ccna career path

CCNA Career Path: What Types Of Jobs Can You Get With A CCNA?

Explore the CCNA career path and learn how to become a successful network engineer. Our guide covers the skills you need, job opportunities, and certifications to help you excel in the CCNA career path. Start your journey today with  IT Exams! What Is The CCNA Certification? When you ask someone to mention some critical IT certifications, […]

May 9, 2023

Explore the CCNA career path and learn how to become a successful network engineer. Our guide covers the skills you need, job opportunities, and certifications to help you excel in the CCNA career path. Start your journey today with  IT Exams!

What Is The CCNA Certification?

ccna career path

When you ask someone to mention some critical IT certifications, CCNA is nearly always on the list. The acronym stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate, and it represents the first phase in Cisco’s certification process. The CCNA exam is formally titled Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions.

The CCNA, like nearly every other Cisco certification, received a significant revision in 2020. In this new version, you only need one exam to receive a paper certifying your knowledge of general networking fundamentals, routing and switching technologies, Wide Area Networks (WAN) and wireless networks, security, and other relevant networking topics such as programmability and automation.

The CCNA certification is administered by Cisco. This company manufactures various networking equipment as well as network-related standards and protocols. They’ve been in business since 1984, have a strong brand, and are the market leader in areas such as enterprise routing and switching.

Who Should Earn The CCNA?

ccna career path

According to Cisco, the CCNA certification is intended for persons who desire to work as network support engineers or network administrators. Some additional subjects (particularly network programming and automation) enable the CCNA technician to collaborate more effectively with software developers. Essentially, acquiring CCNA certification is an excellent alternative if you want to work in networking, particularly corporate networking because Cisco is still the main player in that industry.

The CCNA certification, on the other hand, is not limited to networking specialists. According to studies, CCNA-certified system administrators desire to understand more about the networks on which their servers will operate.

Some may argue that the CompTIA Network+ certification is a better match for non-network employees since it is vendor-neutral; nonetheless, the CCNA certification still extensively covers networking principles.

CCNA Exam Details

Post Examination Requirements

Surprisingly, there are no official CCNA requirements for a person to meet in order to take the CCNA exams. Because organizations seek CCNA-certified Network Engineers regardless of experience level, CCNA credentials are a highly enticing option for a new graduate to pursue. However, after a person has acquired the CCNA certification, they must ensure that the new knowledge is applied to daily duties. It is an honor to be recognized as a member of the Cisco-certified Network. Seeking out other professionals and networking is another excellent way to continue learning about Cisco Network systems. Because the technology involved changes so fast, networking with other IT professionals may assist a person in staying current as they attempt to maintain their certification standard and prepare for their next steps, which may include more associate-level Cisco certifications. Taking the CCNA exams requires knowledge and commitment, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Given the high level of competition in the IT networking industry, the only way to stand out and have your CV noticed is to earn a professional certification that confirms your talents and goes a long way toward demonstrating a commitment to the business.

Exam Structure

You must first grasp what to expect in order to adequately prepare for the exam. Each CCNA exam differs slightly from the one before it and is normally given in one of the following formats:

  • ICDN1 – This test consists of 40 to 50 questions and takes around 90 minutes to complete.
  • ICDN2 – This test consists of 40 to 50 questions and has a time limit of 75 to 90 minutes.
  • Combined CCNA – This test consists of 45 to 55 questions and has a time limit of 90 minutes.

The exams are designed to assess a person’s abilities to install, configure, and troubleshoot network systems. The certification is valid for three years after the tests are passed with a passing grade. To familiarize yourself with the exam difficulty by taking CCNA certification practice tests regularly on IT-EXAM, which will increase the chance of success when taking the real test.


The CCNA exam costs $300, including tax. You may also use Cisco Learning Credits to pay for the exam. These are prepaid credits that a company may buy so that their employees can utilize them on the Cisco platform based on their preferences.

CCNA Career Path – What Types Of Jobs Can You Get With A CCNA?

ccna career path

If you’ve recently gotten a CCNA certification, you’re probably ready to take on greater responsibility in a networking role — or perhaps specialize. Keep in mind that there are specific job titles associated with the specialized CCNA examinations when you begin your career hunt.

