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Changes in the CCNA Routing & Switching certification: a list of Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

CCNAToday, 17th May, 2016, Cisco announces that they will be making changes in the CCNA Routing & Switching certification. What will change exactly? And what does it mean for you?

What will change within the CCNA Routing & Switching certification?

The courses and exams within the CCNA Routing & Switching certification will change from version 2.0 to version 3.0. This means an introduction of 3 courses and exams. The names and abbreviations of the courses stay the same, but the exam numbers change.

v2.0 courses and examsv3.0 courses and exams
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1)100-101 ICND1Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1)100-105 ICND1
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2)200-101 ICND2Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2)200-105 ICND2
CCNA Bootcamp (CCNABC)200-120 CCNACCNA Bootcamp (CCNABC)200-125 CCNA

To certify for CCNA Routing & Switching you need to pass either the ICND1 and ICND2 exams ór the CCNA exam. More about the obtainment of the CCNA certification can be found in my blog post ‘CCNA: how to pass your certification

Why is the CCNA Routing & Switching certification changing?

Pim Leemans, Cisco instructor, says it as follows: “There are several reasons for Cisco to take a closer look at the CCNA courses. The most important reason is not of a technical nature: the way we learn has been changing a lot in the previous years. We see that on (primary) schools, where they expect more independence, and this trend is spreading to the business world. People want to acquire knowledge in their own time and on a location of their own choosing.

Cisco has incorporated this in the newest framework of the CCNA courses. Unlike before there will be less theory and more learning by ‘just doing it’. This is achieved by deployment of the ‘Discovery Labs’. Such labs are also being used at the CCNP courses. During the Discovery Labs part of the theory will be acquired by performing lab practices based upon scenarios from the course material.

When the technological and practical knowledge is acquired at the end of each module, the students are able to use those in the ‘Challenge Labs’. During these assignments the students will not be coached anymore, but expected to rely on previous acquired knowledge.

Because the assignments are performed at the Cisco Virtual Labs the students can also study the subjects in their own time áfter taking the course. Furthermore the dependencies are gone. You will never get ‘stuck’ anymore. So the purchase of hardware to prepare for an exam is ancient history!”

What will change specifically in the courses and exams? Which subjects will be added and which will be removed?

Pim: “Apart from the framework of the courses and the deployment of virtual labs Cisco has also adjusted the courses to new technologies of course. During the ICND1 course only RIP as routing protocol will be treated. Subjects on device management (upgrades, licenses and such) are removed from the ICND2 course and are now part of the ICND1 course.

The ICND2 course has changed the most. The emphasis on outdated technologies like Frame Relay has been replaced by Multi-Link PPP en PPPoE. The tougher subjects of EBGP and Quality of Service, RADIUS and Tacacs+ authentication will also be treated. Those are subjects that were previously part of the CCNP curriculum. So the stakes have been raised.”

When will the new courses and exams be available?

The new courses and exams have been made available today, on 17th May, 2016.

Until when can the ‘old’ exams be taken?

The exams 100-101 ICND1 and 200-120 CCNA can be taken until August 20, 2016, the exam 200-101 ICND2 can be taken until September 24, 2016.

Is there a problem if you take the ICND1 exam on v2.0 and the ICND2 exam on v3.0?

No. The old and the new exams can be combined. After successfully passing the old ICND1 exam and the new ICND2 exam you will obtain the CCNA Routing & Switching certification as usual.

What do you have to do if you are CCNA Routing & Switching certified at this moment?

In that case you don’t have to do anything. The CCNA Routing & Switching certification is valid for 3 years and will also stay valid for 3 years after the changes in the courses and exams.

Can’t find your question in this post?

Do you have another question you can’t find in the above? Please let me know. I will be happy to help.

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CCIE: what is it and how to become it?

Friday, April 29th, 2016

CCIE, in full: Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert, is one of the showpieces of Cisco’s Career Certification Program. From time to time I am asked how the CCIE certification exactly works. In spite of the large quantity of information that can be found on the Cisco website a lot still seems unclear. Ample reason to write a blog post about it.

When you understand how the CCIE certification program works and know where you can find more information you are already halfway there.

CCIE: what is it?

CCIEThe certification CCIE is meant for senior engineers and belongs to the top of the certification program by Cisco. The image shows the structure of the certification program in the form of a pyramid. This is a well-known image.

There are CCIE certifications for several domains:

  • Routing & Switching
  • Data Center
  • Security
  • Collaboration
  • Service Provider
  • Wireless

Besides the CCIE certifications there are the CCDE and the CCAr Architect certifications. The CCDE certification is comparable to the CCIE certifications, but mainly in the design area. The CCAr Architect certification is one level up from the CCIE and CCDE certifications and is meant for architects who need to translate business strategies to solutions that support those strategies. I will not elaborate on the certification last mentioned in this blog post. You will find more information here.

