New to CCNA - Should I prepare ICND 1 and then ICND 2 or do both?

gcrgcr Member Posts: 12 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi everybody!

I was wondering what the best way to approach the CCNA would be for someone sort of new to the networking world. I used to work in IT (for 5 years) doing mostly microsoft file, printer and exchange mail server support and some desktop back in 2003, but always wanted to get into networking. I've been working on a different field for the past 10 years and now I'm trying to get back into the IT world. I really don't know how to approach this endeavor but I though CCNA would be the best starting point.

Also, I don't know whether I should prepare for one CCNA exam or split it in two. I'm about to finish part II of ICND1 (been studying for almost a month) which is mostly switching. If I were to prepare for one exam according to Wendell's book, I should jump to ICND2 book and continue studying STP switching, and after that jump right back to ICND1 book for IPv4 Addressing and Subnetting. I'm wondering if doing it that way I'll get a better grasp of switching before I get into IPv4 Addressing and Subnetting.

I've also been watching Chris Bryant's Boot Camp videos and I put together a home lab to practice. So far I've been quite into it, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm on the right track or I should change my strategy.

I'll really appreciate any advice!




  • RouteMyPacketRouteMyPacket Member Posts: 1,104
    CCENT - Designed for those new to networking with Cisco technology

    CCNA Composite - Designed for those who have experience with Cisco technology and looking to get certified

    I'd recommend the two exam route for you. The OCG guides for each will be a good start coupled with PacketTracer.
    Modularity and Design Simplicity:

    Think of the 2:00 a.m. test—if you were awakened in the
    middle of the night because of a network problem and had to figure out the
    traffic flows in your network while you were half asleep, could you do it?
  • mk01mk01 Member Posts: 18 ■□□□□□□□□□
    i recommend one exam. Always. One reason. CCENT is not a recognized cert. Just go to any job board and search. Nothing, maybe one job. CCNA - thousands. And as far as I know Cisco made CCENT really difficult now.

    That's my opinion.
  • gcrgcr Member Posts: 12 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you all for your responses!
  • beaucaldwellbeaucaldwell Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Without a doubt I would say do them individually... CCENT is a stepping stone to the CCNA, doesn't matter if it's not on a job board because your goal is to get the knowledge down and to get your CCNA in the end right? Don't rush... Look at it this way, if you fail the ICND1 exam you only repay $150, however if you try to do it all at once and you fail, that's a $300 retake instead of $150... This way you can study and absorb more and get down the first part, then take on the second part when you are ready... Doesn't do you any good to try and do it all at once, especially if you're new to networking.
  • bull313bull313 Member Posts: 138
    I agree with beaucaldwell. As a Cisco newbie, I'm going the two exam route myself. I would STRONGLY recommend taking ICND2 as quickly as possibly after ICND1, while that material and understanding is still fresh in your mind. Wendell Odom and Todd Lammle are THE authority on these exams!
    "Follow your dreams. You CAN reach your goals. I'm living proof. Beefcake! BeefCAAAAAAAKKKKE!!!"-Eric Cartman
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,015 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I also echo taking ICND2 as quickly as possible after finishing ICND1. I took a break in between, and since I don't use the knowledge at work it took a while to get my momentum back up to work on the ICND2.

    You should take the 2 exam route, but don't take a break in between.
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  • gcrgcr Member Posts: 12 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks again for all the advice! I think I'm gonna go with the two exam path.

    Anybody has an idea on how the IT job market is nowadays. Are there opportunities for candidates holding just a CCNA or other certs are required to break into the networking field?
  • stryder144stryder144 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,684 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Since you have access to the Chris Bryant videos, I would suggest getting his ICND1 & 2 books. They cost about $10 each. They match up with the videos. It is highly recommended to read multiple books when studying for these exams (I have several, myself). As always, different authors have different approaches to presenting the information that is necessary to successfully pass the exams, so many of those on this site recommend the multi-author approach. It makes sense to me, but you will have to weigh the price of the materials against your budget and goals. More books equals more money spent and more time spent reading them before you take the exams. Your mileage may vary, in other words.

