One of the most asked questions that have been there since the time Cisco has updated its certification courses is – “What should be done after CCNA training or certification?” All the alternatives a network engineer has after completing their CCNA course or earning their CCNA certification will be covered in this article. So, if you are also a network engineer who just completed CCNA and are confused about the best option for a better career, you are at the right place.
For those who don’t know, CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate, a certification for network engineers at the basic level. It is a certificate that verifies a candidate’s understanding and proficiency with basic networking concepts. This is one of the most important certifications or training someone must complete if they want to become a network engineer.
Next Step After CCNA
There are basically three choices for a network engineer who has just completed their CCNA training or certification, which are:
- CCNP ENCOR
- CCNA DevNet
A network engineer can choose any one of these options and can build a successful career out of it. Let’s discuss each, one by one.
CCNP stands for Cisco Certified Network Professional. There are seven different tracks to choose from at the CCNP level. CCNP ENCOR stands for Implementing Cisco Enterprise Network Core Technologies. It is the core certification/training in the Enterprises track, and CCNP ENCOR training is among the most demanded training at the CCNP level as it is known as the advanced level of everything studied at the CCNA level.
The other reasons for choosing CCNP ENCOR are as follows:
- It consists of topics that contribute to 6 different knowledge domains:
- Network Assurance
- It is a mandatory core exam for the CCNP Enterprise certification.
- It is also a mandatory qualifying exam for the CCIE Lab exam.
The second option that network engineers have after CCNA is getting a job. Most experienced network engineers have taken this path and would suggest any fresher network engineer take any job after CCNA. A few years back, any network engineer would have taken a job after CCNA and, after gaining a few years of experience, would have moved to other technologies for career advancement.
However, things have changed now; keeping the current market trends and today’s competition in mind, it might not be the best way to build a suitable networking career, which is why so many network engineers are concerned about what to do after CCNA.
Well, the right way to build your networking career in today’s over-competitive market is to go for CCNP ENCOR training before trying to get a job. Let’s elaborate on why.
Why go for CCNP ENCOR before interviewing for Jobs?
- Advance Skill:
The first thing one should note is that CCNA only provides basic networking knowledge, and there are thousands of fresher network engineers to compete. On the other hand, CCNP ENCOR training will provide you with advanced networking knowledge and increase your chances of getting selected for any networking job.
The only jobs CCNA knowledge or certification can get are entry-level positions such as technical support, voice support, etc. At the same time, it is easy to secure a better L1 and L2 network engineer job with CCNP ENCOR training.
Let’s understand this with an example:
Suppose a fresher network engineer applies to a networking job with just CCNA knowledge; they have to compete with at least a hundred freshers with the same CCNA knowledge. One must catch the interviewer’s attention to be chosen, but it will be challenging given that there are 100 other candidates with the same knowledge.
On the other hand, if a fresher network engineer chooses to go for CCNP ENCOR training, then they will have advanced networking skills, and there will only be a handful of network engineers with that much knowledge, making it simple to stand out from the crowd.
- Better Salary Package:
Another thing you should note is that even if you can find employment with simply a CCNA certification or training, your salary will be insufficient, given the cost of living in the modern world.
This strategy is out-of-date, and you have to wait two to three years before moving on to the CCNP level, which is another reason not to pursue this path. Why not just begin your career with CCNP when your goal is growth, and the way is through CCNP?
- Better Pay Scale: A fresher network engineer with CCNP knowledge will get better pay than any experienced network engineer with only CCNA knowledge.
- More Job Opportunities: The job opportunities for a CCNP ENCOR-trained candidate also increases compared to a network engineer with just CCNA knowledge.
- Credibility: Most enterprises will only consider a CCNP-trained candidate to manage their networks. No company allows a CCNA trained or even CCNA certified candidate anywhere on their networks.
Network Automation is the present and future of the networking domain as most enterprises are investing heavily in automation. So, CCNA DevNet is also a good choice for all fresher network engineers. CCNA DevNet training will prepare network engineers for network automation job roles.
The only reason for keeping this option, at last, is because it requires learning Python programming language, and a fresher network engineer might find it difficult to grasp so much all at once. So, if one feels they are up for this task, then CCNA DevNet is also an excellent option for a network engineer.
Epilogue – Networking Engineers are some of the most respected IT domain individuals, earning some hefty salaries and working at the core of the domain. Due to the growing demand for network engineers, many people want to join the networking domain, but after taking the very first step, they get confused about what’s next.
The best thing to build a great career as a network engineer is to go for CCNP ENCOR training after CCNA training or certification.