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CCNP Enterprise: What is YANG, NETCONF & RESCONF?

Cisco restructured their entire certification program on February 24, 2020. This included the CCNP. Modern networks demand that the new certification paths be updated. One of the major changes was a greater emphasis on network automation, programmability. This means that network engineers will face new challenges and technologies.
We’ll be taking a closer look at CCNP and protocols related network programmability such as YANG, NETCONF and RESTCONF.
The New CCNP, Automation and Network Programmability
With the new Cisco certification paths, you’ll need to pass two exams to become CCNP Enterprise-certified. You will need to pass the 350-401 ENCOR core exam and an additional concentration exam.
Before we examine the concentrations, it is clear that Cisco is focusing its efforts on programming and validating automation skills. According to the topic list, automation is represented at 15% of the ENCOR exam. Different subtopics include Python, YANG and RESTCONF.NETCONF. JSON. As well as tools like Ansible, Chef, and NETCONF. To pass the CCNP exams, you will need to have a solid understanding of Python and automation.
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Start trainingIf automation and programmability are your interests, there is a CCNP concentration. The 300-435 ENAUTO concentration focuses on enterprise-automated solution like Python programming, APIs and automation tools. Network device programming is the only topic that makes up 20% of the 300-435 ENAUTO exam topics.
The new CCNP Enterprise is a large part of automation and programmability.
Are you interested in studying for CCNP Enterprise Core certification? Take a look at our Cisco CCNP Enterprise Core (350–401 ENCOR).
Data structures: YANG, YAML, JSON, and XML
Automating and programming networks is all about getting computers to do our jobs. Data must be provided in a format that computers are able to read. This is where YANG and YAML, JSON and XML enter the network programmability picture. Let’s take a look at each one before we move onto the configuration protocols.
XML, or Extensible Markup language, is a common way to format data. It was designed, as the name suggests, to be extensible and universal enough to be used with a wide range of applications. XML uses custom tags for defining elements. An example of an XML file might look like this:
012345678 movie movieID=”1’’> Joe Actor Learning Comedy. An aspiring sysadmin’s journey to certification. Simply by looking at the format, it is clear why it is so easy for humans and machines to understand. The > characters allow you to open a section or close it. Plaintext that is human-readable helps us humans. XML is a common way of encoding data for APIs. IT pros who are interested in mastering automation can use it to their advantage.
JavaScript Object Notation (or JSON) is another popular method to encode API data. Many times, the JSON format will be used to return the response from a RESTful API via HTTP(S). JSON can be used with many languages and applications today, even though JavaScript is the name of the API. The formatting is different than XML, but it is still easily readable by humans, as you can see in the example below.
012345678910 “movies”: “movie”: “Lead” :”Joe Actor”, title:”Learning to Learn”, “genre:”Comedy”, and “desc” :”An aspiring sysadmins journey towards certhood”, “_filmID:”1’’
YAML was once an acronym for Yet Another Markup Language.

