CCDA certification is a great primer for those who want to design networks
In the professional world of IT, you’ve got to start somewhere. No one enters their chosen career field knowing everything. In other words, you don’t rise to the rank of IT manager by not being a team player. For those that have an interest in designing networks, there are certain hurdles that must be overcome as well; namely, certification.
The CCDA certification (Cisco Certified Design Associate) is a foundation-level program which seeks to train students in the tenets of basic network design. As part of the program, the initiate learns to establish and run networks for businesses, campuses, and data centers. Additionally, a CCDA cert holder should also be able to tackle most wireless, voice and security networks / issues.
Like many other certifications offered by private tech companies, the CCDA incorporates a 3-year renewal system. However, there are several restoration options available and at least 7 different approaches (exams) one can use toward reinstating your CCDA qualifications.
How do you know if a CCDA is right for you? Well, simply put, anyone employed in the IT field (and particularly in the context of a larger company) will likely need several advanced certifications. Keep in mind that there is quite a lot of competition out there amongst those professionals who have virtually no experience and possess only an undergraduate degree. CCDA Cisco Certified Design Associate certification
Certifications like the CCDA allow intrepid IT professionals to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in a fairly obvious way. However, the CCDA itself is really a certification that’s nearly perfect for individuals who are more interested in actually setting up networks as opposed to maintaining them. This doesn’t mean that a CCDA holder cannot function as a regular IT worker, only that their certification is ‘angled’ more toward creation and design.
Those with a ‘mind for design’ might find themselves better served by remaining somewhat independent. If you’re the type of person who has the qualifications, you can actually be quite successful as a design consultant / specialist. Here’s an example: let’s say you have a CCDA, right? You could very well spend your time appealing to smaller businesses, universities/community colleges, and professional groups.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of small businesses and organizations who routinely require new networks to be installed. An interesting and apt comparison might be the relationship between mechanics and automotive repair shops. In other words, mechanics can be either independent or work for a company; the same exact situation applies to those who might have a penchant for IT network design.
Regardless, there are plenty of businesses and employers out there who have absolutely no problem with hiring someone with a CCDA. Although actual salaries will vary greatly from region to region, country to country, most of those with a CCDA make between $70k – $100k (USD) per year (according to data gathered via bls.gov). In fact, some companies are actually taking a more proactive approach and are requiring their employees to get their CCDA certification.
Passing your CCDA exam might not be nearly as straightforward as you might expect however. This is why it is absolutely imperative that one employ the use of supplementary training materials, such as a prep book. Keep in mind though, not all of these preparation courses and books are equal; some are much more thorough than others. Naturally, you need to absorb as much information as possible, but special focus must also be placed on the information that’s likely to be featured on the cert exam itself. This CCDA exam prep book is an excellent example and will (in all likelihood) allow you to pass the test on your first attempt.
If your interest in IT lies with design, you really cannot afford to dodge a solid certification like the CCDA. Not only is this cert fairly accessible to experienced IT pros, it’s also suitable for those who might be just starting out in their career. Fundamental certifications such as this allow the IT community to keep its understanding of basic foundations in check; which is going to become even more important as we move forward and the level of complexity rises.