But here comes the key question: how do you become a CCIE?

CCIE: 2 exams

To become a CCIE you need to pass 2 exams. Every CCIE certification has a so-called ‘written exam’ and a ‘lab exam’.

CCIE written exam

Like many other Cisco exams the written exam is an exam that will mainly asses the theoretical knowledge and that can be taken on a Pearson VUE exam location. The written exam is comparable to the CCNP level, but contains a broader domain. You can find the subjects that will be treated in an CCIE written exam on the Cisco Learning Network. The subjects in the CCIE Routing & Switching written exam, for instance.

CCIE lab exam

The lab exam is completely focused on the degree to which you are able to put the theory into practice. This is by far the most difficult exam and a stumbling block for many candidates. You are not able to pass the lab exam without years of practical experience. You can compare it to getting your driver’s license: you can pass the theoretical exam by studying hard, but for the practical exam you need to spend hours on the road during your driving lessons.

Dutch and Belgium CCIE candidates can take the lab exam on the Cisco location in Brussels. Entrance to the lab exam is only possible after approximately two weeks after you have passed the written exam. Keep a considerable waiting time in mind when you make the reservation. You can register for a CCIE lab exam at the Cisco Learning Network.

CCIE: how do you prepare optimally for the exams?

I can only answer this question by presenting the challenge again. To obtain the CCIE certification:

  • you need to possess profound knowledge of a broad technology segment.
  • you need to be able to practice this knowledge in a lab environment, where there will be no room for mistakes, long deliberation or consulting books due to the time constraints.

In preparation for the exams Cisco has developed an extensive self study package with courses, lab practices and the so-called graded labs that closely resemble the lab exam. The package offers all additional subjects for the CCNP exams in several study modules and can therefore also be used in preparation of the written exam.

CCIE: when are you ready to start with the preparation?

To obtain a CCIE certification you need a lot of practice experience. Only then you will be able to complete the lab exam in the available time. You can only obtain that experience by years of working with Cisco in various environments.

Are there specific advantages to having a CCIE certificate?

There are several advantages:

  • The CCIE certificate extends the validity of all underlying certificates, like CCNA, CCNP and CCDP.
  • In case of service calls CCIE holders will receive a preferential treatment in the TAC.
  • During Cisco Live CCIE holders will get a private lounge/working space with all facilities available. They will furthermore be invited for a CCIE lunch by the CEO of Cisco.
  • CCIE holders with a 10 year possession of their certificate can apply for the CCIE Emeritus status. This ‘sleeping’ status will exempt you from having to re-certificate every two years. Your CCIE status will no longer be active, but can be reactivated immediately by taking a written exam.
  • CCIE holders are important for the Gold partnership of a Cisco channel partner.

In conclusion: the most important recommendation and relevant links

Don’t take it lightly. A CCIE lab exam is a difficult exam that is frequently and repeatedly failed by candidates, even though they have prepared themselves thoroughly. Without approximately five years of practical experience in the center of your work area and the iron discipline to study after working hours and during the weekends you probably won’t make it.

Finally a number of relevant links:

Do you have any questions about the obtaining of a CCIE certification? Let me know. I will be glad to help you with them.

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CCNP Wireless certification: a list of Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

CCNP WirelessToday, on March 22, 2016, Cisco announces some changes in the CCNP Wireless certification. What will change exactly? And what does it mean for you?

In this blog post I will explain what you need to do to obtain the CCNP Wireless certification and what options are available to anyone who (almost) possesses the CCNP Wireless certification.

What will change in the CCNP Wireless certification?

The CCNP Wireless certification will still consist of 4 courses and 4 exams. The current courses and exams will however be substituted by completely new courses and exams.

Why will the CCNP Wireless certification be changed?

The use of wireless applications increases and therefore the importance of wireless technologies will increase too. Those technologies are also developing rapidly. This means growing pressure on the engineers responsible for the wireless networks within an organization.

The new CCNP Wireless certification responds to these developments. The certification is based on the software versions Cisco AireOS 8.x, Cisco IOS XE 3.6, Cisco Prime Infrastructure 2.2 and Cisco ISE Version Release 1.3, and thus completely up-to-date again.

The courses and exams will focus specifically on the design, implementation, security and troubleshooting of wireless networks. With the addition of a troubleshooting training and exam to the certification Cisco will follow the course it has taken with the other CCNP certifications.

Which courses and exams are part of the new CCNP Wireless certification?

The CCNP Wireless certification consists of the following courses and exams:

CoursesExams
Designing Cisco Wireless Enterprise Networks (WIDESIGN)300-360 WIDESIGN
Deploying Cisco Wireless Enterprise Networks (WIDEPLOY)300-365 WIDEPLOY
Troubleshooting Cisco Wireless Enterprise Networks (WITSHOOT)300-370 WITSHOOT
Securing Cisco Wireless Enterprise Networks (WISECURE)300-375 WISECURE

To obtain the CCNP Wireless certification all above mentioned exams need to be passed.

