Whenever I recommend the CCNA training to any IT person, this is inevitably the first question that I get asked. Many people get out of college with their CIS degree and really don’t know what they want to get into. Some of the lucky ones get in an IT leadership program at a large company, but others still need direction to determine which side of the IT business they want to be on.
As far as I’m concerned, those that have an interest in support and project based work may enjoy network support. However, the question always arising as to what exactly does that mean? What does a CCNA do when they get into the office in the morning? This article will address these questions so you can get a better feel if the CCNA certification is something you would be interested in. The last thing you want is to spend the time and money to become a CCNA and not enjoy the types of jobs you will be qualified for.
There are many paths a CCNA can take and it is difficult to know which one you are interested in. For the most part, no matter what you do you will be responsible for Cisco equipment at some level. This could mean your job is to troubleshoot network problems, manage security for a corporate network, work in a large scale NOC, or even work on telephone systems. The common thread is all of the equipment you work on will be Cisco.
My first job as a CCNA was basically a network administrator position. I already had a lot of experience with Microsoft products, but was hired to handle the network infrastructure and assist with General IT support. This is fairly common these days as companies like when employees can handle multiple functions. For my employer, they knew I could fill in for nearly anyone within IT and they would not skip a beat. Chances are your first job will be very similar regardless of which CCNA track you go after.
My typical day had many parts and it was a very busy position. The first thing in the morning I would spend the first hour going through logs and making sure there were no errors or any issues overnight. Considering I was responsible for over 30 locations, this took a while. However, there were seldom errors so this was more of a “make sure” type of process. From there, I would generally go through email to see if anyone reported any trouble with the network overnight. These processes were first as my primary responsibility was the network itself. I was not responsible for security or I would have been checking firewall logs as well.
Once my main functions were completed I would turn my attention to whichever projects the IT department had going on. I had a perpetual queue of projects that need to be completed and they were accomplished in a first in first out basis. The project would range from line upgrades, equipment upgrades, or projects to help make our current systems run more efficiently.
This is a typical day for a CCNA and most IT departments always have projects going on so you will never be bored or have nothing to do. No matter what, there is always a problem to fix or a system to improve. This gives you a ton of experience quickly and keeps your day to day job interesting.
Of course, there are other types of job ranging from consulting where you may be helping out on any number of different types of projects. Or with some larger companies your job may be task oriented and you only are responsible for a certain piece of an infrastructure.