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Four reasons to earn Cisco's new CCENT certification


While the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is the most well-known introductory certification offered by Cisco, it can be a serious challenge for many Cisco networking newcomers. Recently, Cisco introduced the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification. What can earning this cert offer you? Let's find out.

What is the CCENT?

Introduced in June 2007, the CCENT is a stepping stone to the CCNA certification. It covers topics that you would expect an entry-level technician to know, including the OSI model, DNS basics, NAT, routing, and router configuration.

This certification's only requirement is a single exam: Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (640-822). The 90-minute test involves 50 to 60 questions, and it costs $125.

The topics covered by this exam are impressive. This test can even serve as a hiring tool; a help desk technician or junior network administrator could take it to prove his or her basic level of network knowledge.

What topics does the CCENT cover?

Essentially, the CCENT covers the more introductory and theoretical half of the CCNA topics. Here's what test 640-822 covers:

  • Data network operations: Test to see if you know these terms: LAN, WAN, OSI model, and VoIP. You should be able to understand network diagrams and traffic flow.
  • Implementation of a small switched network: Can you connect the right cables and switches to create a basic network? How does switching work? How do you secure and troubleshoot your network switches (e.g., port security, autonegotiation, duplex, basic troubleshooting tools, etc.)?
  • IP addressing and services for small branch offices: This includes small network IP addressing, NAT, DHCP, DHCP, and troubleshooting.
  • Implementation of a small routed network: How does routing work? Can you configure RIP, manage the Cisco IOS, secure and troubleshoot your Cisco routers?
  • Understanding of wireless LANs: Do you have an understanding of wireless standards, wireless terms, wireless security, and common wireless issues?
  • Securing the network: Do you have an understanding of security policies, securing hosts and applications, and fundamental network security practices?
  • Understanding of WANs: Do you know how to connect to a WAN? Can you configure basic serial connections to a WAN?

If you feel comfortable with these topics, you have a good chance at obtaining your CCENT.

How does the CCENT compare to the CCNA?

You can obtain your CCNA certification by taking one of two paths:

  • One test: You can just take test 640-802 -- a single test that incorporates both parts of the ICND course material.
  • Two tests: You can take tests 640-822 and 640-816. By passing test 640-822, you would earn the CCENT. Then by passing test 640-816, you would have both your CCENT and your CCNA certifications.

Four reasons you should get your CCENT

If you already have a Cisco certification, you can go ahead and skip this section. But if you don't have any Cisco certifications, the CCENT is most likely the best possible place for you to start. Here are four reasons why:

  1. The CCENT demonstrates your networking knowledge in a tangible way. Getting a Cisco certification shows that you know something about networking; networks make computing possible and connect every person in the world. Why not start out with a certification that applies broadly to just about any IT job or task?
  2. Earning the CCENT requires passing only one test. Earning a cert by passing just one test will boost your confidence and get you ready for the longer certification paths such as the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification.
  3. A certification helps prove your knowledge to your boss. We would all like to think that everyone respects us just because we are smart, but having a piece of paper on the wall couldn't hurt, could it? It reminds your boss and coworkers of your expertise every time they come into your office. Plus, it couldn't hurt come time for your compensation review, right?
  4. The CCENT is a stepping stone for the CCNA. Passing the single CCNA test can be very difficult -- it's much easier to take two smaller tests that you can more easily prepare for. By passing the CCENT test, you're halfway on the road to earning your CCNA.

Summary

While I'm not that crazy about the CCENT acronym, I do believe that the cert is a valuable entry-level certification that you'll be hearing more about. Have you been thinking about getting a CCNA, but it seemed too daunting a task? Why not start working on your CCENT today?

David Davis has worked in the IT industry for 12 years and holds several certifications, including CCIE, MCSE+I, CISSP, CCNA, CCDA, and CCNP. He currently manages a group of systems/network administrators for a privately owned retail company and performs networking/systems consulting on a part-time basis.

