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Can You Get A Job With CCNA?

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By: Shimon Brathwaite

November 23, 2021

Certifications continue to be an essential part of the cybersecurity industry. Employers like them because they are a quick and easy way to assess if someone has a certain level of knowledge and, in some cases, experience. As a job candidate, you have many options for certifications, and in this blog, we will discuss if you can get a job with a CCNA. The CCNA certification is a networking certification, not a security-specific certification. CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate, and it has been around for many years. People who take this exam are trained to install, configure, and troubleshoot networks that use Cisco products. This is commonly referred to as being a vendor-specific certification rather than an industry-specific certification. Now that we have a basic understanding of this certification, we will discuss the pros and cons and how you can use this certification to obtain a job.

Pros of the CCNA

The biggest pro of the CCNA is that Cisco backs it. Cisco is an IT giant that has been a major player in the market for years. They provide enterprise network hardware and software for several companies, which means that holding their vendor-specific certification will make you an asset to those companies. Cisco’s reputation within the industry and the fact that they provide IT support and tech for several companies around the world are reasons why the CCNA has continued to be relevant for so many years.

The second benefit of the CCNA is the actual knowledge that you gain from it. As mentioned earlier, employers like certifications because it demonstrates that the candidate has a certain baseline level of knowledge or skill. Once you have obtained the CCNA, you will learn a lot about networking and specifically how to use Cisco networking equipment, which will give you an advantage over other candidates.

Cons of the CCNA

The biggest con of a CCNA is that it is not cyber security-specific. If you are interested in cybersecurity work, the CCNA will not give you that knowledge directly. It may be better to consider some of the primary cybersecurity certifications like Security+, CySA+, CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), or CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). CCNA focuses on the networking component of I.T. While this may be useful as foundational knowledge, it is not highly-desired within the field itself.

The second con is that the CCNA is centered around Cisco technology. Unlike some of the certifications mentioned above that are industry certifications, the CCNA is a vendor-specific certification. The advantage of the industry certifications is that regardless of what software, industry, or IT infrastructure a company has, your certification will always be relevant and useful. The CCNA is only useful in environments where the company is using Cisco technology. At the same time, this may be a lot of companies it’s important to note that it won’t be relevant in every situation.

Can I get a job with a CCNA

By itself, no certification is enough to obtain a job, and this includes the CCNA. Like any other certification, it only enhances the chances of you getting a job and needs to be complemented with work experience and education to give you a really good chance of landing a high-quality job. It is a mistake for candidates to think that certification alone will be enough to land you a good job. Keeping that in mind, we will discuss some of the jobs that a CCNA does help you become a good candidate.

Network Engineer: Network Engineers focus on setting up and maintaining the infrastructure that enables data to pass between computers on a network.

Network Security Engineer: In this role, you would focus on protecting systems on the network from cyber-attacks. This includes setting up the network segmentation, adding security controls, monitoring the network, and many other security operations.

IT Admin: Otherwise known as a System Administrator, an IT Admin is responsible for configuring and reliable operation of computer systems, servers, and security systems. In many organizations, the IT admin will manage all servers, equipment, and other related IT infrastructure.

Cisco Alternatives to the CCNA

If you are thinking of getting the CCNA certification and your end goal is to get into the cybersecurity field, I strongly suggest you pursue a different certification. The CCNA is a good certification if you are looking to target companies that use cisco technology. In a network administrator role, it is not a good fit for the overall cybersecurity industry. For Cybersecurity, Cisco has created a few certifications designed for people interested in the cybersecurity aspect of IT as opposed to the networking side.

Cisco Cybersecurity Specialist: The first one on this list is the Cisco Cybersecurity Specialist certification. This is designed for security professionals who attained specialized expertise and knowledge in proactive cyber threat detection and mitigation.

It is designed for professional security analysts and leveraging the features of Cisco and other network security products used in companies today. This certification focuses on event monitoring, security event/alarm/traffic analysis, and incident response.

CCIE Security: Next is the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Security (CCIE). This certification recognizes security experts who have acquired the knowledge and skills to become Architects and Engineers and implement, troubleshoot or support the full range of Cisco security technologies. This certification will teach learners how to use these technologies to protect environments against modern security risks, threats, and vulnerabilities.

Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate: This certification program validates that candidates have obtained the tactical knowledge and skills that Security Operations Center (SOC) teams need to detect and respond to cybersecurity threats. This certification is designed for people that are seeking entry-level and associate-level SOC analyst jobs. The exam and training material will cover the knowledge and skills related to security monitoring, host-based analysis, network intrusion analysis, and security policies and procedures.

Recap

The CCNA is a good networking certification, but it’s not specifically made for people interested in the cybersecurity field. If you are interested in a cybersecurity career specifically, I suggest that you look into one of Cisco’s cybersecurity certifications. You may also want to look into some of the industry cybersecurity certifications that will be applicable regardless of whether the company you apply to uses Cisco technology or not.

Sources:

https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications/specialist/security/cybersecurity.html

https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications/associate/cyberops-associate.html

https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications/expert/ccie-security-v2.html

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