The new 640-802 exam & CCNA

I just took the 640-802 exam and got my CCNA certification. It may sound funny, but I have taken this exam after 10 long years of practical experience in networking and was very nervous!
Why do I need a Cisco Certified Network Associate certificate?
Actually, I did not have plans for certification. If I get a CCIE certification, then it would be good for my career (not for salary but to change my job). On the other hand, I was afraid to take the CCIE exam. I do not have a good history of exams. It took ten years to finish my Computer Science degree (the normal period is 4 years)!

Two months ago, I heard that 640-801 exams will be expired and Cisco added one more milestone to the career path as CCENT. I told my wife about it and she gifted me an exam fee to take up the exam. I had all this pressure on me.

Preparations and exam
I managed to get two days off, one day for preparation and one day for the exam. I also spent the last three evenings for this purpose. I did not attend any Cisco training class and use only CCNA Prep center (Exam Study tab) for preparation. This web site is very useful and the content provided is sufficient enough for experienced professionals. If you start from scratch, then it will be good for you to attend a Cisco CCNA class, but not a CCNA Bootcamp. This is not a big deal. Don’t waste your money.

The exam day did not start very good. The weather was rainy. There was a traffic jam. I reached the exam center just 5 minutes before my reservation. A cute girl told me that I can start two hours later because of some technical problems. I spent that time in a café (a well-known chain), near the exam center. I realized again, these cafes are not as good as people believe them to be (tables, pictures, etc. fine but what about the taste). When I returned back to the exam center another cute girl told me that they are just downloading the exam. I had to wait 15 minutes more. Cable paths caught my attention, I easily came to know that bad materials were used and it was installed by an inexperienced staff.

Lectures / Lessons Learned
– Time is enough, don’t hurry
– You need to know basic configuration of RIPv2,OSPF,EIGRP
– Basics of routing algorithms
– Be able to configure NAT
– Be able to configure DHCP
– Understanding of ACL
– Basics of wireless network, how WPA works
– No questions like binary equivalent of something
– But be able to calculate subnets
– Match given IPs to given topology/schema
– Differentiate the terms MAC,IP and TCP/UDP ports
– How a packet travels within network(ARP, encapsulation)
– OSI layers vs. TCP/IP layers
– Chose the exam center with pretty girls , they keep you lively!

In general, exam went better than I expected. Questions were meaningful mostly and for me it required just two days to study.

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