Is A CCNA Certification Truly Worth Your Time and Effort?

There are a lot of boons to getting started with a CCNA certification. For one, Cisco Networking Equipment is extremely capable, and used in today’s several largest corporate brands and networks. Being a professional networker, as per the BLS, also puts you in a cozy financial position with a hefty average annual salary. Getting to that position, however, is where a CCNA helps.

A CCNA is absolutely worth the effort.

A CCNA, as per TechTarget, is a series of Cisco certifications aimed at early career professionals. It shows that you know how to work with that equipment, and further specialization in it will make you a valuable and potentially coveted asset for any major IT department out there.

There is a caveat – Cisco equipment is expensive. Very expensive. This means that quite a number of smaller enterprises or IT SME’s may not necessarily be using Cisco tech – as such, your certification may not mean as much to them.

Versus other industry certifications, however, a CCNA also means that whoever carries the certification commands a very significant understanding of the basics and core concepts of networking in general. This makes you much more knowledgeable in general networking than someone without a certification.

Again: if your goal is to be a networking professional in the bigger leagues, dealing with complex Cisco systems for large, multinational businesses, then a CCNA is a big step in the right direction.

It’s just the beginning.

That being said, a CCNA is a step – it’s not a showcase of mastery, or significant experience. Think of it as a Bachelor’s Degree – beneficial in getting your foot through the door during a significant job interview, but not quite enough to let you advance throughout the rest of your career without netting the Master’s or Doctorate.

Money is a big issue.

A CCNA certification, like the equipment it certifies you to handle, is expensive. It’s not an egregiously expensive investment, but it’s an investment nonetheless, and one you will definitely have to mull over.

One thing you should keep in mind, is that the right certification won’t just put you in a shortlist, but it’ll also help you during salary negotiations, letting you leverage the possibilities in your favor.

Be selective.

Lastly, make sure that whatever CCNA training program you are working with, reputation is at the top of your list of concerns. You’ll have a much better, more comprehensive training at the hands of experts of institutes and training facilities.

The certification will certainly help you in your career – but it won’t be life changing. You’ll have to advance your skills, bring years of experience to the table, and show specialization in networking through more advanced certifications like the CCIE. That being said, if you get into the path of networking with CCNA as a major stepping stone rather than a goal, you will be able to go on with a forward-thinking vision and find other, larger opportunities down the road as you grow and develop as a network administrator.

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