This question really has two broad groups of interested readers. Those that are relatively new to IT and those that are interested in seeking ways to advance their careers and earning potential within the industry.

First, let’s consider some information that might be useful to those that are new or relatively new to the industry and are trying to determine a career path.

Salary expectations are always a consideration. Cisco certified IT professionals command on average 10% more than their non-certified peers. Average yearly salary for a CCNA certified professional is $79,000/year (CCIE $120,000/yr.).

Of course, the timeline for CCNA training varies based on initial knowledge and experience. But as a general guideline, between four to twelve months should prove adequate to be successful in passing the CCNA exam.

Due to the popularity and desirability of the CCNA certification there is a great deal of information and courseware available (both free and paid) to help someone prepare for the exam.

From a potential employer standpoint, a CCNA certified individual indicates that the perspective employee “has what it takes” to be successful in a production IT environment.  Since it’s difficult to gauge a candidate’s expertise, many recruiters will then narrow or filter potential candidates based on referrals or certifications. 

This is one of the reasons why certifications matter and why you want to make sure you state them in your resume.

From a knowledge standpoint, the training involved in working towards the CCNA provides a solid framework that can and will be utilized in whatever IT technology career path the employee ultimately decides to follow.

For the seasoned IT pro CCNA certification improves the odds of being retained by the organization during the “down times”. Additionally, this signals to the employer that the CCNA certified individual is directed, career oriented, and interested in providing added value to his work and organization.

All very positive points from a HR perspective when it comes to promotion, salary increase, and retention. A CCNA is generally looked upon by peers as signifying real world knowledge and experience.

Respect from your colleagues is always a good thing. 

In closing, you cannot really go wrong by undertaking the CCNA certification path. The time spent acquiring the certification relative to the reward is well worth the effort and generally nominal expense required to get certified.