CCNAs usually perform the job duties of a network technician or network administrator. As a CCNA, you may install, configure and maintain networking equipment, such as routers and switches. This can involve setting up network hardware and typing commands into Cisco IOS software, which is used to configure network devices. Network security responsibilities are also common and include setting up access control lists for firewalls and monitoring intrusion detection systems for potential security breaches.
You may also identify and solve issues that affect network performance, which can require unusual work hours and overtime. While CCNAs solve some issues themselves, complex issues may require communication with outside vendors or help from more experienced personnel. Those who are network technicians, for example, may get help from upper-level information technology professionals, like network administrators. Juggling the responsibilities of maintaining a network infrastructure and dealing with multiple technical problems can make this career stressful.
Career Prospects and Salary Info
Since a CCNA usually works as a network technician (also referred to as a computer support specialist) or network administrator, career prospects depend on your specific job title. Network technicians were expected to have a lower than average 7% employment growth, while network administrators were expected to have an average 12% projected employment growth from 2012-2022, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
As of 2015, PayScale.com reports that most network administrators with CCNA credentials earn salaries between $40,064 and $79,823. However, keep in mind that your salary may vary according to your job title and industry. According to the BLS, network administrators earned a median salary of $75,790 as of 2014, while network technicians earned a median salary of $61,830 per year.
A CCNP is a certified computer network professional that has received certification from Cisco Systems, Inc. A Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) will plan, build, and troubleshoot networks. They will work with other specialists to implement security, video, wireless and voice networks.
Most employers prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. To be certified as a Cisco Certified Network Professional an applicant must first gain Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician and Cisco Certified Network Associate certifications, and perform necessary classroom work.
CCNPs build and maintain computer networks for businesses, hospitals, government facilities and schools. They will plan and troubleshoot networks, analyze costs and recommend appropriate equipment.
With continuing education and work experience network technicians can become network architects or managers. They may also pursue a career in teaching networking skills.
According to payscale.com, the annual salary for a CCNP ranged from $51,364 to $104,136 in July of 2010. Salary was dependent on job title. CCNP’s working for Cisco Systems, Inc. earned salaries ranging from $71,052 to $108,106.