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What is a CCNA Level Engineer and What Do They Do?

The IT support and services industry is somewhat different than other industries offering professional services to businesses. While the financial industry, lawyers, accountants, and others have industry-standard certifications and required licensing to do business, the IT industry does not.

That’s not to say that there are no benchmarks that IT services professionals meet. Instead of an industry governing body – or the government – setting specific qualifications to do business as an IT professional, certifications are earned from the various hardware and software vendors to prove competency in servicing that specific hardware or software solution.

CCNA is one of those vendor certifications that network engineers work, learn, and test to earn.

CCNA stands for “Cisco Certified Network Associate.”

As you’ve likely guessed, Cisco – the world’s leader in networking and security hardware and software – is the vendor that administers the testing to earn the CCNA certification.

CCNA certification sits on the second tier (Associate) of a four-tier Cisco Career Path Certification program. The four tiers are:

  • Tier #1 – Entry
  • Tier #2 – Associate
  • Tier #3 – Professional
  • Tier #4 – Expert

The CCNA designation is assigned to individuals that have successfully completed proprietary Cisco exams in one or more of the following disciplines.

  • CCNA Routing and Switching
  • CCNA Security
  • CCNA Service Provider
  • CCNA Cloud
  • CCNA Collaboration
  • CCNA Wireless
  • CCNA Cyber Ops
  • CCNA Data Centre
  • CCNA Industrial

What Is The Process To Achieve A CCNA Designation?

The training to take the exams is available to applicants in the form of online courses, hard copy books, and in a classroom setting. Once the individual has gone through the material and has proven an acceptable understanding of the material, he/she goes on to take the exam.

Cisco’s CCNA exams are different from the exams you took in school. Cisco exams do not have a set pass/fail score. The pass/fail score fluctuates according to statistical analysis. So going into the exam, the candidate does not know how many questions he/she must answer correctly to pass the test.

After the candidate takes the exam, a report is generated by Cisco showing how the candidate did on each piece of the exam along with an indication as to whether the candidate passed or failed.

If the candidate passes, they are then CCNA certified for the next three years. The recertification process involves taking the exam (but not exactly the same questions) again or taking a test from a higher Cisco certification tier.

What is Typical Work For a CCNA Level Engineer in a Business Setting?

CCNA level engineers are dispatched to a business most often because either something needs to be set up or something has gone wrong. Usually, these IT support professionals are working on either physical, virtual, or wireless network of the organization.

In an implementation or setup scenario, the CCNA level engineer will usually have consulted in the hardware and software selection process to determine which Cisco product is most appropriate for the company’s application.

Once the hardware has been bought and has arrived at the premises, the following steps are taken:

  1. Unpacking the hardware
  2. Installing the hardware in a rack
  3. Connecting the power supply and other hardware to the new hardware
  4. Installing software
  5. Doing any necessary updates, upgrades, and patches
  6. Migrating any data needed from old hardware to new hardware
  7. Configuring software according to best practices and the requirements of other connected network hardware or software

A troubleshooting scenario is simpler or dramatically more complex than a hardware implementation…depending on the issue at hand. By taking the symptoms described by the customer, a CCNA certified engineer will then use specialized tools to isolate and diagnose the cause of the problem. Once the cause has been identified, the engineer will lean on the Cisco training that they have undergone and their field experience to initiate and complete a remedy for the situation.

Do I Need a CCNA Level Engineer to Fix My Network Problem?

If some or all of your network hardware or software is made by Cisco, you likely need a CCNA level engineer at a minimum to properly set up new hardware or to troubleshoot any issues with your current hardware and software. Fortunately, Spade Technology is a Cisco Partner and can supply you with the appropriate level of care for your Cisco hardware or software. Just give us a call and let us know what you are facing, and we’ll be glad to provide advice as to the next steps needed to get your systems working as they should.

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