You follow the courses at a Cisco Learning Partner, like Fast Lane, and you take the exams at Cisco’s exam institute Pearson VUE.

In what order do you best follow the CCNP Wireless courses?

There is no special order in which to follow the courses.

When will the new courses and exams be available?

The new courses and exams will be available today, on March 22, 2016.

What prior knowledge is required for the CCNP Wireless certification?

To obtain the CCNP Wireless certification you need to pass the 4 exams ánd you require at least a valid CCENT certification and a valid CCNA Wireless certification.

You are preparing for obtaining the CCNP Wireless certification at this moment. What are your options?

You have 2 options:

1. You pass the exams 642-732 CUWSS, 642-742 IUWVN, 642-747 IUWMS and 642-737 IAUWS and obtain the CCNP Wireless certification this way. Please note: these exams can be taken until September 21, 2016.

2. You combine the CCNP Wireless exams you have already passed with the new CCNP Wireless exams. The ‘old’ exams provide exemption from the new exams.

CCNP Wireless

What do you need to do when you are already CCNP Wireless certified at this time?

You don’t have to do anything. The CCNP Wireless certification is valid for 3 years and will also stay valid for 3 years now the courses and exams have been changed.

Will the CCNA Wireless certification also change?

No, the CCNA Wireless certification will not change. This certification has already been changed in September 2015 with the introduction of the course Implementing Cisco Wireless Network Fundamentals (WIFUND) and the exam 200-355 WIFUND.

Can’t find your question in this post?

Do you have another question you can’t find in the above? Please let me know. I will be happy to help!

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“Help! I have 2 CSCO IDs. Now what?”

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

CSCO ID“Hi Karin, I have passed my 3 CCNP Routing & Switching exams, but I cannot find any evidence anywhere that I have obtained the CCNP Routing & Switching certification. How is that possible? And can you help me?”

This is a question that comes up sometimes when we help Cisco partners with mapping, obtaining and keeping their Cisco partner certifications. An employee has passed a certain number of exams, but has not been awarded with the accompanying certification.

Not a pleasant situation.

After all, the employee has worked hard for it. Furthermore, the Cisco partner certification of his employer often depends on this certification.

Fortunately a solution is within reach.  The problem is related to the CSCO ID.

What is a CSCO ID?

A CSCO ID is a personal and unique number that will be generated automatically when you register for a Cisco exam. Whether you book an exam through the website of Pearson VUE, the exam institute for Cisco exams, or call Pearson VUE to arrange this: when you take a Cisco exam for the first time Pearson VUE will generate a CSCO ID for you. After taking the exam you can find your CSCO ID on your score form.

A CSCO ID is also known as a ‘Cisco ID’.

Attention: a CSCO ID is not the same as a CCO ID. A CCO ID is the username that will allow you to log in on the Cisco website.

What is a Pearson VUE account?

You can book a Cisco exam in 2 separate ways: by telephone or online. When you want to book an exam online, you will first need to create an account on the website of Pearson VUE. This is called a Pearson VUE account. When you subsequently book a Cisco exam – I said it before – Pearson VUE will generate a CSCO ID for you.

What is the connection between a Pearson VUE account and a CSCO ID?

A CSCO ID is always connected to a Pearson VUE account. You cannot take Cisco exams without a CSCO ID. Therefore Pearson VUE will generate a CSCO ID for you when you book a Cisco exam for the first time.

Is it a problem when you have 2 Pearson VUE accounts?

It is not convenient to have 2 Pearson VUE accounts. Having 2 accounts means  2 CSCO IDs when you have booked Cisco exams with both accounts. One exam will be connected to one CSCO ID and the other exam will be connected to the other CSCO ID. This way Cisco cannot see that you might have passed all exams for a certain certification and will therefore not award you that certification. Even though you deserve it.

How do you fix this?

It is essential that the 2 Pearson VUE accounts and the 2 CSCO IDs are merged together so that all passed Cisco exams are put into 1 account and are connected to 1 CSCO ID. You submit a case to Pearson VUE and explain the problem to them. Subsequently you will receive a form whereon you can fill in the information that belongs to the 2 CSCO IDs. Pearson VUE will process the information and will contact you.

Attention: you have to submit this case yourself. No one else can do it for you.

How can you avoid having 2 CSCO IDs?

CSCO IDFirstly it is of course best not to forget the log-in information of your Pearson VUE account. In case this happens anyway, click on ‘Forgot my username’ or ‘Forgot my password’. Don’t create a new account!

Attention: even if you change employers you don’t need to create a new Pearson VUE account.  You can easily change the information in your account.

Good luck with your Cisco exam!

Do you have any questions about your CSCO ID, about your Pearson VUE account or about booking your exam? Feel free to contact me. I will be glad to help!

