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CCNA 200-301: Navigating the 2019 Cisco CCNA Certification Exam Changes and Setting Your Course for Certification Success

Wendell Odom

Cisco certifications serve as a roadmap to the skills expected of any networker, and the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification plays a central role in that story. Cisco’s CCNA defines the beginning skillset for anyone working with networks, and it has done so for more than 20 years. Over a million networkers have studied for CCNA.

Cisco recently made huge changes in their entire certification program – the biggest changes since announcing CCNA and CCNP back in 1998. What does that mean to you?

This 2-hour session focuses on the new Cisco CCNA certification. No longer are there nine (yes, formerly nine) different associate-level Cisco certifications. Now there is one, simply called CCNA. The one remaining CCNA serves as the core of all Cisco certifications.

What’s in the certification? What are the program changes? What should you do now to pass the old exams before they go away, or to prepare for the new exams before they arrive?

This course, and the related course about the new CCNP Enterprise certification, intend to answer these questions, and more. The course flow gives plenty of time for Q&A to get your specific questions answered – so come ready to learn, to make your plan, and to exit the session more confident of your plan and ready to learn about and pass your chosen CCNA exam!

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

  • How the Cisco certification program works – both before and after the huge June 2019 announcements
  • A systematic comparison of the old CCNA exams – exams for which you might have been preparing – versus the new CCNA exam
  • Replacement paths from CCNA, to CCNP, and to CCIE, versus the old (and more obvious) paths
  • Advice for today: a discussion and QA about tradeoffs for trying to pass the old exams now, or pass the new CCNA – or even pass some other test
  • Learn the topics in the new CCNA, versus the old, beyond just the terms found in the exam topics.
  • Understand more about the depth of knowledge required for each topic, based on past history and on exam topic verbs
  • Receive advice and tools to use from today until the new exam release in February 2020 so you do not have to wait to get started preparing for your new CCNA exam

This training course is for you because...

  • You are already pursuing some Cisco certification, and Cisco just reorganized the entire program – and you need some advice!
  • You know you want to pursue Cisco certifications and need to understand the starting point – CCNA – and how to get started towards CCNA today.



About your instructor

  • Wendell Odom, CCIE No. 1624, creates many of the best-selling Cisco certification products of their types, particular in the routing and switching space. He has pioneered the authorized Cisco Certification Guide series at Cisco Press and has written every edition of the leading CCENT and CCNA Certification Guides. He has written over 30 editions of networking books, video, and software products, ranging in depth from introductory level to CCIE. Wendell has worked as an instructor, course developer, network engineer, and consultant. Find links to more study tools and resources (including his blogs) at www.certskills.com.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Section 1: Cisco Certification Structure and Impact to CCNA (30 Minutes)

Before June 2019, Cisco had 10 technology tracks. Cisco tended to change certifications in a few different tracks, at a few different certification levels, each year. With a stroke of a web update (and much planning and hard work), Cisco morphed the program from Associate, to Professional, and even Expert level certifications, across all the tracks, with one big announcement. The announced changes will continue to roll out for the better part of a year to follow. In this first section, you will learn:

  • A brief history of Cisco certifications
  • The New Five Silo Structure: Enterprise, Data Center, Service Provider, Security, and Collaboration
  • CCNA – from 11 to 1 Certification
  • CCNA Routing and Switch to the new CCNA: migration paths
  • New Options for Your Path from CCNA to CCNP and CCIE
  • QA

Section 2: Make Your CCNA Study Plan (30 Minutes)

This particular Cisco certification change is unique in several ways, particularly because of the long delay from announcement (June 2019) until the new exams release (Feb 2020). That delay, along with the usual kinds of changes, make it even more challenging to pick a course of action. In this section, we together consider the options.

  • Option 1: Learn Fast to Go for the Old (Exams)
  • Option 2: Learn Steady to Go for the New
  • Option 3: Jump Straight to CCNP Enterprise
  • Option 4: Jump Straight to Another CCNP
  • A QA Exercise: You advise your co-worker on their decision
  • QA

Section 3: CCNA Content in Detail (45 Minutes)

Cisco waved its certification wand and poof, no more CCNA Wireless, CCNA Security, CCNA Collaboration, and so on. The remaining one CCNA – simply called CCNA – looks like the old CCNA Routing and Switching, but with many changes. Now’s the time to get into depth far beyond what you could read from the exam topics.

  • A detailed analysis of CCNA topics: Topics added, topics removed, topics that remain
  • Exam topic verbs: Their theoretical meaning plus a practical application to CCNA
  • The shift to remove “troubleshoot” from the CCNA vocabulary
  • Practical advice: Currently-available tools to use to study now for the new CCNA
  • QA

Section 4: Final Thoughts and QA (15 Minutes)

This final short section catches a few topics not covered in the other sections and gives you a final chance to ask your questions. This section may include other topics, but will include:

  • Potential problems areas on the CCNA exam
  • Impressions from watching Online comments since Cisco announced the changes
  • Your Final chance at QA