Being a network administrator is probably of the most important roles in any company. Your job is that of making the IT Infrastructure up-to-date and secure, protecting it from many forms of possible attack.
In this regard, some of the most widely-deployed networking technologies are those from Cisco Systems. Thus, having a certification demonstrating your knowledge in these tools will be a huge boon for any IT professional.
Probably one of the most valuable and prestigious networking certs that you can obtain is called the “Cisco Certified Network Associate,” or “CCNA” for short. In this article, we provide an overview into the job prospects of an individual that is in possession of this cert or is aspiring to obtain it.
Some Details About the CCNA
Before embarking on the actual process of getting the CCNA, it is first important to know that the CCNA is not just a general type of cert. Rather, it is broken up further by the various IT specializations, which are as follows:
- CCNA Cloud
- CCNA Collaboration
- CCNA Cyber Ops
- CCNA Data Center
- CCNA Industrial
- CCNA Routing and Switching
- CCNA Security
- CCNA Service Provider
- CCNA Wireless
So as you can see, there are quite a number of directions that you can take with the CCNA. A lot of this will depend upon what your own career aspirations are, and how you want to fit into the cybersecurity world with the CCNA cert. It should be noted that the most popular specializations are Cyber Ops and Routing and Switching.
Obviously with the former, the need for trained cybersecurity specialists is huge at the current time, and in the case of the latter, network infrastructures are growing complex on an almost daily basis, thus there will be strong need for individuals who can deploy and maintain the critical hardware that is needed to support them. It is these two specializations that appear to offer the “hottest” career growth trajectories for IT professionals.
For those IT professionals that are embarking upon the Routing and Switching track of the CCNA, it is recommended that before you appear for the actual exam, you take the Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) Part I and Part II courses. They cover the following topics in order to get you fully prepared:
- Deploying and implementing small and medium networks
- How to properly manage network security
- How to work with Wide Area Networks (WANs)
- The management of TCP/IP addresses
- Properly configuring and managing network-based routes and traffic
After you pass the CCNA, the cert is valid for a three-year time period.
The Overall Job Outlook
When examined at a macro level, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics asserts that the job prospects for IT networking professionals (especially those that the possess the CCNA) is expected to experience a steady 8% growth rate up to 2024. This growth for the CCNA is fueled by two primary reasons:
- The increased usage of both cloud-based and networking technologies in the corporate sector
- During the time frame up to 2024, it is also highly expected that businesses and corporations will be rapidly upgrading their networking infrastructure to not only make it much more efficient, but more secure as well
It is important to note that one of the “hottest” industries for the CCNA will be that of healthcare. This is primarily because of the mandates that are driven by HIPAA, in order to keep patient information and data from falling into the wrong hands (such as that of a cyberattacker).
In general, the average salary for a CCNA just starting out after receiving the cert is at about $75,790.00. But of course, with more work experience, this salary will only grow exponentially into the future. The overall salary range for CCNAs is between $69,342.00 and $121,842.00.
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Always remember that the kind of salary that a CCNA commands will depend not only upon their level of work experience, but the specific job title that they possess as well. This will be further reviewed in the next section.
CCNA Job Titles and Salaries
The following matrix depicts the typical job titles that CCNA cert holders possess, as well as their level of salary with that specific title.
|Senior Network Engineer||$96,661.00|
Upon examination of this table, it appears that those CCNA cert holders that command the highest salaries have some sort of managerial title. This simply means that if you want to max out the potential of your CCNA in terms of financial earnings, you should ultimately strive for this kind of role. Of course, this will take time depending upon where you are at in Networking career; but the CCNA will be a great catalyst in helping you to achieve a managerial title.
Of course, another very important factor which will have a huge impact upon your job prospects with a CCNA is the geographic location in which you work. This will be further examined in the next section.
CCNA Geographic Cities and Salaries
The following matrix reveals the “hot areas” for job growth for the CCNA, as well as the corresponding salary that the IT professional can expect to receive.
|New York City||$45,382.00 – $107,094.00|
|Dallas, TX||$45,955.00 – $95,185.00|
|Atlanta, GA||$48,442.00 – $92,472.00|
|Chicago, IL||$48,005.00 – $97,629.00|
|Houston, TX||$48,105.00 – $94,347.00|
Based on this table, it appears that the cities of Chicago and New York offer the greatest salary range. This is to be expected, as these are the are amongst the two largest cities in the United States, with very large IT Infrastructures.
Obviously, the demand for CCNAs will vary here, especially for those individuals whom have specialized in the “Routing and Switching” specialization of the CCNA. Texas also offers a huge bright spot for CCNA holders as well, because at the present time, it is growing rapidly in the IT space. This trend is expected to continue well into the future.
As has been described in this article, it is the networking component which is one of the most crucial aspects of an IT Infrastructure. Therefore, the need for well-trained IT professionals, such as those holding the CCNA certification, will continue to be high. This is because they will be needed in order to keep data centers safe and secure from the constantly changing cybersecurity threat landscape.
Training & Certifications, Cisco
What is the Cisco CCNA Certification?, Best Value Schools
What is the Outlook for CCNA Jobs?, Learn.org
CCNA Career Prospects, Jetking