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CCNP Data Center: how does it work with those 2 options?

Monday, September 7th, 2015

In 2012 Cisco introduced the CCNP Data Center Certification. At this time, 3 years later, there is still confusion about the 2 options for obtaining the Data Center Certification. The result? IT professionals take the wrong exams and attend courses that aren’t necessary for them. With this blog I hope to end all that confusion.

CCNP Data Center and CCNA Data Center

CCNP Data Center is a so called ‘professional certification’ from Cisco’s Career Certifications program[.pdf]. Like all other CCNP certifications the CCNP Data Center certification is based upon a CCNA certification. You can already guess: it is based on CCNA Data Center.

CCNA Data Center is rather straight and narrow: to obtain the certification you have to complete 2 exams successfully. The certification stands on its own: you don’t need a CCNA Routing & Switching certification. That is actually rather logical if you look at the content of the preparatory course.

The DCICN course addresses the base of routing and switching, therefore it has a lot of overlap with CCNA Routing & Switching. The DCICT course addresses Cisco UCS (Unified Computing System) and the switch products within the data center, also known as the Nexus products. You can compare the set-up of the DCICT course with the set-up of the CCNA Routing & Switching course: it addresses the basic skills, but more advanced knowledge and applications require the step towards CCNP.

CCNP Data Center: the 2 options

So far so good. You are CCNA Data Center certified and now you are able to concentrate on CCNP Data Center. This is the moment of choice. For CCNP Data Center has 2 options. I always call option 1 the implementation & design option and option 2 the implementation & troubleshooting option. What do I mean with that?

Cisco indicates: a good designer of Cisco data center solutions needs to know the products well and has to have practical experience. You can compare it to a driving instructor who first has to obtain his own driver license.

So everyone starts with 2 implementation exams and courses:

ExamsCoursesSubjects
642-997 DCUFIImplementing Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (DCUFI)Implementation Unified Fabric and Nexus, especially Nexus 5000, Nexus 2000 and Nexus 7000.
642-999 DCUCIImplementing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (DCUCI)Implementation Cisco UCS, including amongst others Fabric Interconnect and Nexus 1000V, and both the Blades and the standalone C series.

After the implementation courses and exams the moment of choice arrives: do you choose the implementation & design option or the implementation & troubleshooting option? Whatever you select, there are still 2 exams left to take. For as a whole the CCNP Data Center certification contains 4 exams, no matter which option you choose. However, the selection of an option is very important.

In the image below I have visualized the 2 options:

CCNP Data Center

As you can see it is your choice either to specialize in the design in both UCS and Nexus Unified Fabric ór in the troubleshooting of both UCS and Nexus Unified Fabric. So you don’t specialize in a technology or solution, as many people think. You base your choice on the role you have or are about to take on.

Which option do you choose?

I wish you good luck with obtaining your CCNP Data Center certification. Making the wrong choice should no longer be a problem. Do you still have questions? Feel free to contact me.

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A shortage in IT professionals: is a talent program the solution?

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Tekort aan IT-personeelWell-educated ICT professionals are hard to find” [Dutch], “Shortage in higly skilled ICT professionals” [Dutch], “ICT branche fears shortage in good staff” [Dutch]: the message is clear, there is a shortage in IT professionals. In well-educated IT professionals, to be exact. A talent program can be a solution for many organizations.

Talent program, Young Professionals program, Talent Development program, Partner Talent program, Talent@Work program: it are all terms with roughly the same meaning. But what are they exactly? And how can these programs help solve the shortage in IT professionals? Is it solely intended for large organizations or also for the smaller ones? In this blogpost I will answer those and other questions.

A shortage in IT professionals: why a talent program?

There has been a shortage in IT professionals for years now. In well-educated IT professionals, to be exact. A problem for many organizations. That problem is even bigger when you take into account the increased importance of IT within organizations in the previous years. The damage of a non-functioning IT infrastructure can be considerable. Think about the internet that is down, important applications that do not work or hackers that break into the infrastructure because the security does not work. Those are scenarios that the management of an organization would rather not face.

The solution lies in finding and hiring a well-educated IT staff. But this may be more harder than it sounds. Finding suitable candidates with the required profile is pretty difficult. This is precisely what talent programs are responding to.

Instead of hiring candidates who meet all requirements an organization hires candidates, talents, who don’t meet all requirements yét at the time of their recruitment. By means of a specific educational plan the candidate obtains the missing expertise within a defined period and puts this expertise immediately into practice.

In general it concerns young candidates with the ambition to specialize in IT. But age is no requirement. Older re-entrants are no less eligible.

A talent program: the components in a row

  • The influx profile is flexible, the outflow profile is set and key
  • The focus is on the educational plan
  • Practical experience is very important
  • Clear agreements are the basis

It will gladly clarify these components.