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44 comments
shiloh69
shiloh69

I just passed my first ICND1 100-101 and about to start ICND2 200-201 and "need confirmation":  Is true that "if passing the ICND2 200-201 (along with the ICND1), will earn me a CCNA?  or would I have to take a separate CCNA track?  I don't want to waste my time and need some guidance?


Thanks!

wbaltas
wbaltas

Maybe I just don't get it, but as someone who hires network technicians, this certification simply does not do anything. For entry level network techs, without experience, I require a CCNA, anything less, and you can apply at the help desk. But don't expect access to network equipment. I'll hire a senior level technician without a certification if he has a lot of experience, and can prove he is capable of doing the job - pass my lab. Most people fall in between, a moderate amount of experience with a CCNA. If this cert. helps one get the CCNA, fine, but don't expect this certification to get you a job.

malbadr
malbadr

How can this give advantagte to salesmen in IT

hbhoge@gmail.com
hbhoge@gmail.com

I think this something that is necessary for anyone that wants to get into the networking field. It just makes sure you understand what you're doing and weeds out those who don't - instead of just saying that they are certified.

dventer
dventer

It's said above and bears repeating - folks, if you guys want to look authoritative and knowledgeable - get the acronyms right. This article has the look of something spun together over the breakfast table.

soginni2
soginni2

I welcome the introduction of this new certification. It will reduce the rate at which many postpone getting their CCNA certification

janet.cook
janet.cook

Do you know if this test is aimed for folks using the new Discovery (high school) or Exploration (college) curriculums for test prep?

kushwahamanish
kushwahamanish

Its an awesome piece of information. Thanks a lot

myers_2004
myers_2004

First of all, CCNA does NOT statnd for Cisco Certified Network Administrator. It is Cisco Certified Network Associate. Second of all you spelled CCENT wrong like twice in the article itself. Third of all, this certification was made my cisco just so they could make more money out of the CCNA path, and just more money in general. And just because you have a certification doesnt mean you know anything about networks. In my opinion experience is most important and then getting certifications with experience is what gets you the job. I mean answering questions on a test does not help you at whatever job you might get in the future.

darbyweaver
darbyweaver

A would say it was another well-written article by David Davis. My compliments. Darby Weaver MCT, MCSE+I, MCSE+Messaging/Security CCNP/CCDP/CCSP/CCDA/CCNA/CSE/CSA/WLANSE/FE CEH, ITILF, A+/Net+/I-Net+/Security+ A few others... My point is: Lots of people read David's articles and find them refreshing and inciteful, even some of us with a lot of "experience and loads of our own certifications". :)

backthatthingupyoyoyo
backthatthingupyoyoyo

@wbaltas YOU ARE CORRECT! YOU JUST DON'T GET IT!


I went the "route" of both exams. Yes I learned more for the 2nd, but that didn't disqualify me for a network tech position. In many cases, the people I worked with who had 10-12 YEARS of experience didn't "understand" some of the basics... they didn't know WHY something worked, they just knew it did. 


It's people like yourself who are too pompous to realize that the pool of experienced techs will never grow without the opportunity to acquire experience. Think about it: If you go into the wild and catch the young males and render them incapable of procreating, the population will diminish over time. In essence, that's what occurs when you refuse to hire techs w/o experience who have taken the time and put in the effort to get the credentials.


Hopefully, your management has already taken care of you and anyone else in their org like you, otherwise they will eventually consign the company to oblivion due to lack of oxygen!


janet.cook
janet.cook

For my high school kids preparing for the CCNA, this could be a real moral booster. If they can prove to themselves they can pass one level, I think they'd be more likely to go on to the second year and harder exam. Also, if they only have time for one year, at least they have something to show an employer or college that they've done something constructive and are ready and willing to continue. I figure they knowledge they gain in the first year will at least make them very popular helping their friends and neighbors set up and fix their computers--maybe even get them out of flipping hamburgers at McDonald's!