Cisco provides ten CCNA certificates, each of which validates a particular skill set:

  1. CCNA Routing and Switching
  2. CCDA
  3. CCNA Cloud
  4. CCNA Collaboration
  5. CCNA Cyber Ops
  6. CCNA Data Center
  7. CCNA Industrial
  8. CCNA Security
  9. CCNA Service Provider
  10. CCNA Wireless

These credentials are commonly found buried away in the “preferred certifications” sections of purportedly broad network administrator jobs. Job titles aren’t always what they seem. The terms network administrator and network engineer are catch-all terms that may mask a person’s specialty. Employers, on the other hand, can make it easier to locate a specialized job. In such cases, they will use a more precise job title.

Here are some examples of such job titles, grouped by the CCNA certification required.

CCNA Routing and Switching

The CCNA R&S validates the knowledge and skills gained by entry-level networking professionals throughout their first few years on the job. Typically, they will be in support, help desk, or performing system administration duties at the moment. A network administrator is the most common job for a CCNA R&S.

Job titles associated with CCNA R&S:

  1. Network Administrator
  2. Network Analyst
  3. Systems Administrator

Network administrators are in charge of the pipes that make up a company’s infrastructure. They often work behind the scenes to ensure that everything operates well. System administrators interact with computers, operating systems, and people. Routers, switches, and servers are all used by network administrators. In smaller firms, network managers may design networks. They will, however, be in control of all of the machinery that flows traffic around the business and out to the street. Many system positions will also necessitate the CCNA.


The Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) certification is an entry-level certification for Cisco network design engineers and support workers. The CCDA discusses methods and criteria for developing and safeguarding new networks, as well as expanding existing ones. The CCDA is the initial level of network design certification, followed by the Professional (CCDP) and Expert (CCDE). A network engineer for a user organization is a popular CCDA role; however, the certification is also valid for sales and systems engineers who work with networking resellers and consulting firms.

Job titles associated with CCDA:

  1. Network Design Engineer
  2. Solutions Design Engineer
  3. Infrastructure Engineer

It’s also on the CCDA’s list of ideal certifications for senior networking jobs. Network design engineers are in charge of configuring and managing the performance and security of the organization’s networks. The design engineer specifies the equipment, software, and connections. Network engineers then work with network administrators and support staff on a regular basis to set up and maintain the network.

CCNA Cloud

ccna career path

As more firms adopt cloud strategies, network, and data center professionals must demonstrate their competence to work with both private and public clouds. The Cisco CCNA Cloud certification is connected with Cisco-based private and hybrid cloud systems built on cloud infrastructure technologies such as Cisco InterCloud, Unified Compute, Unified Fabric, and Unified Storage.

Job titles associated with CCNA Cloud:

  1. Network Administrator
  2. Cloud Engineer
  3. Cloud Architect

CCNA Cloud certification is frequently desired for architect and security roles. The CCNA Cloud certification validates your cloud knowledge and will help you establish yourself as a cloud engineer or administrator. To begin, you will handle basic provisioning and maintenance for your Cisco-based cloud service. You will be expected to analyze usage and performance and, as your expertise increases, to propose solutions to improve cloud efficiency, security, and resilience. Due to the prevalence of hybrid cloud installations, CCNA Cloud certification may be required or desired for jobs such as network and data center administrator.

CCNA Collaboration

The CCNA Collaboration certification encompasses Cisco’s primary collaboration solutions, such as VoIP telephones and video conferencing. These solutions can operate independently; they do not need to be used in conjunction with a Cisco LAN or WAN. The CCNA Collaboration test does not require your CCNA R&S certification. It would be advantageous, but it is not required. All you need to know is the fundamentals of IP networking, as well as video conferencing and streaming.

Job titles associated with CCNA Collaboration:

  1. Collaboration Engineer
  2. VoIP Engineer
  3. Telecom Engineer
  4. Unified Communications Engineer

The CCNA Collaboration certification is primarily aimed at VoIP telephone engineers who must design and manage IP phone and video conferencing systems. This credential is also known as Unified Communications Engineer and Collaboration Engineer.

You must pass two tests to achieve your CCNA Collaboration: one on Cisco Unified Communications telephony solutions and one on the characteristics of Cisco voice and video over IP solutions, as well as the practical setup of a Cisco video conferencing system.

