The New CCNA R&S: Measuring Knowledge and Skills for Today’s Engineer

 

 

Since the launch of the revised CCNA Routing & Switching exams, the #CertsandLabs team has worked hard to listen to your questions, concerns and feedback on the revision. From the initial announcement and release of the updated blueprints, the most consistent concern has been whether or not the updated certification is trending in the right direction for the industry. Some candidates have posed questions such as:

 

 

  • Why have more in-depth topics such as BGP, VPN/tunnels, and IPv6 routing moved from the CCNP to CCNA, especially if the CCNA is supposed to be lower level? What once were considered advanced technologies are now commonplace even at the Associate level. Our certifications are based on an industry job role analysis, and these technologies are now fundamental to job roles at the CCNA level.
  • Will this make the CCNP less valuable? Absolutely not. The current CCNP blueprints still contain technology trends and job role expectations at the Professional level.
  • Why are there so many topics on the CCNA exams? As highlighted below, we haven’t added additional topics to the exam. Instead, we’ve streamlined concepts and objectives, removed obsolete technologies, and pared down rudimentary skills.

 

We know that change can be hard, but, before we go too far into why we implemented these changes, let’s go over what changes we made.

 

THE MAJOR CHANGES

To earn your CCNA Routing & Switching certification, you still need to pass either the ICND1 and ICND2 exams, or the composite CCNA exam. However, all three exams have been revised from version 2.0 to version 3.0.

 

  • Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1) (Exam 100-105)
    • Upon passing this, you will earn the Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) certification
    • In v2.0 of this exam, there was a separate troubleshooting domain. Though troubleshooting is no longer its own domain,  troubleshooting tasks and techniques have been incorporated throughout the entire exam by having candidates demonstrate the ability to resolve or escalate trouble tickets, or verify and monitor final solutions.
    • The blueprint domains have been updated to reflect a more streamlined approach to organizing the content as seen below:

                                              

ICND1 v2.0
ICND1 v3.0
1.0 Operation of IP Data Networks1.0 Network Fundamentals
2.0 LAN Switching Technologies2.0 LAN Switching Technologies
3.0 IP Addressing3.0 Routing Technologies
4.0 IP Routing Technologies4.0 Infrastructure Services
5.0 IP Services5.0 Infrastructure Management
6.0 Network Device Security
7.0 Troubleshooting

 

  • Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2 (ICND2) (Exam 200-105)
    • In this exam we have removed obsolete technologies and added technologies that are emerging or in high demand
    • Below are the changes to the Exam Topics from old versus new:

                              

ICND2 v2.0
ICND2 v3.0
1.0  LAN Switching Technologies1.0  LAN Switching Technologies
2.0 IP Routing Technologies2.0 Routing Technologies
3.0 IP Services3.0 WAN Technologies
4.0 Troubleshooting4.0 Infrastructure Services
5.0 WAN Technologies5.0 Infrastructure Maintenance

 

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) (Exam 200-125)
    • You can also take the composite Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam to earn your CCNA Routing and Switching certification.  The 200-125 exam covers all of the topics from the ICND1 and ICND2 exams.
    • Below are the changes to the Exam Topics from old versus new:

                                              

CCNA v2.0
CCNA v3.0
1.0 Network Fundamentals1.0 Network Fundamentals
2.0 LAN Switching Technologies2.0 LAN Switching Technologies
3.0 Routing Technologies3.0 Routing Technologies
4.0 WAN Technologies4.0 WAN Technologies
5.0 Infrastructure Services5.0 Infrastructure Services
6.0 Network Device Security6.0 Infrastructure Security
7.0 Troubleshooting7.0 Infrastructure Management


WHICH TECHNOLOGIES MADE THE CUT?

  • Below are the topics that are no longer included on the ICND1 and ICND2 exams.
  • The topics below that have been removed from or added to the ICND1 and ICND2 exams also apply to the composite CCNA since it comprises content from both exams.

              

ICND1 v3.0 REMOVED
ICND2 v3.0 REMOVED
OSPF (single area) and other OSPF topics were replaced with RIP and moved to the ICND2 exam replaced with RIPFrame-Relay, CSU/DSU and Serial WAN technologies are no longer covered (but T1 connectivity may be found in some cases)
Dual StackVRRP and GLBP have been removed from First Hop Redundancy Protocols. Only HSRP remains, since it is most commonly deployed
Specific Cisco Express Forwarding questions (CEF is considered an understood fundamental technology which the candidate should know prior to the exam)

 

  • Below are the topics that have been added to the updated versions of the ICND1 and ICND2 exams.

                                              

ICND1 v3.0  ADDED
ICND2 v3.0 ADDED
High level knowledge of infrastructure components such as firewalls, Access points and Wireless Controllers in an Enterprise network environment and their impact and interactionsKnowledge of dual-homed vs. single-homed Intelligent WAN topology options
Awareness of the Collapsed Core architecture compared to traditional three-tier architecturesBasic knowledge of external BGP (eBGP) used to connect Enterprise branches
Configuring and verifying IPv6 Stateless Address Auto Configuration (SLAAC)Expanded VPN technologies used by Enterprises which include DMVPN, Site-to-Site VPN, and Client VPN technologies
Coverage of anycast IPv6 addressingUnderstanding how Cloud resources are being used in Enterprise network architectures
Knowledge of Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP). An L2 discovery protocol is used in addition to Cisco Discovery ProtocolAwareness of Programmable Network (SDN) architectures
Knowledge of RIPv2 for IPv4 as the primary focus for understanding of how routing protocols workHow to use the Path Trace application for ACLs which is a key new network application enabled by the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller – Enterprise Module (APIC-EM)
DHCP and DNS related connectivity issuesUnderstanding of QoS concepts related to marking, shaping, and policing mechanisms used to manage congestion of various types of traffic


WHY ARE THESE CHANGES IMPORTANT?

 

Certifications must always evolve to keep pace with changing job roles. To stay relevant, we have moved away from technologies that are no longer front and center such as frame relay or Serial WAN and are instead focused on a more software-defined network. This is one reason we have utilized RIP only versus using OSPF to introduce candidates to IP routing protocols. Similarly, the reasons for moving away from Dual Stack are also important. Since this is an IPv4 to IPv6 transition technology, and because there are now many different IPv4 to IPv6 transition technologies available, this is considered to be a mature and well understood technology.  And looking ahead to new technologies, understanding basic concepts for today’s networking environment such as QoS and cloud are essential to preparing the network engineer for the future. As technologies change, so must the job roles that support them and so must Cisco’s certifications.

 

Cisco’s Certification leadership, Exam Program Managers (EPMs), and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) have come together to produce a robust certification that covers the fundamental knowledge, skills, and abilities  that today’s Associate level network engineers must have to effectively complete their day-to-day tasks. They did this based on a job role analysis and following testing industry standards. What they found is that what were once considered advanced technologies just a few years ago are now considered fundamentals for today’s engineer. The revised ICND1, ICND2, and CCNA v3.0 exams are designed to cover what have become the core skills and technologies for the current job role.

 

Each certification and the exam(s) that comprise them are meticulously analyzed, designed and reviewed by industry experts as explained in our previous blog “Building Exams, What We Do Behind The Scenes To Protect Your Credentials”. Our goal is to always stay up-to-date on today’s technology, be a leader in setting trends, and ensure our candidates are equipped with the knowledge and skills to evolve with the industry. If you are ready to excel in your networking career, learn more about the CCNA Routing & Switching exams and register today.