CCNA v3.0: The Complete Story

Update: SPOTO now offers online training for both CCENT/CCNA ICDN1100-105 and ICDN2200-105. Good luck and happy training!
Cisco’s CCNA Routing and Switching v2.0 certification will expire on September 24, marking a significant milestone in the evolution and evolution of the CCNA. The original CCNA was released in 2007. It was not updated much until 2013, when Cisco introduced the CCNA v2.0.
Why is there such a sudden shift?
The new CCNA edition retains approximately 95% of the material from v2.0. Many are left wondering: What’s the deal? Cisco’s decision not to update the CCNA was clearly influenced in part by the need for current CCNA material, much to the advantage of CCNA-certified job hunters in a competitive marketplace.
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Start trainingThe new material reflects the way that the networking landscape adapts to emerging trends like Software Defined Networking and Cloud solutions. Topics on obsolete technology (e.g. The olde hubs have been gracefully retired.
How do I get my CCNA?
Two exams are required to earn the CCNA credential: the ICND1 (105-05) and ICND2 (202-05). A composite exam is also available that combines both ICND exams into one meta CCNA test, identified by the code 200-125.
The composite exam 200-125 is a single exam that combines both the ICND curriculum. You will also be awarded the CCNA. It is not recommended for beginners as it is more difficult than the separate exams. This exam is intended for people who want to renew their CCNA.
The ICND exams do not require prerequisites. If you have some networking experience, but no certifications, you can begin studying for your CCNA exam right away.
What is ICND?
ICND stands to Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices. Passing the ICND1 exam will grant you the CCENT certification (Cisco Certified Entity Networking Technician). To earn the noble title of CCNA, you will need to pass the ICND2 exam once you have become a CCENT.
CCENT holders are encouraged to apply for the CCNA. You will have already passed the ICND1 exam. The CCNA is a prerequisite for advanced certifications such as the Cisco Certified Networking Professional (Routing and Switching) CCNP. The CCNA R&S certification can be used as a prerequisite for other Associate-level certifications, such as the CCNA Industrial and CCNA Security.
What’s new in ICND1 & ICND2
While the ICND1 exam is the same as the old version, the ICND2 exam has undergone the most significant changes.
Here is a summary of the key revisions Cisco made to the CCNA v.2.0. These are the most notable changes and not all of them.
Highlights of CCNA v3.0 Update
ICND1 v3.0
Along with OSPFv2 & OSPFv3, OSPFv3 has been moved to ICND2. RIPv2 (Routing Information Protocol for IPv4) replaces OSPF in this exam to provide a better introduction to IP routing protocols for CCENTs.
This exam covers DNS, DHCP and Firewalls, Access Points, Access Points and Wireless Controllers to give an overview of the components that make up enterprise networks.
Obsolescence has caused the removal of sections on bridges and hubs from the new exam.
The new exam has eliminated Cisco Express Forwarding (CEF), and IPv6 Dual Stack material.
The static route networking with IPv4/IPv6 remains largely the same, but the exam will place a greater emphasis on IPv6 as well as related features such Anycast.
The exam now includes new material on IP Services, including how to configure NTP or NAT.

You can find more information about the exam in the full list of ICND1 v3.0 Exam Subjects [PDF].
ICND2 v3.0
To make room for more current topics such as Broadban, Frame Relay and Serial WAN Technologies are now almost obsolete.

CCNA v3.0: Everything you Need to Know

Update: SPOTO now offers online training for both CCENT/CCNA ICDN1100-105 and ICDN2200-105. Good luck and happy training!
You have one choice: Take the new CCNAv3 exam, as the CCNAv2 exam is ending this week.
Jeremy Cioara, SPOTO Cisco expert, discusses the structure and topics of the new CCNAv3 examination, as well as the skills required to succeed.
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Start trainingHe also answered questions like:
What hardware would your recommendation be for the CCNAv3 laboratory? (31:20)
Will MPLS be included on the exam? (31:39)
Can QoS be explained easily (32:18)
How do I build a CCNA Home Lab? Watch Jeremy’s last webinar Building a CCNA Home Lab.
GNS3 is more efficient and cheaper than hardware. (33:33)
When will Jeremy’s CCENT training end? Answer: Sept. 30, 2016. Get started today!
Will IPv6 be on the exam? (35:40)
You can also check out our other blog posts this week including Understanding Cisco Certifications (another video featuring Jeremy Cioara), CCNAv3 The Full Story and a look into why and how IT certifications evolve.
Get started training today for the CCENT/CCNA ICDN1 100–105 or ICDN2 200–105 exams!
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Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

CCNA Study Tips Revisited

It is difficult to prepare for the CCNA certification. Failure on an exam can lead to financial ruin. Study efficiently to avoid this. Success is only possible with determination, motivation, and preparation. Cisco guru Jeremy Cioara shares some tips to help you achieve this.
Keep your motivation high. Motivation is key to achieving your CCNA. Motivation is a key component to your success in achieving your CCNA. Jeremy Cioara, a trainer, shared great advice during his latest webinar. “Pretend you have to teach the material that you are studying to a class within the next month. You will find your motivation.”

Teach it. You can teach it if you can. Spend some time explaining the concepts in the exam objectives to someone. If the concepts you are explaining make sense to the person you are teaching, you are ready to take the CCNA exam.

Exam objectives. This is a checklist that will help you ensure you have covered all the bases. You should review any areas you are not confident in.

Relax. Overstudying is a real thing. Take a break! Relax and keep your eyes open. You can often do better in many cases if you take a day off between studying and resting.

Learn from blogs. It can be very helpful to find additional resources to help you study. Google is your friend! You can find blogs that provide relevant material and resources to help you set yourself up for success.

