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

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. 

Monday, 30 June 2014

3 Cisco CCNA certificates to boost your career in Networking


The CCNA is a consistently well-regarded industry certificate, assessed and supported by Cisco, an industry behemoth with 45% market share for products in the networking and communications sectors. The CCNA is an immensely popular certification amongst network professionals, but why should you actually bother with it?

A CCNA cert will not only prove and document your own knowledge, you’ll demonstrate to your boss that you have the skills and drive to progress in your career. It could even be that crucial bargaining chip to secure a raise. Having one of the CCNA certifications on your resume will help you stand out from others when applying for the same job and proves to the hiring manager that you have the requisite skills in networking.

Any one of the CCNA certifications could be the jump start you need to move up in your career. 

'A brief introduction to Cisco's associate level certifications'

Image courtesy of mconnors/ morgueFile
Cisco CCNA Security

Prerequisites - Any valid CCENT, CCNA Routing and Switching, or any CCIE certification.
The CCNA Security certificate demonstrates to organisations that you possess valuable skills involved in the implementation and maintenance of secure networks and server architecture.

With an increasing number of industry and government compliance mandates becoming necessary, even a basic level of network security can prove critical in accelerating your career. Complying with well-known security standards can provide a massive bonus to organisations; who are often more than willing to pay for someone with the skills – In the UK, Network Security Engineers earn an average salary upwards of £48,500.

As part of the certification, you’ll prove skills in the installation, monitoring and troubleshooting of network devices in order to maintain confidentiality and availability for both data and device.

Cisco CCNA Wireless

Prerequisites - Any valid CCENT, CCNA Routing and Switching, or any CCIE certification.
The wireless job market has been expanding at pace for years with companies of all sizes upgrading their infrastructure to include wireless. A study by Canalys shows that Wireless LAN shipments will represent 18% of all enterprise networking value in 2018. As one of the leaders in network innovations, it will come as no surprise that Cisco is already the market leader and actually account for 53% of wireless shipments.

Having a CCNA Wireless certificate on your resume will make it clear to prospective (and current) employers that you can implement and maintain wireless network technology.
If you already work with Cisco network infrastructures the CCNA Wireless will set yourself apart from other candidates and demonstrate a broad range of skills. Alternatively, if you’re already working within the wireless field with other vendor platforms, and you’re interested in expanding into Cisco’s technology, this certificate could prove crucial.
The CCNA Wireless certification demonstrates your knowledge in WLAN fundamentals, basic WLAN security, installation of Cisco LAN networks and WLAN maintenance.

Cisco CCNA Voice

Prerequisites - Any valid CCENT, CCNA Routing and Switching, or any CCIE certification.
Whilst better known for their network products, Cisco is also a major provider of Voice over IP (VoIP) to enterprises. The CCNA Voice cert is your first step to a career in voice networking. You’ll demonstrate you have the skills needed to deploy and maintain a Cisco Voice infrastructure using technologies like: Voicemail solutions, IP PBX and IP Telephony.

This certification confirms you have the required knowledge for specialized roles in voice technology. It’s a specialised sector, but one that pays well - Cisco Voice Engineers earn an average salary of £40,000 in the UK.

Now’s the time to get an official Cisco certification

The UK’s GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) security arm has just approved a number of CISCO products as secure. The certification allows the products to handle information up to the UK governments “Official” classification and will likely provide a big boost to the value of the Cisco brand.

The Cisco-certified will be amongst those reaping the rewards of this new government support. So what are you waiting for, ride the Cisco wave and get certified

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. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

CCNA training through Cisco’s Aspire game

Students studying for the CCNA certification can now come across a new game offered by the Cisco Learning Network. The game is called Aspire and is designed to help you train for the CCNA. The game is free but in order to complete the game, you have to buy tokens from Cisco.

Cisco CCNA Aspire
Once downloaded and installed, you create a user. You are then presented with a map of a small town with potential clients as seen in the image above. There are also several people that you will meet who become a part of your network of clients and employers who also can also help you with practice questions.

Friday, 30 July 2010

The Most In-Demand Certs

In this month's Certification Magazine, Dave Willmer looks at the certifications that are most attractive to employers. Dave explains: "An industry-recognized certification can provide you with a competitive edge whether you’re looking for a new position or trying to advance within your current firm." The top certs are:

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The (ISC)2 CISSP is a vendor-neutral certification that includes: access control, cryptography, operations security, and security architecture and design. CEOs rank security as the second-hardest functional area to fill.

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)

The Microsoft MCSE is a great differentiator because you must sit seven exams in order to pass it. Dave points out: "Job candidates who have earned any Microsoft certification have an edge in the job market."

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Firebrand Training offers more than just IT certifications. The Project Management Institute PMP is relevant to project managers in any industry - particularly IT. You need three-to-five years of project management experience in order to sit the course. This, alongside the certification, demonstrates extreme dedication and knowledge.

Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The Cisco CCNA certification proves that you can successfully administer medium-size route and switched Cisco networks. Students sit Exams 640-822 and 640-816. On completing Exam 640-822, the student automatically becomes Cisco CCENT certified too. Two for one!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

CCNA, MCSE, PMP and MCSA top the big-earners list

Research by Dice Learning has proven that it pays to be certified - with higher salaries dished out to those with the top certifications.

Evan Lesser, Director of Dice Learning, explains: "When you combine in-demand skill sets and proven salary impact, specific certifications become valuable to individual technology professionals."

An example of this is practitioners who gained Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA) certification. The "ability to install, configure, run and troubleshoot medium-sized routed and switched networks" - with the handling of security and wireless technologies - means there are more than 650 job opportunities requesting CCNA skills
listed on

Professionals certified as a Project Management Professional were found to be high earners, and those unemployed were more likely to find a new role. Dice Learning claims that there are currently 1,400 jobs with PMP certification listed as a requirement.
Other Microsoft certifications found to increase average salaries included: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrators (MCSA).

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Rate your salary: CCNA certification

The GoCertify website lists the average salaries for those with some of the most highly sought-after certifications.

On the CCNA certification page, salaries are listed for job roles such as Network Engineer, IT Manager and Systems Engineer. Information is provided by PayScale.

With Firebrand Training you could be CCNA certified and recognising your earning potential within six days.