The CCENT or CCNA Certification


The CCENT or CCNA Certification

CCENT and CCNA are highly valued globally recognized certifications bearing the Cisco label. Both certifications offer a bright career in IT provided you can demonstrate the skills you have learned in a professional set-up. Each of these certifications has a 3-year validity and needs to be renewed. Therefore, you should carefully weigh both these alternatives before you decide which certification you need to go for.

Advantages of CCENT

CCENT stands for Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician. As the name suggests, this is an entry-level certification which means that it is ideal for those seeking an entry into the IT industry with little prior knowledge or experience, especially to build a career in networking. It also means that you do not need to have completed any certification prior to enrolling in the CCENT program. The purpose of this certification is to equip entry-level professionals with the skills that they need to solve networking issues like installation, maintenance, and security. Typical job roles for CCENT qualified people include network administrator, junior engineer, and support specialist.

For many people, CCENT is the stepping stone for taking the CCNA later on. The basic concepts that you learn in this certification include the basics of DNS, routing, and OSI systems. To acquire the CCENT certification, you only need to clear one exam, which is called the 640-822, which is a 90-minute test comprising of up to 60 questions. The dee for this exam is between USD 125-150. Here are some of the topics you can expect to learn in the CCENT certification:

  • Basic of network operations, such as LAN and WAN networks, including VoIP installations. You will learn how to design network diagrams to represent the flow of data along with the network.
  • Small network implementation, including the selection of cables and devices for an efficient small-scale network. You will learn the uses of different Cisco networking tools like networks and switches.
  • Managing the IP addresses for small networks as well as troubleshooting commonly occurring issues.
  • You will also learn the basics of routing and the configuration of routers in a network, using the latest Cisco tools and technology.
  • Managing wireless networks, including complete knowledge of wireless networking standards as well as security challenges.
  • Applying standard security measures to secure the data against intrusion, unauthorized access, and theft.

Advantages of CCNA

CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate and is an associate-level certification, ranking one level above in the hierarchy of Cisco’s accreditation levels. Candidates need to clear two exams which are called ICND1 and ICND2, respectively. It is an easy certification to clear with the right ICND1 training and ICND2 training. Many people opt for the CCNA after completing the CCENT and on the way to clearing the CCNP certification, which is a professional level qualification. As a higher-level qualification, CCNA equips networking professionals with the necessary skills for managing network in small to medium-sized organizations.

Even though it is an entry-level certification, it is a highly valued one by employers. Due to the name of Cisco associated with it, this certification is a proof of the holder’s technical expertise, which makes them a credible and valuable addition to the firm. The jobs that you get with a CCNA certification tend to be more stable and involve more responsible work compared to the CCENT certification.

You get more exposure to the diverse operations of the IT department in your company, such as managing larger and more complex networks. This gives you the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in a dynamic environment and learn the latest methods of problem-solving. As mentioned previously, you can also enrol in higher-level certifications at the professional or expert level, once you have taken the CCNA certification.

With a CCNA certification, you can prove your skills in network management by configuring, installing, and managing different types of networks, such as LAN, WAN, and intranets. Typical networks that you will manage with have 100 or fewer devices. However, you may find yourself working with a greater variety of technologies such as IP, VLAN and RIP among others. You will also install a variety of Cisco devices and use different protocols to ensure optimum performance of the network.

CCNA is not a single certification; rather, it offers a whole suite of certifications in different areas which the candidate can choose from. These include cloud management, data center management, switching and routing, wireless networking and security management. Typical job roles, depending on the track you choose, include system engineer, network engineer, and network administrator.


There are a few advantages of the CCENT over CCNA. For starters, the CCENT requires you to clear only a single exam compared to two for CCNA. Many students find the CCENT to be a great confidence booster when they clear it. Clearing a single exam is easier than clearing two—and you have a tangible certification at the end of it. You do not need separate ICND1 training and ICND2 training, which can be more expensive for you if you have a limited budget.

Also, without investing a lot of time and energy, the CCENT helps you determine the career path you want to plan for the future as a networking professional. You can follow this up by taking the CCNA certification or a different certification path if you wish, depending on your preference and career goals.

A Final Word

CCNA or CCENT is certainly not the final certifications to becoming a network engineer, but they are both good places to start. Depending on your current knowledge, work experience and desire to make a career in this field, you can take either the CCENT or CCNA certification.

Both are well-designed courses, and there is a wealth of learning resources available online as well as on the Cisco website. To succeed in your very first attempt, you only need to ensure that you join a reputable training company which offers online sessions, as well as learning labs to you, can practice what you are learning.  Get in touch with us today and learn more about CCENT and CCNA certifications.

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