Options Beyond The CCNA

The CCNA is the most wide spread professional certification for those involved in the administration of small to mid sized computer networks. Testing for the certification involves two exams. Receiving this qualification enhances employability and income potential. The CCNA, by itself, will not result in a massive pay increase, nor will it lead to instant promotions. The value is that it serves as a prerequisite for so many other technical certifications, and it shows a dedication and commitment that employers value. It is a strong first step. The intermediate and advanced technical certifications following the CCNA in network engineering are the CCNP and the CCIE. Each one represents a significant progression in expertise. They are also much harder to achieve. CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) The CCNP addresses the planning and implementation of wide area networks with as much as 500 devices. Passing three detailed examinations are required to accomplish this level. Sometimes, an experienced CCNP can fill the position of a CCIE, however, statistically, they are usually paid less for the position. CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) The CCIE is the king of network engineering accreditations. Experts of this level are supposed to have the ability to do nearly anything with networks of any scale. The testing for this certification involves a detailed examination together with an incredibly complicated hands on practical lab assessment. Having this certification can result in as much as an additional $30,000 a year in salary in comparison to a expert of identical experience with no CCIE. Another interesting option is to switch directions. Instead of pursuing higher levels of technical certification, one could choose to focus on the business and logistics aspects of network engineering. The people responsible for coordinating requirements, planning, staffing, budgets and client interaction in and around network implementations are called project managers. The biggest certification for these managers is the PMP. PMP (Project Management Professional) In computer networking, project managers are often part of service firms that are contracted by client companies to build, expand, or repair computer networks. A project manager has the responsibility of planning and executing projects. That requires heavy client interaction to achieve an exact understanding of their needs. Often times, the clients may not understand what is involved from a technical aspect to meet those needs, and it will be the responsibility of the project manager to educate them. Some important aspects of the plan are manpower requirements, cost, time line, and scope of work. Often, multiple contractors or groups of contractors will be working with members of the client’s staff to implement the project. It is the responsibility of the project manager to coordinate all those moving parts while continually communicating with the managers of both the contract firm and the client company. Because of all the different career possibilities that start with the CCNA, it is one of the most popular certifications in this branch of computer science. As a first step, it is easily accomplished. The test isn’t that hard for most, but as a career strategy it is hard to beat the CCNA. For more info , check out my Blog .