Image of Jeremy L. Gaddis, CCNA, CCNP (and Cortney, in case you were wondering)

CCNA Discovery

by Jeremy L. Gaddis

CCNA Discovery is one of five courses currently offered as part of Cisco Network Academy.

While CCNA Discovery and CCNA Exploration are similar in many ways, there are also distinct differences between the two.

“CCNA Discovery teaches networking based on application, covering networking concepts within the context of the network environments students may encounter in their daily lives — from small office and home office (SOHO) networking to more complex enterprise and theoretical networking models later in the curriculum.”

The CCNA Discovery course teaches practical applications of computer networking and applied skills are introduced early on in the course. To solidify the students’ understanding of the concepts in the course, there are many interactive labs and exercises (many of which use Cisco’s simulator).

This course is designed for students of any background and at any skill level. Instead of going deep into networking theory, students are taught using simple, direct language. Cisco believes that this works well for students at the “introductory level”, such as high school students.

Another goal of the CCNA Discovery curriculum is to relate the teaching to a student’s daily life. By explaining how networking technology works in these simple terms, Cisco believes that it becomes easier to understand.

Structure of CCNA Discovery

CCNA Discovery is broken up into four separate courses which are taken in order:

  • Networking for Home and Small Businesses
  • Working at a Small-to-Medium Business or ISP
  • Introducing Routing and Switching in the Enterprise
  • Designing and Supporting Computer Networks

My Thoughts

While CCNA Discovery will eventually help you complete your goal of earning the CCNA Certification, I believe that this curriculum is inferior to CCNA Exploration. The CCNA Exploration curriculum jumps straight into networking theory, routing protocols, and standards. It is my opinion that students who complete the CCNA Exploration course are much better prepared both for the CCNA examination and “the real world”.