- Exam: 101 (Application Delivery Fundamentals)
- Certification: F5-CA (F5 Certified BIG-IP Administrator)
- Certification Provider: F5
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Following the exam 101 track leads an aspirant to the world of high-end and time-critical mastery over the vital skills that need to be acquired by any seasoned System Administrator.
Knowing the Certification a Little Better
Offered and managed by F5, one of the leading networking solution providers, F5-CA BIG-IP Administrator is the foundational certification that has gained huge popularity among novice professionals. Along with infusing the gilt-edged cognizance of crucial administrative tasks, this certificate prepares the earners for advanced accreditations and helps to reach new heights.
Taking up exam 101 will be proved a success-driving step for all those who want to become a part of the IT industry and aim to get famed as F5 doyen. If your organization uses F5 products, and your job responsibilities have anything to do with F5 Application Delivery Network (ADN) management then following this certification track will take your career at zeniths.
Officially, the vendor has kept the F5-CA BIG-IP Administrator certification at the base of the certification hierarchy. Hence, there are no obligatory requirements. However, industry pundits and already certified professionals recommend having basic mastery over key networking concepts, knowledge of common traffic management principles, protocols, and must have some hands-on experience in handling the TMOS-based devices. Such prior proficiency allows an aspirant to have an easy certification trail and sure success.
Passing the Exam and Earning the Certification
Earning the certification will only happen if the candidates passes the associated exams. For F5-CA BIG-IP Administrator certificate, there are two tests to be aced. These are F5-101 Application Delivery Fundamentals that is followed by F5-201 TMOS Administration.
Both exams follow the same format. Each of them consists of 80 questions in the MCQ format and lasts for 90 minutes. A minimum score one should attain to taste success is 69%. The score as well as the obtained certificate remains valid for two years, and those willing to enjoy the benefits afterward need to fulfill the recertification criteria. Finally, the enrollment fee is $180 for each of these tests.
When it comes to content, exam 101 is all about application delivery basics and checks the candidates’ understanding of what it takes to do end-to-end management of Application Delivery Networks (ADNs). On the other hand, 201 test explains the key concepts involved in troubleshooting TMOS devices as well as handling general operations relating to them.
One of the key reasons behind the industry’s great affinity towards this certification is its broad coverage of the associated skill areas. Exam 101 covers a wide range of topics and tries to impart the right mastery in the following five domains:
This section has five objectives that include the knowledge of OSI layers, data link layer and its related technologies and protocols, network layer, application layer, and transport layer. To delve into details, one should be aware of the functions and differences of OSI layers as well as know the use of address types. The knowledge of MAC addresses, link aggregation, VLANs, and ARP is also needed. Also, candidates should learn more about subnetting, routing protocols, IP addressing, fragmentation, TTL functionality, and others. Finally, the concepts such as UDP, TCP, flow control, HTTP versions, FTP, and SMTP, among the rest, are covered.
- F5 technology and solutions
This section is focused on the use of iRules, role of the products offered by F5, packet based as well as packet forwarding architecture, use cases for full proxy, the purpose of iApps, and high availability configuration. One should understand when to use certain products and what are their advantages, what are the benefits and use cases for different architectures, and why the deployment of BIG-IP devices can be helpful.
- Basics of load balancing
This domain emphasizes key concepts, use cases, and the purpose of load balancing as well as assesses how one can differentiate between server and client. The candidates need to know the benefits of loading across a number of servers, have the ability to choose proper algorithms, and understand persistence. The knowledge of the roles of servers and clients is also crucial.
This area of syllabus is dedicated to the comparison of security models that are negative and positive, authentication advantages and when it can be used, cryptographic services, and scenarios that require the use of SSL VPN or IPsec. Here, one should demonstrate skills in defining if the model is positive or negative, what are the benefits of each type, knowledge of the signing purpose, certificate chains, various types of encryption, multifactor authentication and single sign on, and what are the situations that demand SSL VPN or IPsec as well as what are the difficulties one can face when utilizing them.
- Platforms for application delivery
The last domain emphasizes VMs as well as app delivery platforms along with their pros and cons and use cases. The applicants should know when to choose these solutions, what are the challenges that may arise. Finally, the understanding of acceleration techniques is required, including caching, pipelining, TCP optimization, and others.
Career Growth with Exam 101
After candidates pass the exams 101 & 201 and earn the associated certification, moving ahead in the IT networking career would be an easy job. The industry will welcome them with open arms as the certificate holders are packed with a detailed understanding of the subject matter. They can work as system administrators in companies where F5 products are in use. As per ZipRecruiter, professionals working in this job role can easily make $37k–$114k annually.
F5-CA holders are also considered apt for job roles like junior network engineer, network administrator, or help desk technician. Moreover, any entry-level role in the IT networking field can be easily grabbed once the candidate completes the certification track successfully.
Career beyond Exam 101
The next step is passing exam 202 as it will help you become a certified technical professional (F5-CTP). This certification track is suitable for all those willing to master the F5 product portfolio. Also, there is an option to go for 301A and 301B exams to become BIG-IP LTM accredited professionals.
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