    Good luck!
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  • gcrgcr Member Posts: 12 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Great advice! Thanks!
  • xnxxnx Do they matter? UKMember Posts: 464 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If money is absolutely of no concern to you then go for the 1 exam route, otherwise actually try and learn everything properly and do the 2 exam route since everything is covered in less depth on the composite exam.
    Getting There ...

    Lab Equipment: Using Cisco CSRs and 4 Switches currently
  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Member Posts: 1,539 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I would take the two exam approach. 10 years is a long time to be out of IT and things change quickly...not to mention that is a long time to forget. Although the CCENT is more of a "help desk" type certification similar to CompTIA Network+, it will help rebuild that foundation for the CCNA ICND2 exam. Also, the CCENT is much more difficult than the previous exam version. The composite exam is meant for those who already have attained a CCNA level certification and are looking to renew.
  • gcrgcr Member Posts: 12 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi Everybody,

    It's been a while since my last update to this thread and. I wanted to thank everybody for your comments and advice, and share my experience with you all.

    I decided to go the two exam route and finally passed my ICND1 last week!!
    I'm not too proud of my score (829), but I'm glad I was able to pass. My mistake was that I was too thorough with all the questions and by the end of the test I started to run out of time. I got the first SIM question when I was about half way of the 50 questions. The last 10 minutes of the test I had still 10 questions left, so I really had to rush through them. I've got 3 more SIM questions with 5 minutes remaining and I had too rush so much that I'm quite sure that's where I lost most of my points. Anyway, I'm glad I decided to rush through and finish the exam before I run out of time. I actually took the decision of rushing through rather than running out of time thanks to a post I read on this site. Whoever wrote that, THANK YOU FOR SUCH WISE ADVICE!!!

    I prepared with Cisco's Official Cert Guide by Wendell Odom and watched video tutorials. I downloaded a subnetting app to my phone and every chance I had some time to kill I practiced. That really helped me improve my subnetting speed. I also installed the tests that come with Odom's book and tested my self quit a lot. Once I started to get over 920 points on a regular basis I scheduled the test. I practice configurations, VLANs, IPv6, DHCP, ACLs, NAT/PAT, show commands and all that fun stuff with a home lab I put together (3 routers, 1 access server and two switches).

    Anyway, thanks again for all the advice!

    Best to all!
  • mikeybinecmikeybinec CCNA 200-120 Member Posts: 484 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congratulations! Yeah, I passed just last week and I will do the ICND2 at the end of July. I breezed through the exam with 20 minutes left but my score was 1 less than yours. I felt I knew all the answers to all the questions. Obviously, I did not. It would be interesting to see what I had missed because one cannot challenge the result. I have a healthy lab--just need three 2960s for etherchannel

    Here's a question I haven't seen addressed: Why did Cisco dilute CCNP and put Etherchannel, Hot Standby, and the others into CCNA?

    Cisco NetAcad Cuyamaca College
    A.S. LAN Management 2010 Grossmont College
    B.S. I.T. Management 2013 National University
  • gcrgcr Member Posts: 12 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congrats to you as well!
  • chopstickschopsticks Member Posts: 389
    Congrads to mike and gcr! :>
  • devils_haircutdevils_haircut Member Posts: 284 ■■■□□□□□□□
    mikeybinec wrote: »
    Here's a question I haven't seen addressed: Why did Cisco dilute CCNP and put Etherchannel, Hot Standby, and the others into CCNA?

    Well, not having my CCNP, I can't fully address your question. But I didn't really feel those topics were covered in any significant depth. Maybe it's just meant to be a basic familiarity that is expanded upon in later material?
  • xnxxnx Do they matter? UKMember Posts: 464 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Etherchannel and HSRP don't go into much depth on CCNA at all, it goes into much more depth in CCNP Switch
    Getting There ...

    Lab Equipment: Using Cisco CSRs and 4 Switches currently
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
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