The Cisco CCNA gets cloudy

Cisco gets even more serious about cloud-based technologies by adding a new CCNA track.

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credential continues to hold so much value it is very impressive. For many, this is a critical first step to success in the networking field.

But hold on! We really need to qualify which CCNA we are talking about here. Cisco Systems has succeeded in expanding the tracks in recent years to really highlight specific areas of IT. Let's recap what existed before the latest announcement:

  • Routing and Switching
  • Collaboration
  • Data Center
  • Industrial
  • Security
  • Service Provider
  • Wireless

Add to this list CCNA Cloud and you have an impressive list of specializations that encompasses the hottest areas in our industry. 

So, are there any prerequisites before you launch on your CCNA Cloud certification? Well, the official answer is "NO." There are no courses or exams that Cisco forces you to take, but candidates should be very realistic about this. If you do not have a solid background in networking through something like CCENT/CCNA R&S or Network+, you might just be in for a tremendous struggle mastering the material of this new certification. 

To achieve CCNA Cloud you must pass two exams. Here is a high-level overview of what you must demonstrate mastery with for each:

Understanding Cisco Cloud Fundamentals (CLDFND 210-451)

  • Cloud Characteristics and Models
  • Cloud Deployment
  • Basic Knowledge of Cloud Compute
  • Basic Knowledge of Cloud Networking
  • Basic Knowledge of Could Storage

Introducing Cisco Cloud Administration (CLDADM 210-455)

  • Cloud Infrastructure Administration and Reporting
  • Chargeback and Billing Reports
  • Cloud Provisioning
  • Cloud Systems Management and Monitoring
  • Cloud Remediation

This certification does offer a nice mix of Cisco-centric products and solutions with plenty of vendor-neutral education mixed in. And as you look at the topics, remember to try and eliminate any negative thoughts you have about cloud technologies thanks to the flood of marketing and hype we have all had to endure. The facts remain that cloud tech is changing our industry (albeit relatively slowly) and the efficiencies and new features are truly compelling. 

I know I personally cannot wait to dive headfirst into this latest expansion of the valuable CCNA program. I am sure I will see many of you in this journey, and do not forget your umbrellas! 

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