The influx profile is flexible, the outflow profile is set and key

With ‘influx profile’ I mean the profile that the candidate has when he or she enters the program. ‘Outflow profile’ stands for the knowledge, skills and experience he or she has obtained at the completion of the program.

It may sound a bit strange, but with the recruitment of talent an imperative influx demand doesn’t exist. Hence the before mentioned: the influx profile is flexible. After all, the idea is to work on the deficits during the program. Of course it is important that the candidate possesses the ambition and talent to obtain the necessary theoretical knowledge and the ability to put this into practice in a relatively short time. The candidate fits well into the culture of the organization and has good communication skills so that he or she can perform projects with clients independently.

The outflow profile is set and key. The organization determines the profile that the candidate needs to meet at the end of the program and this profile will be pursued during the whole period.

An example: when I advise organizations that are suffering from a shortage in well-educated staff I have noticed that there is often a need for candidates who not only possess the CCNP certification and specific knowledge on the security solution Fortinet, but also virtualization expertise in the area of VMware and several years of professional experience. This profile is very hard to find. Therefore the vacancy continues and is filled with (much more expensive) hired workers in the meantime.

However, if we turn this profile into an outflow profile and train the talent to meet this profile, it dóes become a realistic target.

The focus is on the educational plan

I mentioned it before: the outflow profile will be pursued during the whole program. The focus is on the educational plan. There is a need for a fitting educational plan that is consistent with the previous knowledge of the candidate and can be met within the relative short time that is available. It is preferable to allocate the courses over time so that the candidate can process the knowledge sufficiently and is able to put it into practice immediately.

Practical experience is very important

Independent study and practicing in simulated environments may be fun for a short while, but in time it will not lead to good results. I always advise to get the basic knowledge into order first, and subsequently a period wherein the candidate job shadows an experienced engineer from his or her own organization and/or performs helpdesk activities. Only then the pieces will start to fall into place, ensuring a smooth process of knowledge building. After 2 months the candidate will continue the program.

Clear agreements are the basis

A talent program means: investing in a new employee. Clear agreements are the basis. In my view there are 4 major agreements:

  1. employment contract at the start of the program.
  2. employment contract at the completion of the program.
  3. learning agreement that contains the student loans and the repayment schedule.
  4. worker benefits like a laptop, a phone and a car.

In my experience a talent program takes 6 to 24 months. The precise duration depends on the difference between in the influx and outflow profile. It goes without saying that it is important to agree beforehand on the conditions of employment at the end of the program.

The learning agreement is meant to protect the investment made against an early departure of the employee. The financial risks can never be covered completely, but in any case it is important to share the value of a talent program with the candidate.

Finally it must be prevented that discussion on the worker benefits arises during or after the program.

A talent program: for which organizations is it intended?

Talent programs are intended for all organizations that suffer from a shortage in IT professionals. So it is also intended for medium-sized and small organizations that only want to develop 1 or a few candidates.

In our own Talent@Work program we’ll take everything of the hands of your organization: from the selection and recruitment to the outflow. And still it remains possible to request for 1 or a few candidates. The program is after all custom-made. The duration, the influx profile and the outflow profile may differ.

A shortage in IT professionals: if it isn’t there you have to make it yourself

If it isn’t there you have to make it yourself: that is what a talent program represents. Instead of searching for a profile that is nowhere to be found in the market, developing a new employee yourself is a good option. One that works for both larger and smaller organizations.

Getting cold feet by the thought of organizing it? Let me know. I will be happy to help.

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CCNA: how to pass your certification

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

CCNA certification“I would like to pass my CCNA, but I read on your website that there are several ways I can go about it. What is my best choice? And which courses and exams do I need?” It’s a question that is recurrently asked by IT professionals or their managers.

CCNA, officially called CCNA Routing & Switching, is the basis certification of Cisco and thus it is popular. And indeed: there are several possibilities for obtaining a CCNA certification. So it’s understandable that this is not always clear. Therefore an overview in this blog post.

What does a CCNA certification actually contain?

Pim Leemans, Cisco instructor, gives the following definition:

“CCNA is the basis certification of Cisco. The certification is well reputed and thus in popular demand. CCNA has become a milestone in the networking world.

What you can do with a CCNA certification? A lot! It proves that you have knowledge of several network techniques. Like Ethernet, IP networking and subnetting, Network Address Translation, WAN technologies and dynamic routing with Enterprise Grade Routing protocols as OSPF and EIGRP for instance. But also frequently used techniques like VLAN’s and spanning tree. Many of those techniques can be configured on Cisco routers and switches. You are also skilled in several troubleshooting scenario’s and the scaling of networks.

Passing the CCNA certification is sufficient for many network professionals to perform their daily network and management activities well. Network techniques that return in CCNA are furthermore convenient in the management of operating systems. When you possess the knowledge of CCNA it is for example also a lot easier to interpret, configure and troubleshoot Windows or Linux routing tables.”

How long is the CCNA certification valid?