wegener
wegener

I would say the 2 plausible scenarios it could come in handy would be: a. When the customer (who has a percentage of Cisco kit) decides on new infrastructure it would make sense for you to be able to deliver the need if you understood some of the mechanics. Your proposal would then be more accurate as to there requirements. b. If you are part of a "team" of sales people, you could also provide possible value add to the proposal, regarding say..network monitoring or maintenance.

bcandfina
bcandfina

Well, irrespective of the trivial 'acronym confusion', I think the article is pertinent to the fact that the CCNA cert is one of the more difficult to obtain, and along those lines Cisco has has offered a smaller incremental step to those that want to attain it, but need to do it a bit more piecemeal. You can still take the entire test for CCNA in one go, if you prefer, but this way, I believe a person can acquire the CCENT, and with it a sense of accomplishment and encouragement to keep going with Cisco towards the higher certs. The higher level Cisco certs are very valuable, and I believe reflect a person's knowledge and dedication to the technology, which if you haven't noticed is everywhere! I've used the books from Cisco Press for the ICND 1 and 2 exams(CCENT and CCNA, respectively) and found them to be very well written and fairly simple to understand, (ignoring some glaring typos and illustrative errors!), and would recommend them to anyone studying for these tests. Neither are light reading by any means, but they are well laid out and not too bad if you have the inclination. No, I am not a shill for Cisco! But a company with as much market share as they have will be around a while, as will their certs, and the intrinsic value they contain will last for years to come.

jcookarc
jcookarc

I think you were being funny? :) It put a smile on my face anyway.

Navy Moose
Navy Moose

I took a web based training course for both Cisco INTRO and Cisco ICND courses this past Summer at my previous employer. I'm having trouble with subnetting, primarily the math. The thing I like about this cert, it tests your ability to configure the devices. I can configure a switch or router, upgrade firmware, and copy or restore the config file from a TFTP server.

n.stockwell
n.stockwell

I'm attending a state collage with a Networking Academy and my instructor is doing both Discovery (1st semester) and Exploration (2nd semester). CCENT only covers Discovery and then CCNA material is Exploration. I don't know how Cisco pitched the changes to high school teachers, but that how my instructor (who is working on the instructors manual for Discovery) explained in to us. I know that enough high school students around my area wouldn't stay around for the old CCNA 3 and 4 material.

NetworkGuy55
NetworkGuy55

Whether you take the CCNA exam as a single exam, or whether you become a CCENT by passing ICND1 and then become a CCNA by passing ICND2, it costs exactly the same. The single exam is $250 and the two ICND exams are $125 each. CCENT was created to offer a more stepwise approach to earning a CCNA.

Peter Kyjovsky
Peter Kyjovsky

First of all, You can be right if you think that somebody with out experience at simulators and school labs with real networks can pass CCNET or CCNA exam. Second of all, every student of CCENT or CCNA have spend minimum 48 hours in labs. Third of all, every student before studying for CCENT or CCNA have to pass true exams for ComTIA A+ and ComTIA N+ (Not certified, just for tutors). Money? I have payed ?3500 pounds for student loan which is for university and not for Cisco. One exam for CCENT cost circa ?71.00 pounds. From this ammount go to cisco ?0.00 pounds because you pay to company where you doing exams. Stop dehonesting people. Maybe is problem find job when you want work for emploers but around you is lot of people with out knowledge about PC or Internet, but they have to used them every day in job or at home. And they will ask you for any help with troubleshooting or buying of PC or Internet connection but when you have passed CCENT or CCNA then you can help them better. And you can earn more money as in tel.co. For example: worker in PC service with out any Certificate (because he want just 7 pound per hour) will offering hub and not switch or router to customer which is landlord of shared student house. And remeber that YOUR FULL FUNCTIONAL NETWORK IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY!

widget
widget

Why do people get excited about ?paper? certifications? All any certification does is show that the holder has passed a test. At minimum that means that they?ve had the enthusiasm to sit down and read a book, attend a course etc. and then sat an exam. That is to say, at one point in time, they had enough knowledge to pass the test. There simply is no way that a test can be devised that will check for depth of experience that doesn?t involve a human interacting with the candidate. To dismiss certifications as worthless just because they can?t do something they were never designed to do, does seem to miss the point.

