How much will I need to know to pass the CCNA exam? Also will it help my job search?

CompUBugCompUBug Member Posts: 46 ■■□□□□□□□□
I have been in the IT field for about 6-7 years and have worked hands on with HP Procurve, Cisco, Fortinet Switches, ect. I don't know IOS like the back of my head no, but I know it enough to get around it. I graduated DeVry University with a Bachelores in Science and Communications management and most of our curriculum was CCNA.

Well, lately I've been really cracking down studying on this cert, about 4 - 5 hours a night or longer if I could tolerate it but the more I study the more discouraged I am becoming. This test seems pretty difficult. I took a few practice tests online and blew them.

I know the OSI model pretty well but my question is, how much of everything will I need to know?

Will I need to know what makes up a TCP or UDP header and how many bits each of its properties are?

(for example a TCP header consists of: 16 bits source port, 16 bits destination port, 32 bit sequence number, 32 bit acknowledgment number, 4 bits header length, 6 bits reserved, 6 bits code base, 16 bits window, 16 bit checksum, 16 bits, urgent, up to 32 bits options.)

What about the Network Layer Headers or Ethernet Headers? I know I will need to know what each layer of the OSI model is and what each layer is responsible for. I know the obvious as well, routing protocols, VLAN's, static routing, NATTING, Access Lists, ect ect

What about Ethernet / Fiber cables? Will I need to know the construction of each cable (UTP for example), bandwidth each cable is capable of supporting?


As for my job search, I'm straddled down with over $90,000 of student loans and the highest paying job I seem to be capable of getting is only around $45k a year even with my degree.

Will I need to learn VMWare, Unix, Python, MongoDB, SQL, ect ontop of the CCNA if I want to go higher? Should I atleast beable to eclipse $80k a year?


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    no!all!no!all! Member Posts: 245 ■■■□□□□□□□
    First off, calm down and take a deep breath. You sound pretty wound up about this. If you're not already, it sounds like you should be taking the two exam route to get your CCNA. If you go to Cisco's website you can find the blueprint for both exams and that will tell you what you need to know to pass. I've found that Boson has pretty good exam simulators if you're willing to shell out the money for them. As for CCNA helping your job search? That really depends. For me, it hasn't helped much, but that's just my situation and I'm actively working on changing that. When you get your CCNA start looking for jr. network admin roles or maybe system admin roles to get your foot in the door. Good luck.
    A+, N+, S+, CCNA:RS, CCNA:Sec

    "In high society TCP is more welcome than UDP. At least it knows a proper handshake" - Ben Franklin

    2019 Goals: CCNP:RS & relocate to St. Pete, FL!
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    stryder144stryder144 Member Posts: 1,684 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I agree with no!all! that you should use the two exam route. That should make things more manageable. On top of that, I would recommend a few resources that are mentioned often in this forum and elsewhere:

    For books: Todd Lamle and Wendell Odom are highly recommended. Search here for reviews of their materials. You might consider getting both, if you're able to swing the cost. Paul Browning has a book titled CCNA in 60 Days. It is, in essence, a structured study guide. You don't have to adhere to the 60 day schedule but at least it gives you something to focus on. The book is broken down so that you study for roughly 30 days, then take the CCENT/ICND1 exam, then another 30 days and take the CCNA/ICND2 exam.

    For labs: sign up with Cisco's Networking Academy Packet Tracer 101 course. It is free and includes the latest Packet Tracer software. You can then search the web and/or Amazon for free and low cost labs that utilize PT. Master those and the practical side of the exam should be easier.

    For videos: Chris Bryant's video course on Udemy is highly recommended by some. It is usually about $10. Naturally, there is also Youtube, where you will find a lot of videos that cover various aspects of the exam objectives. If you search this site, you will find many suggestions (Network Doctors, Network Chuck, etc), some who cover the exam topics and some who give study advice and pointers to resources that can be very valuable.

    Above all else, believe in yourself. You can do this.
    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

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    hunterthuntert Banned Posts: 231
    on youtube Ryan Beney has a course for ccent.
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    CompUBugCompUBug Member Posts: 46 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thank you for this information.

    Another question is, what about security? I haven't touched much on security at all but I'm finding more and more jobs are requiring it and I'm not sure where to get the experience. They want you to know ASA and such but I have never worked with them.
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    hunterthuntert Banned Posts: 231
    if you want you can get your ccent and go straight to ccna for security but there are more resources for routing and switching.
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    NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    CompUBug wrote: »
    They want you to know ASA and such but I have never worked with them.

    Could always buy a used one and practice on it... Or I'm sure there are simulators out there.
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    PsychoFinPsychoFin Member Posts: 280
    Focus on one thing first. CCNA R/S is the foundation for everything networking. Once you get that you can branch off into other things. And once you get a job you can always read books to learn the rest in case money is tight. GNS3 can run ASA as well as routers and switches but require a bit more to get set up. You should really focus on CCNA first as its better to know one thing really well instead of a bit about a lot. Especially when looking to get your first job.
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    hunterthuntert Banned Posts: 231
    i recommend that you read exam cram for icnd1 by Anthony Sequeira. Anthony is one of the instructors for cbt nuggats. The really good thing about the book is that the book does a deep dive of the objectives for ccent.
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