The CCNA certification is valid for 3 years. To stay certified you can retake the CCNA exam or, if you want to certify yourself further, take an exam that is ‘higher’ than CCNA. Passing a CCNP exam will therefore also extend your CCNA certification.

Passing CCNA, option 1: 2 classroom-based courses + 2 exams

If you have little or no experience in (Cisco) networking and have never operated the prompt of a Cisco IOS switch or router choosing this option is the wisest choice. You will attend 2 five-day courses, both with a corresponding exam.

Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1) | 100-101 ICND1
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2) | 200-101 ICND2

17th May 2016 – UPDATE: the ICND1 and ICND2 exams have been revised. (further information)

Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1) | 100-105 ICND1
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2) | 200-105 ICND2

The 2 courses are well matched: the second course offers both the broadening and deepening of the first course.

After the passing of the second exam you have obtained the CCNA certification and are allowed to call yourself CCNA Routing & Switching certified.

Pim adds:

“The amount of material being taught is quite large, so I’ve noticed that a lot of trainees chose to take the exams separately. In practice it is shown that even experienced Cisco users have difficulties with an exam. Taking a Cisco exam is a skill on its own. So it may be convenient to use the ICND1 exam as a training with Cisco exams in general.”

Passing CCNA , option 2: 1 classroom-based course + 1 exam

If you have more proficiency in (Cisco) networking, and are in the possession of general network knowledge like IP networking and subnetting, and have expertise in general tools like SSH and Telnet, you won’t need a 10 day course. In that case you can choose option 2. You will partake in a classroom-based course of 7 consecutive days (don’t panic: you still will be free in the weekend :-)) and will take 1 exam.

CCNA Bootcamp (CCNABC) | 200-120 CCNA

17th May 2016 – UPDATE: the CCNA exam has been revised. (further information)

CCNA Bootcamp (CCNABC) | 200-125 CCNA

After the passing of the exam you have obtained the CCNA certification and are allowed to call yourself CCNA Routing & Switching certified.

Do you find it difficult to assess whether you have enough experience to partake in a CCNA Bootcamp? Try consulting with an instructor. I will be happy to connect you to Pim or one of our other Cisco instructors.

Passing CCNA , option 3: classroom-based training + self-study + 1 exam

If you have, like mentioned in the previous option, already some proficiency with (Cisco) networking, but no time to partake in a classical course of 7 consecutive days, your best option may be this. You attend a FastTrack: a learning program that combines both classroom-based training and self-study. The FastTrack covers approximately 2 months. In those 2 months you partake 6 days in total in a classroom-based course. The classroom-based course is alternated with self-study. A FastTrack always starts with an online kick-off that will clarify what will be expected of you. After the FastTrack you take 1 exam.

CCNA FastTrack (CCNAFT) | 200-120 CCNA

17th May 2016 – UPDATE: the CCNA exam has been revised. (further information)

CCNA FastTrack (CCNAFT) | 200-125 CCNA

After the passing of the exam you have obtained the CCNA certification and are allowed to call yourself CCNA Routing & Switching certified.

Passing CCNA , option 4: self-study + 1 or 2 exams

When you prefer not to take any classroom-based courses there is the possibility to prepare for an exam by self-study. During self-study you will use the official e-learning by Cisco. The e-learning contains the learning material, several tests and labs.

There is e-learning for ICND1 and e-learning for ICND2.

After following the e-learning you take the separate ICND1 and ICND2 exams ór the CCNA exam. After the passing of the exam(s) you have obtained the CCNA certification and are allowed to call yourself CCNA Routing & Switching certified.

Something for everybody

It is clear: there is something for everybody with these 4 options. Are you still unsure? Please let me know. I will be happy to help you!

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IoT (Internet of Things): how do I seize my opportunities?

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

IoT, Internet of Things, is receiving great interest. Every IT event pays attention to it, there is a bombardment of articles about the subject, so one question burns above all else: where do my opportunities lie and how do I seize them? This question can be relevant for you individually, but also for your organization.

IoT for the organization

When I talk to Cisco partners and advise them on the Cisco partner program, one question arises more and more: ‘in what way can our organization specialize in IoT?’ The answer is relatively simple: you can do this by passing the Cisco’s Advanced Internet of Things specializations, amongst others.

There are currently 3 different Advanced IoT specializations available:

Advanced Internet of Things – Connected Safety and Security
Advanced Internet of Things – Industry Expert
Advanced Internet of Things – Manufacturing

In the upcoming months Cisco will add more specializations. Specializations for the market segments oil and gas, and health care for instance.

The Advanced IoT specializations are market oriented. The specialization IoT – Manufacturing for instance focuses on the connection between people and materials on the factory. IoT – Connected Safety and Security however, is concentrated on safety and security purposes. The specialization IoT – Industry Expert is meant for organizations that are based upon industrial automatization and that want to link to Cisco Internet of Things solutions to optimize production processes.

