So, with only the Cisco CCNA certification, can you acquire a job?
The Cisco CCNA certification is sufficient for many lower-level and entry-level IT and cyber security positions; however, if you can combine your Cisco CCNA certification with another skill, such as technical experience or another certification, or a soft skill such as customer service, your chances of being hired increase dramatically.
Let’s take a closer look at our odds of landing a job with just a Cisco CCNA certification, as well as what else we can add to our resume to improve our chances of landing a job.
The CCNA Can Help You Get A Job
In addition to being known as CCNA, Cisco Certified Network Associate (also known as Cisco Certified Network Associate) is an advanced entry-level (or associate level) certification established by Cisco in order to demonstrate knowledge of layer 2 and layer 3 switching and routing concepts and how they apply to Cisco equipment. The Cisco CCNA certification has been around for more than two decades and has remained popular during that time.
CISCO’S other CCNA certificates include CCNA Wireless, CCNA CyberOps, and CCNA Security. These are similar associate-level qualifications in the Cisco portfolio; however, when someone mentions CCNA, they nearly invariably mean the CCNA Routing and Switching certification, which was the first and is still the most popular.
The CCNA is designed to lead to various networking-related entry-level to mid-level job opportunities. Jobs like network technician, network administrator, network engineer, network analyst, and potentially even network security analyst fall into this category. Keep in mind that not all network engineers perform the same thing and that a network administrator at one organization may do the same thing as a network technician at another.
Regardless, the Cisco CCNA is aimed to ensure that you are equipped for networking-related professions such as network cabling, router and switch installation and configuration, and basic troubleshooting. Most firms will not set you loose on a network and do more risky configurations, such as establishing routing protocols or access control lists, until you prove your abilities, but they may be prepared to bring you onboard to test your expertise and assign you more basic duties.
You can still obtain a technical job if you have the Cisco CCNA but no additional technical experience, certifications, or college courses; however, things will be a little more challenging for you. If you have the CCNA, you shouldn’t expect to be paid and someone who can demonstrate additional knowledge or experience on their resume.
The CCNA will get you into the program, but it will not keep you there.
We’ve already established that the CCNA will get you hired at some companies for networking-related jobs even if you don’t have anything else on your resume, but it won’t keep you there, and it won’t help you progress.
If you are able to obtain employment solely on the basis of your CCNA certification, the first step you should do is to begin supplementing your knowledge and competence with additional abilities that are not related to the CCNA certification. While working, you can get experience by looking for extra assignments to accomplish and keeping track of new things you learn daily. Make it a habit to keep track of new abilities you learn, which should be at least one new item every day if you’re in a technical position.
Use any free time to learn new skills to help you perform better at work. This could entail learning about the network operating system your firm uses, such as Windows Server or Linux, or it could entail learning about network security. Every day, try to learn something new that you can put on your CV or augment your CCNA certification.
If You’re Not Working, Supplement Your CCNA With Technical Skills
If you can find a job with just your CCNA, your first order of business should be to augment your CCNA with on-the-job technical experience. But what if you haven’t been able to find work yet? In such instances, gaining technical knowledge remains your top priority, but you’ll have to be more inventive to do so. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Purchase your home networking equipment. Surprisingly, one of the most typical questions asked in technical interviews is whether or not you have a home network. Employers realize that if you’re serious about cyber security or information technology, you probably have some set up at home, or at least should. Consider acquiring some secondhand or used equipment that you can set up at home and learn from. This will allow you to gain experience and a job much more quickly.
Find out whether there are any unpaid internships available. Internships are difficult to come by online, but you might be amazed at how successful you can be if you ask about unpaid internships. Small businesses are frequently willing to give a CCNA certified worker a chance to provide an unpaid internship. It’s worth a shot.
Volunteer in some capacity. Consider where you might be able to lend a hand with technical support. Some non-profit organizations near you could benefit from technical assistance. Assisting them allows you to gain experience.
Make a YouTube channel for yourself. This is one of my favorites. It’s simple and free to use YouTube. If you have the CCNA, you are familiar with Packet Tracer. Create YouTube video tutorials where you teach CCNA subjects using Packet Tracer. Include a link to your YouTube channel on your CV. Any potential employer who searches will be impressed.
Soft Skills to Complement Your CCNA
Soft talents are the most straightforward to document, so keep these in mind while creating the rest of your resume around your CCNA certification. The good news is that most people already have soft skills experience that they may mention on their CV. Many people are unaware of how valuable some of their earlier expertise is.
Have you ever worked in a job where you had to work as part of a team and gained teamwork or leadership experience? Have you ever had a job that required you to spend a lot of time on the phone, such as sales or cold calling?
Consider all of your previous work experience to see what capabilities you can extract and document, particularly the soft skills that an employer would value. When combined with the CCNA, these soft abilities can open up a lot of possibilities. It all depends on how you deliver it.
Additional Certifications to Complement Your CCNA
Working on another certification is another alternative. However, it is not my first choice. Would it be beneficial for you to resume your studies and obtain the CCNA Security or CompTIA Security+ certifications? Would a Linux or Windows Server certification be beneficial to you? Certifications are usually good, but you should be wary of adding another one without first gaining technical experience, as this will most likely hurt your résumé at some time.
If you want to keep progressing with certifications, the Cisco CCNP and CCNA Security are the most popular options after the Cisco CCNA. The CCNA Security is a good choice because it introduces you to networking security and requires one exam.
After reading this article, you should feel confident in your ability to obtain work as a network administrator with your CCNA certification, and if you haven’t already, you should be able to do so rather quickly. Wishing you the best of luck!