CCNA Cyber Ops

In the news, we’ve all heard about severe IT security breaches. It comes as no surprise that cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. Because cybersecurity is such a complex issue, businesses are recruiting expert teams to prevent, detect, and respond to breaches. The CCNA Cyber Ops certification will enable IT professionals such as network and system administrators to work as associates on a cybersecurity team.

Job titles associated with CCNA Cyber Ops:

  1. Information Security Analyst
  2. Security Engineer
  3. Network Security Engineer
  4. Cybersecurity Engineer

Given the importance of security in the majority of networking professions, the CCNA Cyber Ops certification emerges as an optional qualification for more broad employment. Job titles and duties differ since cybersecurity is such a large and complicated topic. In large companies, jobs will be unique and specialized, but in small enterprises, a network administrator may do both analyst and responder duties.

The CCNA Cyber Ops certification has been authorized by the US Department of Defense (DOD) for its CSSP Analyst and CSSP Incident Responder cybersecurity job categories. The function of a security analyst is to focus on the tools, procedures, and controls that must be in place, but the duty of an incident responder is to utilize those tools to detect and manage threats when they emerge.

CCNA Data Center

Data centers nowadays are not like your grandfather’s. Distributed computing, server and storage virtualization, software-defined networking, automation, and cloud computing have hastened the growth of the modern data center from its mainframe-centric forebears. The typical data center is today a hive of servers, switches, and software – a tightly networked and demanding workplace for data center personnel with a varied range of skills.

Job titles associated with CCNA Data Center:

  1. Data Center Manager
  2. Data Center Network Engineer
  3. Data Center Technician

The CCNA Data Center certification, unlike the CCNA Cyber Ops, Security, and R&S certifications, is specialized to a specific environment. The CCNA Data Center certification is designed to equip system and networking administrators for work in data centers. One example is data center technician, however generic titles such as network engineer and systems analyst are also prevalent. Other qualifications for these jobs, including as VMware, CompTIA, and the CCNA R&S, are also useful.

Data center architecture and administration, like cybersecurity, cover a wide variety of topics, from installation and setup through data center infrastructure maintenance and ongoing operation. The CCNA Data Center certification may help you prove your understanding of data center infrastructures, networking, storage networking, Unified Computing, network virtualization, data center automation, and Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure.

CCNA Industrial

ccna career path

When IT penetrates factories, chemical plants, oil and gas facilities, labs, and the like, you’ll see connections to diverse technologies such as process control, the Internet of Things (IoT), and manufacturing tools. The CCNA Industrial certification is open to manufacturing engineers, process control specialists, and plant managers, as well as traditional network and systems professionals that work with these industrial networks.

Job titles associated with CCNA Data Center:

  1. Industrial Network Specialist
  2. Industrial Network Engineer
  3. Industrial Controls System Engineer

These occupations have a wide range of job titles, but quick job-site searches provide titles such as Industrial Network Specialist and Industrial Network Engineer. CCNA Routing and Switching are essential since the certification requires understanding of network fundamentals as well as switching and routing technology. For qualified network administrators who want to work with industrial networks, the CCNA Industrial is the appropriate next step.

The jobs are similar to network and systems administration duties in the front office, but you’ll be dealing with a converged network in the plant that includes hardened terminals, process sensors, and smart equipment. You will also be responsible for creating and troubleshooting the proprietary network protocols used in industrial equipment control.

CCNA Security

The CCNA Security certification validates the skills needed for entry-level security jobs. The CCNA Security certification focuses on the Cisco network, whereas the CCNA Cyber Ops certification focuses on the whole IT environment.

Job titles associated with CCNA Security:

  1. Information Security Analyst
  2. Security Engineer
  3. Network Security Engineer
  4. Cybersecurity Engineer

Security will most likely come within the purview of the network administrator in small and medium-sized businesses, while larger corporations will most likely have cyber operations teams comprised of skilled security administrators.

In the public sector, this security duty would be performed by Information Assurance Technicians, who perform network administration duties related to security. The CCNA Security certification is DOD-approved for Level I and Level II Information Assurance Technicians (IAT), whereas the CCNP Security certification is approved for Level III technicians.

Security experts are also sought after by consulting and service firms. In their case, job titles such as security analyst and security engineer might be found.