When an organization wants to become active in the Internet of Things market it is important to gain knowledge on IoT first, to be able to sell, design, implement and manage the available solutions. These are aspects that return in the roles of account manager, system engineer and field engineer within the 3 specializations mentioned above. The knowledge is available through e-learning and classroom-based courses and will be tested by means of Cisco exams of Pearson VUE.

IoT for the individual

The Cisco Career Certifications program is a well-known certifications program. The components of the program almost always have an associate level (CCxA), a professional level (CCxP) and an expert level (CCIEx). This will also apply for Internet of Things. At the present time there are no Internet of Things certifications in the Career Certifications program yet, but I expect these will be available soon.

The only certification for individuals in the area of IoT available at this time is the specialization Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist. In preparation of the exam Cisco Learning Services offers the IMINS course. The course can be booked through Fast Lane as usual.

If you want to take the first steps on the path of Internet of Things, this is the way.

Begin with obtaining one of the specializations and seize your opportunity

So there are possibilities for both organizations as for individuals to specialize in IoT, something that is also called ‘the next big business opportunity in the market’ at times. I hope that I was able to clarify how to start seizing your opportunities in this blog post. If there are still things that are unclear, please let me know.

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How to book your Cisco exam in 6 steps

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

“Where can I book my Cisco exam?”, “At what location will the exam be held?” and: “What is an exam voucher actually?” These are but a few of the questions we frequently receive.

In this blog post I will deal with the 6 steps that are necessary to book a Cisco exam online. Because booking a Cisco exam may appear difficult, but if you follow all steps it really is a piece of cake.

Where and how do you book a Cisco exam?

Pearson VUE is the exam institution for all Cisco exams. This means that Cisco exams need to be booked at Pearson VUE.

You can book your Cisco exam in 2 separate ways:
1. By telephone, using one of the free telephone numbers of Pearson VUE.
Belgium: 0800 74 174 | The Netherlands: 0800 023 53 23

When you choose this option you will be helped personally. Keep your CSCO number close. Don’t have one yet? Don’t worry. The CSCO number will be created when you submit your name and address. Keep in mind that the telephone operator is English speaking and that you will need to spell your name and address clearly.

2. Online www.pearsonvue.com. Below you will find the steps that need to be taken on the website.

Step 1: select Cisco as exam program

Click, in the horizontal menu at the upper side of the page, on ‘For test takers’. (image 1.1) A new page will open. Type ‘Cisco’ in the field left. You select ‘Cisco Systems’ from the list that appears. (image 1.2) A new page will open.

Cisco exam - step 1.1

Image 1.1

Cisco exam - step 1.2

Image 1.2

Step 2: log in with your Pearson VUE account

Click, at the right side of the page, on the blue button ‘Sign in’ and log in with your Pearson VUE account. Don’t have an account yet? In that case click on the blue button ‘Create account’ and create an account. (image 2.1)

Cisco exam, step 2.1

Image 2.1

Step 3: search for your Cisco exam

Click on the blue button ‘View exams’. (image 3.1) A new page will open.

Find the right Cisco exam by searching on the code or on the name of the exam. (image 3.2) Select the exam and click on ‘Go’. A new page will open.

Select the desired language (image 3.3) and click on the blue button ‘Next’. A new page will open.

You will now see an overview of the Cisco exam you want to take, including information on the price and language. (image 3.4)

Cisco exam - step 3.1

Image 3.1

Cisco exam - step 3.2

Image 3.2

Cisco exam - step 3.3

Image 3.3

Cisco exam - step 3.4

Image 3.4

Step 4: choose a date and a time

Click on the blue button ‘Schedule this exam’. A new page will open.

To be able to take your Cisco exam you will need to agree with the conditions that are mentioned. Select ‘Yes, I accept’ (image 4.1) and click on the blue button ‘Next’.

You can take your Cisco exam at a Pearson VUE exam center of your choice. You can find an exam center in your neighborhood by searching on street name, postal code or city, or on a combination of these. (image 4.2) Select the preferred exam center and click on the blue button ‘Next’. A new page will open.

Select a date and time. (image 4.3) A new page will open.

You will now see an overview of the Cisco exam you want to take, including information on the chosen location, the date and the time. (image 4.4)

Cisco exam - step 4.1

Image 4.1

Cisco exam - step 4.2

Image 4.2

Cisco exam - step 4.3

Image 4.3

Cisco exam - step 4.4

Image 4.4

Step 5: pay for the Cisco exam with a credit card or an exam voucher

Click on the blue button ‘Proceed to Checkout’. Confirm your personal data. (image 5.1) Make sure that the name on the screen corresponds exactly with the name on your identity papers. Click on the blue button ‘Next’.

Agree with the mentioned terms (image 5.2) and click on the blue button ‘Next’.
You can pay for your Cisco exam by means of an exam voucher or by credit card. (image 5.3) An exam voucher is a code of numbers and letters.