kmdennis
kmdennis

CCIE, MCSE+I, CISSP, CCNA, CCDA, and CCNP I just looked. Do you have your CCIE? I don't think so. Do you understand what it takes to achieve that Cisco "Bently"? And you have time correcting a few mistakes here? You really dont' have a thing to do. Good luck! You certainly need to lighten up. Go after someone who is talking nonsense with authority.

kmdennis
kmdennis

It appares as though your pint is that passing tests is not an indication that you can do a job? Though sometimes I may jump on a comment, I wonder if this one really warranted your ire. Sins to me this guy was trying to make a decent pint, and not reilly giving on anline Inglish klass here. >>First of allSecond of allThird of all

Powerof1
Powerof1

I applaud Cisco for offering the CCENT. There are plenty of people who are just 'paper certs' with little to contribute in the work place as a result of their certification. On the flip side there are many people who would work hard to be an asset to an IT shop that have hit the wall on the CCNA. The CCNA is better suited to networkers with the equivalent of 3 years experience. The CCNA creates a catch 22 situation. Many employers want a candidate to have the CCNA before they get a foot in the door but you need ample hands-on time to make a run at the CCNA and not just be a paper cert. An IT Manager who is worth his/her title will see through a paper cert before extending an offer or darn quick after. Bottom line, don't pursue networking unless you are prepared to eat, sleep, and live networking for a significant amount of your time. A career in IT is a lot more than coffee, donuts, and peering at a computer screen. I know, I've been there, failed, and made a come-back after a serious reality check.

doghousedean
doghousedean

I' have spent the last year at night school studying CCNA, i really enjoyed it and have passed SEM1 and SEM2 with ease......after the summer break, BANG. the college cancel the course due to lack of interest. HOW ABOUT THE PEOPLE ON THE COURSE STILL! it winds me up... rant over.

n.stockwell
n.stockwell

As someone who has been certified under the CCNA program and both has gone though and is continuing to go though the Cisco Network Academy Program I respectively disagree. While the CompTIA certs and to a slowing decreasing degree Microsoft certs are joke because of what you say. Cisco certs work because they test based on applying the knowledge. Microsoft and CompTIA just test head knowledge under ideal/unrealistic conditions. Cisco Network Academies provides real equipment and labs that, while not perfect considering that students are trying to learn fundamentals, are good enough to give a student who really wants to become a network professional a good grounding in how networks work. However, the responsibility is on the student to use the equipment and experiment. The Cisco classes and the certs are good enough that they also weed out people who really should consider another type of job. With that said, of course there are people who can memorize whatever is put in front of them and not really know how to apply that knowledge, but Cisco's sims for the CCNA level and beyond are really good at stopping these people from passing. In addition, once you get more advanced than CCNA you need to work on real equipment as part of the certification. The CCENT is really more for people who need a good working knowledge of networking to support other less computer networking centric jobs or as David said a smaller step into networking. Of course Cisco wants the extra money, but they do the best job of making sure their name is attached with a person who knows something and can do something with that knowledge. Your last statement shows you either do not know a person who has actually gone through the Cisco program or you met a person who really didn't 'get it'. Certifications are just that, certification of standard body of knowledge. Cisco, in my opinion, requires more than just theoretical book knowledge of that standard but how to apply it in a realistic way. Very few book questions make up the CCNA and probably the CCENT. Maybe since I have cerebral palsy and can't remember stuff just by looking at it once I have the unfair advantage of needing to work though the information multiple times and in several different ways to get the meaning I receive more benefit than those with no learning disability.

