Cisco made a big change last year and updated most of its certification programs, especially at the CCNA level. Instead of having individual certs tied to specific areas such as security or the cloud, there’s now a CCNA certification that can rule them all.
We are now able to evaluate the new CCNA, even though we are well past the February 24, 2020 release date. What have these changes done to the CCNA certs Is the new CCNA more difficult or easier than the old CCNA
Understanding What’s New
You could choose one of these paths for your CCNA before February 24:
CCNA Data Center
CCNA Routing & Switching
CCNA Service Provider
To become certified in this option, you must pass at least two exams. In some cases, you may need to take more. It wasn’t always easy to change the path you were on while working on your CCNA. To become a CCNA, you only need to take one exam. You can specialize later, which gives you more flexibility if your first Cisco certification is not yet completed.
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While pass rates will be available in a year, we can draw some inferences from today. The new CCNA is expected to be more difficult than the old CCNA.
These changes require you to have a greater knowledge base. You could start your journey into CCNA Routing & Switching with a CCENT (retired February 24, 2020). This will allow you to enter the CCNA Routing & Switching. This helped you get into other CCNA pathways. This is no longer possible, which can increase the difficulty of earning the new CCNA.
The new CCNA doesn’t mean you have to lose your focus areas. They’ve been replaced by Specialist certifications (more details later). You are entering an exam that covers more fundamentals of networking. This exam requires a greater understanding and broader view. The old CCNA certs covered the basics, but the new CCNA goes deeper. The exam can be more difficult than the previous CCNA.
The new CCNA covers modern networking fundamentals from end-to-end. This is the problem. This is a lot of ground. For newer networking professionals, programming and automation can be difficult. DevOps, automation and programming seem to be the norm. However, mixing programming with networking certs is a new concept. Cert takers who are familiar with basic networking but not automation can find this a challenge.
How the Changes Can Benefit You
It had been a while since Cisco made major changes to their certification program. The requirements for IT professionals have changed over the years. Associate-level expertise doesn’t require any type of concentration in any particular area. A person looking to hire a CCNA-certified person will typically want to have a basic understanding and ability to mold the person into the best fit for their organization. This will allow you to move up in your career.
You can choose to specialize in Cisco when you are ready to move on to the next level. This will also give you more flexibility than before. You can easily change your career path to suit your needs. This change will provide a clear path to success that will likely increase success rates for those who choose the CCNA route. All of this will eventually set you up for a CCNP, depending on the area you choose.
There are many changes in the requirements for IT professionals. It is only natural that IT companies will be looking for people with these new skills.
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