The Path To Follow After Earning Your CCNA

    February 8, 2006

Once you earn your CCNA certification, youve got quite a few exciting choices ahead of you!

The majority of CCNAs go on to pursue another Cisco certification, and this is a wise decision. The more you know, the more valuable you are in todays IT market.

A question Im often asked by new CCNAs is “Which certification should I go after next?” Often, these new CCNAs have their eye on the Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP) certification. While adding a security certification to your resume is an excellent idea, I strongly recommend that new CCNAs acquire their Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification before pursuing their security certifications. The CCNP requires you to pass three or four exams (depending on the path you choose) that will demand a further mastery of some subjects you studies to earn your CCNA as well as several important topics that you haven’t seen yet.

The CCNP builds on the foundation of networking knowledge you built when you earned your CCNA, and your CCNP study will add greatly to your skills and resume. There are some common technologies that youll see in many networks – BGP and route redistribution among them – that you dont learn about in your CCNA studies. By pursuing your CCNP, youll also learn much more about OSPF, switching, and refine your troubleshooting skills. These are skills that will pay off in your current job as well as any future job hunting you do.

I know that security is the hot topic of the day, and with good reason. But to be a well-rounded networking engineer, you need to understand BGP, route redistribution, complex route summarization scenarios, and many other topics that earning the CCNP will help you understand. And besides, the security certifications will definitely be there when youre done earning your CCNP!

Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, is the owner of The Bryant Advantage (, home of FREE CCNA and CCNP tutorials and daily exam questions, as well as The Ultimate CCNA and CCNP Study Packages.

For a FREE copy of his latest e-books, “How To Pass The CCNA” or “How To Pass The CCNP”, and for free daily exam question, visit the website and download your copies!