pdtpatrick
pdtpatrick

Thats right, not a lot of you would raise your hands. CCENT to start with is a very good idea not only for cisco because they make more money in the long run but also it gets you ready for the CCNA which if you have read the book and done any work with the routers/switches, you would know its not the easiest of tests. Afterall, who doesnt want to get a broad knowledge of what to expect when they step in to the real networking realm?! Another fact being that, a lot of young people and senior IT guys are not sure what else to get into and right away cisco comes to mind, the CCENT is a great way to figure out if this is the right field for you or maybe you should think about something else. So whats with all the criticism? If you wanna take the CCNA, take the test! Who's stopping you? If you feel you want to get the CCENT first and then work your way up, then that works as well. It's not like cisco is forcing anyone to take the test. You people amaze me, you make simple matters into rocket science, I guess all the days of sitting infront of the computer playing games is affecting your judgement in the world. Also whats with all the people correcting each other's typo? This is IT, not english 101. If we were concerned about grammar, we would be discussing How to write an essay so someone wont sit around correcting your grammar! GET YOUR HEAD STRAIGHT PEOPLE ... JEEZ !

n.stockwell
n.stockwell

I'm not going through the new curriculum, but I have seen some of the work in the classroom and also purchased Scott Empson's second edition of the CCNA Portable Command Guide which incorporates all the new CCENT/CCNA changes and Cisco has done a much better job of explaining and demonstrating subnetting, binary math, and related concepts. In addition, David did a really good series of four articles called "Subnetting 101" a little over two years ago right here on techrepublic.com. Even though I didn't understand everything immediately I kept rereading it and now understand that whole series. It's really also helped some of the subsequent Cisco students that followed after my class as well. Also, I would encourage you go to the CCNA prep center and view their shows on subnetting and play the binary game. Understanding binary is the key (even in IPv6).

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The original program was intended as a joint endeavor between high school career centers and tech colleges. In South Carolina, each career center is affiliated with a regional tech college. Semesters 1 and 2 were supposed to be taken at the career center and semesters 3 and 4 at the tech college. The problem was that students wanting both a four-year degree and the CCNA discovered that the tech college credits were not accepted by the universities. To the best of my knowledge, they still aren't. Bloody stupid, if you ask me.

darbyweaver
darbyweaver

I work for a living. I can't say I've ever been shown favoritism. Not once in my professional career. I write a resume. I describe my experience and education + certifications. I submit the little guy. I get calls and emails. I get phone interviews. I get asked to come in for the interview. I wait. I get offered the job. It's always like this. How can you say IT depends on "who you know" or "the color of one's skin"? Maybe it happens somewhere but for me... It's all about the experience. Darby Weaver Google: ccie blog darby weaver If you need to know more.

PSK_
PSK_

I saw the my/by mistake too. If you are going too blast someone for inglish grammer of spelling at least run a chek on your own post.

outback_artist
outback_artist

I'm glad you said it so I didn't have to. I took Cisco 1-2 Class at a local college, paid for it myself, It was no piece of cake for me, I got a B in the class, and an A on the final where we had to actually configure routers to talk to one another. Well at least that showed an employer that I was serious about my job path. They hired me and will be paying for the rest of my certifications. Including CCNA, A+, and Microsoft Certs. Maybe if This other cert path had of been there when I was going through CCNA 1-2 I could have gotten into it a little more slowly than jumping right into a CCNA class. CCNA 3-4 and the exams hopefully will go smoother with practical knowledge I have learned on the job.

Patrick Donahue
Patrick Donahue

Cisco?s decision to split the CCNA certification into two parts was brilliant. Newcomers who choose to leap the boundaries into the Cisco certification programs will find that the CCENT; ICND-1 & ICND-2 certifications are a real-world stepping stone into the real-world of networking. Obtaining a CCENT or CCNA will certainly boast your chances of obtaining at least an entry-level position, and what better way to hone your skills at achieving further $$ certifications. What is required for Cisco certification? My answer would be hard work, preparation, dedication, and having realistic goals. Cisco exams are tough! They test your knowledge, not your memorization skills. That?s what makes the achievement so outstanding. Good luck to all!