• Do you want to pay for your Cisco exam by means of an exam voucher? In that case click on ‘Add Voucher or Promo Code’, fill in the number of the exam voucher and click on the blue button ‘Apply’. The payable amount will be set on € 0,00.

• Do you want to pay for your Cisco exam by credit card? In that case fill in the credit card information and the billing address.

Click on the blue button ‘Next’. A new page will open.

Cisco exam - step 5.1

Image 5.1

Cisco exam - step 5.2

Image 5.2

Cisco exam - step 5.3

Image 5.3

Step 6: confirm your booking

You will see an overview of the Cisco exam you want to take, including information on the price. Click on the blue button ‘Submit Order’.

Your exam is booked. You will receive a confirmation at the e-mail address that is known in your Pearson VUE account.

Reschedule your Cisco exam to another date or location

Do you want to reschedule your exam? In that case log in again with your Pearson VUE account and use the option ‘Reschedule’.

Attention: you can reschedule without cost until 24 hours before the start of the exam. If you reschedule within those 24 hours ór if you forget the appointment you will be required to pay the complete fee for the rebooking of the exam.

Questions on the booking of your Cisco exam

Do you have any questions on the booking of your Cisco exam? Or do you want to reschedule your Cisco exam, but you aren’t exactly sure on how to do that? Contact Pearson VUE on one of the free telephone numbers.

Belgium: 0800 74 174 | The Netherlands: 0800 023 53 23

I wish you good luck with your Cisco exam. And if you need any help in the preparation for the exam, Fast Lane will of course be happy to help! ;-)

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CCNP Collaboration certification: a list of Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Today Cisco introduces the CCNP Collaboration certification, wherein voice and video are integrated. The CCNP Voice certification will cease to apply.

But what if you are preparing that revoked certification at this moment? Or if you are already in possession of this certification? Is there an simple way to transfer to CCNP Collaboration? And how do you obtain that certification?

In this blog post I will explain what you need to do to obtain the CCNP Collaboration certification and what options are available to everyone who (almost) possesses the CCNP Voice certification.

How do you obtain the CCNP Collaboration certification?

To obtain the CCNP Collaboration certification 4 exams need to be taken successfully:

What previous knowledge is required for the CCNP Collaboration certification?

The required previous knowledge for the CCNP Collaboration certification is a valid CCIE certification or CCNA Collaboration certification. To obtain the CCNA Collaboration certification 2 exams need to be taken successfully:

In what order do you take the CCNP Collaboration courses?

It is advised to follow the CIPTV1-, CIPTV2- and CAPPS courses first. These are focused on the implementation of Cisco IP Telephony, video and the applications that run on Unified Communications. After following these courses the CTCOLLAB training can start, that focusses on troubleshooting.

You are preparing for the CCNP Voice certification at this moment. This certification will cease to apply. What options do you have?

You have 2 options:

1. You take the exams 642-437 CVOICE, 642-447 CIPT1, 642-457 CIPT2, 642-427 TVOICE and 642-467 CAPPS successfully and will therefore obtain the CCNP Voice certification. Attention: the CCNP Voice certification can probably be taken until Q4 2015. Cisco has not yet communicated the precise End Of Life date of the certification.

2. You are preparing for the  CCNP Collaboration certification.
To obtain the CCNP Collaboration certification 4 exams need to be taken successfully:

When you have already passed the 642-447 CIPT1 exam you are exempted from the 300-070 CIPTV1 exam.

When you have already passed the 642-427 TVOICE exam you are exempted from the 300-080 CTCOLLAB-exam.

When you have already passed the 642-467 CAPPS exam you are exempted from the 300-085 CAPPS exam.

When you have already passed the 642-437 CVOICE and/or the 642-457 CIPT2 exam there will be no possible exemption from a CCNP Collaboration exam.

Attention: A valid CCNA Collaboration certification is required for the obtainment of the CCNP Collaboration certification.

CCNP Collaboration

You are CCNP Voice certificated and want to obtain the CCNP Collaboration certification. What do you need to do?

If you are CCNP Voice certificated you are exempted from the exams 300-070 CIPTV1, 642-427 TVOICE and 300-085 CAPPS and you will only need to pass the 300-075 CIPTV2 exam.

A valid CCNA Collaboration certification is not required, but is highly recommended.

When does your CCNP Voice certification expire?

Your CCNA Voice certification is valid for 3 years and will stay valid for 3 years. It is highly probable that the CCNP Voice certification cannot be obtained anymore after Q4 2015 – Cisco has not yet communicated the precise End Of Life date of the certification – but certifications that are already obtained will stay valid.

Can’t find your question in this blog post?

Do you have another question that you can’t find in the above? Please let me know I will be happy to help! Frequenty asked questions about the CCNA Collaboration certification, ánd the answers to them can be found here.

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