The Path to Certification: Why CCNA?

On February 4th I posted a video talking about what, exactly, a Certified Cisco Network Administrator is about.  I did this because I am working on becoming a network engineer and the first step towards that goal. I am studying to become a CCNA and learning about the ins and outs of this thing known as the World Wide Web.

My cousin first told me about this last year.  He told me CCNA’s have been needed over the last decade and were in high demand.  He also gave me a few links to start researching what a CCNA is and how to become one. He told me about what the starting CCNA salary generally is and that being in my forties doesn’t matter in the industry. I researched all he said and soon found he was right on all fronts.

I like the fact this is a certification that doesn’t need years of college behind it to be effective. I do need to study and learn a lot of information, but that is something I can do without enrolling in college. Since I don’t make a lot of money,  I liked it is a credential that has a very low monetary investment. The big investment, as so much is in learning, is time and I can supply that easily. (Well, more or less.)

I have a good job right now, one where I help support many different guys and I (generally) enjoy it. Yet there are two issues: The pay is pretty low and I have the worst schedule of any job I’ve ever had.  There is really nothing I can do about either of these issues in my current industry. The pay, in general, is low across the board. Any position I hold won’t pay what I’d like to make per year and there is not really any path for advancement. I could become a manager of some sort but I’d only end up with more responsibilities for pay that isn’t significantly higher.  I also work two graveyard shifts, two evening shifts, and one day shift. This means I am generally tired, a tad grumpy and often not wanting to go to work. Not because I hate the job but because I just want to crawl back into bed and sleep. I believe I have put in a good amount of time at this job, around two and a half years, and I want something…different.

I believe becoming a CCNA will help in that regard.  I know it is generally an entry-level position, but one where the money is significantly higher even at that level. I also know I can get a schedule that includes things like weekends off and not having to work at night, which are two things I can only dream about at this moment.  

I honestly love studying for this.  I love learning the history of the internet as we know it, how routers and switches work  and how so many things about this online life we all take for granted is put together. I’m learning the hows and whys of IP address, how data flows across various networks, why the data flows the way it does and how it all is put together.  I relish learning about this. I’ve always loved learning and I’ve always loved technology. This route seems to be the best for both. I also look forward to learning more despite how difficult it might be.

I don’t know where getting a CCNA will take me. I haven’t given up writing (as will be shown in the weeks ahead) but I’m glad I have a ‘work’ focus.  As much as I love working with the guys I support, I can’t wait to get to a more stable life. I love learning this information and feel like a sponge that is just waiting to have more information poured into me.