Is the CCNA Worth It?
Have you heard of Juniper? Or Arista Networks? If you looked at enough Indeed job posts, you’ll often come across these as a bullet point for skills demanded in a network technology role. Companies like Juniper and Arista Networks are growing are growing significantly along side to Cisco. You might wonder if getting the CCNA is still worth it? After all it is a vendor specific certificate.
The CCNA is a living certificate that is regularly changed to adapt to current market demands. Cisco technologies still take up a significant majority of network technologies implemented around the globe. It has significant staying cost advantage as well as maintaining leadership in cutting edge developments. This is reflected in the CCNA to keep candidates successfully employed in heavily moated industry.
My experience with network technologies is mostly around Cisco products, but I have worked with other vendors such as Juniper and Brocade. Cisco was usually the majority technology in the environment, with the other vendors being a side note. So when you look at these job descriptions on LinkedIn, unless it’s specific to these other vendors, the likelihood of Cisco being the technology of choice is high.
The CCNA Changed this Redditor’s Life
A user that goes by u/Saezra posted on Reddit that he was a high school drop out who’s life turned around after going for the CCNA.
Before he started the Cisco journey, he worked at a moving company for 3 years. After multiple encouragements from different people he respected, he was able to get his GED. And afterwards began taking night classes to get his CCNA.
It worked like dominos falling. He got his CCNA and was quickly hired on doing network technology duties.
16 months later he was hired on as Sr. IP Engineer making $110,000 per year.
The rest is history.
If you want to reference this, check this Reddit link.
CCNA’s Market Advantage
A lot of the people currently in the working on network technologies are soon to retire. This trend is causing multiple hires that move up to 6 Figure role rather quickly. But this doesn’t mean anyone will land a six figure position, qualifications are required.
The CCNA prepares many candidates to be job ready. Even if the environment you’ll work in is not heavy on Cisco technologies, CCNA can help prepare for that.
As being one of the first and a leader in network technologies, a lot of other companies have modeled their ecosystem to Cisco’s similar command line interface.
For instance if you configure a switch, any vendor will require you to drill down town to ports to assign values to them. That maybe a lot to take in if you have no network technology experience – I basically mean, if you the idea down on how Cisco administration works, you’ll need 5 seconds to Google a similar configuration for another vendor.
There is compatibility in learning the CCNA and administration with other vendors.
Other reasons that the CCNA holds it value is it prepares you for other verticals, as well as an expertise’s path forward.
Once you gain the CCNA, you can either choose to get a higher level Cisco specific certification based on the CCNA, such as the CCNP or the CCIE.
Sometimes you’re in a pivotal place in your network technology career and will need to pivot to get ahead faster. You can do that if you have a CCNA that has prepared you to pivot.
Here are some ideas you can pivot into once you have the CCNA:
- CCNP Enterprise
- CCNP Security
- CCNP Service Provider
- CCNP Collaboration
- CCNP Data Center
- Cisco Certified DevNet Professional
If you’re like me, having a known path forward really helps with planning out what to do next. Cisco has specifically tailored their education system to unbound ambitious people to move up the ladder.
Your path is clearly set out for you. If you want to become an architect, get a CCIE. If you want to become an administrator, get a CCNA. If you want to become an engineer, get a CCNP.
It all starts with the CCNA. It opens up these possibilities and removes glass ceilings for you to get ahead in your IT career.
If you’re worried that Cisco is going to be overtaken by new companies, don’t. Cisco has been around since 1984, they have seen competitors come up and have a public backing to compete against them. They are still the foremost in network technology share. The economics of stripping and replacing an entire ecosystem has never been worth it when it is still a choice technical edge.
Get your CCNA. Work your way up. Then get your CCNP. Work your way up. Then get your CCIE. Somewhere along the way, you’ll realize how become of an environment Cisco really is, and how most of the internet runs on Cisco.
My CCNA Trajectory Plug
Like the Redditor, I have also made significant advances in IT having a CCNA. Especially when it comes to salary where I have broken into six figures.
I have never had a job that required me to have a bachelor’s degree, but I have had jobs and jobs offer where the CCNA was a pre-requisite or you would be automatically disqualified. So the CCNA has been very valuable to me.
Now I have had other experiences in the IT world from systems to network technologies, and I have found what you know is going to get you further more than what credentials you’ve listed on your resume.
I’ve also learned, that a $100,000 is a baseline for the IT world. I was able to get that in 5 years, but I could have done it sooner if I knew then what I know now. That’s why I’ve written an e-book that is a conglomerate of my insights from my years in the IT industry.
Feel free to snag it at the price of a cup of coffee. Here you go: “6-Figure Guide to Info Tech.“