For more tips on certification, check out our blog posts and Jeremy’s latest webinar:
How to Get Your CCNA Webinar with Jeremy Cioara
Top 10 Ways to Recover from Failing an Exam
Tips for Cert Success
Top 10 Ways To Up Your Study Game
Top IT Cert Study Books
Top 10 Ways to Make More Time to Train
The Coach’s Playbook

Make sure you sign up for Jeremy’s next webinar, “Building a CCNA Home Lab.”
Learn how to become a security expert with SPOTO’s Cybersecurity Training
Get started with training
Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

CCNA Home Labs Revisited

Update: SPOTO now offers online training for both CCENT/CCNA ICDN1100-105 and ICDN2200-105. Good luck and happy training!
It can be difficult to build a CCNA home laboratory. What gear is best? Is GNS3 and VIRL worth it? My CCNA lab will be useful for CCNP preparation. Jeremy Cioara, Cisco trainer and guru, recently shared some of his tried-and true solutions in his latest webinar “Building a CCNA Home Lab.”
Below are Jeremy’s suggestions and answers to your questions.
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Start trainingDo you need GNS3? Although it’s a great tool for learning, you must see networking in action. This is the purpose of setting up a lab at home.
What do I need? Get a cheap router These routers can be used to convert your home network into a Cisco-based network and gain valuable experience.
All of the routers below are affordable and can help with the material.
Cisco 2611(xm) / 2621(xm) ($10-$50)
Cisco 1721 w/WIC-1ENET ($10-$50)
Cisco 871(w) ($10-$50)

Which switch do you need? These are all 100-megabit switches. Layer 3 switches such as the Cisco 3550 and 3750 are available for a few dollars more. These switches will be helpful for your CCNP and CCIE certification journey.
Cisco 2950 ($10-20)
Cisco 3550 ($20-$50)
Cisco 3750 ($50-$150)

What is the ideal CCNA lab setup Three routers, three switches and two laptops are the ideal CCNA lab setup. Cisco only requires three routers, three switches, and two laptops to set up a network in order to pass the CCNA. You can use the same equipment for both the CCNP or CCIE and you only need to add one or two routers. This topology will not work for certain things, such as private VLANS or IPv6.
Any other information I might need? A mission! A plan and steps are essential to reach your goals. Establish a home network. This is a great place to begin, all you need are a router and a switch. Another great goal is watching SPOTO training and completing the labs exactly like in the videos.
Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

NexGenT 2019 Year in Review

Wow! As NexGenT closes out another year and ends the decade, we wanted to reflect on what an amazing year 2019 has been. First off, let us take this opportunity to thank all the people in our community that made it such a great year. We also wanted to share with you some of the things that made 2019 so special.
In 2019 we were able to give you exclusive inside access into Cisco Live 19 and even give you a private tour of the network from the Rockstar Engineer that designed it, which was a blast for us. We also gave you a first look at all Cisco Certification changes straight from the Cisco Systems Certifications Product Manager.
As of September 2019 we updated our training schedule to increase our Live Coaching for students. This allowed for Live Coaching every week in every course that we offer. This led to a record-breaking year in course completion for us. Some of those numbers are as follows: 364 Network Engineering Course completions; 36 new CCENTs; and 33 new CCNAs. That is a lot of students Leveling Up and becoming Rockstar Engineers!
We are extremely proud of all the students that were able to get their Full Stack Network Associate (FSNA) certification this year. In addition to hosting our quarterly in-person bootcamp at our San Jose, CA Headquarters, NexGenT launched an FSNA virtual in November which helped an additional 24 students achieve their FSNA in 2019! With the launching of the virtual certification we only expect those certifications to grow in the coming years.
Our team especially focused in on a complete revamp and relaunch of the NexGenT Mentor Network, bringing in leaders in the IT industry from companies like Amazon, Solarwinds and Uber. When you combine that with the NexGenT alumni mentors that joined our Mentor Network, students are now able to get highly experienced insight directly from the field. This leadership and guidance are sure to provide many of our students a look into what being a Rockstar Engineer truly means and will help them on their path to launch their IT career.
The efforts by our Instructors, Mentors and Students led to many students finding job success in 2019, raising the total to 182 job success stories. That is what NexGenT is all about! We want to see lives changed through our training program and with more and more students joining our learning community everyday, we cannot wait to see that number skyrocket to 1000 by the end of next year!
On behalf of the NexGenT Instructors, Developers, Career and Customer Service teams and all members of NexGenT we would personally like to thank you for making 2019 a year to remember. Let’s make 2020 even better!
Please check out the highlight video below.

