The value of the CCNA
The CCNA certification has been devised by CISCO and stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate. The certificate validates a professional’s ability to understand, configure, operate, configure and troubleshoot medium-level switched and routed networks and also includes the verification and implementation of connections via remote sites using WAN.
CCNA Core Knowledge
The core of CCNS certification is passing a 90-minute written test. CISCO doesn’t place any prerequisites for taking up the exam. However, there are various institutions that offer formal training to students appearing for the exam. The broad sets of topics covered under CCNA certification include:
- WAN and LAN design
- OSI models
- IP addressing
- VLAN and WLAN
- Routers / routing protocols (includes EIGRP, RIP and OSPF)
- Network security and management (ACL included)
Apart from the core CCNA certification, CISCO also provides specialized certifications like CCNA Voice, CCNA Wireless and CCNA Security. These recognize the individual’s specific expertise in the corresponding area of computer networking.
The onetime CCNA certification is valid for three years after which candidates need to re-establish their qualification. This is in view of the constantly changing technology and software upgrades. Furthermore, candidates can also sit for advanced CCNA exams devised for networking professionals and includes the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) and CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) certification.
All the content of CCNA is proprietary. CISCO and its learning partners also offer a wide variety of training methods and include materials published by the Cisco Press, online classrooms and webinars – collectively called the “Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices”.
To receive the CCNA certificate one must have passed either of:
- ICND1 Exam and the ICND2
- Combined CCNA Exam
The Advantages of being CCNA Certified
CCNA is easily one of the most valued and vouched IT certifications across the globe. To date, more than a million candidates have taken and passed the CCNA certification and each one is well placed in his/her area of specialization. CCNA certification benefits both the employer and the employee. It is proven that the certification can bring about an enormous change in career path while acquiring valuable skills all through the way.
Burst of Knowledge
While CCNA doesn’t require any set educational or professional qualification, studying for the exam will surely increase your understanding and knowledge of the core networking concepts. Even people with years of experience working in a networking position will find the training beneficial. While it is true that nothing can really replace real world experiences, books and study materials covering CCNA chapters will keep you updated with the latest advancements in the industry.
The Alphabets Count
CCNA certified professionals can demand huge incentives. The three years, during which candidates will be able to use their CCNA recognition, they can make a huge leap in their career. Many recruiters are looking for CCNA professionals for complicated networking projects.
Advancements in Your Career
Having a CCNA certification highly improves the chances of getting promotions and being placed in further responsible and high paying positions. The moment you achieve the certification, you will start moving up the team hierarchy.
The moment bosses know that an employee has completed his CCNA certification; there are high chances that an increment is lurking close by. There are instances in which candidates have received even 100% increase and the average increase might revolve around 20% of your current salary.
A Stepping Stone
Being a highly coveted certification, CCNA is really the platform to aim for further recognition of expertise. CCNA holders are eligible for more respected certifications such as CCNA Security, CCNA Wireless and CCNA Voice and other professional certifications by Cisco. Professional colleges also allow an excess of credit for students willing to take admission for higher level studies.
CCNA certification commands an enviable respect from the employer and colleagues. This could be the way to make yourself unique among others currently in your league.
Employers give excess credit to CCNA-certified professionals in the ever increasing competition in IT structures. Employers benefit a lot from CCNA-certified professionals for winning projects.
The CCNA certificate might be the stepping stone of the IT career you dreamt of. However, it is also a personal satisfaction when a globally recognized organization such as CISCO votes for your worth.
Finally, it’s your Paycheck that Speaks
As per a U.S survey report, the average increase in salary after a CCNA certification is around 20%. Depending upon other contributing factors such as work experience, workplace and additional education, one can expect anything between $30,000 and $90,000. Certified individuals certainly earn more than those without it. Even with less than a year of professional experience but with a CCNA tagline after your name, you can demand a salary up to $30,000 annually. The 2009, survey reports by Certification Magazine suggest that the average salary of a CCNA certified professional in the U.S. is $87,790. As per Cisco Global Knowledge Salary report 2010, the number is $79,695.
Expected Job Profiles
A CCNA certificate holder can apply for the post of IT network administrator, network engineer, systems engineer, IT Manager and even an IT Director. Every position demands a different pay scale, but all of them are in the higher end of networking jobs. A Network Administrator, for instance, will be earning an average of $60,268 every year, for a network engineer it would be around $72,964 whereas IT Directors claim an average of $110,862. The more the seniority, the better the pay scales. Other factors that decide the salary are the country that the professional works in, the company and the school they had graduated from.
Opting for a CCNA certification course will have a strong impact on your networking knowledge and qualifications. The exam establishes the fact that the candidate is prepared for a more responsible and practical position and is well prepared for real-time eventualities. In many cases, it is even mandatory for candidates to have a CCNA certification in order to apply for networking positions.