Why get a CCNA certification?

Unanswered Question
Mar 19th, 2008

I recently got my CCNA certification in the hope that it would get me a good network support job but I've been trying to get a job for a month now and everybody wants 5 yrs of experience along with your CCNA. My question is, is it really a big deal anymore to be CCNA certified when u cant even get a junior job based on that? I'm really disheartened and am thinking of persuing CCNP but even if I get that what is the gaurantee that I will get a job based even on that???

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jcrussell Wed, 03/19/2008 - 11:07

You shouldn't look at certifications as guaranteeing you a job, especially over real-world experience. Experience trumps certs. You should look at them as a differentiator. That is, if 2 people have the same experience, then the one with the CCNA might get the nod.

uzmausmani Wed, 03/19/2008 - 11:37

and how do u get real experience when noone wants to even give u a chance for an interview because u dont have 5 years of experience with your CCNA?

jcrussell Wed, 03/19/2008 - 11:55

I had exactly zero experience as a network engineer when I got hired as a network engineer. But I did have experience as a programmer and then a Windows/Exchange/AD admin. I had to work my way into a network engineer role.

What kind of non network engineer experience do you have?

scottmac Wed, 03/19/2008 - 12:22

You will find a job, hang in there. CCNA is a basic HR filter for most positions, so it *will* be a Good Thing for you.

Also keep in mind that the CCNA is (in most cases) a requirement for higher certifications, which you will also need as you spend more time in the profession.

A CCNA is not a job guarantee, but you are more likely to get hired *with* a CCNA than without.

You may also be able to get around that five year rule by explaining that you'd be willing to work for less money, at least for a while, to gain the experience and trust of the company and management. Negotiate a little.

Even if they don't give you more after a while, you will have some experience to claim for the next job.

Good Luck


celticfc2007 Wed, 03/19/2008 - 14:09

The CCNA is not an end in itself, it opens doors. I'm not sure what IT experience you have, but if you have a CCNA and zero experience, you will face some challenges finding that dream support job.

You might have to move. Bigger cities have more openings, etc.

You might have to take a helpdesk role and transition to network support when the opportunity comes.

Location, people networking, resume, experience, interview, certifications and a little luck will get you where you want to be, the CCNA is just a tool to help you along the way.

Good luck!

AndySajous_2 Wed, 03/19/2008 - 18:44

The CCNA is not a magic pill.....I think alot of people have a distorted opinion about getting their CCNA. Most IT firms consider experience as the most important requirement. When I first went job hunting with my CCNA a few months ago, I can tell you honestly that my CCNA helped alot but employers still looked at my experience and education.

Many recruiters use the CCNA a way from filtering through candidates, if you don't have a CCNA or MSCE then they will quickly move to the next resume. Getting your first job in IT is the hardest, but once you get a few years of experience finding a new job becomes substantially easier and rewarding.

Danilo Dy Thu, 03/20/2008 - 08:48

Hang in there. You will get a job. It's always like that in the job hunt, either you are underqualified, overqualified, too young, too old, doesn't match, some are "expensive" :), in other part of the world there are other categories which I would not like to mention here :)

Try to match what you think you know and have from the job ad requirement, and hopefully a technical (with managerial level) person will interview you (if he/she is not busy). HR and "non-technical manager" usually do the ditching :) because they usually look for an "exact match" from the requirement left by the technical person (as he/she is busy - that's why he/she is recruiting) and "within budget" of course :)

wpalumbo06 Wed, 04/09/2008 - 13:19

I think it's worth it. I had over 12 years experience in the networking field and found it very difficult to get network engineer position until I got my CCNA. I landed a real nice network engineer position and the CCNA cert was the reason I beat the other candidates. In fact, I was getting about 2-3 offers per week after putting my resume out with the CCNA cert on it. Keep on applying and don't set your salary expectations too high...you may have to take an entry level position just to get some experience. I have never heard of anyone requiring 5 years of experience for junior positions...that just doesn't make sense so you probably just had a run of bad luck with some 'wishful' employers. Keep applying and don't forget to refine your interviewing skills as you might find yourself being interrogated by seasoned network engineers during your interview:-)

Good Luck!

JORGE RODRIGUEZ Wed, 04/09/2008 - 18:36

Uzma, I would like to join in this effort like other have already said to encourage you and not to get discourage in any way.

You need to be patient, and continue your pursuing your goal which is to become a networker, you have accomplished your CCNA, and please I encourage you to continue.

You will find a job and you need to hang in there, while searching for the right entry level position you need to focus on seting up labs scenarios if you can to do lots of practice as well as participate in these forums which will help you when you get an interview.



jim_berlow Fri, 04/18/2008 - 07:56

Your pointing out a large problem with the IT field. In many other fields there are journeyman positions, apprenticeships, or even residencies in the medical field. Unfortunately with IT, there are few opportunities to be coached and trained in your first job. This is why you see junior jobs that require 5+ years of experience. What this is telling me is that there is almost no training that will be given to the job candidate and that they are looking for someone that can come in and know how to do their job from day 1.

I would definitely say start to work on your CCNP (also consider that there are more jobs with a CCVP). I'm not going to tell you that a CCNP will help you get a job either - there is a lot of competition out there with experience.

Also if you can do it, don't underestimate the power of volunteer work. I know lots of people who build their experience that way and then can get those entry level jobs (or even get hired on by the non-profit).



chull6509 Thu, 05/08/2008 - 13:25

I worked for over 20 years in the IT field and then left for awhile. When I returned I could not get a job. I did not have any current certs, so I studied for my CCNA and then got a job. It is not the cert that gets you the job, but it will get you looked at. And in a tight job market, getting an employer to look at your resume is a BIG first step. For most job openings there are hundreds of applications, and they have to thin that herd down somehow, and a cert will do that. Take an entry level job doing anyting in the IT field, work you way up, and keep studying. The more you have to offer, the more openings there are for you. Save the name and phone number of everyone you met. That is how you will get your next job, through the network, not through HR.

sirdudesly Thu, 05/08/2008 - 18:04

Here in Australia most of the positions only seem to require about 2 years experience (some say prefered but not required) average wage is around the AU$50k->AU$60k I would say. So there is stuff out there, keep looking and eventually you'll find something.

And as for a reason to do CCNA.... well I did mine in highschool for fun (that's kind of sad isn't it)


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