As you've probably heard by now, Cisco released some big news just a few days ago. They've announced major updates to all of their Certification exams, which will go into effect February 24, 2020.

If you haven't head this news, check out another blog from our very own Brian McGahan on this topic, and/or peruse the official news from Cisco's website.

I have fielded several emails from INE customers (and potential customers) who are in the process of studying for the CCNA/CCENT and are now left dazed-and-confused about what they should do next.

First of all, everyone take a deep breath. Oxygen is important. Now, let's navigate this together.

Which Door Will it Be

Let's simplify things a little. If you're currently pursuing a CCNA (and let's assume you're going for Routing & Switching) and you're taking Cisco's announcement into consideration (as you should), then you're left with 2 options:

  • Option A - Pass both the ICND1 and ICND2 exams prior to February 24, 2020 and achieve your CCNA R&S Certification.
  • Option B - Take neither the ICND1, nor the ICND2 exams now. Instead, wait and sit for (and hopefully pass) the new CCNA 200-301 exam in February.

Personally, I believe that 8 months is enough time for most people to pass the ICND1 and ICND2 exams. That would be my advice for the majority of you reading this blog.

The great thing about Option A is that, according to Cisco's website, if you obtain your CCNA anytime between now and February 2020, you will automatically be granted the new CCNA, which has a 3-year lifespan before you'll need to re-certify. So, if you're ready to polish off your ICND2 next week and get your CCNA, congratulations! You'll be able to hold onto that for 3 years and 8 months before you need to re-certify.

How to Stay Calm

Unfortunately, some of you are in the FREAKOUT category because you have reasons to believe that you just can't pass both the ICND1 and ICND2 exams within the next 8 months. And let's be honest, the upcoming 200-301 exam looks like a monster. It's no longer "just" Routing & Switching anymore. It also includes Security, Wireless and Automation, and Programmability, among others. What are you supposed to do if you honestly feel like you won't be able to pass your ICND1 and ICND2 exams in the next 8 months and you're looking at an upcoming CCNA exam blueprint that contains far more topics than the current CCNA exam?

Good news! Cisco HAS share the exam blueprint for the new CCNA. You can compare that against INE's current video offering, not only for CCNA R&S, but other CCNA tracks we have as well.

Where to Start

If you're starting from ground zero (i.e. you haven't even started on your ICND1 studies yet) I'd recommend that you start by printing off the Exam Topics for the new CCNA, as well as the current CCENT (i.e. ICND1). Then compare then side-by-side, highlighting any commonalities. I would then watch the INE videos (in the CCENT/ICND1 category) that match up with similar topics listed in the upcoming CCNA blueprint.

Once you've gone through all of our ICND1 videos that match topics in the upcoming CCNA Blueprint, repeat the process with our ICND2 videos. Then again with our CCNA Security videos, and so on. One of the great things about having an INE All Access Pass (AAP) is that you have access to every video in our library. You're not limited to just CCNA R&S. You can also utilize video content on Wireless, Security, Programmability, and much, much more. With INE's current video offerings (across a range of courses), you'll be able to learn at least 80% of what will be covered in the upcoming CCNA exam.

The Next Chapter

In the near future, INE will be releasing new video courses to help folks prepare for the 2020 Cisco Certifications. Of course, this also includes the new CCNA. As those videos are released, you'll be able to pick-up the remaining 20% of information you need to know for the CCNA exam. As a result, you'll be well positioned to pass the 200-301 exam next February.

Happy studying!


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Keith Bogart CCIE #4923
About Keith Bogart CCIE #4923

Keith Bogart started his career at Cisco Systems in 1996 as a customer service representative and quickly rose to a Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) engineer on the “Dial-Access” team. After almost 17 years at Cisco, Keith began his career as an instructor with INE. For the past four years Keith has been creating and teaching many of our online Cisco courses and instructing our live CCNA and CCNP Bootcamps. Keith holds several certifications including CCNA Security and CCIE Dial-ISP. You may contact Keith at kbogart@ine.com or find him helping others in our IEOC community forum.

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