Hedge 225: The CCNA

The CCNA has a long history as an important certification for network engineers. While the CCST has been created by Cisco “below” the CCNA, or as a different starting point, many network engineers begin their career with the CCNA. Join Jason Gooley, Wendell Odom, Tom, and Russ as we discuss the most recent updates to the CCNA, the way updates to the program are changing, and Jason’s and Wendell’s updated book on the CCNA.



  1. Brady Hooker on 10 May 2024 at 9:08 am

    I am disappointed that Russ himself as not taken the CCST Networking as he mentioned in the audio. You would think that if your going to teach somebody to earn a credential then you yourself has already earned and experienced it first hand. I know that CCST is way below Russ’s expertise but still he should have gone through the process to know what it is the reader is going to be going through. I believe this reflects in the text of his book as well since he does not know what type of material questions were asked on the exam. I’ve seen this before where people on LinkedIn Learning teach people how to earn a credential but they themselves have not earned it. Fundamentally if you are going to teach somebody about something then you need to go through it yourself even if it is beginner level. I like Russ but his CCST book on the 100-150 exam was not prepared at a level that I would think Cisco Press would require. I have to honestly say I do not recommend his CCST book and it would be not be honest for me to say otherwise. I have read the book for the record.

    • Russ on 10 May 2024 at 9:49 am

      You’ve misunderstood my comments and the purpose of the CCST book.

      First, when I wrote the book the exam was not available–just the blueprint. So it’s a bit of an impossibility for me to take the exam before writing the book.

      Second, I worked off the blueprint, and in collaboration with the development team. The point of the book is to provide a general introduction to network engineering for high school students who have never encountered these topics before.

      I understand your criticism, but I also think that you’re entirely misunderstanding the point of the CCST. It’s not meant to be a “replacement for the CCNA,” nor even a Cisco specific introduction to how to configure networks.

      The CCST is meant to be an introduction to the very basic concepts of networks.

      I also understand that some people think learning the basic concept of a data center fabric, for instance, is not “basic network engineering.” I have, for many years now, argued that we have a very strange view of what “basic” means. We seem to think of “basic” as “narrow” rather than “fundamental.”

      I disagree with this meaning of the word “basic.” If you are learning to work on cars, “basic” means “understanding how an engine works,” not “understanding how to untighten and tighten bolts.” If you are learning to do carpentry, “basic” means understanding how load is carried and the impact of wood grain, not “knowing how to cut a piece of wood to length.”

      I understand we’ve spent years in the networking community saying things like “basic knowledge is knowing how to configure an IP address, intermediate knowledge is knowing how to configure BGP, and advanced knowledge is knowing how to configure eVPN.”

      I also understand that network engineering is suffering a crisis of confidence among business leaders–and I would attribute that crisis of confidence specifically to us spending our time learning how to configure things rather than learning how these things called networks actually work.

      So, yes, the CCST book probably contains information that’s not currently on the exam. But are we trying to train up network engineers, or trying to train people to take a specific exam? Is the exam there to measure how well you’ve memorized a few things, or to verify you have a good understanding of the concepts?

      Again, I understand your criticism–I just don’t agree with it, primarily because I disagree with the way we’ve taught network engineering for the last 20+ years–and I think the way we’ve taught networking for the last 20+ years is directly impacting the confidence business leaders have in the broader field of networking.