Meet Sara Hutchison, NexGenT’s Career Success Coach

Sara’s career is rooted in corporate social responsibility and sustainability. After completing her Bachelor of Science she oversaw the IT waste reduction and surplus program for a university. In this role she discovered her passion for mentoring those who are making professional transitions, including from college to career. She received her Master’s in Career Counseling in 2015. Prior to working at NexGenT Sara owned a successful resume writing business where she assisted over 1200+ clients in writing stellar job application materials. She has been featured on The Muse and quoted in an NYTimes Bestseller Becoming the Boss on recognizing talent in others.
Sara’s background in both Career Services and IT Operations has uniquely positioned her to help the students of NexGenT. She has spent the last 6 years dedicated to helping her clients feel confident in their job applications and career transitions. Examples of her favorite success stories include moms returning to work and mid-career professionals making an industry change. 
When she is not working, she is making “vroom vroom” sounds with her son’s toy cars or watching Hamilton on repeat with her daughter. She also enjoys trolling her husband on Twitter and loving on their two rescue pups.

About NexGenT Career Service
Our NexGenT Career Service team works with you to develop your job attainment skills. We do this by first analyzing your individual strengths and weaknesses to build a custom career development plan. Your job success is so important that we dedicate a Career Success Coach to meet with you 1:1 to ensure you’re on track to reach your personal goals. Your Career Success Coach works with you to master each career milestone of a professional resume, cover letter, IT or cybersecurity interview preparation, a professional LinkedIn profile, and ultimately, a job and career success plan.
We look forward to helping you level up and achieve your career goals!
If you aren’t already a student, apply for NexGenT’s Full Stack Network Engineer program here or NexGenT’s Cyber Security Specialist program here!

Jump On This Trend And You’ll Have A Successful IT Career

Did you know Switzerland used to dominate the world of watchmaking? Back in 1968, they owned around 65% of the world market share and enjoyed 80% of the profits. Yet, about 12 years later their market share had fallen below 10% because they ignored a tech trend. Can you believe that?

The number of watch workers in the country had gone from 65,000 to 15,000 in a little over a decade. In a nation as small as Switzerland, this was catastrophic. The watch industry had been turned upside down by a revolutionary invention: the quartz movement watch. It was totally electronic, way more accurate than the mechanical watches it replaced and battery powered. Who invented it? Well, it was the Swiss themselves.
However, when the idea was presented to the Swiss watch manufacturers in 1968, it was rejected. Long story short, the quartz watch had none of the mechanical complexities that the Swiss were so good at. Hence, it couldn’t possibly be the future of watches; it was useless. Swiss manufacturers were so confident in their conclusion that they didn’t even patent the idea. On top of everything, that same year they displayed it at the World Watch Congress for anyone to see. A tiny Japanese company called Seiko walked by, took one look at it, and only a decade later, rose all the way to the very top of the global market.
The Swiss couldn’t foresee a change in the way things were done; they failed to see past their paradigm. This happens very often in the world of business and in everyday life. For example, have you noticed that what used to be an online bookstore, Amazon, dominates the cloud storage market? If a few years back you had to guess who was going to take over the cloud industry you would have probably said something like Cisco or IBM. But, they didn’t jump on what was the latest tech trend at the time and lost a huge opportunity.
Amazon realized their application engineers, in order to do their jobs properly, needed to have very detailed conversations with their network infrastructure engineers. In order to avoid wasting more time, they figured out that the data center people could give the apps people a reliable infrastructure that they could build products on top of. They built it and then decided to sell it to everyone that needed web-scale applications. Without paying much attention to haters they proceeded to take over a massive market.
Related: Secrets to obtaining 6 figure job offers from top tech companies within 2-4 years even if you have zero experience today! 
It’s not a secret that jumping on a new tech trend can result in a huge advantage. Most, if not all, of the people who have had major success in the IT industry, will tell you that doing so was one of the keys to their success. They would tell you that it could be the difference between rising all the way to a top position in a few years or being stuck in a boring job. They will also tell you that spotting a new tech trend is very hard and that if you do, you should do something about it ASAP.
Many people who made it all the way to the very top of the IT world, owe it to being among the first ones to identify future demand for certain skills. Think about it. Do you think those who became experts in cloud technology when many people still debated whether it was a good idea or not are seeing any benefits today? These people knew they could have a head start and took advantage of it. Right now, they are probably looking for the next big thing.
If you are among those who are constantly looking for an edge, you’ll be glad to know that there is a huge shift (yes, another one) starting to happen in the IT world that you can take advantage of. Those who do will probably be able to skyrocket through the industry as if it were easy. Those who don’t will likely regret it since it will affect their ability to land and/or keep senior level positions in the future.
As usual, what’s happening is quite simple. Networks have become way too complex and this is making companies want to hire less IT people. If you read that again you’ll probably think it makes no sense so let me explain. Back in the day, networks used to be very simple. Some networks would consist of a handful of devices and require only one person to manage them. If you had a certification in routing and switching you could easily become a network engineer and make a great living. Nowadays, things are a bit different. There are a lot of technologies integrated into networks and way more devices connected. This has increased the size of teams, which means higher costs for IT departments.  