For want of a better word, security administrators are in charge of the day-to-day operations of system and network security. They install and manage security solutions like as firewalls and anti-virus software, as well as monitor network and information security policies. Viewers of Game of Thrones are also the “watchers on the wall” who monitor, defend against, and resist external invasions.

CCNA Service Provider

In recent years, cloud services have risen in favor as a corporate approach. It appears that everyone and their brother now provides on-demand information services over the internet.

Cisco has responded by providing an open architecture that allows service providers to deploy on-demand cloud-based apps and services to their clients. Mobile access, video streaming, collaboration, business-wide area networking, and Internet of Things (IoT) support are all provided by the Cisco infrastructure. The CCNA Service Provider certification lends assistance to this drive. It is intended for network specialists that work for companies that use a service provider strategy.

Job titles associated with CCNA Service Provider:

  1. Network Engineer – IP Designer
  2. Backbone Support Engineer
  3. Network Infrastructure Engineer

Beware of professionals with titles like Network Engineer in the service provider industry. Cisco’s service provider technology differs greatly from that seen in a typical workplace network.

Two examinations are required for CCNA Service Provider certification. The first test covers the networking fundamentals that are at the heart of the service provider architecture. The second test examines Cisco’s IP Next-Generation Network (NGN) architecture as well as the design and implementation of a service provider network.

CCNA Wireless

Wireless LANs are already commonplace in businesses to help their employees and visitors. Flexible work arrangements and practices such as hot-desking are making traditional wiring obsolete. Wireless internet access is becoming more common in public venues such as malls, hospitals, trains, buses, hotels, and even coffee shops.

The CCNA Wireless certification is designed for network administrators who must develop and support a Cisco wireless LAN. Candidates should be networking professionals with hands-on expertise with Cisco routing and switching, despite the fact that this is an associate-level certification.

Job titles associated with CCNA Service Provider:

  1. Wireless Network Administrator
  2. Field Network Engineer
  3. Mobility Engineer

Wireless managers sometimes have a standard networking job title, such as network engineer, with the phrases “wireless” or “mobility” tagged on. Like the other qualifications we’ve looked at, scale leads to specialization. In a large wireless installation, that may be your sole responsibility; but, in a small store, you will be in charge of the wireless LAN as well as basic network responsibilities.

What Is The Average CCNA Salary By Job Roles?

ccna career path

According to Cisco, a CCNA certification “builds the skills you will be using throughout your career in IT, whatever the role.” This qualification is also applicable to a wide range of occupations, including architects, engineers, analysts, and IT support workers.

According to, the average CCNA  salary for a related professional in various occupations is as follows:

  • Network architect – $118,000
  • IT director – $108,000
  • Sr. Network engineer – $102,000
  • Cyber security analyst – $79,000
  • IT manager – $87,000
  • Network engineer  –  $76,000
  • Systems engineer – $76,000
  • Systems Admin – $66,000
  • Network Admi – $63,000

How Does The CCNA Compare To Other Networking Certs?

Cisco is a well-known and well-respected firm in the information technology sector, notably in networking. Because the CCNA certification is about general networking, it is suitable for anybody who wants to start studying in this sector. It is extremely Cisco-specific in some areas, but we may ignore this because there are few comparable entry-level networking certifications.

To round up the collection, here are a couple of additional entry-level networking certificates. The CompTIA Network+ certification is the first on the list, and it has the advantage of being vendor-independent. Even if you don’t work with Cisco products, the CCNA is a better and more advanced certification to get than the Network+. The CompTIA website has a comparison of several certifications, including CCNA (in the section “How Does CompTIA Network+ Compare?”).

Juniper is another company that offers a certification program and certain entry-level credentials. Although not fully comparable, JNCIA-Junos is the Juniper equivalent of CCNA. Although it looks to be simpler than CCNA, if you want to further your studies, they offer more complex certifications and even whole certification courses.

MTA: Networking Fundamentals is another networking foundation certification offered by Microsoft. This certification is on the fundamentals of networking, as the name indicates, and it is simpler and covers fewer topics than CCNA. Finally, we should note that alternate credentials may be more advantageous in some situations. AWS credentials, for example, maybe more advantageous for a cloud-focused organization.

