

Preparation Hints

Don’t neglect the power of studying with others. That doesn’t mean you have to join a study group - there are plenty of forums online where you can get involved; ask questions or help out others. Either way, you’ll get to interact with people in your situation and you’ll have the opportunity to exercise your own knowledge in an active way.

The CCNA covers a huge range of topics. Consider this when planning out your revision and preparation; it will take a considerable amount of time for you to learn every topic back-to-front.

Make sure to read practice exam papers and gauge how comfortable you feel with them – if you’re uncertain, now may not be the time to take the exam. 

We recommend reading:

How do you study?

Obviously you want to learn the way that suits you best. The two most popular routes for achieving your CCNA Routing and Switching cert are split between self-study and attending a training course.

You have undoubtedly committed to some form of self-study in your life and you’re probably aware if this works for you. Studying for the CCNA will certainly take dedication and a considerable amount of time (assuming you have a job and other obligations). You’ll also need a variety of equipment to test apply your learning in a practical way.

If you want a simpler way of learning, attending a course will likely appeal more. You won’t need to worry about buying your own hardware, or trawling the internet for that one nagging question you have about the ICND2 exam. Attend a course and you’ll be able to interrogate your instructor about every last detail.

What’s more, a training course will provide a structured approach to learning. Having somebody else to guide you will save you masses of time, energy and money.

Firebrand’s accelerated CCNA course is just 6-days – how is that possible?

Excellent resources

Internetworking Technology Handbook – a handy resource from Cisco themselves

CCNA Tutorials Ebook – slightly cumbersome but useful online tutorial/ebook

CCNA Version 5-draft by Matt Basham – another free Ebook

Online Cisco Courses – a well-put together resource covering both ICND exam topics

Free CCNA Cheatsheet (not literally of course)

You should also take advantage of the Cisco learning network

And check out this great YouTube series:

Router simulators

…all that’s left is for you to put in the effort, Good Luck!

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.