Companies are starting to realize that their IT teams are too big because they are hiring people to focus on each specific area of IT. Therefore, they are now looking for professionals with cross-functional skills, also known as full stack network engineers. These people understand networking, security, automation and cloud and are able to communicate effectively across all of these areas. As a result, they can save companies a lot of money.  
However, full stack network engineers are very hard to find. One of the main reasons for this is that IT education prepares people to specialize in one specific area from the very beginning of their careers. Take Cisco entry level training as an example. If you look at their CCNA certs, you’ll see there is one for each technology. However, nothing teaches the basics of the full stack of networking technologies. 
Usually, full stack network engineers are people who have built cross-functional skill sets over several years. It could be someone who was into networking but then switched to security and later on learned automation or someone in security who was intrigued by the cloud (anyways, you get the idea). These people learned one skill and one area at a time as they moved through their careers. They could have specialized in one area, but maybe the way their careers unfolded resulted in them learning many things and building some of the most coveted skill sets of today. Lucky them.
Top tech companies are already seeing the benefits of hiring people who understand the full stack. Pablo Espinosa, Director of Network Engineering at Intuit, says that assembling a team of full stack network engineers allowed him to make better use of company resources. With top tech companies like this one already seeing the benefits of hiring full stack network engineers, it’s only a matter of time until more companies start to do the same thing. This will certainly increase the demand for full stack network engineers. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that there will be a shortage.

If you are thinking about breaking into IT or are in the early years of your career, you’re in a prime position to take advantage of this tech trend. Instead of using your time to specialize in one specific area you can make sure you get the strongest networking foundation, understand security inside and out, learn a network programming language and know your way around the cloud. Later in your career, you will probably need to specialize in one of these areas anyways. However, chances are that IT teams will be looking to onboard people who understand all of these areas since it helps them streamline their operations. Therefore, those who can confidently say they are full stack network engineer will have an edge on everybody else.
The only training program that can train you on the full stack of networking technologies is called Zero to Engineer. It consists of an online course of over 100 hours that can teach you everything from networking essentials to how to carry out your own full stack networking project from start to finish. Additionally, people who finish this program have the option of attending a 5-day full stack boot camp where they can gain hands-on experience handling real-world equipment. At the end of the boot camp, students get a chance to get certified as Full Stack Network Associates.

Is the CCNA Equivalent to a Degree?