Read more > > Which Is Best CCNA Or MCSA? All You Need To Know

Is The CCNA Worth The Effort?

ccna career path

Many people have asked if obtaining a CCNA certification is useful. In some ways, the notion that it is not only the certificate that is important but the actual knowledge that it symbolizes, is valid. Unfortunately, it is feasible to take a test fraudulently and gain a qualification, or to study only enough to pass the exam. This, however, does not make sense because it is clear from your job that you do not understand the ideas underpinning your qualification. Not a good way to start.

The CCNA, as previously indicated, is a good foundation for anybody interested in working with computer networks. Even if you aren’t primarily dealing with Cisco equipment, you will almost surely come across it, and in many cases, it will be the majority. Companies frequently require some form of certification, which is why we may be unable to complete a certain position if we lack the relevant industry credentials. Even if it is not a requirement, it is undoubtedly beneficial when applying for a job. Although the market will see an increase in the number of CCNA-level workers, thanks mostly to training at Cisco Networking Academy, not everyone will earn the certification; many will just complete the course.

If you want to delve deeper into the subject later (for example, the steps to take to reach the CCNP or even CCIE level), the CCNA is required. Although it is not technically required for the CCNP level, Cisco recommends that you have several years of experience before moving on to professional-level assessments. Passing the CCNP and other exams may be easier if you have previous expertise with Cisco’s testing system.

To summarize, while someone may execute their job well without a qualification, having one is unquestionably advantageous.

What Are The Benefits Of Becoming CCNA Certified?

When Indeed asked 2,593 job seekers about their Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), they were told:

  • 70% of job candidates believe that obtaining their Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification will help them develop in their jobs.
  • 67% of respondents reported that earning their Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) helped them earn more money.
  • 65% said their Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) qualification helped them find a job.
  • 95% said they would recommend Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification to a family member or friend.

The CCNA certification validates a professional’s core job skills and displays network professionals’ ability to construct and install routers and switches for entire companies, as well as diagnose any network problems.

Although it is possible to obtain a job without certification, having a CCNA on your CV may help you stand out to recruiters. Furthermore, with Cisco controlling 49.9% of the global ethernet switch market in the third quarter of 2020, there is a good probability that a professional may come across that technology when seeking work in a range of companies.

Another reason to get your Cisco certification? Salary. “Cisco-certified professionals see an average salary increase of $12,000-13,000” (According to Global Knowledge’s 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report).

How To Get CCNA Certified?

ccna career path

To obtain CCNA certification, the individual must take the relevant test and pass it with a minimum passing score.

  • ICDN1 (100-101) or ICDN2 (200-101) exams.
  • The Combined CCNA exam (200-120).

Ideally, the Cisco 200-301 test is intended for CCNA certification. Aspirants may register for this test on Cisco’s official account or through select training partners recognized by Cisco.

Pearson VUE is often chosen as the approved facility to administer the CCNA certification test. Individuals can register for the test at this center at least two days before the test. Registration is normally done on a first-come, first-served basis. Aspirants may register themselves either through their training center or on a personal basis.

To become a CCNA-certified professional, an applicant must score at least 80%.

What Is The Best Way To Train For The CCNA?

The best approach is to enroll in a CCNA Training Boot Camp.
CCNA training can be obtained through specialized educational institutions that have collaborated with Cisco, such as MyComputerCareer. You may gain hands-on experience by participating in one of Cisco’s authorized boot camps, which are designed to offer you all of the material required for interview success and certification.

These schools will teach you all you need to know about networking technologies, protocols, topologies, installation methods, troubleshooting guides for Cisco-based networks, and much more.

The easiest way to prepare for the CCNA test is to enroll in Cisco’s training program, “Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions (CCNA).” It includes a variety of study resources, including lectures, hands-on laboratories, and self-study materials that cover the CCNA curriculum.

Another smart way to prepare for an interview is to learn from people who are similar to you. Join the community to participate in the discussions and share your opinions with other members.


ccna career path

Final Words

In conclusion, pursuing a CCNA career path can be a rewarding and fulfilling choice for those interested in computer networking. With the constant growth and evolution of technology, the demand for skilled networking professionals is on the rise. Obtaining a CCNA certification can open up various opportunities in the IT industry, including positions such as network administrator, network engineer, and more. Remember to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and continuously enhance your skills to remain competitive. Start your CCNA career path today and embark on a challenging yet exciting journey toward a successful career in computer networking.