CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate - a certification for IT professionals that is issued by Cisco Systems, Inc., one of the most successful computer networking companies. Cisco manufactures and markets a wide range of devices for both enterprises and telecommunications carriers. Cisco is an abbreviation of San FranCISCO.
The Cisco Certified Network Associate is an apprentice, or foundation level (along with Cisco Certified Design Associate), within the three levels of certification that include Associate, Professional, and Expert. Basically, CCNA professionals are certified to install, configure, and operate LAN, WAN, and dial access services for small networks (100 nodes or fewer), including but not exclusive to use of these protocols: IP, IGRP, Serial, Frame Relay, IP RIP, VLANs, RIP, Ethernet, and Access Lists. The certification is valid for three years, after which recertification may be sought.
In order to hold a CCNA certification, a candidate has to pass either the Cisco Certified Network Associate Exam or a combination of Introduction to Cisco Networking Technologies Exam and Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Exam. Main topics for these three exams include Planning and Designing; Design and Support; Implementation and Operation; Troubleshooting; and Technology. Other related topics may also appear on any specific delivery of the exam.
There are also some recommended training programs that may be taken before the above-mentioned examinations. These programs include Introduction to Cisco Networking Technologies (INTRO), Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND), and Additional Training (CCNA Prep Center Pilot). These trainings incorporate topics such as fundamental knowledge and comprehension of networking; how to select, connect, configure, and troubleshoot the various Cisco networking devices; sample questions, simulations, e-learning modules, labs, tips, etc.