Both the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification and a Bachelor’s degree in computer networking, computer science, or a similar field can be great foundations for a career in networking. They signal to recruiters that you have relevant knowledge and give you an advantage over candidates without a cert or degree.
So, if they both provide similar benefits, is the CCNA equivalent to a degree?
Not exactly.
There are some scenarios where a CCNA won’t act as a good substitute for a traditional degree. For example, if your long-term plans involve a Master’s degree or Ph.D., earning a four-year degree makes sense.
However, if you’re simply looking to land a quality networking job, in many cases, a CCNA can be more beneficial to your career progression than a degree. Why? Because the CCNA demonstrates you have relevant practical skills while a degree implies broader theoretical knowledge. For entry-level jobs, practical skills can trump theoretical knowledge.
Of course, understanding whether a degree or a CCNA (or both!) are right for you requires analyzing the details. Here, to help you make an informed choice on the CCNA vs degree topic, I’ll take a closer look at how a CCNA stacks up to a Bachelor’s degree.
Practical knowledge (CCNA) versus theoretical knowledge (a degree)
When it comes to advancing your career, a CCNA and degree both do two things:
Help you gain knowledge and skills relevant to your careerSignal to others — particularly potential employers — that you have a specific set of skills and knowledgeThe difference between the two is the type of knowledge and skills involved. A CCNA has a narrow focus on knowledge relevant to administering and implementing networks, particularly with Cisco equipment.
On the other hand, a degree — even one focused in computer networking or computer science — has a much broader and more theoretical focus. You’ll learn more fundamental concepts and cover a wider range of topics. That said, there are courses and projects in many degree programs that have a practical focus. For example, some computer networking degrees include a CCNA course and exam as part of the program.
CCNA versus a degree for career progression
The CCNA’s practical focus is a big part of what can make it a better resume-booster for networking pros in the early stages of their career.
To understand what I mean, think about it from the perspective of a recruiter or hiring manager. I’ll oversimplify a bit, but all else equal, here is how the comparison breaks down:
If a candidate has a Bachelor’s degree, you know:
They have broad theoretical knowledgeThey had the skill and determination to complete a four-year degreeIf a candidate has a CCNA, you know:
They have Cisco-certified skills directly related to implementing and administering network infrastructureThey had the skill and determination required to earn a respected industry certificationIf you’re hiring for an entry-level networking position, which candidate would you prefer? Probably the CCNA certified candidate that has proven skills directly related to the job. After all, your goal is to hire an employee that can do the work. For entry-level networking jobs, “the work” is often directly related to topics covered on the CCNA.
Want to know what jobs you can land with a CCNA? Check out Is the CCNA Enough to Get a Good Job?
That said, there are still some jobs and regions where a degree is often a requirement. But, that trend is changing. For example, not only are there plenty of successful networking professionals without a four-year degree, many major corporations like Google, Apple, Starbucks, and Hilton are loosening or dropping degree requirements.
📝 Note: Experience matters! While I’m focused on CCNA vs degree here, experience is a big part of getting hired or promoted. Whichever path you take, try to gain relevant experience (e.g., in helpdesk or support roles) early in your career.
CCNA versus a degree: Cost, Time, and Value
When you’re deciding what path to take, the cost, time investment, and value of a certification or degree all matter.
In the table below, I’ve outlined some estimates to help you understand how a CCNA compares to a degree. Keep in mind that these figures can vary a lot depending on your location, choice of school, previous experience, whether you self-study or not, etc.
CCNABachelor’s degree in Computer ScienceCost~$1,500-4,000 (with courses or bootcamp)~$15,000-80,000Study time~6-12 months~4 yearsAverage salary$80,000/year$77,000/yearNeed to renew?Yes, every 3 yearsNoWhile the specific numbers will vary from person to person, generally:
A CCNA is cheaper and can be earned faster than a four-year degree.
Of course, there is a reason the CCNA is cheaper and faster. You’re not learning as much with a CCNA as you would with a degree.
With a degree, you’ll gain knowledge from a variety of fields including business and social sciences. If you have your sights set on a management role down the line, that additional knowledge can be valuable.
Final thoughts: Making the right decision for you
Now that you have this information, it’s up to you to make the right decision for your career. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. A degree can be a great choice if it’s aligned with your long-term goals. On the other hand, if you are looking for a fast low-cost way to land a networking job, the CCNA has several compelling advantages.

Is College Really Necessary?

NexGenT was founded on the belief that education is for everyone and that the ideal educational system should be based on real-world skills training. The company ethos includes the belief that education cannot leave people in debt with degrees that do not teach the real skills needed to succeed, and that it should prepare people to be ready for the workforce. We want our students to be field-ready after completing our program, similar to how we trained network engineers in the military.
This is how we view proper training – it should actually prepare folks for a real job and give them tangible skills that are necessary to do the job (I know, crazy right!?). However, we find that traditional College education is lacking in technical fields of study such as information technology. What is needed in IT are people who can do the job, not people with a head full of concepts with no application.
For this reason, people mostly get hired based on their skills and certifications. There are not enough college programs that teach the necessary technical skills and to make things even worse, traditional institutions leave their students in massive amounts of debt. So, it’s important to highlight this issue of College debt, and discuss alternatives to traditional academia, but alternatives that actually provide the education needed for a great career.
Last year, more than 20 million students attended College or University, and 70% graduated with a significant amount of student loan debt. The national student debt is nearly $1.5 Trillion, collectively held by around 44 million Americans. This figure is truly unsustainable, and there must be change. The average student debt is around $37,000, and that significant amount of money could have been otherwise invested somewhere else.
At NexGenT, we provide real-world skills training for a fraction of the cost of College. Students graduate in just months instead of years and gain sought after skills without the burden of large amounts of debt. This is the kind of thinking we will need in order to fill the millions of tech jobs that will be open in just the next couple years.
And, don’t only take it from us – we created a short video with raw footage from some of our students who were inspired to share their stories and discuss this topic. The video starts with a question about College and then students share their authentic stories providing genuine insight into the value of alternative educational programs and the mission at NexGenT.
Launch your career in cybersecurity in just 6 months! Find out how.
Enjoy the video!

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