A Million Dollar Question - Should I enroll for CCNA ?

Are you asking yourself this Million Dollar Question-Should I enroll for CCNA?

This is the most basic Question I have heard from IT enthusiasts, Freshers out of IT Engineering Colleges and even for Degree Holders who have not been able to really get a decent IT Job after the graduation.

The Answer - Read the Blog and decide 

The students passing out of the Colleges are mainly diverted to 2 streams : 

      1. Software 
      2. Hardware
Case of Software

Most of them want to really go for Software Programming, as it is assumed that once they have their Graduation completed, they will be offered a White-collar Job sitting in a cubicle and writing the codes for the next Big Software in the IT industry.

However, they forget that, the IT Giants are filled with tons of Engineers already with millions passing out each year, and inducted for the Job of writing Codes. Possibly there is no code left in the world that a Fresh Engineer will be doing it for them. The Freshers are inducted to get Low Level Tasks done, such as Night-Shift support to on-site Engineers or Remote Support for External Clients and minor Bug fixing & next code release etc. This becomes his daily routine Job for a good part of his company tenure.

After a year or 2 or 3 , the candidate really gets a project and gets something worthwhile to learn, not to mention, that till this time the Monetary compensation also is not at par with IT Industry Standards. 

Case of Hardware

There is a large chunk of  Engineers who don't go very well with Coding and Programming. (like seeing this { } would give them Goosebumps). They bound to get in to the Hardware Jobs with most of them ending up as Desktop Engineers at a less deserving salary. Few opt for High Profile Job of Networking and bound to gather some knowledge about Networking. Now, the only thing they have heard of in Networking is Cisco - CCNA.

It's now when most of them come across this million Dollar question -Should I enroll for CCNA ? 

Out of this chunk some get placed in a Network Operations Center (NOC) for routine Network monitoring and Reporting tasks and bound to stay in this field. A small number of them really excel, plan for CCNA, CCNP and further go on to complete CCIE and higher certifications. Going for CCNP and CCIE would be the ideal scenario if the Candidate is planning to be in the Networking field for a very long time. 

The catch here - Networks of Big companies once setup don't have many changes in the design. In fact most of them are deployed for once and just maintained Day-in-Day-out without any major changes. At the maximum, you get a chance to connect to one of their new offices via a point-to-point link and configure a router again.


So is it worthwhile to pursue CCNA ? 

The Answer.

CCNA knowledge is extremely important, However it is not at all necessary to get CCNA certified. If you have your fundamentals clear and basics in place, you can very well skip the CCNA certification and start your career with Network Security (Cyber Security- as they call it nowadays) and remember - Cyber Security is not all about Hacking or Web Application Penetration. There is a lot of stuff involved in here, lot enough to encompass the CCNA domain and earn a decent job for you in Network Security Domain.

Though, an extensive CCNA course offers much more knowledge and advanced in-depth topics, I believe if a Candidate clears his concepts on the below points, he can definitely jump directly into a rewarding career in Network Security. 

      1. OSI Models
      2. TCP & UDP protocols
      3. IP Addressing & Classes
      4. Subnetting
      5. Switching
      6. Physical Cabling (Rj-45, CAT-5, CAT-6, Fiber,)
      7. Media Connection (Ethenet, Gigabit Ethernet,10G, 40G....)  
      8. Hub, Broadcast Domain & Collision Domain
      9. Layer 2 Switch
      10. Layer 3 Switch
      11. Virtual - LAN,  L2 V-LAN, L3 V-LAN
      12. Network Address Translation
      13. Basics of Routing
      14. WAN, MPLS and VPN
      15. WiFi Connectivity 

Also, bare in mind that there is a lot of crowd at the CCNA Level. For single job opening there have been Hundreds of Applications and the compensation is also Average. The Network Security Jobs have a slightly better compensation and less competition in terms of Job applications.

So are you enrolling for CCNA ?  Write back your comments below.   

Amit Upadhyay

Security Solutions Architect

Your IT Basics (Online)





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