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

I commend anyone who does certifications whatever means. Although I have not done the CCENT, it appears that you may have to really know your stuff in order to pass the exams. Please be aware that there are a significant number of people that are not physically or mentally challenged that need to review information several times and work through the material to, "get it"; and I am one of the many.

widget
widget

Can't agree I'm afraid. Communication should always be as clear as possible. IT professionals in the past have been criticised, validly, for not being as clear as they might have been.

miscjthompson
miscjthompson

I just had to applaud it, because I don't know how many people picked up on the "it was my understanding there would be no math in this debate" reference. I got a good laugh, thanks.

Dr. Tarr
Dr. Tarr

They do a great job of explaining subnetting.

motorcyclemat
motorcyclemat

If you relly want to understand Binary, Hex and decimal conversion, for subnetting etc, checkout any books by Sybex, ecpecially Todd Lamle, he explains things very well.. I have been subnetting for many years and have to redo the CCNA due to expiring, I was reading a SYBEX CCNA Fast Pass eBook and the subnetting technique is excellent, I picked up a few tricks.... practice is the best way to learn the conversion.. draw your collumns, like 1000 100 10 1, for decimal, 256 128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1, etc.. put a 1 in each of the collumns, then add the collumn values up horizontally... motorcyclemat

Navy Moose
Navy Moose

I guess I don't understand binary. I can convert, or make my math challenged attempt at converting from binary to base 10 and vice versa. I never realized you had to understand what the binary is trying to do. I'll have to order this book to try to understand it. When I got my initial Microsoft training, in the NT days. I did not even come close to understanding binary, hexadecimal, or the conversion. I was completely and totally lost a few minutes after they started discussing it. I mentioned to my classmates that it was understanding there would be no math in this debate. At my last job I worked with an MCT and he didn't use the Microsoft way of teaching subnetting and used the Cisco method of teaching it. He gave me a few hours of instruction after work and I understood it a bit better.

n.stockwell
n.stockwell

Binary math used to make no sense to me before I took the CCNA class and had to learn it. I'm okay with math and my teacher says he is terrible. The biggest problem was understanding the bit values (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128). In addition, another thing which helped me was understanding that we already do the same things in base-10, but in base-2 we only have two numbers then we add another column. In base-10 we have numbers 0-9 then we reset the original place value to zero and add a 1 in the new second place to get 10. I might be getting terms mixed up, but hopefully it makes some sense. In binary when we use up our first place value we also reset to 0 and add a second place value. Where it can get a bit frustrating for new comers (and myself before I understood it) is that when we add that second place value the base-10 conversion of the second place is a two (binary 00000010), then 3 is 0000011, four is 00000100, five is 00000101, and so on. We do the exact same thing in base-10 but we were so young when we learned it and a kid's brain is more like a sponge when it gets new information we hardly think anything about the fundamentals of math. The reason why I'm harping away on understanding binary and not so much on converting between base-10 and base-2 is that's what the router is really doing. This is why, unlike Microsoft, you don't get a calculator on the exam. Cisco wants their name attached on someone who can think like a router. Cisco's goal is to have a person not rely on a subnet calculator, which is slower than doing it yourself once you get the hang of it. For Microsoft this is just an added bonus (and why they give you the calculator on their exams), but for network administrators this is at the core of your responsibility, because it effects the design of the network and what can talk with what. Rather than do practice problems, just figure out the basics of binary then add more complexly once you have mastered the fundamentals. Another resource would be the TCP/IP Guide which is both online (http://www.tcpipguide.com/free/index.htm) and in book form. Go to the table contents and look over all his stuff on the mathematics of computing and almost everything on IPv4.

Navy Moose
Navy Moose

The main problem I am having with binary conversion is with the straight arithmetic. I'm terrible in math, and I'm getting messed up with it. I just don't understand why they won't allow the simple version of the Windows calculator during the exams. I have the CCNA command reference, and when I'm working on a switch or router, it is within easy reach if I encounter something unusual. There is a little on subnetting in it. I've looked at learntosubnet.com and other websites on subnetting. I've done a bunch of practice problems and I'm still not quite getting it.

n.stockwell
n.stockwell

I just also know people who on CompTIA and Microsoft certs have no problem passing after a few hours (or less) at a cram site.

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