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18 Apr



ICND1 and ICND2 vs. CCNA

April 18, 2014 | By | 2 Comments

IT Track will begin offering ICND1 and ICND2 training in June 2014. If you’re wondering what ICND stands for, it’s Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices, and if you take (and pass!) both of these exams, it’s the equivalent of taking one CCNA exam. For those of you who like math, here’s the equation:

ICND1 + ICND2 = Cisco Certified Network Associate, Routing and Switching

These will be in addition to our already popular CCNA R&S course. Why offer ICND1 and ICND2 if one can simply take CCNA Routing and Switching? Why take two courses and two exams if you only need to take one?

These are common questions, and the answer varies, depending on the individual. The CCNA exam has come a long way over the past two decades, and there is simply more content one must know to pass the exam. For networking beginners, covering ALL the material and knowing it thoroughly is quite a daunting task. Breaking the content into two separate modules makes it much easier for many aspiring IT professionals. For those of you who want a career in network administration, but don’t have any experience with networks, the most sensible path is:

  • CompTIA Network+ (N10-005)
  • ICND1 (100-101)
  • ICND2 (200-101)

From there, the sky is the limit. Upon completion of these three core courses and exams, you can decide which Information Technology path you wish to take, since you now have familiarity with the fundamental concepts of enterprise networking. Security is a common track, and while some choose Wireless or Voice, the vast majority will continue with a CCNP in R&S.

But the important thing is that the main networking concepts are ingrained, and ICND1/ICND2 help tremendously with that. There are way too many Admins-to-be that rushed through the CCNA exam, failed it several times, finally passed, but have a low level of understanding of the material. Even if you study hard and get to know the material well, the CCNA exam is no picnic. It has become progressively more difficult throughout the years.

There is no rush to get your CCNA – the extra time you take to understand the material is WELL worth it. Besides, the cost of taking two ICND exams is the same as one CCNA exam (at $150 a pop, they are half of the $295 you will have to shell out for the CCNA test).

Having said that, for those who are already familiar with networking concepts, and/or have been employed as entry-level techs for at least a year, then jumping right into CCNA is probably a good idea. Most of the technologies are already in mind, it’s just a matter of cementing them in there.

Good luck, and study hard!


  1. Bikash Niroula

    sir i want to be ccna vs mcse. ultimately how much salary i can get

    • Boyd

      A very common question. The simplest (and most frustrating) answer is: “it depends”. Having the CCNA certification is a definite plus, and a great starting point for a career in Network Administration, but having an MCSE doesn’t hurt anything, either. The more proficient you are at a given technology, the higher salary you will receive, and certifications are one way to demonstrate proficiency.

      BTW, salary is also very dependent on where you live.

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